With Washaun Ealey’s departure, heat’s turned up on Caleb King, not Isaiah Crowell

Caleb King has averaged more than five yards per carry the last two seasons but has struggled with injuries and suspensions. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Caleb King has averaged more than five yards per carry the last two seasons but has struggled with injuries and suspensions. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

A lot of people may feel like the pressure was turned up on incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell when Georgia and tailback Washaun Ealey decided to part ways this week. I disagree.

As a five-star prospect and the No. 1-rated running back prospect in America, much already was expected of Crowell. And no matter how you slice it, he’s still a true freshman. He’s going to be given the latitude of the learning curve, at least in the early going. He’s not going to be expected to know everything and to do everything just right.

No, if you ask me the heat has been turned up on Caleb King.

King is the fifth-year senior. By default, he is the incumbent starter at tailback.

As such, King is supposed to have the playbook mastered at this point. He should be as proficient a pass blocker as he is a ball carrier. At 23 years old, he’s supposed to be the mature one, the one who leads the other running backs by example.

Whether King has what it takes to do that is unclear. His UGA career has been in a constant state of interruption between injuries and disciplinary infractions. Just last season he missed three games due to suspension and another two and a half with injuries.

Georgia fans have yet to see what a fully-committed, injury-and-suspension-free King might look like.

  • As a freshman in 2008, he was buried behind Knowshon Moreno on the depth chart.
  • In August of 2009, he missed much of preseason camp with a hamstring injury.
  • In September of 2009 he missed 2 1/2 games with a sprained ankle.
  • In October of 2009 he suffered a broken jaw against LSU.
  • In April of 2010, he missed most of spring practice and the G-Day game with a knee injury.
  • In October of 2010, he was suspended for two games after being jailed for failure to appear on a minor traffic charge.
  • In December of 2010, he was suspended for the Liberty Bowl for missing academic appointments, a violation of athletic department policy.

But when King has been healthy and available, he’s actually been pretty good. He has averaged over five yards per carry each of the last two seasons, an important statistical indicator in the rough-and-tumble SEC. He averaged 5.2 yards a pop when he rushed for 594 yards as a sophomore and 5.4 while getting only 80 carries last year.

And there were indications this spring that he has finally popped free of controversy.

Asked about Crowell’s impending arrival this summer, King said, “He’s still got to come in and work hard because the rest of us are working hard. We’re all busting our tails. I’m going to try to get him under my wing and go from there.”

As for the events that led to his suspensions, he told reporters, “That will never happen again.”

Coach Mark Richt has already assured us that we’ll likely see much of the ballyhooed Crowell in the season opener. “I wouldn’t be shocked to see him running that rock in the Dome against Boise State on the opening play,” Richt said.

But odds are we’ll see even more of Caleb King.

305 comments Add your comment

zzggyy

May 10th, 2011
10:40 am

Tarlie Chrippi

May 10th, 2011
10:40 am

That stings…

NJ Dawg

May 10th, 2011
10:41 am

In contrast to Ealey’s disciplinary problems, King’s issues have been mostly injury-related, so I’m not worried about him being a bad influence on Crowell. The bigger concern is how committed Richt and Bobo will be to the running game. In the SEC, it CAN’T be just a change-of-pace after you’ve passed twelve times in a row.
Offensive linemen wear d-linemen down when they fire off the line in run-blocking. If King and Crowell can stay healthy (and that’s not a given for either of them) and Bobo commits to the run, they can be really good. But that’s at least three “ifs” that I’m not too sure about.

NC Dawg

May 10th, 2011
10:42 am

I got faith that Caleb can have a good year.

run the ball

May 10th, 2011
10:43 am

It doesn’t matter who the tailback is, CMB will not allow the running game, much less one back, get into a rhythm. Our refusal to be a physical running team costs us ball games. If you can’t line up and get one inch against Central Florida? Wow. We’re not a good running team. We’re a terrible screen pass team. We really have no identity on offense.

Wayne

May 10th, 2011
10:49 am

Dude. Those “hamstrong” injuries are pretty tough to come back from.

Wayne

May 10th, 2011
10:50 am

You’re almost too fast for me, Chip.

Mtn Dawg

May 10th, 2011
10:51 am

I hope King steps and takes the rock, as he should. If he plays up to his potential and we have Crowell, Malcomb and the other guy, we’re deep folks, and talented. This is going to be fun. Hope the OL is up to the call.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

May 10th, 2011
10:54 am

No heat on King. We already know what we’re going to get from him. On his best day he’s only going to be adequate. No, the heat is still on Crowell. And the door is open for Malcome.

