Mark Richt faces tough decisions for Auburn game

Should Carlton Thomas get the No. 2 tailback spot in the Auburn game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Should Carlton Thomas get the No. 2 tailback spot in the Auburn game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

It’s no surprise that Mark Richt has indicated Isaiah Crowell likely will step right back into his starting tailback spot coming off a one-game suspension.

The coach said that if Richard Samuel were not injured “it certainly would have been a good competition” for who would start, but “right now … I’d say the first snap we take Isaiah would be the No. 1 tailback. In practice I’m saying.”

Crowell may still have some growing up to do, both in terms of physical stamina and emotional maturity, but he leads the Dogs with 689 yards rushing and it’s obvious that when he’s healthy and fresh he gives the Georgia offense a dynamic that it otherwise lacks.

But what about the backup spot behind Crowell? With a starting back who spends as much time on the sideline as he does in the game, the No. 2 tailback at Georgia gets used quite a bit this season. Should junior Carlton Thomas, coming off his second suspension for misbehavior this season, automatically get the backup spot? Or should Georgia go with redshirt sophomore Brandon Harton, a former walk-on who ran for 98 yards against New Mexico State?

Physically, it’s a wash. They’re both tiny by SEC running back standards, with Thomas 5-7, 163 and Harton 5-6, 174. Both have some speed, but neither is going to run over anyone. Thomas definitely has the edge in experience, having played in 23 games in his time at UGA while Harton has played only against two nonconference foes. And this is the Auburn game, with Georgia playing for the SEC East title.

But Thomas has let the team down twice this season in off-field matters, so Richt and Mike Bobo might be inclined to go to Harton before Thomas when Crowell needs to be spelled. I think that probably would be the right choice.

So far, Richt is noncommittal. “We’re just going to have to play it out this week in practice real hard and see who we think is best suited to play,” he said, adding that Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin likely will see carries, too.

Richt faces another interesting personnel decision with his placekickers. For the New Mexico State game, he decided to alternate the faltering Blair Walsh with backup Brandon Bogotay. They traded off handling kickoffs and PATs and Richt said had there been any field goal attempts they would have alternated those, too. “I thought they both did great. We did that all week in practice, too. It was really a competitive situation. I think competition brings the best out of people,” he said.

But the head coach isn’t saying yet whether he’s going to continue that rotation for the Auburn game. Do you think he should? And if Georgia needs to try a field goal, particularly if the game is close, should it be the veteran Walsh, who has missed 10 of them this season, including two from inside 40 yards against the Gators, or should it be Bogotay, who missed his only career field goal attempt last year against Idaho State?

I’d say it’s a toss-up, though if the game’s on the line I’d probably go with Walsh. With my fingers crossed big-time.

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562 comments Add your comment

ARdawg

November 9th, 2011
11:23 am

Barry

IMHO, coaches and players are living in a fishbowl thanks to the internet and the social media. It’s very hard to keep private matters private nowadays. Much of what gets “out there” is generally not for public consumption thus, coaches and admin have a battle daily on damage control

AltamahaDawg

November 9th, 2011
11:37 am

AltamahaDawg

November 9th, 2011
11:38 am

ok, It did link. I planned that.

AltamahaDawg

November 9th, 2011
11:40 am

didnt plan on calling it “pretty” though, pretty accurate maybe.

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 9th, 2011
12:14 pm

If we win sat…how long before Richt gets a 5 year extension?After the bowl games or after the GT game?

ole yeller

November 9th, 2011
12:27 pm

@war eagle,
I don’t think I would talk about “IC” being a con. I seen pepple in prision for doing less than that bunch of thugs you call a football team from 2010 that won the “NC” Where does Auburn get it football players, I know, from the prison system..

Dr. Morpheus

November 9th, 2011
12:41 pm

IC is coming along and we can all hope he keeps his head on straight from here on out. I would put Walsh in for the next field goal attempt even if it’s for all the marbles. Everything’s a gamble in this life so I would gamble on the experienced and proven kicker seizing the opportunity to justify the coach’s trust. As for Auburn, they beat SC when Garcia went 9-23 with two picks and beat UF w/Brantley and Demps both out. Their losses average score was about 40-13. I expect them to show up and play but we really should beat them handily if we show up, too.

BurytheBone

November 9th, 2011
12:53 pm

@AltamahaDawg, Good link. The insight was firstary. GO DAWGS, GATA

ole yeller

November 9th, 2011
1:04 pm

The UGA Dawgs avg. points per game is 35. I don’t think Auburns “D” can hold the dawgs under 40.

papadawg

November 9th, 2011
1:07 pm

I hope our running defense shows up. I hate to think what will happen against Tech if we can’t stop Auburns running back.

ole yeller

November 9th, 2011
1:08 pm

Notice has been server. UGA running backs , Beware of “Harton”. Do think he can’t get your job.

ole yeller

November 9th, 2011
1:18 pm

@papadawg
After the 1st quarter, Auburn is in the tank. The Dawgs “D” will stop “Dyer”. Too many big bodies to block. The “LB’s) put on a clinic for Coach. TD”. The ARMY (ground attack) + the
AIR FORCE (aie attack) Too much total (6th) nation wide for Auburn. I don’t care what Pat Dye said in his column. UGA is MAN enough to take out Auburn.

J-nasty

November 9th, 2011
1:27 pm

I’d go with Walsh for Fg’s and Bogotay on kickoffs. This saves Walsh’s leg from being tired and gives bogotay some playing time. i’d also have harton at the #2 rb spot. He has payed his dues and earned a scholarship. he is just as fast and looks alot tougher than thomas. thomas is supposed to be a change of pace back but he isnt fast enough. he doesnt have good vision and often dances around instead of getting yards. plus he has not proved that he is responsible enough to play this year. bench his and give harton, boykin, and smith the rock.

Texas Dawg

November 9th, 2011
1:39 pm

If Murry plays well we win…..lets hope looks as good against AU as he did last week….I would love to see him FINALLY raise his game against a decent team….lord knows he hasn’t up to this point!

TruthBe

November 9th, 2011
1:52 pm

War Eagle!!!!!!!!! UGA loses big to Auburn.

Loveliest Village Upon the Plain

November 9th, 2011
2:02 pm

Auburn puts the beatdown on the Athenians: 34-17

Another loooong day for the dawgtards.

STUDAWG

November 9th, 2011
2:03 pm

No. 2 spot to HARTON, keep rotating the kicking duties.

Frieda

November 9th, 2011
2:05 pm

FINALLY… Playing against a quality team, Murray, Crowell, et al will show their true colors.

In simple terms… LOSERS.

Weed For Dawgs

November 9th, 2011
2:06 pm

I read where Crowell & Thomas apologized. So what. Where is the Athens police report of their investigation of UGA players using illegal drugs ? Was their cars,persons,dorms searched by police ? That’s what I wanna know.

Weed For Dawgs

November 9th, 2011
2:08 pm

I wouldn’t let Walsh kick a 10 yard field goal. He’d miss wide right…

TampaDawg

November 9th, 2011
2:12 pm

TruthBe

November 9th, 2011
1:52 pm

War Eagle!!!!!!!!! UGA loses big to Auburn.
————————–
Ummm, well, I doubt that seriously. In fact, Auburn doesn’t win this game at all. They didn’t put away a bad UGA team last year with sCam until late in the 3rd. Auburn lost the previous 4 games before that. Now, no CashCam or (not so)Fairly and the Burn is back to being just slightly above average. Georgia 31, Auburn 17.

harold

November 9th, 2011
2:21 pm

AUBURN IS A BELOW AVERAGE TEAM. GEORGIA’S LAST SEVEN WINS WERE AGIANST TEAMS WITH LOSING RECORDS. GEORGIA IS AN AVERAGE TEAM.

GEORGIA DEFEATS AUBURN IN A CAKEWALK—41-17!

TampaDawg

November 9th, 2011
2:26 pm

I like the score there Harold, but UF had a winning record when UGA played them and they have a winning record now.

WindyCity

November 9th, 2011
2:28 pm

At UGA, if you test positive for illegal drugs, you will be suspended for the next insignificant game

TampaDawg

November 9th, 2011
2:32 pm

WindyCity

November 9th, 2011
2:28 pm

At UGA, if you test positive for illegal drugs, you will be suspended for the next insignificant game
———————————
At the vast majority of other schools, you get no suspension for your first failed drug test, which would you rather have?

Delbert D.

November 9th, 2011
2:46 pm

Heresy? Outraqge? This is up on the ESPN Heisman Watch site

‘82 Heisman race no Walker in the park
In winning trophy, Georgia back fortunate SMU tandem Dickerson, James split carries

One quote: “Dickerson said when he sees Walker, he says, “You know you’ve got my Heisman.”

http://espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/story/_/page/heisman-dallas-week8/james-dickerson

Delbert D.

November 9th, 2011
2:51 pm

I had been listening to Buck and Kincade on the phone with Craig James today, and he was talking about running the option when he and Dickerson were at SMU. I Googled and found that ESPN article above along with some videos of the Pony Express option. Looked like an I-formation with a wingback.

TampaDawg

November 9th, 2011
2:52 pm

Delbert, that’s pretty interesting. Funny thing is, SMU was given the death penalty shortly thereafter but Eric Dickerson is going to complain that the greatest back in college history has his Heisman? Stupid stupid stupid.

LHarding Dawg

November 9th, 2011
3:01 pm

Dickerson could’nt carry Walkers jock strap much less the Heisman.

LHarding Dawg

November 9th, 2011
3:03 pm

What they should be considering is which team, SMU or Auburn, is the cheatingest team in football.

War Eagle!

November 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

You are seriously STILL reliving the Hershel era? LMFAO!!!

Dawg_Central

November 9th, 2011
3:41 pm

Yep……….funny what one year will do to a program……….or 180K…….lol………Auburn is back to the same ole war eagle………sorry coach, fair ball players, liars and cheats…….Go Dawgs…….

Dawg_Central

November 9th, 2011
3:48 pm

Weed for dawgs………you think the Athens Police Dept is gonna investigate, go search an apartment, vehicle, etc for a person testing positive for marijuana that was a voluntary test….and would be a misdemeanor…..you think the police dept has that much time or the criminal justice system needs to drop the hammer….really>???? LMAO……..delusional is the best word I can think of……………

Yadayadayada

November 9th, 2011
3:52 pm

harold

November 9th, 2011
2:21 pm

AUBURN IS A BELOW AVERAGE TEAM.

Not really. They are a Top 20 team, if I’m not mistaken. It may be appropriate to consider them an average SEC team, since they are only the fourth best team in their division. On second thought, they are actually slightly above average, since they are also the fourth best team in the entire conference.

If you want to see what below average teams look like, see Georgia’s previous seven opponents.

Delbert D.

November 9th, 2011
4:00 pm

Auburn is 4-2 in the SEC. Beat Florida and S.C. Haven’t played their FCS opponent yet.

AltamahaDawg

November 9th, 2011
4:00 pm

find the “auburn su..” cartoon on that link. worth searching for

Dawg_Central

November 9th, 2011
4:03 pm

UGA won last 4 0ut of 5 against Auburn……isn’t that correct???

AltamahaDawg

November 9th, 2011
4:04 pm

I like drivin in my truck.

Dawg_Central

November 9th, 2011
4:07 pm

I heard Cam Newton’s father’s Churches are beautiful after the re-modeling…..LMAO…………….Go Dawgs !!

G-Dawg

November 9th, 2011
4:13 pm

GT Joe-k…where you at stud? Yo momma says you’re overdue for a good ole fashioned arse whooping..and has paid me to straighten out your bad attitude. She said she didnt raise you to be a lil snotty noised punk. Soooo…where you located so this can of arse whooping can be opened before it expires??

G-Dawg

November 9th, 2011
4:14 pm

Flat Tire…you can let the door hit you on your flat arse on the way out of the Bulldawg Nation door!! We’re Tired of your kind as well!!!

Paul

November 9th, 2011
4:16 pm

UGA hasn’t played a decent team all year long with the exception of BS and the beat the sheet out of you. LSU will beat you 24 points if not more. The little boys league in the East isn’t the West. Crowell 600+ yards against nobody.

Dawg_Central

November 9th, 2011
4:24 pm

These Ga Tech fans are the biggest gluttons for punishment ever……..UGA waxes their a** 9 out of 10 years and they still come back for more………LOL……their coach is an idiot at best….their fans are football retards and their team runs a high school option……PATHETIC…….and candy a** at best………go study and leave the football to UGA cause tech sucks the “huge one”.

Dawg_Central

November 9th, 2011
4:26 pm

and after UGA beats Auburn sat………we still will not have beaten a good team…..lmao !!

Tyger

November 9th, 2011
4:31 pm

Bo-Go-Tay, all day.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 9th, 2011
4:33 pm

G-Dawg

Why dont you shut your mouth you bong smoker
this program has too many of your type and thats why we continue to watch

Florida
Tennessee
LSU
Auburn
Alabama
and not UGA

Raise the crystal trophy all while we are playing in some 10 win who cares bowl

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 9th, 2011
4:38 pm

1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980 1980

It’s all UGA fans have. What a sad existence.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 9th, 2011
4:40 pm

“UGA won last 4 0ut of 5 against Auburn……isn’t that correct???”

Yes, and in that time span, UGA hasn’t won a national title and will not win one in the foreseeable future.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 9th, 2011
4:41 pm

“What they should be considering is which team, SMU or Auburn, is the cheatingest team in football.”

Poor mutt fans. While making up new words like “cheatingest,” they still can’t win a national title. Also, they still don’t understand that the NCAA cleared AU of ALL charges.

Sucks to be a leg humping, 6-7 moron!

harold

November 9th, 2011
4:41 pm

AUBURN IS HORRIBLE! UGA IN A CAKEWALK 41-17!