What’s it gonna be, Washaun?

Washaun Ealey has come to something of a crossroads in his career at UGA. (Associated Press)

Washaun Ealey has come to something of a crossroads in his career at UGA. (Associated Press)

Man, it’s got to be tough to be Washaun Ealey right now.

This time last year a lot of folks were predicting the Georgia tailback was going crack the 1,000-yard mark in the 2010 season and give the Dogs a potent running attack that would allow them to bring their untested quarterback along slowly.

As it turned out, the QB scrambling was more of a running threat than the tailback position much of the time. And while Ealey did lead the team, running for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns, he started out the season missing a game because he’d been driving with a suspended license (something his coaches had warned him about), fumbled at key times in losses and developed the reputation of spending more time running his mouth than the ball. Georgia’s running game ended up ranking 10th in the conference.

Then, just as Georgia was signing Isaiah Crowell, who looks to be the next great SEC running back, Ealey got suspended from the team for skipping a punishment run, and then had to sit out most of spring practice with a hamstring injury.

And now, as our Chip Towers reported, Ealey has been put on notice by his head coach that he’s still sharing Russ’ doghouse.

Asked about Ealey at the Greater Augusta Bulldog Club spring meeting Wednesday night, Richt was uncharacteristically blunt.

“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” the coach said. “He has a ways to go in my book. We’ll see. I love him, though.”

Richt’s tough love got even tougher for Ealey, though, as the Leather Helmet Blog points out. Responding to a question about true freshman Crowell being prepared to block in the SEC, Richt talked about just how important blocking is for a back and hung Ealey out to dry again, noting that when Georgia was trying to come back against Arkansas last season, the drive faltered because “the back decided he wasn’t going to block on that play.”

Yep. Ealey.

It will be interesting to see how the rising junior responds to this very public back of the hand from Richt, who generally is known for building his players up. Most times, coaches deal with problem players in the relative privacy of the locker room or closed practices, but Richt apparently has decided that’s not working with Ealey, so he’s called him out.

I’m as excited as any Dog fan about the impending arrival of Crowell. But Georgia is going to need more than one effective tailback in order to have a successful season. It’s possible the oft-injured Caleb King can fill that role. Or maybe tough-running but inexperienced Ken Malcome.

But the back on the roster who, on paper, seems to be best equipped to give the Dogs a one-two punch at running back is Ealey.

The question is whether he can overcome the biggest obstacle — himself.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

156 comments Add your comment

ScoutDawg

April 28th, 2011
11:09 am

We will see, wish him the best but I don’t know.

Carl Spackler

April 28th, 2011
11:10 am

#3 just needs to put Athens in his taillights…he needs to get somewhere where he can get a new start

PDX Dawg

April 28th, 2011
11:12 am

Truegadog

April 28th, 2011
11:14 am

Either run with the big dogs or stay on the porch……..Like Bill said……..What’s it gonna be Washaun ? Go Dawgs !!!!!

DawginLex

April 28th, 2011
11:16 am

totally disagree Carl.

Ealey needs to man up and succeed at Georgia.

If he quits, transfers and leaves, he will regret it fo the rest of his life.

If he comes back and does well, Richt will be the first to congratulate him.

Macclenny_dawg

April 28th, 2011
11:18 am

I just wish they would name a starter and go with him!!!

1eyedJack

April 28th, 2011
11:22 am

All the talent in the world and a brain the size of a pea.

sam

April 28th, 2011
11:26 am

Has a junior back ever made a turnaround such as the one Ealey needs to make? I would be shocked if he turns out to be a Terrell Davis situation.

Me

April 28th, 2011
11:28 am

Caleb Queen is a cancer.

Rooster

April 28th, 2011
11:33 am

I wish some one would call Richt out in a press conference (Mcgarity) and say if you don’t do this or that then your fired.

Cobb Dawg

April 28th, 2011
11:34 am

Kudos to Richt for continuing to try and motivate this guy. Not that Ealey deserves any more chances — but Richt is leaving the door open for him. Important time in a young man’s life, when he decides if he’s going to finally grow up and take responsibility for himself. Hope he can turn the corner because I still think we need him.

It's Time for a Change

April 28th, 2011
11:38 am

He needs to start playing football like he wants to be there and shut his mouth and do what he’s told to do and expected to do. He has been almost as big a disappointment as King as been. Almost, but not quite.

NCDawg

April 28th, 2011
11:39 am

Hasn’t Georgia already commited the #3 to a incoming freshman?

gomdawg

April 28th, 2011
11:41 am

Simple Grow up and make something for yourself or lay down and do nothing. You’re choice. I hope you make the right one. Georgia needs you GOOD LUCK

Athens= God's Country

April 28th, 2011
11:43 am

Rooster

Go away… forever. You are not a Dawg. Please go root for another team.

