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.