Tailback update: Ealey wants to regain trust ‘I’m pretty sure I lost’

(Updated 10 a.m. Thursday)

ATHENS — With Caleb King suspended for two games and Carlton Thomas still bothered by a hamstring injury, Georgia suddenly is in a precarious position at tailback.

Washaun Ealey, whose playing time has been limited the past two games because of his problem with fumbles, will start Saturday against Vanderbilt. “He’s going to be the guy this week,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.

Ealey sees this as his chance to make amends for critical fumbles against South Carolina and Mississippi State.

“I’m pretty sure I lost the trust of most guys on the team,”  Ealey said after practice Wednesday. “Hopefully I can go out there and gain their trust back this week.

“I know my team really needs me this game,” he added.

Georgia’s tailback situation behind Ealey remains in flux.

Thomas, who missed last week’s game, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Freshman Ken Malcome, whom the coaches are considering playing for the first time, missed part of Tuesday’s practice with a shoulder stinger but returned Wednesday. Whether Malcome sheds his redshirt and plays Saturday could hinge on how Thomas does the next couple of days, coach Mark Richt said Wednesday night.

Asked earlier this week  if Malcome has shown enough in practice to prove he’s ready to play, Bobo said: “We ain’t got nobody else. … We got one running back,” meaning Ealey.

Fullbacks Fred Munzenmaier and Zander Ogletree also have gotten work at tailback in practice this week, Richt said.

“We’re going to have to figure out a way,” Bobo said. “Guys are going to have to pick up the slack, and Washaun is going to have to be ready to go.”

King’s suspension is the latest hurdle for a tailback contingent that has had trouble getting on track this season.

“It’s been interesting, to say the least,” McClendon said.

Among suspensions (first Ealey’s, now King’s) and injuries (first King’s ankle, now Thomas’ hamstring) and crucial fumbles (two by Ealey, one by King), Georgia has not been able to get into any kind of rhythm at tailback in the first half of the season.

Ealey has started three games, King two (both of the wins) and Thomas one. Ealey has a team-leading 246 rushing yards, followed by King with 228. Ealey’s longest run of the season is 18 yards. As a team, Georgia is 10th in the SEC in rushing, averaging 136.8 yards per game.

McClendon said King was beginning to separate himself as the No. 1 tailback — before his early Monday arrest for failing to appear at a court date in connection with a speeding ticket. That arrest resulted in a two-game suspension from Richt.

Now, Ealey “has to go out there and do a good job,” McClendon said. “Not so much fill the void, but he has to go out there and fill the job, no matter what.”

Third-down inefficiency

Georgia’s defense is last in the SEC when it comes to stopping opponents on third down, allowing a first down 43.4 percent of the time.

“Third-and-long, especially, has been our Achilles heel,” Richt said. “We’ve had a bunch of teams in third-and-long, and we’ve had a bunch of teams get a first down. It’s just so frustrating.

“A lot of it has been QB runs. You feel like you have the right call, you have everybody covered and you are right there to get [the quarterback], and he breaks free. He either runs across the line of scrimmage like the Colorado quarterback [Tyler Hansen] did at least two or three times in the first drive of the game, or breaks free and throws a touchdown pass like the quarterback [Matt Simms] did for Tennessee last week.”

Richt said the Georgia defense has been much better against “third-and-medium” plays than against third-and-long.

“We just have got to continue to get our guys in position to make the plays,” Richt said, “and get them to make it.”

Last word

Asked who is happiest to have A.J. Green back in the lineup — the other receivers, the tight ends, the quarterback, the running backs — Bobo quickly answered: “Me.”

415 comments Add your comment

Verbal Kent

October 13th, 2010
9:16 am

Sanford Drive

October 13th, 2010
9:21 am

Glory, Glory to Ole’ Georgia!!!

Hate on haters!!! We are going nowhere!

GO DAWGS!!!!!

Go Dawgs

October 13th, 2010
9:21 am

Dawg_Mike

October 13th, 2010
9:21 am

This time last year we were begging CMR to play Ealey.
Be careful what we wish for, huh?
If Malcome is not ready then when will he be???

Spivedog

October 13th, 2010
9:23 am

King is mediocre at best. Our running game is not going to win us any games this year, in fact, the more we try to run it, the more likely we are to lose. We need to ride Murray and AJG for all they got this season, and hopefully get Crowell for next year.

Dawggie

October 13th, 2010
9:23 am

I cannot wait to pull out the red hoodie this Saturday morning! It’s suppose to be in the low 40’s Saturday morning. A true sign that thegreatest stretch of the year is upon us!

Welcome Uga VIII.

DOG

October 13th, 2010
9:23 am

I dont understand how we can have this shortage at rb, it tells a bad story on recruiting the right guys. there should be an all out effort to land two strong backs regargless of how many stars he has, evaluate better or be gone.

Worm

October 13th, 2010
9:27 am

Just made Bobo’s gameplan change..Hope the fans can see this and lay off Mike..

Geno

October 13th, 2010
9:28 am

It doesn’t seem that other coaches have a problem playing true freshmen. Spurrier is playing Lattimore and Chizik is playing Dyer. Why do we always have to make sure someone is “ready” to play before we just give them a chance. Yeah, maybe we don’t put him back there on 3rd and long when there is a chance he misses a block on a blitz but give the guy a chance.

5150 P.O.A.D

October 13th, 2010
9:29 am

From Tailback U to Jailback U. My how times have changed.

Spivedog

October 13th, 2010
9:31 am

DOG, we are recruiting the right guys, as the guys we recruit out of high school are all-world, but I question promoting a grad assistant (BMAC) to Running Backs coach at UGA. I questioned the move at the time, and I am further convinced that Bmac is not qualified to be a coach in the SEC. Richt needs to quit rewarding people w/in the program, b/c this is clearly not working (see Willie, Bobo, Bmac).

You Party!!!! (in best nerdy insult voice)

October 13th, 2010
9:32 am

YOU PARTY!!!! Athens is nothing but a partying college town!!! Athens is nothing but a string of bars!!! Athens is a haven for college students to party and have fun!!!!!

Sound familiar Techies?? That’s the crap you spit out more often than not. So I found a good read for you.

The neighborhood immediately surrounding the Georgia Tech campus, has been declared the 7th most dangerous neighborhood in the United States in terms of violent crimes. 7th!!!!! If you live there for a full calendar-year, you have a 1 in 9 chance at becoming a victim.

Here you go, read for yourself….. http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/10/04/25-most-dangerous-neighborhoods-2010/

All of a sudden those insults you throw at Athens, well, don’t seem like insults anymore do they? Reality sucks, so protect yourselves young Nerds. You are a bunch of sheep living amongst a pack of wolves. I think I’ll continue to take pride in my over-partying, beautiful college town.

Phil

October 13th, 2010
9:34 am

I hope Crowell is taking notice of our lack of quality running backs. He could step right in next year and be our Number 1 guy. I don’t think he can do that at Alabama.

Tom

October 13th, 2010
9:34 am

Tim, is King’s suspension ONLY for the “failure to appear” warrant/arrest, or does it also cover his (alleged) attempt to blackmail a woman into not taking legal action to recover a $500 loan?

Dawgs Tell

October 13th, 2010
9:35 am

Play anybody who can play regardless of red shirt or not.Look at the current season,start building for next year.As for A.J.,what is Bobo going to do next year without him????Better play any and everyone who can play! Give them all game day experience.

5150 P.O.A.D

October 13th, 2010
9:36 am

Party
How many victims of all that vioant crime were Tech students?
At UGA if you stay a few years you are more than likely going to get a MIP or DUI.

MURPHY

October 13th, 2010
9:36 am

Hopefully Ealy will see this as a chance to show the coaches he can run hard,block well and not fumble. I would be anxious to see this freshman running back in action.

jtdawg

October 13th, 2010
9:38 am

“From Tailback U to Jailback U. My how times have changed.”

North Avenue Trade School – from suck to, well, suck….

Barry Gibb

October 13th, 2010
9:38 am

Sanford Drive,

You wrote: “Hate on haters!!! We are going nowhere!”

“We” as in the UGA football program?

Just making sure.

DOG

October 13th, 2010
9:39 am

SPIVE, I dont agree 100% with you on the right guys, but your are dead on about the promoting within, it almost seems lazy or dumb of Richt to do this and be slow to rectify when it goes bad. I wish decisions would be made quicker, i cant live forever.

RB blocking...

October 13th, 2010
9:39 am

…is just like playing defense on a basketball team, you have to “want” to do it in oreder to do it right – and, the prima donna guys at UGA only “want” to run the ball and DO NOT “want” to block. And, they will never make it in college or the NFL until the “want” to do it…llok at little guy pros like Ladanian Tomlinson and Walter Payton – they were/are great runners, but you do not/did not see them coming out on third and long because they could block, too. If you don’t mind getting in front of those DE’s and LB’s coming off the corner or up the middle (see Ealy’s whiff in the AR game) then they are not going to play in college or the pro’s (see Johnathan Dwyer of Tech fame now in the Steel City – that is why he lasted until the 6th round – he could run but his blocking was suspect, and now he is proving himself).

gomdawg

October 13th, 2010
9:40 am

I say play Logan Gray at TB

jtdawg

October 13th, 2010
9:40 am

Funny how many other team supporters hang on Georgia blogs…

Talk about needing a life…

builder dawg

October 13th, 2010
9:41 am

Worm,,,,, DUDE blobo is THE problem. He needs to go back to Thomasville H.S. and learn how to call plays,,,,and then in a few years, work his way back up.

builder dawg

October 13th, 2010
9:43 am

how about use the TIGHT ENDS more in the gameplan.Run single back more and short game to the TE,,,,,,,just saying

Knowshon Moreno

October 13th, 2010
9:43 am

Yo Coach you need me to come back.

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:44 am

Tell me about it. They are trying to run me off cause my goofy little backs cant hold on to the football

Quincy Carter

October 13th, 2010
9:44 am

Maybe I could help coach… Sniff Sniff

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 13th, 2010
9:45 am

When you have the backup FB getting ready to carry the ball as your tailback then you have depth issues. UGA lacks a CONSISTENT homerun threat in the running game. Ealey and King have there moments, but neither with the way the OL has performed has enough talent to make something out of nothing.

Malcome at this point is like the backup QB, everyone’s favorite till he gets in and throws a pick/fumble. Malcome coming out of high school lacked the top end speed in a tailback that UGA needs. He is another Ealey/King clone. Recruiting a big play high impact tailback has to be of high importance this recruiting class. Lets just hope the way this season has unfolded has not crushed those chances.

Jim Donnan

October 13th, 2010
9:45 am

Qunicy I told you to lay off the powdered sugar

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:46 am

Hey Jim. Want your job back?

Bo

October 13th, 2010
9:47 am

I doubt it will matter too much. UGA can’t run the ball anyway. Until the line starts blocking consistently, every running back is going to look mediocre.

DOG – I think the recruiting has been fine. UGA has 3 good active running backs and Malcome redshirting. They also have Branden Smith to use on offense. If Caleb King had handled his business UGA wouldn’t be in this position. Carlton Thomas can’t help it that he is injured but Caleb, AJ and the rest of the players who have been suspended have let their team and fans down.

Jim Donnan

October 13th, 2010
9:47 am

You can keep it coach. I am glad they fired me. I was tired of loosing to Florida anyway. Now i get to be on the Radio with Buck Belue! Weheeeeee

Quincy Carter

October 13th, 2010
9:48 am

Hey coach think you could spot me a 20??? I need some ohm…. food ya food thats what I need.

Jim Donnan

October 13th, 2010
9:48 am

Qunicy we know you aint buying food with that 20

AJ Greene

October 13th, 2010
9:49 am

Anybody want to buy a jersey? Its from the colorado game… Promise I will donate the proceeds to charity

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:50 am

Dang it AJ. You are the only player we got. Now quit trying to sell your jersey and Jesus loves you

Caleb King

October 13th, 2010
9:52 am

You mean if I dont pay my ticket or show up in court it want just go away cause I am a UGA football player?????

82Dawg

October 13th, 2010
9:52 am

It is good to see the children are on here today.

Spivedog

October 13th, 2010
9:52 am

Lowcountry, this past recruiting season it was said how were recruitng Malcome b/c we don’t have a RB like him on our roster. Malcome is the big back we have been missing, and he’s been referred to as a Charles Scott clone from LSU. Malcome is a brusier, and is nothing like King/Ealey.

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:53 am

Caleb you are suspended from the AJC comment boards for two days for asking dumb questions.

Caleb King

October 13th, 2010
9:53 am

Ha thats funny coach

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:54 am

I mean it Caleb and Jesus loves you

JB

October 13th, 2010
9:54 am

Lot’s of buzzards still flying around……Bleachers report .com has a story this AM ” Ten reasons why UGA should fire Mark Richt right now”……. Ching from the Athens Banner Herald has a in depth write up this week ( it’s still online) about our recruiting the last 4 year cycle, and how many bust we have and who is playing elsewhere in the SEC from the state of Georgia…It’s a real eyeopening article about the lack of success we’re having getting top talent to Athens. Not having any SEC caliber ready to go is alarming. They better play Malcome this week……Beating Florida and Tech this year would give us some hope, but both those programs have some issues……….Recruiting concerns me.

Ace

October 13th, 2010
9:55 am

New rule — If arrested, you must go to class and then to the library and study. Zero tolerance.

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:55 am

Its zero tolerance from hear on out you got me Caleb

Caleb King

October 13th, 2010
9:56 am

You need to lean how to spell coach. It should be “here” not “hear” :)

MURPHY

October 13th, 2010
9:56 am

I saw it mentioned on here that Malcome lacks break away speed. He looked pretty good at South West Dekald High. He is a big body that could really be a bruiser.

Dawgs73

October 13th, 2010
9:56 am

Bobo said: “We ain’t got nobody else. … We got one running back,” – Simply a masterpiece of a quote from our offensive guru.

Mark Richt

October 13th, 2010
9:56 am

Thats it you are kick of the team Caleb