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

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:10 pm

FACT: GT lost to two teams that flat suck. FACT: GT gets shut down when they face anything resembling a real defense.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:10 pm

you would not accept injury as an excuse for Fla losing to you, but now you want to play that card? If Brantley and Demps had been 100% Fla would have killed you.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:11 pm

LHarding: hilarious! Albert Einstein and UGA in the same sentence, never happened in the history of the world!

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:12 pm

Tampa: “flat suck”? Stick to the facts, TamponDawg. They are 6-3 and 5-4, and at least RECEIVING VOTES in the coaches poll. Which means they are better than ANY team UGA beat.

Straight facts.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 8th, 2011
3:14 pm

Auburn

Maybe

but at least we dont stoop to levels of buying players and Spraying opposing fans with cold water after you got beat because you cant handle a loss

kevin

November 8th, 2011
3:14 pm

GT Joe,

Well, you weren’t clear about the polls, smarty.

Your impeccable use of logic and critical thinking skills is beginning to overcome my simple sense of reason. In an effort to attain your lofty status, I will seek assistance in determining how losing 9 out 10 games to a team = the losing team should be talking about how bad the winning team is. I have faith. Wish me luck.

GaTruth

November 8th, 2011
3:15 pm

@GT Joe – testosterone and GT in the same sentence – still hasn’t happened

GT Joe's Mom

November 8th, 2011
3:17 pm

Joe get off the computer. Your little brother needs it for his homoework. I wish you would get a job and move out of the basement. I know Best Buy is hiring and you would do just grand working the computer department. Don’t be bitter because the fast food place fired you for telling the customers that they were idiots if they did not wear Tech shirts. For goodness sakes you are 38 and never had a girlfriend and still wear that silly raggedy Tech sweatshirt we bought you for Christmas back in 1983. Honey you have had too many soft drinks today, you are hyper and wearing the keyboard out. I have not seen you this excited since Daddy took you to the Star Trek convention and you almost saw a naked lady.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:17 pm

Name calling now huh GT Joe .. well, add gutless to your already classless nature because this blog is the only place where you would do that. You used a bad example, obviously, but that’s not an excuse to call people names.

Dawghater

November 8th, 2011
3:18 pm

When UGA posted the 2012 Football Schedule they circled the New Mexico State week as “Official Drug Test Results Week”.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:19 pm

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:10 pm

you would not accept injury as an excuse for Fla losing to you, but now you want to play that card? If Brantley and Demps had been 100% Fla would have killed you.
——————-
Really want to go there? UGA didn’t have two of their better defensive players to start the game and their best receiver was out for the game altogether. Demps wasn’t 100% but Rainey was but even then, Demps claimed himself to be 100% before the game.

kevin

November 8th, 2011
3:20 pm

Dawghater,

Most teams do not even suspend for 1st time drug test failures. UGA is one of 5 schools in all of college football that does. Look it up.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:24 pm

Let Miami, Virginia and even GT for that matter, play in the SEC and they get no votes, no titles and no love. UF has 4 losses .. to LSU, Bama, AU, and UGA. GT couldn’t win those games either. UT has lost to Florida, Georgia, LSU, SC and Bama .. no, no wins for GT in that group. Let’s try this one, Miss State has lost to Georgia, Auburn, LSU and SC .. crap, GT would lose all of those games too. So your little coaches poll theory holds no water. GT, Virginia and Miami (both with their 1 vote) would get destroyed with those schedules.

Vicky Quillian

November 8th, 2011
3:24 pm

Bogotay and Harton

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:26 pm

Tampa: nice post. again no facts, sadly.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:27 pm

No GT, those are facts, your gold glasses won’t let you see them.

Dawghater

November 8th, 2011
3:28 pm

Hey “TampaDawg”. Talk smack now. It may come back to bite you later! Weren’t you the one saying Boise State couldn’t hang with an SEC school? UGA still hasn’t beat a team with a winning record. And I’m sure you’ll count FL now that they are 5-4 but they were 4-4 when you played them. Enjoy the beat down in the dome. The SEC East sucks this year and you know it!

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:29 pm

Tampa: here’s a fact for you:

Miami is 5-4, Florida is 5-4. But Miami is actually getting a VOTE in the coaches poll and Florida isn’t.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but it would appear that the COACHES think Miami’s 5-4 record is more impressive than Florida’s.

Please, stick to facts with your response instead of silly conjecture.

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:30 pm

Sorry Tampa, but any sentence that has the word “would” in it is not a fact.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:31 pm

How can Florida have been 4-4 when UGA played them, lose to UGA, then beat Vandy and only be 5-4? Oh that’s right, where 4-3 (a winning record) when they played UGA. And yes, I thought UGA would beat BSU. But I also came on here and ate the crow. Now you on the other hand, like many others before you, come on here and say UGA can’t beat UT, UF, MSU (we heard that one loud and clear) and even Vandy, but wait a month before coming back on here to try again. Good luck with that.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:32 pm

no GT Joe, those teams WOULD beat GT handily and YES that IS a FACT!

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:32 pm

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:29 pm

Tampa: here’s a fact for you:

Miami is 5-4, Florida is 5-4. But Miami is actually getting a VOTE in the coaches poll and Florida isn’t.
——————
Even Al Golden gets to vote

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:34 pm

No facts again Tampa. But I can’t blame you. My argument is unassailable.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:34 pm

Ok let’s look at it this way, the East is better this year than last as the records will indicate at years end. The East was also down in 2009 too. But during those two years, GT still couldn’t beat UGA and still can’t win a bowl game but STILL we get to hear gutless classless GT Joe run smack on here.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:34 pm

well I am glad all your players will be on the field Sat so there will be no excuses for your loss except you got beat by a better team

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:35 pm

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:34 pm

No facts again Tampa. But I can’t blame you. My argument is unassailable.
———————
Comedy at it’s finest. You go with your 1-9 can’t win bowl games self.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:37 pm

of course it is early in the week, with GA who really knows who will be eligible for play on Sat

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:39 pm

I mean, let’s be honest, in the coaches poll Virginia has 1 vote. Yet this is a team who lost to NC State, barely beat Indiana and took overtime to beat IDAHO. Let’s put a lot of stock in that 1 vote. So you think that team could beat Bama, LSU, Auburn, Florida, UGA, Arkansas, UT, SC or even Miss State? PLEASE let them play an SEC team in a bowl game. They will get lit up.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:41 pm

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:34 pm

well I am glad all your players will be on the field Sat so there will be no excuses for your loss except you got beat by a better team
—————————–
How are those negotiations with sCam going? Keep trying. After all, he is the only reason Auburn won last year so give it your best. Although he makes good cash as a Panther so you have to up the anti higher than last years payments.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:43 pm

I don’t know, maybe you could ask the late Jan Kemp.

LHarding Dawg

November 8th, 2011
3:47 pm

Like I said, PeeWee (Auburn) vs. Einstein (UGA). It’s not even fair.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:47 pm

I could but then again she is the late Jan Kemp. UGA paid a big price for that one. Whereas the NCAA wants us to believe that Cecil Newton required a six figure payment for sCam to go to Miss State but he was willing to let him play at Auburn for free. And OJ was innocent too.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:50 pm

and Ga did not know that Crowell, et al, inhaled until it was to late to suspend him for the Fla game

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:51 pm

Tampa: “So you think that team (UVA) could beat Bama, LSU, Auburn, Florida, UGA, Arkansas, UT, SC or even Miss State?”

Where did I ever say UVA could beat all of those teams? And what team in the SEC plays all of those teams? Certainly no one in the SEC Least.

Facts please.

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:52 pm

that’s been covered Auburn .. and the conspiracy theory thoroughly debunked .. Test done on Thursday, even if you pay the independent lab a little extra to expedite all the processing a 30 second test will take several days to get results sent back. Nice try though.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

NCAA cleared Auburn

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

Fact, the teams you keep busting on have played a large combination of those teams. Again, let’s just look at the bowl game results EVERY year for the ACC. That’s why they get EXPOSED every year (fact). They play weak teams in the conference then largely get beaten up out of conference.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:54 pm

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:55 pm

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

NCAA cleared Auburn
——————-
LOL … didn’t I just cover that? They want us to believe that they found that Cecil Newton demanded money from Miss State but didn’t accept a dime from Auburn instead. Casey Anthony was innocent too I guess.

duronimo

November 8th, 2011
3:56 pm

What’s the deal with Malcome? Why isn’t he playing? Does he not block or he can’t learn the plays?
I liked the size on the second back in last Sat. His average gain per play was just as good as Harton’s. From the way he played, he might the punishing inside runner we need.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:56 pm

sorry dog fans you just got beat on the field of play by the completely above board, clean as a whistle undisputed 2010 National Champs

GT Joe

November 8th, 2011
3:57 pm

FACT: historical data has nothing to do with this season. So your historical “facts” are useless.

You need to step up your game. Or stop playing.

Athens= God's Country

November 8th, 2011
3:57 pm

BILL KING

WOULD YOU PLEASE FUGGING BAN “GT JOE?”

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:58 pm

You have to go all the way back to the 05-06 bowl season to find a year that the ACC had better than a .500 record in the bowls.

Auburn

November 8th, 2011
3:58 pm

and you want me to believe that GA did not already know what the results of the test were going to be before they gave it just at the right moment to insure that the players would be suspended for NMS

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
3:59 pm

They are useless? Until the historical trends STOP, they are completely relevant. GT and the ACC are not players in the larger NCAA stages. They suck at bowls, they REALLY suck at BCS bowls. And they suck against their usual rivals out of conference.

Cartoon Network

November 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

This blog has the makings of a pretty good series on our network. The Squidbillies audience would love it!

RanDawg

November 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

-I’d let Walsh do x-tra pts. and field goals and have Bogatay kick it out of the end-zone….Thomas as the back-up,but quit sending him straight ahead;try running him outside the tackles and run fullbacks OR Malcome up the middle..Also short passing game like last week will help keep Auburn offense on the sidelines..
-And for God’s sack somebody be in charge of alerting Special teams for fake punts!!

ARdawg

November 8th, 2011
4:02 pm

GT Joe was about banned by Schultz yesterday. Of course with one of his other monikers

TampaDawg

November 8th, 2011
4:03 pm

Auburn, you can argue the timing of giving the test, but due process is due process. sCam played all of Auburn’s games last year with the investigation going on during the last part of the season. It’s due process. Personally, if I had my druthers, I would rather bash teams like OSU for getting away with murder for years until this year but, well, with all due respect (sincerely), it’s UGA/AU week and that’s the flavor this week. So, nothing personal, but I think the NCAA left a lot of us insulted asking us to believe that they proved one school was being solicited for payment but not the one he chose. It’s cool though. Again, nothing personal.