Fan talk: Rumors, running backs and favorite moments from Dogs’ 10-win season

Aaron Murray celebrates in the big win over Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray celebrates in the big win over Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

If you can tear yourself away from all the Internet rumors popping up, you ought to check out a video compilation that Georgiadogs.com has put up of all 33 of Aaron Murray’s touchdown throws from the past season. It’s tough to pick a favorite, but I think I’d have to go with that Michael Bennett catch in the Florida game.

I’ll be on vacation the next week, but before I head out let’s get to some Junkyard Mail. …

Steve Williams writes: Bill, I’ve heard it said that although Georgia had a 10-game winning streak this season and took the SEC East, the Dawgs didn’t have a single signature win because they lost to the three best teams they played. This was cited by one observer in explaining why South Carolina got the Capitol One Bowl over Georgia. I can’t really argue about us losing to the three best teams we played, but I thought the comeback in Jacksonville was a pretty “signature” moment, even if it wasn’t one of Florida’s best teams. How about you? And what was your favorite moment of this season? Mine was halftime of the SEC Championship Game. It might not have lasted, but holding the nation’s top team to no first downs was a real highlight!

The first half defensive showing against LSU was impressive, but I can’t quite bring myself to single out any aspect of that game as a “favorite” moment. The comeback against the Gators was pretty fine, though. Likewise, the latest win over the Jackets. But the season’s high point for me was the way the Dogs handled Auburn, which might not have been as good a team as last year’s but still ended up bowl-worthy. Georgia’s complete domination of the Tigers was one of the best games I’ve seen Between the Hedges in a long time. As for the lack of a signature win this season, I can live without one of those as long as at least 10 victories and a division title are part of the deal. And the Capitol One taking the Gamecocks, that’s just business. They figured USC-East would fill more seats and hotel rooms.

Jason Tweedell writes: Bill, I’ve had two people tell me today they are hearing [Isaiah] Crowell has been kicked off the football team. Do you know anything about this? Meanwhile, John Rawl writes: Bill, I’m hearing a lot of rumblings that Crowell may end up academically Ineligible and, as a result, from that and other disciplinary actions, transfer. Is there any truth to this, or is it merely speculation? And Jason Betsill asks: Can you confirm or deny that Crowell informed UGA coaches he would be transferring out? I really hope not because the SEC is a multi-back league now and we need him.

Wow, the rumor mill just never lets up on this kid, does it? To answer you all, no, I’ve heard nothing from any credible source about Crowell being suspended, having academic problems or transferring. And, like Jason, I hope there’s nothing to any of that, because Georgia will be a better team next year with Crowell than they would be without him. The fan base, already fed up with Georgia tailbacks after the past couple of years, didn’t cut Crowell much slack this season, but those folks with a bit more distance still were impressed by him. Thus, his SEC freshman of the year award and CBSSports.com naming Crowell to its freshman All-American team (which means Crowell accomplished one of his preseason goals).

Patrick Yaggy writes: I was so frustrated this week (so was Richt apparently) by everything I heard and saw from [Crowell]. I heard all different rumors which centered around the same root issue: his teammates and coaches are tired of his attitude and lack of durability. At the Dome, he was the object of the loudest boos when he limped off the field again after only a few plays. The place just went nuts in frustration. Between his personal foul penalty that negated an LSU PF penalty and his constant injuries that kept him off the field resulting in a one-dimensional (i.e., predictable) offense, I would say he was a large reason that UGA couldn’t regain any momentum.

Crowell not being a factor offensively last Saturday certainly didn’t help matters, that’s for sure. But he wasn’t the only reason the Dogs lost that game and, as I noted earlier this week, without him Georgia wouldn’t have won 10 games and wouldn’t have been back in the Dome to meet LSU.

Still on the subject of Crowell, Jonathan J. London writes: The youngun has some growing up to do. When your coach chews you out and you turn your back, that’s a pretty big show of disrespect, not just for your coach, but other guys on the team. Somebody needs to get in Crowell’s ear and make him understand that, with enough hard work, he can be a star. But if he’s not willing to put that in, he’ll never be more than average. He’s “young and dumb,” like my Dad called me at that age, so here’s to hoping he gets some learning between now and next fall — for our sake and his.

Well said.

Jeff Myers writes: Bill, the hot topic is obviously our running back position. I wanted to get your thoughts on the overall picture of the position and what has transpired over the past couple years. Do we have the right recruiting characteristics for this position?  Is the staff doing due diligence on recruit background and character issues, or do we need to improve in that area? While each RB issue has had its own reasoning behind it, none have been because of talent or ability. Do we have an in-house issue with position coach or those in support staff roles, that counsel and tutor these players? Three suspended at the RB position for drugs! There is a red flag here, I just can’t figure it out what it points to. Your thoughts?

You raise some interesting points. Running backs coach Bryan McClendon has developed a reputation as an ace recruiter, but it’s only natural that folks are beginning to question whether he’s perhaps lacking as a molder of talent or disciplinarian once that talent has signed on the dotted line. I do think perhaps the players would benefit from some tougher love. As for my overall view of the position, as I said earlier this week, I think the addition of Keith Marshall to the competition for playing time could be the best thing to happen to Crowell. On paper, I think the mix of Crowell, Marshall and the straight-ahead downhill running of Richard Samuel and Boo Malcome, when needed, looks like a upgrading of the position next year. I’d still like to see another back or two signed, though.

Scott Mabee writes: Bill, I understand that Boo was hurt at the beginning of the season and then later on quit the team. With all of that aside what are the coaches saying about him and his ability. I remember last year when they were talking about pulling his redshirt and what kind of talent he was and when he has had some playing time he seemed to run hard.

After the game against LSU, Mark Richt noted, “It wasn’t until Ken Malcome started running the ball that we had a little bit more success. He ran extremely hard. I was proud of him. I’m not saying the other guys didn’t run hard, but Kenny did run hard and showed some fight.” And Mike Bobo added: “It was good to see Ken come out and run the football like we know he can and push the pile. We’re going to see what he can do in this bowl game for sure.” Richt has said that the tailback position will be “a competitive situation throughout bowl practice time and we’ll just see who is best equipped to do it.” So I’d say things are looking up for Boo.

Pat writes: Bill, please, please, please start a campaign for Georgia to make a change in our offensive coordinator. That is the one thing that is missing from our program and from any hope of putting UGA back on the national contender list. We have seen the defense finally grow and come into its own with an ability to adjust and play a respectable game. However, the offensive strategy consistently loses focus in every game where the opponent is a major challenge. It happened again with LSU. After a brilliant strategy in the beginning of the game and having LSU totally off balance, UGA then resorts to the mundane play-calling, totally predictable and unsuccessful. I sincerely believe that UGA is on the right track with the exception of offensive leadership — where I think we are truly outclassed.

I’ve been as frustrated as anyone by Bobo’s tendency to start out hot and then go ultra-conservative, but while he calls the plays, I figure he’s following the general plan his boss wants. And as long as that’s the case we’re not going to see a change there. Frankly, I’m a lot more concerned with Georgia’s special teams play than with our offense. Special teams cost Georgia the South Carolina game, nearly cost the Dogs a couple of other games, turned the punting game from a strength to a liability (just like kickoff returns) and put LSU in a position to come back against the Dogs. “We spend a lot of time on special teams,” Les Miles said after the game at the Georgia Dome. I don’t know whether LSU spends more time on that aspect of the game than Georgia does, but they certainly are getting more out of the time they’re spending. Richt definitely needs to rethink his approach to special teams. So if I campaign for anything, it’s going to be that. Then we can worry about Bobo.

Steve Segrest writes: Hi Bill, could you talk a little about our offensive line for next year — especially some of our redshirt freshmen. Being objective, do you think there is any possibility of the OL competing well against the likes of Bama and LSU?

Under Will Friend, Georgia’s offensive line steadily improved this season despite severe depth problems. Losing Ben Jones, Cordy Glenn and Justin Anderson will hurt (well, mainly Jones and Glenn), but returnees Kenarious Gates, Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee will have plenty of experience. David Andrews, who’ll be a sophomore, likely will take over as center, and five-star recruit John Theus probably will be starting before the 2012 season is over, if not right from the beginning. Watts Dantzler will be in the mix, too. There might be a bit of a drop-off early in the season, but I think the Dogs have the makings of a decent offensive line.

Jamie Mullinax writes: I heard through one of the various recruiting sites that [Todd] Gurley and [Keith] Marshall had said they would like to play college ball together! Does landing Marshall help us or hurt with Gurley? Thanks and, as alway GO DAWGS!

If, as they’ve indicated, the two players have talked about possibly wanting to play college ball together, Marshall committing to UGA certainly ought not to hurt the Dogs’ chances with Gurley, who reportedly has narrowed his choices to Georgia and North Carolina (though Clemson is putting on a push). Let’s hope their friendship gives Georgia the edge.

Denny Jackson writes: I’ve heard a lot of speculation that a trip to Missouri might take the place of Georgia’s planned visit to Tuscaloosa on the 2012 schedule. If that’s the case, don’t you think next year’s schedule looks just about as favorable as this year’s was for the Dogs?

If Missouri really does take Bama’s place, then the 2012 schedule actually looks even more favorable to the Dogs than 2011’s was. Let’s face it, opening with Buffalo is like night and day compared with facing Boise State and more than makes up for the fact that the Dogs will have to travel to Columbia to play the Gamecocks.

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

423 comments Add your comment

NC Dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:18 am

UGA Fans Boo Freshman RB's

December 9th, 2011
10:22 am

“He’s “young and dumb,” like my Dad called me at that age, so here’s to hoping he gets some learning between now and next fall — for our sake and his.”

You are dumb. That is why we boo you.

“At the Dome, he was the object of the loudest boos when he limped off the field again after only a few plays. The place just went nuts in frustration.”

We are not amused. We are frustrated.

Promethius

December 9th, 2011
10:23 am

Word in NC is that Marshall knew Gurley wants to go to UNC and that he (Marshall) committed to UGa because he did not want to compete w/Gurley at UNC. Gurley is the man, hope we can still get him.

83dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:24 am

I just want a undisputed 13-0 season ..go Dawgs !

UGA Fans Boo Freshman RB's

December 9th, 2011
10:25 am

When we are done with you, we will replace you with the next Herschel Walker. If Marshall sees much playing time next year, I hope he does not try to play while injured. If he needs to leave the game, he will be booed.

83dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:27 am

Oh and it makes me sick with all the ‘ we didn’t play anybody ‘ bs . If I remember correctly UF,MSU,Aub,and GT all had winning records lastyear. It’s our fault they sucked this year ?

SSIgator

December 9th, 2011
10:27 am

“As for the lack of a signature win this season, I can live without one of those as long as at least 10 victories and a division title are part of the deal”

And Bill King just summed up why UGA will never win a NC with the current coaching gang in one sentence. UGA – Home of Ten Win Seasons and no titles.

Alphare

December 9th, 2011
10:30 am

Dawgs start the season by playing 2 ranked teams, lost to both. End the season by playing another ranked team. Lost again.

All wins are against unranked team. I believe dawgs haven’t beaten an end-of-season ranked team for at least 2 years.

UGA Fans Boo Freshman RB's

December 9th, 2011
10:31 am

“Somebody needs to get in Crowell’s ear and make him understand that, with enough hard work, he can be a star. But if he’s not willing to put that in, he’ll never be more than average. ”

We can tell from sitting in the stands that you are not a hard worker.

UGA Fans Boo Freshman RB's

December 9th, 2011
10:32 am

“Do we have the right recruiting characteristics for this position? Is the staff doing due diligence on recruit background and character issues, or do we need to improve in that area? ”

If things don’t work out, we will attack your character. You will be labeled a thug, a cancer, or worst of all, an Energy Vampire!

Goat dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:33 am

Time to spay sparty go dawgs!

duronimo

December 9th, 2011
10:33 am

I believe Bill hit on one of my frustrations with UGA. And that’s the strange inability to play a complete football game. In fact it’s the complete games that’s the aberration. I think Bobo should get a pass. Even against the best oppoonents, he has receivers running open everywhere but Murray misses most of them. Going conservative is probably Richt’s call. In my opinion, when you quick playing the second half and sit on the ball you are losing valuable practice time against a live foe and a chance to build depth. Finally, are we recruiting large enough running backs for SEC play?

storeydawg

December 9th, 2011
10:36 am

I thought the boos were for Boo Malcome coming onto the field. Maybe I was wrong.
I was on the side line for spring game this past April. Most impressed on the day by Ken malcome, Christian Lemay, Hutson Mason offensively . I was wondering, ” Defense looks good, but this is spring game, the Defense kept us in amny a game,

marseilles mutt

December 9th, 2011
10:37 am

Personally, I would like to see CMR do the following:

First- Hire a full time special teams coach, unless it interferes with position coaches. (i.e. numbers thereof)

Secondly- Open up competition for BOTH the QB as well as the RB position.

and Lastly- Spend an equal or even greater time recruiting at the O line positions as well as the ’skill’ positions. We always have seemingly great skill players, but little depth on the O line.

One last comment. The majority of Bobo’s critics seem to have little knowledge of the game. Case in point; “he insists on running the same play time after time…” Take as an example running btween the tackles. Same play every time, right? Sorry, not the case. Most players and former players could point out that a team can run the same play from 5 or 6 sets, or block it from the same set an equal or greater number of ways.

Why start off the second half vs LSU with a run? Well we were hurting them with the pass, and since we ‘assume’ they will make adjustments at the half, let’s see what they are, maybe catch them with personnel that don’t matchup, for example. Frankly, I think Bobo does do a pretty darn good job.

As for his critics, well, I suppose it’s better to be opinionated rather than informed…kind of like some sports writers we all know.

Taco Meat

December 9th, 2011
10:38 am

No signature wins?? How about a BLOWOUT of the same Auburn team that beat South Carolina??

Under Dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:40 am

SSIgator: “And Bill King just summed up why UGA will never win a NC with the current coaching gang in one sentence. UGA – Home of Ten Win Seasons and no titles.”

So how did your gators do the last 2 years chump? At least we have turned the corner, your team still has some miles to go.

A person SMART enough to know......

December 9th, 2011
10:41 am

Best of the 10 win season? Was not beating 1 good team and 10 bad ones. Murray’s ability to play about 1/2 a game and still win says the level of competition UGA faced.

Gold Dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:44 am

Big rumor starting to swirl about A&M offering Richt the HC position.

SSIgator

December 9th, 2011
10:44 am

Under Dawg -

“At least we have turned the corner”

And there is always a train coming the other direction, like LSU. Ouch. UGA – Thirty-one years and counting for another NC.

UGA Insider

December 9th, 2011
10:46 am

If I were CMR I think I would make a slight change in my offensive coaching staff. Maybe move CMB to qb coach and give him an assistant HC title and bring in a new offensive coordinator who runs pro-style. We are way to predictable on offense.

Spanky

December 9th, 2011
10:47 am

I wonder if and where we’ll see LeMay play next year. Looking at his spot in the QB line, he may be ready to jet!

UGA Insider

December 9th, 2011
10:49 am

Stop with the rumors of CMR and A&M….that is as pathetic as I have ever heard. I know it’s not true because I haven’t heard anything about Chris Peterson recently.

I keep hearing about Saban going to Texas for $70,000,000, 10 yr deal. That rumor has legs right there.

WDE

December 9th, 2011
10:49 am

Bill I’m not sure what was my favorite game , coming back and throttling the gators or beating the ever loving crap out of the defending National Champs? What is really my favorite part of the season is that with the guys we have coming back I’m hopeful we will be even better next year. The Vols, Auburn and the gators are down, losing their OC’s should slow down Auburn and the gators rebuilding at least some…I was never a big fan of either of them but putting in a new system will take time. I really enjoyed the 2011 season and I’m really looking forward to 2012…man the trolls are going to be going crazy with fear and envy…Go Dawgs!

No Bozos

December 9th, 2011
10:51 am

Okay, here are a few examples of Boboitis:

1. Running a tiny RB between the tackles over and over.

2. Incomplete bombs on first down, thereby severely hurting the chances for a first down.

3. Often a draw play on 3rd and long.

wr29te

December 9th, 2011
10:53 am

WHY NOT H Ward is comming close to the end of his career with Pittsburgh so why not hire him to coach the wide receivers and special teams…We would have a chance to get the very best wide receivers in the country and who would not want to be coached by Ward. There would not be any slackers on the special teams

tide roll

December 9th, 2011
10:54 am

“There may be a drop off early but I think the Dogs have the makings of a decent offensive line”. You had the most physical and athletically gifted offensive line in the SEC this year and look what Bobo and Richt did with it.. Rather than adjust their system to fit this talent, which obviously meant a physical downhill I-formation attack, they stuck with the same old fineese offense that got you clobbered in the 2nd half of the SEC championship game. Richt’ and Bobo’s arrogance is killing y’all. You also had a 285lb. fuulback. What a joke of an under achieving program. Why not let Richt go to A&M? If they truly want him. I have my doubts, don’t you? And then trust your AD to bring in someone that will lead you to a National Title. Hell, so many teams from the SEC have won it recently, it’s no longer that big a deal. Rather than fielding these softball questions, why don’t you asked opinions on why UGA hasn’t won a National Title in over 30 years? You haven’t really been in the hunt. It’s really inexcusable when you think about it. With all the high school talent abounding in this state. No excuse for consistantly under performing in this manner.

Dirty Dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:54 am

Bill, man when it comes to Bobo you don’t even bother to ‘damn with faint praise’ do you? What is it, are you just a big an idiot as some of the fans that have decided that Bobo’s play calls are what costs us, or does Don Leeburn tell you he wants another Offensive Coordinator now that it appears he can’t get Richt fired?

Although I do have one bone to pick with the coaches about Boo Malcome. I find it disappointing that CMR and/or Bobo would say that they were impressed with Malcome’s hard running at the end of the LSU game…hell, you had to be impressed with his hard running in every game that he got into – Auburn, Ga Tech, even Kentucky. That’s why I predicted that he would be our biggest ground gainer in the SEC game…so who’s decision was it ‘not’ to play him from the beginning? Whoever it was needs to, at least, be asked the question.

No Bozos

December 9th, 2011
10:55 am

Bobo to Florida to replace Big Charlie – I could get behind this movement.

RiffRaff

December 9th, 2011
10:55 am

Bobo’s terrible on 3rd and 5 or more. It’s time to throw the deep ball!!! No, it’s not, it’s time to get the first down, sustain the drive, take time off the clock and get some points.

zbulldawg

December 9th, 2011
10:57 am

I’m going to play Coach-Recruiter for a moment ! I’ve got 9 slots left to fill : 2-RBS 3-OL & 4-DEFENSE ! SICK EM Oh by the way the play calling against LSU was to burn up the clock ” which was a pain” and rest the defense ! Their depth is what beat us mostly ! But our game plan was Great !!!!!!! Not beleiving in what IFS. The 5 dropped passes 2 for touchdowns was not in the game PLAN !

GulfShoresDawg

December 9th, 2011
10:58 am

gonna get a tan in Tampa and watch the Dawgs win our bowl game…life is good!

Dirty Dawg

December 9th, 2011
10:58 am

…and while I’m at it, are you allowed to ask the coaches questions before you write your stuff? I mean seems to me that all you do is say ‘I haven’t heard anything from a credible source’? What’s that all about? Are you a reporter or just a gossip columnist? Get in there and get some answers – or does Towers have an exclusive on that?

Flo-Ri-Duh

December 9th, 2011
11:00 am

If Bobo is at fault perhaps it is not for his play calling but his ability to get his players to execute.

cdog

December 9th, 2011
11:02 am

please leave isiah crowell alone. he’s still a child- young man developing.none of us are perfect.give him a chance to mature.some of us mature faster but at some point we all mature so leave him alone.we are in no position to judge noone, only GOD has that power.

AltamahaDawg

December 9th, 2011
11:03 am

You could could the number of tiems we ran “a draw play on 3rd and long” on one hand. And it was only to protectterrible field positions at that. Of the things Bobo does wrong, I am not sure what folks continue to parrot the ones that are simply made up. First and bomb is very exagerated too.

Stephen Garcia

December 9th, 2011
11:03 am

I rather enjoyed the 2 defensive touchdowns and 1 special teams touchdown when USC won 45-42. That was worth at least 1 beer!

AltamahaDawg

December 9th, 2011
11:04 am

hawk

December 9th, 2011
11:07 am

I know what a great Christmas gift we could give Florida…………………….. BOBO.

b-ham dawg

December 9th, 2011
11:09 am

@duronimo… I think you hit the nail right on the head. We need to recruit bigger bruiser tailbacks. I am very happy we got Keith Marshall, and I’m sure he will be a great back but he will never have the size and durability to be an every down back like a Trent Richardson. He will have plenty of highlight reel runs for sure but when it comes to 3rd and 2 do we really want to run up the middle with this guy? I know Bobo will try, that’s why im worried. I really think we should focus our attention on getting mike davis.

AltamahaDawg

December 9th, 2011
11:10 am

Flo-Ri-Duh nailed it.

GDawg

December 9th, 2011
11:11 am

I wish everyone would get off of Crowell, he came in with alot on his shoulders. Do you all not remember the way you were at that age, and I am sure your were not a starting rb at a top SEC school either.

UGA Fans Boo Freshman RB's

December 9th, 2011
11:11 am

“I am very happy we got Keith Marshall, and I’m sure he will be a great back but he will never have the size and durability to be an every down back like a Trent Richardson. He will have plenty of highlight reel runs for sure but when it comes to 3rd and 2 do we really want to run up the middle with this guy?”

Why can’t we get another Herschel Walker?

VININGSDAWG

December 9th, 2011
11:12 am

Like Bill really knows. He is just another fan who thinks he is an insider,

A person SMART enough to know......

December 9th, 2011
11:14 am

Richt’s O is not a power running game. Richt is a QB run O. He wants a Charlie Ward or Winkie with a Dunn smallish back for swing passes or screens out of the backfield. Richt is ALL about the QB’s not the RB’s. Bama has made a History of OK QB’s and power Running.

UGA Fans Boo Freshman RB's

December 9th, 2011
11:15 am

Herschel never took himself out of a game. Why is IC so selfish?

DawginLex

December 9th, 2011
11:16 am

SSI

How does my the crow taste?

How does it feel to know that I totally 100% correctly predicted the failure of Weis and Muschamp to co-exist and that after 1 year, Weis would flee?

How does it feel to know that while we are reloading with Murray and more running backs and mixing in ultra talented Christian Lemay, florida will be starting over with their third OC in 3 years?

How does it feel to know that I am totally correct in calling Tebow your Herschel and that your beloved gators will never sniff another title of any kind??

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

steve brown

December 9th, 2011
11:16 am

Spend 10 minutes and watch the highlight films of Kieth Marshall, all your wants and fears will disappear. Happy Holidays!

DawginLex

December 9th, 2011
11:18 am

A person SMART enough to know……

December 9th, 2011
11:14 am
Richt’s O is not a power running game. Richt is a QB run O. He wants a Charlie Ward or Winkie with a Dunn smallish back for swing passes or screens out of the backfield. Richt is ALL about the QB’s not the RB’s. Bama has made a History of OK QB’s and power Running.

**********************************

Verron haynes and Musa smith just called and said to tell you that you are full of it

AltamahaDawg

December 9th, 2011
11:19 am

4th in 4 yrs, isn’t it?

A person SMART enough to know......

December 9th, 2011
11:20 am

steve brown………….that was against small high school kids. UGA had an O-Line bigger than NFL teams. keith will see that every week now.