While a lot of fingers have pointed at departed Georgia assistant coach Stacy Searels’ underperforming offensive line as a big reason for the Dogs’ running game being only the 10th best in the SEC this past season, there obviously was more to it than that.
The fact that thanks to injuries and disciplinary problems Georgia rarely had both its top two running backs, Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, playing in the same game was a factor. As was Mike Bobo’s tendency to abandon the ground attack for long stretches and his insistence on trying to run Carlton Thomas up the middle at inopportune moments in close games.
But at times there also seemed to be something lacking in the effort of the backs themselves. Rarely did you see Ealey or King break tackles.
And I think maybe you can get an inkling into why that was the case from comments made Friday by former Georgia tailback Thomas Brown, who’s joined the new strenth and conditioning staff under Joe Tereshinski.
The diminutive Brown, who battled for playing time with Danny Ware, Kregg Lumpkin and Knowshon Moreno, played like he was much bigger than he was thanks to his phenomenal strength and competitiveness. In talking with the media about the decline in the Bulldogs’ strength and conditioning in the three seasons since he departed, he said: “I think you can solve most problems with more competition. I think that’s one of the biggest things that’s different from when I was here as a player and here now.
“When I came in, I was highly recruited, the No. 1-rated running back in the state of Georgia, No. 3 or 4 in the nation. I came in, I was No. 7 on a depth chart of eight running backs. I had to compete, and I think that kind of makes guys raise their level of expectations. I think it’s harder for guys to be motivated when they know they’re kind of guaranteed to play. So I think … bringing in guys to compete with those guys will make everybody a lot better.”
That fits in with what Blair Walsh said after the Liberty Bowl disaster about some of the players on the team having a sense of entitlement. Ealey runs his mouth a lot and King thinks he’s too cool for school, but rarely has either looked like the hardest-working back in the game.
Whether or not Georgia signs Isaiah Crowell, that’s got to change if the Dogs are going to consistently run the ball in the SEC.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg