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

jaxdawgfan

November 8th, 2011
2:00 pm

I understand that Crowell would like to try and stay healthy in order to get to the NFL but he also needs to learn that putting that ahead of carrying his weight on the team he’s on right now will cost him. Would you, as an NFL coach want to draft him or someone who gives their all for their team? Even if you did take him, would you consider him an early round pick?

I agree with those who say that you start the guys with heart and bring in the selfish ones like Crowell only when you must. If Crowell grows a heart, then he gets to start. (Sorry for sounding like Johnny Cochran.)

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:00 pm

Here’s a fact Ron: UGA has beaten noone even RECEIVING votes in ANY poll. Forget being ranked, just RECEIVING VOTES.

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:00 pm

FACT- Tech is 1-9 against Mark Richt. Nice job nerds.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:01 pm

Ron: another fact: 1-9 has nothing to do with THIS season.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

6-7 Yea I remember that

I also remember GT losing to that sorry 6-7 team

DIT

November 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

Guys give GT Joe(Troll) a break. After they lose to VT Thursday night he/she won’t rear his/her ugly head for another 2 weeks just as he/she did when they lost to unranked teams.
It will be so much fun, again, when UGA beats the nerd herd and we won’t hear a peep out of GT Blow..ops I mean Joe until the following football season.
Just like every year.

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

ca dawg, the problem is not with the averages. The problem is that in the past 2+ seasons, Bobo’s offenses get shut down by ranked teams, for quarters or halves at the time.

I think Bobo has been better this season. It’s not his fault when the QB fumbles games away (SC), and misses wide open receivers, which could have made blowouts out of tight games.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:03 pm

GT Joe,

You have to be kidding knocking the SEC East. Sure, they’re a little bit down, but still, I will put the SEC east against any no defense having division of the ACC. Also, don’t you feel a little silly pointing out how bad UGA is when they have routinely beat GT all over the place!

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:04 pm

Signature win for UGA: candy Vandy or the worst Florida team in 30 years. Which is it?

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:04 pm

Here’s a fact, GT Joe: even with our “easy schedule,” we still get ranked higher in the polls.

What does that say about YOUR schedule.

Haha . . .

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:06 pm

Kevin: you have to be kidding defending the SEC Least.

routinely beat tech all over the place? um, you lost in CPJ’s first year, upset US in 2009, and beat us with our backup QB in 2010. And both losses came down to the last possession.

Yeah,ya’ll beat us all over the place… LOL.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:07 pm

Florida and Vandy both would beat most ACC teams, including every team GT has played this year sans Clemson. And again, why on earth would a GT fan continue to point out how bad UGA is when they have owned GT for the past decade.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:08 pm

After watching Navy almost beat SC with the same offense as us, I KNOW we’d be 8-1 with your schedule.

After watching the Candy Vandy game, I know you would lose to UVA, UNC, Clemson, VT and Miami.

Just be happy you are in the worst SEC division ever, the SEC Least.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:09 pm

kevin, the past decade has exactly WHAT to do with this year?

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:09 pm

GT Joe,

And you have to be kidding knocking any division of the SEC coming from the ACC.

We beat you 9 out of the last 10 games we played. What do you call it.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:10 pm

Signature win for GT was who????

Clemson

wow when Clemson plays someone worth something they will lose again just like they have for decades
and just like the rest of the ACC. When they play good teams outside their conference they get beat

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:11 pm

kevin, how many national titles does UGA have in the past 25 years?

(just to show you how irrelevant history is to THIS year).

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:11 pm

GT Joe

If UGA had Techs schedule we would be 9-0

DIT

November 8th, 2011
2:11 pm

I’m laughing so hard over here reading Gt Joe’s posts. Talk about denial. UGA owns Tek. I don’t care what the scores were. The main score to you Nerd should be losing 9 out of the last 10 and 99% sure on the 26th it will be 10 out of the past 11. Dawgs defense is now geared to stop the run. #5 in the country at doing so. You need to introduce Moobs to the forward pass. Y’all WILL lose to VT, 50/50 on Duke and WILL lose to UGA.
It sure hurts doesn’t it! There is just nothing worse than being a tek fan.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:12 pm

GT Joe,

Talking to you about football is pointless. Based on your comments, you are clearly clueless. I hope VT loses this weekend. Then, UGA will come to town and again beat you down.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:12 pm

Flat: we have signature wins. UGA has signature losses. Potatoheads to be specific.

Please don’t compare Clemson to Vandy or the worst UF team in 30 years.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:12 pm

GT Joe

How many outright National Championships does Tech have without having to share it with 5 other teams

000000000000000000000 ZERO

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:14 pm

#5 against the run DIT? Against who? Vandy? Coastal Carolina and the Missy sisters? New Mexico Community college? The worst florida team in 30 years?

Well, now I’m scared.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:16 pm

Wow, i had to look it up, but Boise State is in the MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE. And ya’ll got destroyed by some potatoheads? LOL.

That was your signature loss, aka moral victory, of the season.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:17 pm

Who did Tech lose to?

Thats right

Unranked Virginia and Unranked Miami

LOL

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:17 pm

GT Joe,

What are these signature wins you speak of? You have 1 win over a decent team and 2 loses to pitiful teams.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:17 pm

And you got destroyed by an unranked team

LOL

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:18 pm

GTB Joe-If the only thing that matters is this year, then we have nothing to discuss until the Sunday after thanksgiving. Only thing that matters in UGA-Tech discussion is head to head matchup. But go ahead bashing UGA’s schedule even though you play in an absolute joke of an athletic conference that resorts to advertising hot dogs and cokes in an attempt to fill out a 1AA stadium.

DIT

November 8th, 2011
2:18 pm

You should be GT Joe because tek is no better than Vandy or Florida. You just hate that I’m right. It’s killing you. Poor little Nerd. Why are you so concerned about UGA by being on their blog. Obviously you hate UGA more than backing your Tek team. You and you other tekmites on here are sooo UGA envious and don’t say you are not because you are always on our blogs.
Go away little nerd!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:19 pm

GT Joe

Your smoke break is over

Back to using that Janitorial Engineering Degree you recieved at Tech and get back to finishing cleaning the toilets at the Varsity

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:19 pm

I love all this back and forth between GA and Tech, while ya’ll are arguing, we will just come in Sat, handle our business, get a win and go home.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:19 pm

GT is no better than Vandy or Florida? The Coaches poll would like to disagree (you know, the folks that KNOW football, unlike you?). Vandy and Florida aren’t even RECEIVING VOTES.

BirdDog

November 8th, 2011
2:20 pm

Please stop talking about a trip to the Ga Dome people. The only game UGA needs to worry about right now is this week’s game. If they are not focused and ready to play hard for all 4 quarters, they will lose. AU had an off-week to prepare and will come out with some wrinkles for sure.

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:20 pm

Tech will be scared. They pee themselves every year when the step on the field with the Dawgs. The annual choke job is fun to watch.

gbal

November 8th, 2011
2:21 pm

First, Crowell has had two violations of some type the season as well as Thomas. Richt sat him a quarter for what ever and it wasnt just because he loved him.

I would start Hartom…He’s worked hard, stayed clean, and I tell you, the O was really excited even though it was NMS.

Also sends a message to Crowell and should fire him up to come in after a few plays or a series and prove himself.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:22 pm

UVA and Miami are actually RECEIVING VOTES in the coaches poll, unlike ANY team UGA beat this year.

gbal

November 8th, 2011
2:23 pm

“Starter” is overblown. But send a message to Crowell and others that they are not entitled to their job or position back.

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:23 pm

GT Joe, Don’t be ashamed that an article discussing the watering schedule at Sanford stadium generates more comments than something discussing the upcoming Tek-VT matchup.

DIT

November 8th, 2011
2:24 pm

Whatever GT Joe. After Thursday night y’all will be out of the top 25 anyway. Just because they are not ranked does not mean that they are not better than you. Look at UF. They played Bama & LSU. Much harder schedule than both of ours.
Talk about not knowing football. I played the game for many years unlike yourself. Just shut your pie-hole because if there is anyone that does not know about football it’s you Tool. Go back to your tek blog!

gbal

November 8th, 2011
2:24 pm

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:24 pm

You’re right GT Joe. GT is better. They always are. That’s why year after year, UGA beats you.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:25 pm

I’m surprised too, Ron, considering most UGA fans can’t get the “internets” in their trailer.

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:28 pm

Good one Joe. I know you wish you had a decent number of fans and envy our program in numerous ways. That DeVry diploma is doing wonders for you by the way.

Delbert D.

November 8th, 2011
2:28 pm

Someone mentioned Moreno earlier. Has he been injured this year? He’s played in 6 games, but he has rushed for only 127 yards. The stats seem to indicate that he is being used more as a receiver.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:28 pm

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:19 pm

GT is no better than Vandy or Florida? The Coaches poll would like to disagree (you know, the folks that KNOW football, unlike you?). Vandy and Florida aren’t even RECEIVING VOTES.
————————-
No but UGA is and more of them than GT so please, PLEASE use the polls to make your (our) point. The ACC isn’t as good as even the worst SEC East teams.Vandy and UF have more losses which is why they aren’t getting votes. But they have played waaaaay better teams than whats in the ACC.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:29 pm

DIT, you played football? Must have taken a few too many shots to the head.

Not only are they not ranked, they arent receiving votes.

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:30 pm

Tampa, you will drive yourself crazy trying to reason with GT Joe. Please let him stick to what he is good at- being a fluffer on San Fernando Valley movie shoots.

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:30 pm

“we will just come in Sat, handle our business, get a win and go home.”
***********************************
Yeah right, Auburn.

The only time you’ve done that the past 5 years, you had a Heisman winner, and he can’t help you now, cause he’s a Panther . . .

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:31 pm

Yes, Ron, I do envy UGA. UGA’s schedule. This year and next year.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:31 pm

Auburn 24 Dogs 20
SC 23 Fla 17

Sorry dogs no SEC championship game.