It’s now or never, Caleb King

Caleb King's game experience will be a valuable commodity for the Dogs. (Associated Press)

Caleb King's game experience will be a valuable commodity for the Dogs. (Associated Press)

Thanks to Mark Richt’s uncharacteristically blunt assessments of Washaun Ealey in recent months, Monday’s announcement that the tailback and UGA had decided to part company had a certain feeling of inevitability about it.A coach generally doesn’t hang a young man out to dry publicly like that unless their relationship has reached the breaking point.

Taking Richt at his word that this was a mutual decision, Ealey obviously tired of being in his head coach’s dog house and/or saw the writing writ large on the wall that incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell is going to get a chance to play a big role at Georgia from the get-go.

As inevitable as this story felt, though, I was keeping my fingers crossed it wouldn’t come to this. As I’ve said before, I’m as excited as any UGA fan about the impending arrival of Crowell. He has the potential to be a game-changing back early on. But while Marcus Lattimore at South Carolina showed the kind of impact a true freshman back can make right from the start, chances are Crowell’s progress at Georgia will be not quite that instant.

For one thing, he’ll be running behind a still-suspect patchwork offensive line that has a history of underperforming. Plus, there’s a lot more to playing tailback at Georgia than just toting the rock, as Richt reminded everyone recently when he pointed out that one of the reasons a key play in Georgia’s comeback attempt against Arkansas faltered was Ealey “decided he wasn’t going to block on that play.” (Never mind that it was a poor call by Mike Bobo that sent the receivers long on a short-yardage play and required Aaron Murray to stand back there in the pocket way too long.)

I firmly believe we’ll see Crowell playing against Boise State in the Georgia Dome, but I think it’s unlikely he will start and the odds are good that at least early in the season we’ll see him sharing carries with another back. It’s unrealistic to expect Crowell to master the playbook and get his pass protection skills up to snuff in just 29 August preseason practices.

Which brings us to Caleb King, a senior who’s had numerous opportunities to make the starting tailback job his own and has never managed to become a consistent performer, thanks to a combination of injuries, academic issues and off-field problems.

Aside from running for 166 yards (including a scintillating 75-yard touchdown run) against Georgia Tech in the 2009 “I Run This State” Derby with Ealey, King has been solid (5.4 yards per carry) but not spectacular. Last season he appeared in eight games, starting five, and carried 80 times for 430 yards and two TDs. He also caught two passes for eight yards.

Basically, it’s now or never for King. Tough-running Ken “Boo” Malcome might also make a strong bid for playing time if he can stay healthy, but he doesn’t have King’s game experience, which is going to be a valuable commodity in the Georgia backfield until Crowell gets some seasoning.

During spring drills, King was talking a good game about competing with Crowell, and I really hope that comes to pass. As Thomas Brown has pointed out, tailbacks tend to thrive on competition.

With the departure of Ealey, King has a chance to provide a nice complement to Crowell the way Brown did with Knowshon Moreno in 2007.

Are you up to it, Caleb?

GOOD NEWS FOR DOGS FANS

UGA has announced that all previous requests for Boise State tickets made by 2011 Hartman Fund donors will be fulfilled and everyone who contributed at least $100 is eligible to request additional upper level tickets for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Let’s make sure the Dome is packed to the rafters with red shirts!

Go Dogs!

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

98 comments Add your comment

Ryan

May 10th, 2011
10:46 am

We are MUCH better off without Ealey.

Herschel Talker

May 10th, 2011
10:55 am

Typical Mark Richt. A day late and a dollar short. Lord, please let McGarity grow a pair and jettison this clown after the season.

Bo

May 10th, 2011
10:58 am

Caleb scored 2 td’s alst year. He’s the only hope? Uh oh. Crowell will be lucky to score 5 td’s on 150 carries. Georgia does running back by committee, usually 5 to 6 people get carries. Crowell won’t get more than 12 carries a game, Bobo doesn’t believe in that. That works out to 65 yards a game and about 5 or 6 td’s for Crowell at best. King scores every 40 carries, so there 3 more td’s. This isn’t Alabama, Florida, Auburn or South Carolina, where you try and win by running the ball. This is a pass happy offense that really no back can ever shine in under Mike Bobo. Poor Crowell, he’ll waste 4 years passblocking for Aron Murray.

Georgia likes passblockers and pass receivers, not running backs, thus the Figgins move from tigh end to fullback makes perfect sense.

There will never be another Herschel Walker at Georgia as long as Richt & Bobo are there unless every back gets injured, like what happened with Moreno.

Joe

May 10th, 2011
11:04 am

So….you think Caleb is the answer…..what a joke……he is as bad as ealey……I would take my chances with Crowell anyday…the DIFFERENCE????? his attitude!!!! We certainly cant be any worse….as for the call Bobo made……you’re an idiot to defend a lack of blocking on the playcall….had it worked billy you would have been the first to spout off how YOU THOUGHT that would be a good call.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

May 10th, 2011
11:04 am

Malcome is the one who stands to benefit from all this. King just does not have the goods. With Keith Marshall hopefully coming on board in 2012, this may be Malcome’s, not King’s, giant opportunity. Waiting on King to deliver is like waiting on Bryan Evans. Or Brandon Miller. Or even Jasper Sanks. You keep waiting and hoping and then one day he’s got no more eligibility left. We need to accept that he’s simply not going to be the one who gets it done for us. Marlon Brown may be Caleb’s equivalent at WR. If he doesn’t deliver this year, will we still be reading, “it’s now or never, Marlon Brown” once TK is gone?

Nate the Great

May 10th, 2011
11:05 am

Herschel Talker:

You are a moron!! Make sure you come back to the blogs after the season so we can evaluate how little you know about college football.

PS A day late and a dollar short would happen after he’s already fired

James

May 10th, 2011
11:05 am

I want Mark to stay but i am praying that he finally figures out that BOBO is an idiot and fire his sorry a**. I mean come on does he own part of UGA or what? How can an offensive coordinator be so bad at his job but is able to keep it as long as he has. Florida goes out and gets Charlie Weiss and the best we can do is Mike Bobo. I personally think we as Georgia fans need to take it upon ourselves to fire this idiot. Let voice our opinions at the games, ralleys, newspapers, whatever we need to be as loud as we can. Lets save Georgia football by firing Mike Bobo.

Me

May 10th, 2011
11:06 am

Caleb Queen, imo.

Bo

May 10th, 2011
11:08 am

Derek Dooley will beat Mark Richt in 2011 by running the ball just like South Carolina & Auburn & Miss St & Florida did.

Mark Richt is too stubborn to do what it takes to win in the SEC.

Last 4 SEC Champs ran the ball for over 215 a game.

Georgia got 142.

Nate the Great

May 10th, 2011
11:09 am

James:

Unlike Hershel Talker, you may be on to something.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

May 10th, 2011
11:09 am

Bo, Moreno’s PT had nothing to do with injuries. It had to do with Richt’s loyalty to three inferior Sr. running backs on the roster. Once they were out of the way Moreno took over, proving his being redshirted was a GIANT mistake by Richt.

Crush

May 10th, 2011
11:11 am

Who is going to refresh Caleb when he gets winded? Those UGA RBs need plenty of breathers during a game!

Bo

May 10th, 2011
11:13 am

Ealey’s left PBU in the dust.

UGA = Pass Blocking University for Running BACKS.

The pass where great backs learn to passblock.

R.I.P.

UGA Insider

May 10th, 2011
11:14 am

McGarity is about to give all you CMR haters your wish… If UGA starts 0-2 or if we lose again to UF then the CMR era at UGA is over. Word is McGarity is about to clean house of Damon Evans and Vince Dooley leftovers.

Georgia Fans Eats Idiots Sandwiches

May 10th, 2011
11:17 am

6-6 for the mutts. Thank god UGA has Richt.

Better Dawgs!

May 10th, 2011
11:19 am

Everyone wants to blame the O-line last season. With lazy running backs that knew we did not have options and Bobo running 17,0000 play actions when we should have been running shot guns. What do you expect? The O-line will be fine this season, the running game will be back to UGA ways, and the D will be nasty. Defense wins games in this league and we have not had a great D since BVG left for the NFL. Our offense will reach the end zone alot this season, don’t worry.

Ryan

May 10th, 2011
11:23 am

Bo

UGA running backs drafted since 2000:
2011 – Shaun Chapas
2009 – Knowshon Moreno
2008 – Thomas Brown
2003 – Musa Smith and JT Wall
2002 – Verron Haynes
2000 – Patrick Pass

Obviously, the coaches at UGA know what they are doing.

Rooster

May 10th, 2011
11:25 am

If Ealey goes to GSU, I hope he rushes for 300 yds against Georgia in 2012. That’s right, Georgia is on GSU’s schedule for 2012. What a fitting end to Ealey’s college career if he gets a chance to stomp a mudhole in Richt and the dream team.

Ryan

May 10th, 2011
11:30 am

Rooster

UGA won’t have to worry about that. Ealey will be suspended for the first two games of the season.

James

May 10th, 2011
11:41 am

I think Mark is a great coach i just think his loyalty and him wanting to be a good guy gets in his way. We all know by now that BOBO is a jacka** but Mark keeps staying loyal to him for some reason. I think Mark needs to take over and run the offense again. We have had to many first round talent that has come thru here but we have yet to do anything with them. Look at our roster now. We have first round talent now but i promise you with Bobo running the show we will just watch them pass on thru with questions of hat should have been on our minds. How in the hell can you have a quarterback that was picked number 1, a running back that was picked first round top 15, and no doubt the best wide receiver to play college football and some time first round pick top 5 and you can’t win with them. That right there shows you the failure of Mike Bobo.

Winston

May 10th, 2011
11:42 am

Yeah Rooster, Bill Curry is really going to put up with Ealey….. Keep dreaming.

CJ

May 10th, 2011
11:44 am

@ Randall “Pink” Floyd

Moreno was injured during his true Freshman year and was not going to see much playing time because of it. That’s why he was red-shirted. Please get your facts right sir!

Randall "Pink" Floyd

May 10th, 2011
11:58 am

CJ, Moreno tore up the scout team D during his true freshman season and became a legend before ever taking a real snap. He was redshirted because of depth.

Columbus Dawg

May 10th, 2011
12:09 pm

UGA Insider, I don’t doubt for a minute that what you say is true about McGarity, as the majority of what you post comes true. What I would like to know is your opinion of the outcome of the first two games, and the UF game for that matter. I for one am pulling for Richt to get it together and make it back to the Dome in 2011. What are the chances of that in your opinion?

Bama in Atlanta

May 10th, 2011
12:11 pm

I was glad to see Richt get a new strength/conditioning coach but a little disappointed he stopped there and didn’t get a new offensive coordinator. Hopefully, the new S/C coach will have the O-line in good enough shape to run-block because, if so, a tandem of King and Crowell should be able to pull up the secondary so that Murray can play-action and hit the receivers on an out and up. A.J. was a weapon but now the secondary won’t know who to key on so that should create opportunities and see who wants to step up and contribute.

If your new JUCO noseguard lives up to his hype and shuts the door down the middle then this is the year the 3-4 will pay off. The key is for the OLBs to get to the RBs before they have time to build up momentum. If the OLBs are fast, furious and hungry then they should be able to disrupt the offensive timing and create some good field position (Sorry, but I have to throw in a Bear Bryant quote – “It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference..”).

Looking forward to seeing UGA continue the solid SEC representation in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic!

SSIgator

May 10th, 2011
12:11 pm

“It’s now or never, Caleb King”

Based on his prior performances, in a word, never.

Joey

May 10th, 2011
12:13 pm

“Obviously, the coaches at UGA know what they are doing.”
******************************
Yeah, Ryan, they know how to recruit great football players, that go on to the NFL.

Too bad recruiting doesn’t win any trophies . . .

Lock down corner......

May 10th, 2011
12:16 pm

I was wondering when someone would bring up Bryan “burned again” Evans.

JaxDawg05

May 10th, 2011
12:20 pm

Rooster, not sure Ealey will get much of a chance to run the ball when the Eagles are down three touchdowns, but I’d like to see him run the ball well in the blowout loss.

Coach Grohbo

May 10th, 2011
12:21 pm

With King, it has always been Get hurt or Get suspended.

Rooster

May 10th, 2011
12:22 pm

No, Ealey will get the ball 30 times a game like he should have at UGA. Richt will try and run this year but he will be gone by the end of game two.

JaxDawg05

May 10th, 2011
12:29 pm

Lock down corner……

May 10th, 2011
12:16 pm

I was wondering when someone would bring up Bryan “burned again” Evans.

I still hold Urban Meyer responsible for Evans coming to UGA. He went to Evans place of employment (UPS) in Jacksonville, FL to recruit him and couldn’t close. Just another reason to hate Corch Myers.

powerhouse?

May 10th, 2011
12:43 pm

King can do it…unless he is hurt/tired.

schmeckdawg

May 10th, 2011
12:57 pm

I think Malcome could be our Lattimore. I saw him getting on the bus after the G-Day game, he is a thick rascal. I bet he’s darn close to 230 lbs.

AltamahaDawg

May 10th, 2011
1:22 pm

I actually think King was a bigger factor in Ealey’s mind than Crowell. Washaun wasn’t going to compete with Crowell for playing time. A freshman is going to come in a do what he can, when he can. Crowell will get whatever he gets. The real competition was going to be within the experienced backs and who gets the majority of snaps when you need somebody in the game who knows what to do.

From all indications from the spring, that was going to be King.