Good article Bill. I really think Malcome is going to turn heads. The kid looks enormous and fast. I sure wouldn’t want to tackle him. Malcome and Crowell in ‘11.

Sad to say, but #3 and #4 have been given way too many chances. I just don’t think that they want it. I hope I’m wrong.

gomdawg

April 28th, 2011
11:44 am

Make Georgia proud and do the right thing you give 110% and your life will change.

BMDPD

April 28th, 2011
11:45 am

Hey, I am all for Ealey, but I am afraid he will mess up again. Gosh, I wish these kids truly understood what they are throwing away. Even if he gets to the NFL, he will probably find trouble. It really does sadden me.

saban

April 28th, 2011
11:55 am

Ealy represents the best of Georgia football. A loser surrounded by a coaching staff that couldn`t coach a little league baseball team.

Richt still recruiting the penal system in Florida?

Choakdawg just bought a krispy kreme franchise in Athens.

And in 2011 another Fulmer Cup for the dawgs along with 3 wins.

OkieDawg

April 28th, 2011
11:58 am

Recently, AJC reported that Dexter Moody stated he had talked to Washaun. Washaun told Moody he wanted this year to be his last year in college. He wanted to play well and hopefully go pro. Wonder how that is going to work out for him? Moody and Ealey were together at Emanuel. That must have been a nightmare. UGA shouldn’t have stopped cutting ties with just Moody. I wish Rivals and Scout gave character stars.

Teasley51

April 28th, 2011
12:00 pm

He has been so frustrating…dont know what his problems may be…time to solve them though!

Rooster

April 28th, 2011
12:01 pm

Athens=God Country, I am a dawg. I just dont think it is right for a head coach to single out players in the media at any time. That just opens the door to articles like this that constantly run down a player.

GeoffDawg

April 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

It is uncharacteristic but I wonder if this is indicative of the new, tougher program he’s trying to cultivate. Maybe we’ll start seeing public embarrassment used as a discipline tool more often. Spurrier certainly never shies away from it.

Chizik

April 28th, 2011
12:10 pm

Hey Saban, We will win the Fulmer Cup AND the iron bowl, again! Get used to being the 3rd best team in Alabama.

Dawg79

April 28th, 2011
12:11 pm

Yeah not sure what to think of this, out of character for Coach. But deserved by Ealey, damn this kid is high maintenance. May be FUBAR.

Athens= God's Country

April 28th, 2011
12:15 pm

Well Rooster. I don’t think it is okay to come on to the blogs and leave nothing but negative comments. Smile buddy! Its great to be a Dawg!

Saban

Why are you on here saying silly things? There are bigger fish to fry in Tuscaloosa. Why don’t you go help your community? God knows, they could use every bit of it.

YoungDawg

April 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

WOW! LOVE IT! SO now Ealey has two choices! Shape up! OR Ship out to GA Southern!

Columbus Dawg

April 28th, 2011
12:25 pm

Geoff, I have not thought about it that way but I think you have nailed it. Coach Richt has talked about the respect that he has for Spurrier as a coach, so borrowing that tactic from him is not far fetched. I like it. Since Spurrier left UF, I have read some things he has said, and I too have a new found respect for Ole’ Stevie. Spurrier’s hate for UGA goes back to his playing days in his Heisman year when Dooley’s Dawgs, mostly Bill Stanfill whupped up on him and Stanfill sacked Spurrier a few times in that game, someone said Stanfill asked “Did I step on your dress, Stevie”? That’s just good old college football rivalry right there, and when Spurrier got in the UF job, he set his sights on getting revenge on the Dawgs, and I hate to say it but he did in a big way. As far as Richt and Ealey goes, I say whatever works. I know that the biggest part of the Dawg faithful want to see Ealey do well, and if he does then so does UGA’s running game. Go Dawgs!!!

DawginLex

April 28th, 2011
12:25 pm

saban

Get some new material or shutup

Even the trolls are complaining

[...] junior tailback Washaun Ealey has firmly planted himself in coach Mark Richt’s doghouse. If Ealey can’t get his act together, the Bulldogs may have to rely solely on true freshman [...]

WDE

April 28th, 2011
12:26 pm

Rooster great aren’t you one of the very ones always talking about how CMR can’t make the tough decisions? That is is too soft etc…now he’s being too hard…the Bear couldn’t please you…

YoungDawg

April 28th, 2011
12:27 pm

WOW! Ealey has two choices! Shape up! OR Ship out to GA Southern!

Uga IX

April 28th, 2011
12:27 pm

1eyedJack

April 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

Unusual for Coach Richt to call a player out publicly. Probably wishes he’d just take a hint and a hike.

ca dawg

April 28th, 2011
12:34 pm

this is definitely out of character for richt–rarely do you see him call a kid out in the media. hope it works; i think ealey is our best returning back, and that we’re going to need him to step up this year if we’re going to be a good football team.

Win P.

April 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

Take my hat off to coach Richt This sends a message to incoming players as well as existing. To wear the uniform and play for UGA is a privilege and not a birthright.

wolfman

April 28th, 2011
12:39 pm

If private instruction doesn’t work, maybe he has no choice but to take the public route.

Tom

April 28th, 2011
12:39 pm

The only surprise to the folks down at McKinney’s Pond is that he lasted this long. No way has he ‘legitimately’ stayed academically eligible, either.

GeoffDawg

April 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

I agree that Spurrier’s issues with Georgia were definitely personal but that doesn’t mean you can’t borrow a few tricks from the evil genius. Even if that is the way CMR is going, I still don’t think it’s something you throw out there willy-nilly. Just for the repeat offenders that threaten to drag down the performance of the team because they can’t grow up and act like adults.

They’re getting prepared as well for life after football and they’ve got to learn that sometimes your screwups have serious consequences. You never know but if this was more prevalent the last few years, players like Montez Robinson may still be on the team. I guess you could say I would use it as a last resort but would definitely not be afraid to throw it out there if internal measures keep failing.

McDawg

April 28th, 2011
12:45 pm

Ealey is our best back and can be All-SEC if he works at it

Win P.

April 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

Cobb Dog I disagree, UGA can lose without help from Ealey. Any benefit Ealey might have contributed to UGA is offset by his conduct on and off the football field. Were he a piece of residental property with a mortage, then he would be classified as “under water”.

WDE

April 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

McDawg agree that he can be…but that last part “if he works at it” is the key part of the statement with his effort so far its not looking good.

Brandon Spikes

April 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

TBone

April 28th, 2011
1:08 pm

I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination but Ealey doesn’t seem to have the vision a good back needs to separate himself from the pack. I’ve seen him follow blockers to the bitter end; not using the block to find a hole and busting through it to day light. I think he’sa tough runner but he needs to find that elusiveness to be more help for the Dawgs.

No Brandon Spikes

April 28th, 2011
1:15 pm

He didn’t see that, because you gouged his eyes out!

Hatch Attack

April 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

@youngdawg-I doubt Coach Monken would take WE.

7576DAWG

April 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

Spot on Bill
When you raise kids with morals, ethics , integrity and other value such as respect for your parents and adult authority it is hard to believe all kids are not raised like that. Most kids in the 50’s and 60,s had this up bringing. Starting in the wild 70’s with a lot least values and a huge increase in single parenthood respect for your elders became more of putting kids on the same level as adults. CMR had to realize that all kids are not raised the way he raised his kids and with the changing times being able to establish authority from the start takes a strong will and more lake SPURRIER OR SABAN approach . There is no doubt who is in charge and it is my way or the high way , PERIOD. McGarity knows that discipline has been CMR’s biggest problem and is trying to change it before it is too late.
CMR is a very good coach and if McGarity can put a lot of Spurrier and Saban in him he can become great. I’m one who hopes he is successful.

What it will be......

April 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

Mark Richt finding him a new job if he doesnt beat SC and Florida this year with or without Washaun.

sogadog

April 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

Does anyone believe there is anything wrong with Ealey’s hamstring? I suspect Ealey is just pouting about the discipline CMR is instilling in him and faking the hamstring injury.

It is time for Ealey to grow up, be a man, take responsibility, work hard at practice and in the classroom. If he does all this, he could be a first or second round draft pick. If he doesnt, he will likely end up living in a dumpster someday. I truly hope he can get his life together.

Tide roll

April 28th, 2011
1:37 pm

Didn’t Richt blow off a pre-season practice last year and head to N. Carolina to see his kid play? Would someone please confirm this. What does he think, the players don’t notice this? Why doesn’t Richt address these shortcomings? The guy still thinks he was right in kicking a field goal vs. Central Florida on the Dawgs opening drive in the Liberty bowl. Scary.

The Ghost of Wally Butts

April 28th, 2011
1:39 pm

Hope Ealey can make it…..dang, who is left to sell Shreveport Bowl jerseys now that E.Bay Green is gone? Somebody has to do it, may as well be Ealey.

Uh, provided that is that we win enough games to make it to Shreveport.