From ‘Dream’ spring to nightmare summer (UPDATED)

Caleb King in better times. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Caleb King in better times. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So now that UGA has made it official that Caleb King is academically ineligible, where does that leave the Dogs’ running game?

Awfully shaky at best. Yes, incoming “Dream Team” member Isaiah Crowell is expected to be the next great Georgia tailback, but the odds are long against him being fully ready to shoulder that mantle right from the start.

And with Boise State and South Carolina as the opening games, there won’t be any chance for tune-ups.

While Crowell’s running chops might be in fine form early on, chances are he’s going to have a hard time picking up the considerable pass protection duties that tailbacks have in Mike Bobo’s offense. And considering the questions surrounding the offensive line, that’s likely to be crucial.

So we might see quite a bit of the somewhat more experienced redshirt freshman Ken “Boo” Malcome in the mix to start with.

In terms of the running attack, hopefully we won’t see Bobo trying to make diminutive Carlton Thomas up the middle a primary mode of operation.

The move of Bruce Figgins to fullback should help out quite a bit in terms of pass protection. There might be times when Bobo might want to use Figgins in the tailback spot and have Zander Ogletree at fullback for maximum protection of Aaron Murray.

We’ll see how all that shakes out. But one thing’s for sure: The considerable pressure that was already on young Crowell just amped up. A lot.

Feel free to share your views of Georgia’s prospects in the wake of King’s loss.

JUNKYARD MAIL UPDATE

Brian Stewart writes: With the departure if Caleb King, do you think Branden Smith and/or Nick Marshall get more of a look as a tailback?

I don’t think either one is likely to be used on a regular basis at tailback, but both defensive backs could play key roles on offense. Smith has shown in the past what he can do with his terrifc speed but was used sparingly on offense last year. That was already likely to change this season. The junior cornerback spiced up the G-Day game, scoring a 28-yard touchdown on a catch from Murray and finishing the day with two catches for 38 yards and two carries for 11 yards. Afterward, Bobo said, “He’s such an explosive player. I wish we could have him full time. … He can make plays. We’ve got to continue to find a way to get him on the field.” I think the departure of King will only increase the odds of that happening. As for Marshall, Mark Richt has talked already about possibly using him at quarterback occasionally in the Wild Dawg offense and I’d love to see that happen on a regular basis. But I’ll believe it when I see it. So far, Bobo hasn’t shown that he really understands how to most effectively use the wildcat or Wild Dawg formation.

466 comments Add your comment

CADAWG

July 8th, 2011
4:26 pm

Was Caleb really THAT good to start with. Is it going to be THAT much of a loss? I don’t remember that he made that much difference when the carried the ball over the rest of the RBs. Might be better off without the distraction.

AltamahaDawg

July 8th, 2011
4:26 pm

Look no further than 2004, to see 2 newbie RB, and a line that was terrible the year before, BUT did have a mature QB and a couple of TEs, a few never great but stepped it up WRs, to see what “could” happen. Murray is no 5th yr senior Greene, but he’s not RS freshman again either.

Big Johnson Dawg

July 8th, 2011
4:28 pm

Just call Coach Dooley. He used the “Veer” at one time.

outkasted

July 8th, 2011
4:28 pm

only concern i have is will crowell and malcome be able to pick p the blitz…. i’m still not worried

Big Johnson Dawg

July 8th, 2011
4:30 pm

Is this what the AJC meant with their column “Caleb King as 2011 savior”

Will

July 8th, 2011
4:32 pm

CMR is in a van headed to Tallahasse to dig up some old tapes at Coach Bowden’s house to learn more of “The Veer”. Coach Bowden said he feels sorry for them and will even feed them lunch.

Natureboy809

July 8th, 2011
4:33 pm

AltamahaDawg- you’re right- Murray is no 5th year senior David Greene. He actually had a better QB rating last year then Greene did his senior year. Granted Greene didn’t have AJ Green to throw to either. But again- fix the defense and the rest will take care of itself

dmr

July 8th, 2011
4:35 pm

Bill, WHAT DO YOU HEAR ABOUT THE ELIGIBILITY OF JARVIS JONES, DUE TO THE PARKS AND REC. SCANDAL IN COLUMBUS, GA? If Jarvis remains eligible, moving a 6′2, 248 lbs. Richard Samuel back to offense in the short run could be an option. This is only if Jones is eligible.

Look for Branden Smith to also get some additional looks, now, on offense…not necessarily as a running back, but his speed could be used to force defenses to play more honest.

Realistically, Samuel could move over to offense for two – five games if Malcome cannot fill the void, thereby allowing Crowell to learn as had been the plan for the Dawgs.

DawgStudent

July 8th, 2011
4:36 pm

The smart move is to move Samuel back to RB, Malcome has been injured more than hes been healthy and you cant count on Crowell to carry the ball 30 times a game and also possibly be injured early in the season.

UGA Insider

July 8th, 2011
4:41 pm

DMR:

Samuels is not an option at RB. We are thin at LB now that UGA is preparing for a 2-6 game suspension for JJ. He could even miss the year.

Doofus Dawg

July 8th, 2011
4:41 pm

Time to put in the spread!

truedawg

July 8th, 2011
4:43 pm

Hate it for the kid. Once again he has proven to his own worse enemy. Good luck in the future and i hope you learn form all this.
I have to agree now, move Samuel back to RB for a few games. See if Crowell can learn fast and see if “Boo” can stay healthy. I like Boo, he’s got tallent, but injury prone. I swear thought if i see another Thomas up the middle play…Well We can also put Smith in the back field more, but not whole game, unless someone new can step up and play in the secondary. GO DAWGS!!!

Natureboy809

July 8th, 2011
4:44 pm

UGA Insider: I don’t care how thin we are at LB or RB. Richard Samuel is not an option at RB and never should have been IMO. Kid is just not a natural runner at all but Richt wasted 2 years of this kid’s life beating his head against the wall trying to make him a RB- I think simply because Richt seems to insist on having a HR threat in the backfield even if it means sacrificing the ability to pound the ball and keep the chains moving.

truedawg

July 8th, 2011
4:45 pm

JJ will not miss more than one game. The person that bought the ticket for him is in trouble, but not JJ. The guy was acting in a parental role with JJ and NCAA is taking that into concideration along with sitting out last year. I seriously doubt he’ll miss any palying time. GO DAWGS!!!

JB

July 8th, 2011
4:48 pm

@UGA Goff who moved Robert Edwards to tailback.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 8th, 2011
4:54 pm

This should be another lesson to all UGA fans,

Please stop overhyping ball players until they have proven it on the field

King was considered the next coming of Herschel, same for Jasper Sanks

Hopefully this Crowell kid will live up to expectations but until he does it on the field its all talk

AFDawg

July 8th, 2011
4:54 pm

This is proof positive UGA doesn’t “fix’ grades for athletes any longer, look at the impact this will have on our backfield — but I’m good with that. My focus these days is to run a clean, ethical program and to play with motivation and “heart”. I was so sickened last season when the reporter asked Chizik if Newton would be academically eligible to play in the championship game and he said — “we’re getting that all cleared up” (subliminal slip-up there). The way the SEC West approaches “winning at any cost” is sickening. Anyway, Caleb had his schedule laid out for him and plenty of free tutors to help him learn the material — he just didn’t have the discipline it takes to be a student-athlete. Too bad his lack of effort will impact the UGA football program overall, but all the Dawgs can do at this point is suck it up and play the kids who show the will power and motivation to suceed. Practice hard, play hard, and be proud of your success as a player and student.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 8th, 2011
4:55 pm

Samuels has proven he is no tailback

Everytime someone farted he fell down

Please shut up about Samuels

Wildwood Dog

July 8th, 2011
4:58 pm

Caleb King perhaps can be described as an enigma wrapped up in a mystery, or to use a line from the old Kris Kristofferson song, “he’s a walking contradiction, part truth, part fiction.” He never wanted to be in class, couldn’t make appointments with counselors or coaches, and, sadly, in the end, apparently never wanted to play football at a high D1 school. Guess he won’t have to be bothered by such a busy schedule anymore. We’re disappointed in you, Caleb, but here’s hoping you turn yourself around and make something of your life. Biggest disappointment at RB for Georgia since Jasper Sanks….

McDawg

July 8th, 2011
4:59 pm

it wasn’t that long ago when we didn’t have a tail back and V. Haynes filled in quite nicely

UGA Student

July 8th, 2011
5:04 pm

Unleash Malcome!

Saban

July 8th, 2011
5:05 pm

Boise State 66 Dawgs 0

King jumped ship. He saw it coming.

What?

July 8th, 2011
5:06 pm

I don’t get it? All I ever hear on these pages is you people complaining about “running back by committee”. It doesn’t work, nobody gets in a rythm, blah, blah, blah…Good, no committee this year, right?

I’m certainly no Alabama fan, but this is what I hear from those guys: “Sure, we lost a top WR and Heisman RB early, and a 5-star freshman RB to injury, plus 2 additional RBs who left the program, but we’re going to win another NC again this year”.

UGA is superior to Alabama in every offensive category, except OL and possibly RB (yes I know who TR is), right now. Why the doom and gloom? The offense scored plenty last year, with NO running game whatsoever. None.

The special teams guys are excellent, and the defense will be much improved. This should be a nice turnaround year for you guys, especially considering you could have EASILY gone 9-3, 10-2 last year. The only big loss was to AU, and that game was close until the late stages. Did Georgia lose any other games last year by more than a touch? I don’t recall any…

What?

July 8th, 2011
5:07 pm

I just don’t understand all the negativity, and the bashing on Richt and the OC, those guys are doing a heck of a job, and they seem to be doing it the right way…

LogicalUS

July 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

Well let me paraphase the UGA homers at the AJC…

This escalates the outlook at RB from “encouraging” to “outright dominating” because losing the only two backs with any experience or ability simply makes room for that walk-on boy from Decatur. Well at least UGA has those two 5-2 160 RBs which ran all over their “new and improved” Defense at the Spring game.

Good thing that the oft-injured coming “messiah” showed up at summer workouts completely out of shape and unable to complete workouts.

This should really start the UGA to the MNC fantasy from the AJC homers.

FLA DAWG

July 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

In a twisted way this may be a plus for The Dawgs. Richard Samuel was a much tougher running back than King ever was and his fumbleitis is curable – happens to many RBs. Isiah and Richard in the backfield is a better teamup than King / C.

Of course Richt will not put Samuel in the backfield and the O Line will still be unable to block so it doesn’t matter. Furthermore, Richt and Bobo are still employed at UGA so again, it does not really matter.

I get the sense Richt is disorganized and it became contagious years ago. There’s no question the man wants to win and is doing his best but that doesn’t justify his position or salary at UGA.
Our tradition has no more time for this man.

UGA Alumnus

July 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

@SEC Football
July 8th, 2011
3:31 pm

Is King no longer in school? Just because he’s academically ineligible for football doesn’t mean he got kicked out of school.

It amazes me how many people on these blogs equate football with being a student at the University.

Same thing happened when Mettenberger got kicked off the team. People started saying he got kicked out of school. He did not.

That said, King might have decided to leave the University. But I haven’t heard that.

Does anyone know for sure?

KeepDreaming

July 8th, 2011
5:16 pm

So Caleb didnt play in half the games last year, and he OBVIOUSLY wasnt going to class. What the hell was he doing then?!?!?!

Scholarship money being spent at it’s finest. What a waste!

Jim

July 8th, 2011
5:19 pm

Why, o’ why did we not see the light? Beverly Hall could have tutored this young man, teaching him the value of hard work, academic rigor, discipline and ethical living. Another missed opportunity!

powerhouse?

July 8th, 2011
5:26 pm

Once a King, always a King, but an ineligible King?

I thought Ck would run for a ton this fall…shows what I know.

SWD ALUMNI

July 8th, 2011
5:28 pm

Ken Malcome showed what he is capable of in the spring game,he will step up and show all doubters

Muck Richt

July 8th, 2011
5:30 pm

What do you expect when Muck Richt keeps recruiting dummies like Ealey and King? These guys were given a free pass in high school, they certainly aren’t college material. Both of them will be sweeping floors this time next year.

And Crowell is from the same mold, so expect exactly the same outcome.

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
5:32 pm

AltamahaDawg… LMAO on your3:37 post. Probably the best one liner eYe’v come across in a long, long time. eYe really hope they leave him at LB and go with whatever other players can fill the niche. Funny thing is a helluva lot of people were fussing about the likelihood of King being the back and now that he is gone, they act like we lost the entire running game. eYe just don’t know. Great post though. Still LMAO.

Bob

July 8th, 2011
5:37 pm

How ’bout this…go to a split-T backfield with Figgins and Geathers as halfbacks and Jon Jenkins as fullback. Of course, our offensive braintrust would put Wooten, Carlton Thomas, Troupe, et al on the line to block.

