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

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:33 pm

Tampa: “The ACC isn’t as good as even the worst SEC East teams.” Ignorance.

And hate to break it to you, but just having LSU and Bama on your schedule does NOT make you a good team.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

GT Joe

Joe Envy’s UGA’s schedule yet we envy that joke conference that cant win a BCS game

Ron Swanson

November 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

I envy UGA’s schedule too, especially November when we get an almost guaranteed W against those yellow pansies who choke enormously. Its almost as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

I know Ron, I have had many run in’s with GT Joe and the nonsense that is the ACC. It’s the way it is with trolls on here. ACC trolls in particular seem to think the SEC has a load of crystal ball trophies because the voters love them. Fact is though, it’s the toughest conference TOP TO BOTTOM, bar none.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:36 pm

If UGA doesn’t win the SEC Least, that will be an embarrassment.

If LSU doesn’t pound UGA by 40, that will be an embarrassment.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:37 pm

@Auburn, you guys talk a lot of smack for a team that has lost 4 of the last 5 (soon to be 5 of the last 6), and the only reason you won last year was Cash Cam and he is no where to be found. Even then, with the worst UGA team in 20 years, War Beagle still didn’t start to pull away until late in the third quarter .. in Auburn no less.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:38 pm

@GT Joe “And hate to break it to you, but just having LSU and Bama on your schedule does NOT make you a good team.”

And having an ACC schedule doesn’t make GT even an average team.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:38 pm

No

What is an embarrassment is if GT doesnt beat UGA who is in the SEC Least

Right GT Joe

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:40 pm

Yes, flat tire, I would be embarrassed.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:41 pm

Tampa: “And having an ACC schedule doesn’t make GT even an average team.”

How does this even make sense? I’m trying to use mutt logic and still can’t understand?

With our ACC schedule we are #21 in the BCS… help me understand mutt thinking.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:42 pm

Facts about GT:

Can’t beat UGA
Can’t win a bowl game
Can’t stay off probation
Can’t beat UGA
Can’t throw forward passes consistently
Can’t not use excuses
Can’t beat UGA
Can’t keep from being beat by unranked teams
Can’t win/keep a conference championship in a bad conference
Can’t beat UGA

I think that about covers it.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:44 pm

OK, If GA fans want to live in the past then how about 2010 National Champs. And we will keep GA at home in DEC unless Sc chokes on some gator meat Sat.

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:45 pm

What about:

Can’t stay off of NCAA Probation

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:46 pm

SEC in BCS bowl games 15-5

ACC in BCS bowl games 2-10

one of those wins was FSU against VT the other was a win against Cincinnati

BLAHAHAHAHAHAHA

THE ACC is by far the toughest conference

BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:47 pm

Tech this, Tech that, LSU this, Ala that, but come Sat there will be no joy in dogville.

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:47 pm

Sure, you won it, Auburn.

Just stop acting like you were beating us regularly befor 2010 . . .

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:47 pm

GT Joe, “With our ACC schedule we are #21 in the BCS… help me understand mutt thinking.” Listen, no one can explain how voters think a team who has lost to two bad, unranked teams still gets ranked. But it does make sense. Being in the ACC, playing against the likes of Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland, Virginia, NC State, Miami, and a usually bad, now mediocre FSU team won’t help you at all. That’s why GT gets exposed come bowl season.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:47 pm

Flat tire: I never said the ACC is the toughest conference. Tool.

I said the SEC Least is horrid. And UGA should be embarrassed if it isn’t the tallest midget in that group.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:49 pm

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:44 pm

OK, If GA fans want to live in the past then how about 2010 National Champs. And we will keep GA at home in DEC unless Sc chokes on some gator meat Sat.
———————
Or the obvious answer being that Auburn is back to mediocre without sCam Lootin. Deal with it, one year wonders because that’s all Cam would give you.

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:49 pm

Dang, Flat Tire, you mean one of the ACC’s two (yes 2, the same number UGA has) BCS bowl wins was against . . . . . . . . . . . . another ACC team?!?!

Haha!

Delbert D.

November 8th, 2011
2:50 pm

TampaDawg – You make good points, but Auburn remains a mystery, a young team losing to Clemson and the Boyd and Watkins show, and then the win over South Carolina. That game was one of the most mind-numbing games I’ve seen this year. S.C. had only one trip onside the red zone. 4 INTs against the Tigers, who outgained S.C almost 2-1.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:50 pm

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:45 pm

What about:

Can’t stay off of NCAA Probation
—————–
Third one down in the list.

Sam

November 8th, 2011
2:50 pm

What UGA true freshman back most recently rushed for 1000 or more yards in a season?

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:51 pm

the vaunted GA defense that has feasted on less than stellar offenses over the last seven games will be exposed for the 77th ranked defense ( ranking after the Boise State and SC games ) it was, and really still is.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:53 pm

Delbert, I am not saying Auburn is a bad team. But they were an average team before Cam and looks like they are about average now that Cam is gone. This is the same team that UGA stayed in the game with even having Cam at the helm AT AUBURN last year for nearly 3 quarters of the game. With Cam and as bad as UGA was, that game should have never been close.

Joey

November 8th, 2011
2:53 pm

“tallest midget in that group.”
**************************
Great nickname for the acc champ . . .

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
2:55 pm

yes auburn, that defense is so overrated because of the cupcake SEC least schedule. The sprinkles on the cupcake? new mexico and coastal carolina.

ARdawg

November 8th, 2011
2:55 pm

Auburn

You my friend are in serious denial

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:56 pm

so I say that an average Auburn team will beat an average Ga team because Ga has a less than average special teams which will be Ga’s achilles heel on Sat

ARdawg

November 8th, 2011
2:56 pm

12, 345 Gatahs don’t take no jive, Go Flarda Gatahs

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:57 pm

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:51 pm

the vaunted GA defense that has feasted on less than stellar offenses over the last seven games will be exposed for the 77th ranked defense ( ranking after the Boise State and SC games ) it was, and really still is.
——————————-
Keep thinking that dude, but here are the facts. The vaunted LSU defense that CRUSHED your little boys has played 3 mutual opponents of UGA’s. Of those, LSU has held those teams to just 21 ypg less than UGA has and that doesn’t take into account that when LSU played UF, UF started a true freshman QB making his first start ever and IN LSU at that. It doesn’t take into account that when LSU played UT, UT didn’t start Tyler Bray who was widely considered the best QB in the SEC .. he did play against UGA though. So if you want to play this speculation game, at least TRY to do it with a few facts.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
2:57 pm

GT Joe,

“Sprinkles on the cupcake”. Wow, you are truly a literary genius!

Again, you are making fun of a team that beats GT year after year after year.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
2:57 pm

Auburn

How many decades will it take for Auburn to raise enough cash to buy another championship team?

This past go round took Auburn what 50 yrs

Another 50 yrs is about right when you think just how poor a state Alabama is with all those trailer trash rednecks living among the plains

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
2:58 pm

well it took long enough for you guys to start attacking me, after all you are playing us this weekend not Tech.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
2:58 pm

All Cupcake Conference still has a ring to it.

ARdawg

November 8th, 2011
2:59 pm

TampaDawg

One thing I have learned over the years is, trolls need no facts. They can’t even discuss opinions based on heart or feeling. Nope, nothing but pure hatred drives these Yahoo’s. But, why is there so much of it at GT?

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:01 pm

kevin: I wonder if Cleveland Cavalier fans make fun of the Miami Heat, considering they have owned the Heat the past 7 years?

LOL, no, they aren’t idiots. After all, what does history have to do with THIS year?

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:02 pm

ARdawg: all I give are facts.

UGA has beaten teams that are 5-24 in SEC play. FACT #1.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:03 pm

FACT #2: UGA has beaten no one EVEN RECEIVING VOTES in the coaches poll.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:04 pm

Good question ARdawg. I stumble on the GT boards from time to time only because I do have a soft spot in my heart for them because I was born in Atlanta. I have the best, most cordial conversations on there, still using the same handle and 95% of the time, all is good. But GT Joe makes it so difficult. One minute he wants to bash SEC teams not receiving votes but then immediately ignores the fact that UGA is ranked higher. A little consistency backed by facts would be great for debate.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
3:04 pm

Making fun of a team is one thing, but calling a team “weak”, “no good”, etc. in the face of being beat by said team 9 out of 10 years is plain ignorant. I would routinely make fun of FL fans, but never knock their team for being bad much less suggest that UGA was better after losing so often to them. I mean, are you serious!

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:05 pm

yes but look what the LSU defense does when it faces a real test, it wins unlike Ga’s which has lost to the only two ranked teams it has played this year.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:06 pm

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:01 pm

kevin: I wonder if Cleveland Cavalier fans make fun of the Miami Heat, considering they have owned the Heat the past 7 years?

LOL, no, they aren’t idiots. After all, what does history have to do with THIS year?
——————————-
LOL .. so you are comparing GT to the Miami Heat? You’re comparing GT, a team whose lone claim to an ACC title recently was stripped from them to a team with an NBA title and consistently making it to the playoffs. You make this too easy.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
3:07 pm

GT Joe,

UF was ranked as high as 12 this year. MSU began the season ranked in the top 20. Again, you are wrong.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:07 pm

You’re right Auburn. Can you tell me that UGA had all of its starters in either of those first two games? No, you sure can’t ..

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:07 pm

Tampa: No you fool. but it doesn’t surprise me that the example goes above your head.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:08 pm

@ Flat Tire:

well it will probably be long before GA even gets a whiff of another NC, what’s it been 1980?

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:08 pm

Oh, so now we are going by “peak ranking” Kevin? LOL. Really grasping at straws, are we?

LHarding Dawg

November 8th, 2011
3:09 pm

Arguing with an Auburn or Georgia Tech fan is like PeeWee Herman (Auburn/Tech fan) arguing with Albert Einstein (UGA fan).

ARdawg

November 8th, 2011
3:09 pm

TampaDawg

I certainly didn’t intend to infer that all GT fans full of hatred. I too have been on those blogs and know for a fact they are not all bitter lonesome losers like those trolls that graze here. Some of those guys even come over here and it is a real pleasure to discuss the finer points of the teams/games with them. They too are ashamed of the GT Joe’s of the world. Nonetheless, GT does seem to be a breeding ground for the angry, dateless fry cooks broadcasting from momma’s basement