The shift in UGA fan support away from Isaiah Crowell and toward Keith Marshall has been swift and decisive, at least online.
But I really don’t understand some folks’ penchant for viewing Georgia’s tailback situation next year as an either-or proposition where Marshall, the new golden boy, supplants Crowell, the disappointing former favorite.
Let’s keep some perspective here. Yes, the injury-prone Crowell rubbed many the wrong way to start with this season by frequently taking himself out of games after a couple of runs. Then there was the immaturity that manifested itself in a couple of suspensions.
And there definitely seems to be a bit of an attitude problem, evident when we saw Crowell turn his back on his head coach in the middle of a dressing down for drawing a penalty with his mouthing off during the SEC championship game. That’s something even the ever-patient Mark Richt shouldn’t tolerate.
But Crowell still ran well enough this season to be the SEC’s freshman of the year and the Dogs would not have 10 wins without him.
More importantly, Georgia will need to utilize the talents of both Crowell and Marshall next season and probably Richard Samuel, Boo Malcome and any other running back who is still on the roster.
LSU and its four-headed running attack is a prime example of what a successful SEC offense needs these days. Tailbacks get hurt; it’s just part of the game. If the talent gap between your starter and the backups is as stark as it was at Georgia this year, it puts you at a severe disadvantage (unless you’re playing Georgia Tech).
I believe Marshall competing with Crowell for playing time could be the best thing that has happened to Isaiah at UGA. But whichever one ends up the starter (and my money would be on a healthy Crowell), there’ll be plenty of carries for the other one. And if they’re both living up to their potential, well, Alabama didn’t do so badly splitting time between Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
Georgia signing the nation’s most wanted tailback two years in a row will be quite an accomplishment, but it shouldn’t be a rarity. You can never have too many good tailbacks in the SEC and Richt and his staff should be signing a five-star running back every season.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg