Not likely Dogs will get major contributions from Ealey

Take that with ya: We know Washaun Ealey has this part of the game of football down pat. It's the other parts that concern the Georgia Bulldogs. (AP Photo)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say don’t expect to see much out of Washaun Ealey this season. And that has nothing to do with the hyperextended elbow he suffered in practice recently.

This is no knock on Ealey, a Parade Magazine All-American and AJC Super 11 selection out of Emmanuel County Institute. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound tailback is an impressive athlete and looks spectacular when he runs down Georgia’s Woodruff Practice Fields with a football tucked under his thick arms. He’d be a shoo-in to play if that was all there is to it.

But there is so much more to being a running back for the Bulldogs. They run a pro-style offense and it’s pro-style in every sense of the word. Think about it for a minute: On any given play the tailback in Georgia’s system is either being handed the football, pitched the football, faked the football, thrown the football or is providing pass protection.

And that last responsibility is a critical one. Oftentimes the tailback is not just winging a defensive end. Quite frequently he’s being alerted via an audible to pick up a blitzing linebacker, which usually is the most crucial block on the play. Don’t think so? See Caleb King versus Florida’s Brandon Spikes on Nov. 1, 2008.

Georgia’s offense also is predicated on its flexibility to take what the defense gives it. Certainly, the Bulldogs could simply call a simple run play when Ealey’s in the game. But it wouldn’t take long for defenses to pick up the tendency that No. 24’s going on run the football when he’s on the field. Linebackers and safeties would be teeing off.

These are all realities that Ealey is learning about every day as he competes with King, Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas, Dontavius Jackson and Kalvin Daniels for playing time this fall. He talked about it when I spoke with him recently after a practice (before he injured his elbow).

“It’s really hard to explain,” he said of the offense’s complexities. “Right now I’m just trying to pay attention to the coaches and running the plays and just picking up everything as I go. It’s been all right. Sometimes it’s kind of hard, sometimes it’s kind of easy. I’m just paying attention and working hard.”

Ealey is going the extra mile to master it all. He said he often comes to running backs meetings early and stays late with position coach Bryan McClendon to go over the playbook and review video. And he said the other running backs are helping him as much as they can.

But there’s a lot of difference getting it right in practice and getting it right on a Saturday afternoon before 90,000 fans and a frothing SEC defense. Which is why Ealey says he’s indifferent about whether he plays right away or not.

“I’m just coming in giving 100 percent,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll play. If not I’ll just do whatever the coaches ask me to do. . . . They just told be to work hard, give 100 percent and compete with the other players.”

49 comments Add your comment

Dude

August 10th, 2009
11:38 am

Looks like I beat the stupid saint simon. We beat Tech so badly the last umpteen years he is so happy that they finally got one last year. ((((((HA HA HA HA ))))))))

Atlanta Gator

August 10th, 2009
11:49 am

Chip Towers—-Your colleague Mark Bradley posted a sideline photo of you in his column today. You’re famous. Now, the paparazzi know who they’re looking for!

Saint Simons

August 10th, 2009
11:51 am

45-42!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahaha

BlackSmoke

August 10th, 2009
11:53 am

I agree that Ealey probably wont see the field this year. We have a strong stable of backs, and it would probably be best for him to RS this year and be ready to compete next year. He is a talented kid, no doubt. But we have 4 good backs in rotation that can carry the load. Ealey could be special if he is given the time to develop

ChuyDAWG

August 10th, 2009
12:16 pm

I agree BlackSmoke. This kid sounds like he has the mentality to learn and master his position with the kind offense we run. Lets just hope that he isn’t rushed onto the field due to injuries. I do believe the best thing for him is a RS this year and he can compete for the starting role next year.

DOG FAN

August 10th, 2009
12:49 pm

LETS GET READY TO RUMMMMMMMMMMMBLE!!!! DEFENCE SCORES 2 TDS GA.31 OKST.10

Ken

August 10th, 2009
12:56 pm

why single out Ealey? This rings true for any freshman running back.. Wait… what about Hershel ?

gt2012

August 10th, 2009
1:16 pm

Chip-

Just out of curiosity, how would you say a back like Washaun Ealey at this point lines up to someone like Caleb King or Knowshon Moreno when they were at this point in their freshman campaigns. Obviously it’s only been a week of camp, but do you have any insight on that? All three of these guys seem to be similar backs, but Knowshon seems to be the only one that really jumped out from the get go (could just be a short-sighted opinion, as I don’t follow UGA football very closely). Would you say King has a jump on the other guys in this backfield?

Thanks!

atlantadave

August 10th, 2009
1:23 pm

Hey Chip….I’ll bet Ealey sees the field in the first game provided his elbow is alright. CMR isn’t going to make the same mistake with Ealey he did with Moreno and redshirt a talented player the can help the team immediately.Ealey is the real deal and the coaches know it!They just aren’t talking him up right now to take the pressure off him .

San Francisco Dawg

August 10th, 2009
1:41 pm

Obviously, he needs to redshirt just like Moreno…the adjustments on and off the field must be difficult for him and now he is hurt…we have great depth in the backfield this year and his playing time would be minimal anyway…he is no Herschel Walker…

Sammy Jones

August 10th, 2009
2:10 pm

dawgfacedboy

August 10th, 2009
2:22 pm

I’m not sure on this one. I thought I read in this paper that Richt was only looking at redshirting lineman and qbs. I also can see the argument of not redshirting him. Everyone talked about KM in kind of the same way and he only contributed for 2 years. Then again, if we have 4 capable backs in front of him do you waste a year? Return punts or kicks? Not for me to decide thankfully.

DOG FAN

August 10th, 2009
2:24 pm

ABOUT THE STORY OF THE 2 INTS FOR TDS GO AHEAD AND TELL THE REST OF THE STORY LIKE WHO THREW THE DANG BALL!

Jay

August 10th, 2009
2:35 pm

Is this speculation or based on something. Basically all the “factors” you have listed
are football 101 for a running back. I am sure the coaches would have told you the
same generic stuff about Moreno three years ago and a year of productivity was wasted.

I think this is just “pot stirring” and based on nothing else. I could say that Aaron Murray won’t
play this year because as a qb he has to hit open receivers, make clean handoffs to the backs
and study the playbook.

Normally, I like the stuff you write but this is just laziness.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 10th, 2009
2:38 pm

Ealey has good size, power and speed but Knowshon has all of that plus he is very elusive and that is the difference.

[...] wrote about Georgia freshman tailback Washaun Ealey earlier today but here’s a little Q&A put together by the Macon Telegraph’s David [...]

Chip Towers

August 10th, 2009
3:28 pm

gt2012: As to your question comparing Ealey to King, I have to tell you the little bit I’ve seen of practice so far I think Caleb King has looked fantastic. He was one of the most impressive runners I’ve ever seen as a junior in high school. He’s starting to recoup that look in college, in my opinion. Not only is he showing the quickness and cutting ability he always have, but he appears to be running with confidence, like he knows exactly what he’s supposed to be doing and what he’s looking for. In my humble opinion I think he’s far ahead of the other backs right now. . . . That said, Ealey is an impressive physical specimen that will be able to compete at this level. I’m not sure about his top end speed just yet but he can definitely hit the hole quick and runs low to the ground. We’ll just have to wait until we can see him in some full contact. . .

atlantadave, dawgfacedboy: Regarding Ealey playing this season, I probably should have specified that I don’t expect him to have an impact at tailback. I think he might play some on special teams. As the season progresses, he may be able to get in to play a little on offense. I just don’t see him competing for the main spot. . . .

Jay: What do I base this on? I base it on 20 years of experience covering college football professionally. I base it on my personal observations from watching Georgia’s practices, my personal interviews with Washaun Ealey, interviews with Ealey’s teammates and coaches and on conversations I’ve had with people inside the program. And I resent your accusation that I wrote this out of “laziness” for the aforementioned reasons and more.

shane#1

August 10th, 2009
3:31 pm

I think Ealey will play somewhere, on the special teams possibly, but somewhere. Richt has said that most of these freshmen will play, and he usually does exactly what he says he will do. As for Caleb missing that block, I wouldn’t want any 210 lb tailback to be in charge of keeping Spikes off my butt! The best you could hope for would be that the tb gets in Spikes way long enough for a quick hitter or time to throw the ball into the cheap seats. If I am the qb and Spikes is coming at top speed with mayhem on his mind, some fan is getting a free football.

tony

August 10th, 2009
4:04 pm

You don’t keep a player like Ealey on the sideline. He set the state record in touchdowns. Herschel Walker set the state record in yard rushing and then set the rushing record at UGA along with a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Ealey is a touchdown technician. He knows how to get find the end zone when most can not. BIG MISTAKE to RESHIRT him.

saint simons

August 10th, 2009
4:22 pm

Ealey will be a bust!!!!!! 45-42 hahahahahahahaha!!!

Dorsey Hill

August 10th, 2009
4:23 pm

There may be some limitations to what Georgia can do with Ealey out there, but there is plenty in the playbook that won’t put us at a disadvantage. You probably won’t see him in a lot of 3rd and distance situations, for example. On the other hand he isn’t likely to be a liability on 1st and 10 or 2nd and 3.

While Knowshon redshirted, most of our freshman backs have played a lot under CMR. Didn’t Danny Ware start his first game? I know that both Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin contributed a lot as freshman. Of the positions that freshman can play and make an impact immediately, the tailback position is probably the easiest followed by WR.

If Ealey doesn’t make a huge splash it will be either because the other backs are doing very well or Ealey just isn’t the player that we think he may be. It won’t, however, be because he’s a freshman.

jay

August 10th, 2009
4:39 pm

Jay: What do I base this on? I base it on 20 years of experience covering college football professionally

First, why are you so defensive? You’d think a 20 veteran would have thicker skin than that! Second, what did those other players and coaches tell you that allowed you to draw that “professional” opinion? (BTW, you’re a sports writer, not a coach so get off your high horse)
I saw a quote from Ealey saying that he was giving
100 percent. What about Richt’s impressions of him?
McClendon’s impressions? Bobo’s? I could have guessed that Ealey was giving 100 percent. And I am just a mere sports “fan” and certainly not a resident of the Valhallah of sports writing like you! You’re covering the #1 sports draw in the state. Bring something to the table rather than he may or may not contribute. That’s just lazy.

JustaThought

August 10th, 2009
4:55 pm

You Ga guys cut nobody lack…………..not even one of your own. I detected a bit of defensiveness as well Jay, and I do like your follow-up.

DawginLex

August 10th, 2009
5:16 pm

Doesn’t a lot of this depend on the development of Samuel as a backup to King? I just don’t see it with Carlton Thomas other than a change of pace guy coming out of the backfield on sweeps, end arounds and swing passes. An every down back he ain’t.

Samuel has the size to block and can run well also. If he doesn’t pan out, I’ll bet Ealey gets reps at RB.

dawgstephen

August 10th, 2009
5:32 pm

Ealey is definitely a great athlete. If he continues to work, then he will contribute. I happen to like the way this was written. All he was saying was dont expect him to be a savior…YET.

He will play, at what level?? maybe a HIGH level…we will see.

http://www.dawgstephen.blogspot.com

gratefuldawghead

August 10th, 2009
6:21 pm

Richt whishes he would of played Moreno his Freshman year instead of red shirting him! We only got 2 years out of Moreno. If Ealey can contribute now…let him!
GO DAWGS!

J-DAWG 17

August 10th, 2009
7:09 pm

Enter your comments here

J-DAWG 17

August 10th, 2009
7:16 pm

he played against horrible class a teams every year everyone is high on him i live in the next county over from Twin City and seen the type of competition he went against it was awful i’m afraid we may have wasted a scholly on him, hope i’m wrong

Who Cares

August 10th, 2009
7:25 pm

bamadawg

August 10th, 2009
7:35 pm

Jay. Maybe your looking for a little to much info than can be given at this time. CHILL-OUT. Chip does a GREAT job for us and I appreciate him.

BIG BEE

August 10th, 2009
8:10 pm

saint simons, you are such a jerk. Why do you want to be a redneck like most of your counterparts on the UGA side. Ealy will probably be a great back for Ga. at some point, and I just hope we can keep him in the backfield when he plays against us.

2N4YEARS

August 10th, 2009
9:13 pm

Big Bee is proof that ther are a few good bees out there…………

Jay, I agree that this particular article is a little ‘lacking’, but I also agree w/ bamadawg that Chip normally does an OK job– sometimes better than others–sometimes great. To be honest, I’d rather see some more info on the practices, but with the limited access these guys have and only a few practices in, it’s difficult I’m sure. Now, ‘Mr.CFB’ is another story. :)

TrojanDude

August 10th, 2009
9:31 pm

Chip, Jay,,, Everyone. Relax. It’s just too early for this. Everythings cool. Jay,,, we’re just talking about stuff here. No one’s writing a doctorial thesis. Chip, ,, come on man, you’re bigger than this guy. Anybody else looking forward to some High School action?

Chip Towers

August 10th, 2009
9:51 pm

Perhaps I came off defensive and for that I apologize. Just don’t like being called lazy.

hop

August 10th, 2009
10:41 pm

ealy will be a great back,but it will take time to learn this complex offense!

Look Alive---There are buzzards overhead

August 10th, 2009
11:05 pm

Don’t overlook Samuel. He was the fastest back on the team last year according to the other backs. He has size and is not just 17 this year. He may be the starter or back up to ???

jay

August 10th, 2009
11:10 pm

Sorry Chip. I should have never said lazy. You have kept this Dawg informed for many years. I regret my comments and
sincerely apologize.

LET THE BIG DAWG EAT

August 11th, 2009
6:51 am

The best thing about Saint Simons? We won’t have to listen to him for another 8 years.

JustaThought

August 11th, 2009
6:58 am

If the kid struggles to pick-up the blocking schemes (which the best of them sometime do) or other complexities of the offense, and/or more importantly one or two of the upper classmen (Samuels and King are capable) step-up, CMR may not have a choice but to red shirt Ealey. If my memory serves me correctly, when KM was a freshman the situation was about the same as now (no clear cut starter……..). Besides I think it would be wise for a lot of these guys to consentrate more on the classroom (get real control of their grades). It’s no secret a few of these guys “struggled” to qualify. I really don’t get the sense that rb is a weakness for this team, even though injuries can change that.

JustaThought

August 11th, 2009
7:00 am

Oh yeah! I do think he will be a BEAST in the future.

BIGBOY

August 11th, 2009
8:13 am

I don’t know Chip I think the whole blocking thing has kind of taken a life of it’s own.CMR threw that out as an excuse for red shirting Moreno and now all of a sudden it’s the standard of which the backs are judged?Lumpkin,Brown and Ware played as freshman and they were not all that great blocking as freshman.I think any back who had a knee injury as a HS senior will red shirt other than that I don’t see a guy getting a RS just for blocking.As for Caleb he was not getting many carries as it was frankly Samuel didn’t block or run that effectively last year.ALA and Tenn run a pro offense too and I haven’t heard the RB must be a good blocker or else he don’t play much anywhere else including CMR at FSU.I think that angle is a little overblown.I think the general feeling comes from if you can RS Knowshon anybody can get a RS.Personally I think the depth chart had more to do with Moreno’s RS than anything else.He still started off in 07 as the 3rd string back!

AltamahaDawg

August 11th, 2009
10:54 am

I think folks are reading way too much in Richt’s very predicatable, if not comical “gee I guess I look Dumb not playing Moreno sooner”. What was he supposed to say? Even if he was dead serious, that was a specific situation. They will evaluate this kid independantly and shoulda coulda woulda Moreno is never going to enter the conversation.

tenn.DAWG

August 11th, 2009
11:06 am

That’s right BigBoy,utk runs a pro-style also and you can bet Brown and Oku both will get lots of touches.Bottom line is,with talent like that, you have to develope them asap.

Tough Stuff | OSU Cowboys

August 11th, 2009
11:26 am

[...] tailback recruit Washaun Ealey may not be ready to roll against [...]

godawgs

November 21st, 2009
9:40 am

Notice Ealey says he just “focusing on giving 100%”. The mark of a Champion. He’s focusing on EFFORT. He’s not worried about the stats or wins and losses, they’ll come.

Notice he’s comign in earlier, and staying later in the RB meetings. The mark of a Champion. As long as he REALLY gives 100% EFFORT, Ealey’s going to be SPEICAL folks, mark it down. records are going to FALL!

godawgs

November 21st, 2009
12:02 pm

Chip-

How has Ealey done with the expectations you wrote about in this thread. I think you said about Ealey:
1) Not sure about his top end speed (some scoutign reports say he’s been clocked at 4.4 in the 40–have you checked this out yet?)
2) didn’t expect him to have an impact
3) might be able to get a little playing time
4) you just don’t see him competing at this point

Have you compared Ealey and King’s Freshman years in ypc, explosion yard, td’s?

godawgs

November 29th, 2009
3:25 pm

Chip-

What did you think of Ealey’s performance against Ga Tech, 9.2 ypc, 180+ yards on 20 carries against #7 Ga Tech?

I bet you didn’t see that coming from a freshman RB did you Chip? You think a 180 yard game against an in-state #7 ranked team is “having an impact”?

Chip Towers

November 29th, 2009
11:05 pm

godawgs: I have been very impressed with Washaun Ealey the second half of the season. There was never any doubt he could tote the rock. With Richard Samuel, Caleb King and Carlton Thomas ahead of him, a camp injury and protection issues still, I just didn’t think they’d need him. I was wrong and the future looks bright with the one-two punch of Ealey and King!

[...] never been afraid to admit a mistake and me writing back in August that I didn’t think Ealey would make an impact as a freshman at Georgia was flat-out wrong. And, believe me, I’ve had a few readers write in to let me [...]