BirdDawg

July 8th, 2011
5:41 pm

Just exactly what is it going to take? Mark Richt is not in control of his team. Fire him…Now! Put Grantham in charge. And dont come back to me with Richt cant make King go to class because he damn sure can. You all forget soo quickly wanting him fired last fall. Do you really need another 6-7 season to remember that emotion? Save the season and start getting Kirbys office ready for next year.

Dawg 39

July 8th, 2011
5:41 pm

Since I have faith in Richt & in Bobo This is only another temporary set back. The Dawgs have players that can run the ball. My concern remains the OL & having a RB that can block to protect the QB. The Dawgs will still be as good as the OL allows them to be.

Dawg 39

July 8th, 2011
5:43 pm

BirdDawg, Why fire the best HC the Dawgs have had in my lifetime & I go back to Wally Butts?

FBFan

July 8th, 2011
5:46 pm

OK how many offseason departures are we up to now? Lately we average 7-8 dues to arrest, suspensions and academic issues. We are getting close! Bill are you still predicting 9-10 wins and an SEC east title? Good luck with that. CMR you da man!

Mary Kastner

July 8th, 2011
5:47 pm

Caleb, If you need a shoulder or ANYthing else, I’ll be there.

Narvie

July 8th, 2011
5:50 pm

Mary, I thought you was gonna watch the Braves with me.

ga gator

July 8th, 2011
5:51 pm

I went to Gday with my wife and Malcome was clearly the best back on the field. Running attack will be fine, the lack of depth on the OL is more of a concern.

Bob

July 8th, 2011
5:54 pm

@BirdDawg…maybe Richt didn’t want King on the team, and didn’t want the controversy of dismissing him. Between arrests, suspensions, and dismissals over the past five summers, summer hasn’t been fun for us Dawg fans.

SEC1

July 8th, 2011
5:55 pm

Ealy and King:

Two HUGE disappointments. Life goes on, but I hope somebody learns a lesson from all this.

The fans and media are part of the overall problem. We put these players on pedestals and annoint them as Demi-Gods. The fact is, most are niave kids who struggle with the unbelievable expectations placed on them.

It also promotes the “I’m untouchable” mentality.

Take a look at the state of college football- the Fiesta Bowl Scandal, Ohio State, Oregon, USC, Cam Newton – where does it end?

We need SERIOUS changes in the system. Unfortunately, I do not see it coming given the economic force that college football has become. It’s all about the money…

Sad…

St. Richt

July 8th, 2011
6:06 pm

It was Donnan that moved Edwards to RB. Goff had him playing defensive back right up until the day he was fired.

Denver Dawg

July 8th, 2011
6:06 pm

Quote from Isaiah Crowell’s facebook page: “Bert boy stop wildin down dare..I kno u gota get it but be smart bra.stay up man.ion need nun of my $@%!$@ gone when I $@% back,and take care of my Lil $@%!$ Stevo while I’m gone.f*c da police they bring us no piece! ! ilove y’all g $afe..”

THIS is who we’re counting on?

Bob

July 8th, 2011
6:06 pm

SEC1, excellent analysis and it is all about the money. Look how much more you’re contributing/paying now vs 10 years ago for season tickets, and parking. Look how much the conference divies up each year in TV, bowl, and sponsorship money. Do you think Richt at $3M a year is our money’s worth? As a 43 year season ticket holder (and UGA grad), I enjoyed the games and gameday experience a lot more ten/fifteen years ago. Just my opinion.

SEC1

July 8th, 2011
6:12 pm

Agree 100%, Bob.

Here’s to the good ole days…

Respectfully,

A 1990 Alum.

St. Richt

July 8th, 2011
6:20 pm

Denver Dawg, gotta hand it to you for being one of the only fans on this blog that doesn’t automatically assume IC is going to be the second coming of Herschel or Garrison Hearst. This “no big deal” attitude from Schultz and others is unbelievable. I normally give Uncle Jessie on this blog a lot of grief, but at least he is being honest about the potential impact of losing King.

Mary Kastner

July 8th, 2011
6:20 pm

Bob, Do you remember me?

Bob

July 8th, 2011
6:29 pm

Mary…vaguely. Were you the night mgr at Effies or the day clerk at Bubba’s Bait shop?