OkieDawg

May 10th, 2011
1:25 pm

It looks like the team chemistry will be better this year. Last year, there was dissension in the locker room. Our team leaders, Aron White, Aaron Murray, Ben Jones Christian Robinson and Tavarres King talked about the team “cancers” who were lazy and always complaining. I think the “cancers” are gone. Dowtin, last year’s 4th leading tackler gone, Nick Williams gone, Washaun Ealey gone, Justin Houston who took every other play off gone. Don’t overlook the importance of team chemistry. Looks like we got locker room leaders ready to step up and CMR has done his part to get back control of the locker room.

Ain't no way...

May 10th, 2011
1:31 pm

…Mike Bobo ever gets fired by CMR – where else will he make $350K to support his 5-6 kids?

But, then again, Willie landed on his feet at OK, where they happen to be the pre-season #1 for 2011, so maybe I should never say never…

the REAL Phil

May 10th, 2011
1:32 pm

Bill what is this? “(Never mind that it was a poor call by Mike Bobo that sent the receivers long on a short-yardage play and required Aaron Murray to stand back there in the pocket way too long.)” How do you know what the play was? Were you on the line at the snap? If so that would explain the reason the O line sucked. Do you know what the defense was? What down was it? Did they have another play to get the first down if they didn’t catch AR in a short yardage defense? You don’t know SQUAT about coaching or calling plays. But you just had to throw that in there because, well, that’s just how you are.

And Herschel Talker is a moron rivaled only by Tide Rolls.

Ssgt Dawg

May 10th, 2011
1:33 pm

Its so easy to blame Bobo, that everybody just does it. I find it hard to place all the blame on him with every back on roster prone to fumbles. His playcalling was questionable at times, but when receivers can’t separate from dbs and the o-line stalemating on most plays, the options are limited. Yet our dawgs still scored 30 points in 8 games. I guess he’s not that bad after all. Its just easier to blame the coaches than hold players accountable.

Dogs Smell

May 10th, 2011
1:34 pm

Expect King to get injured early , and then what? Will that be the next excuse for losing to Tennessee, Florida again?

AltamahaDawg

May 10th, 2011
1:35 pm

Randall, everybody from inside the program had stated that Moreno only started catching on late his RS year. (credit JoeT whipping him into shape is what I heard). I do believe that you would have favored 3 other RB too(and none of them were “seniors” so that kills that theory) but did have a lot more expereince. If they were inferior (all future NFL players) they weren’t at the time. Not to a True freshman that didn’t know what he was doing. If you were already looking at best a first year starter and most probably a freshman QB at some point that year, I doubt you would have wasted a year of anyone to be 4th string and get 10 carried all year.

Richt was joking when he said “dumb to RS Moreno”. Most people got that.

truedawg

May 10th, 2011
1:37 pm

I really Like Boo, I think he will turn alot of heads this year, i just hope he gets some chances. With King Boo and Crowell, i think the running game will be fine..if the O line can make some holes, and block. Washan had his chances, i hope he grows up. For his sake.
GO DAWGS!!!

Bo

May 10th, 2011
1:42 pm

Hey troll, if you’re going to use my name please use proper grammar.

AltamahaDawg

May 10th, 2011
1:43 pm

Murray stood in the pocket too long, because Murray stood in the pocket too long. There are deep routes, there are short routes, there are run options. Murray decides what to do.

The “play” in question was a LB coming untouched and Murray barely even turned around. It wasnt a pocket collapsing because it took too much time. But lets say the problem was Bobo telling every body to go deep no matter what. He called that from the sideline before seeing what the defence is doing and there was no going back. Sure.

Great Potential

May 10th, 2011
1:43 pm

@ schmeckdawg, Malcome has what it takes to be great. I watched him play in high school for SWD and when he was able to play he did great things. Pray that he stays healthy and if he does watch out SEC and the College Football Nation.

[...] Bulldogs’ leading rusher from last season, junior Washaun Ealey, has decided to transfer after being firmly entrenched in coach Mark Richt’s doghouse this spring. That leaves Georgia [...]

Bo

May 10th, 2011
1:50 pm

I don’t have a lot of faith that Caleb is going to step up. I’ve heard for several years that he has a very poor work ethic. Let’s hope Boo, King, and Thomas can hold down the fort until Crowell is ready.

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Its never!

May 10th, 2011
2:19 pm

While these clowns remain in Athens recruiting players with character issues and zero parenting it will always be never. This teams offensive line is just plain pathetic in run blocking too.

Fat Chance

May 10th, 2011
2:22 pm

That Crowell will make a huge impact to UGA like Latimore did for SC. Wont happen and CMR will be toast. Bank on it!