Geez

May 10th, 2011
10:56 am

With all the things going on in Athens, I wonder if UGA will win more than 7 games this year.

1980 is sooooooooooooo far away. Herschell, is that you?

Oncology Results

May 10th, 2011
10:58 am

King is just as big of a cancer to this team as Ealey was. Get rid of this worthless punk now.

Geez

May 10th, 2011
10:58 am

UGA players sure have funny names to make fun of.

Washup Ealey, Noshot Morono, Flat Stafford……….

EARL

May 10th, 2011
10:59 am

Get a clue.

caleb king scored 2 touchodwns on 80 carries.

ealey scored 11 on 150.

caleb king can’t replace ealey.

you’d need 6 caleb’s to replace 1 ealey.

Will

May 10th, 2011
11:00 am

Caleb scored 2 td’s on 80 carries.

Ealey got 11 td’s on 150 carries.

You’d need 6 Caleb’s to place 1 Ealey.

Will

May 10th, 2011
11:00 am

I agree with Earl.

CountryBlumpkin

May 10th, 2011
11:02 am

Will, you probably agree with Ed and Jerry too. Oh wait, same person.

dawgster

May 10th, 2011
11:04 am

Caleb had more yds per carry than ealey, so how many carries does Ealey need to replace Caleb’s?? Do that math for a change.

Will

May 10th, 2011
11:05 am

For King to match Ealey’s 11 td’s King will need 440 carries, since he only scored a td every 40 touches. King only got 80 carries last year.

King likes to passblock so he’s a good match for Bozo, oops, Bobo.

Tick Tock

May 10th, 2011
11:06 am

Gonna look reeeeeeeeeeeeal bad for UGA if Richt drops King, a SENIOR RB.

poopdawg

May 10th, 2011
11:07 am

Don’t forget about BOO. Apparently Richt did last year.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 10th, 2011
11:08 am

The real question is will King show enough in the Spring and early in the season to warrant CMB and CMR giving him the ball 200-240 times this year. He has shown glimpses of success but not sustained effort. Crowell should get the ball 150 times this year if King does his job properly.

Will

May 10th, 2011
11:09 am

What happens when Caleb fumbles or gets injured again?

Observation

May 10th, 2011
11:09 am

Most of the people who blog on AJC UGA blogs, never attended UGA. Funny how that happens.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 10th, 2011
11:10 am

**** show enough in the Summer****

Mark Richt coaches the players down, not up

May 10th, 2011
11:10 am

6-6 for the mutts and pay raise for Richt.NICE!

Will

May 10th, 2011
11:10 am

My bet is Ealey ends up at in 2012 at Alabama or Auburn or Miss St or Tenn. A place where they run the football.

sogadog

May 10th, 2011
11:12 am

I give King credit for hanging in there and not giving up like Waushan did. This season will be his last opportunity to shine and show the NFL scouts he is qualified to play pro ball. I hope he remains healthy and has a great season.

CHDawg

May 10th, 2011
11:14 am

We are much stronger at TB with or without Washaun. Look, the near constant problems can be a distraction and drag on the team…wish he could have worked through it, though. Malcome, Thomas and even Hartley can contribute. I think Malcome has much more potential than people seem to realize. He has SEC power, size and speed and all should get better. He is inexperienced. King is a very solid TB, who really knows the whole game and playbook. If he can stay injury, problem, and fumble free, he will do very well. Crowell is a wild card: he could come in green and intimidated by the level jump, and he could make a contribution. He certainly has the potential. Compare this lineup to the start of the last few years and your optimism will grow. BTW, I would love to see King drop some weight and add some speed and quickness. He is fine all around, but his unique gift is his elusiveness. Slowing him down in any way negates his best abilities IMHO.

DawginLex

May 10th, 2011
11:15 am

Will, your predictions are worthless.

Ealey will go somewhere where he can play now-NOT BCS school
Mettenberger didn’t transfer-he got kicked off the team-he will never play at LSU, already been recruited over for next year
Gray-Will never play QB at Colorado. Backup wide receiver

Richt is eliminating the cancers.

Ealey
Gray
Mett
Houston(graduated)

Observation

May 10th, 2011
11:16 am

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Alabama -1
Auburn – 1
Florida -2
LSU -2
Tennessee – 1

UGA- ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jones

May 10th, 2011
11:16 am

kING’S 2 TD’S WONT REPLACE eALEY’S 11.

DawginLex

May 10th, 2011
11:18 am

and Geez, you fat wimp moron.

Where did you go to college?

I bet you didn’t go at all much less to UGA.

Your posts are retarded. Why don’t you go stalk somewhere else? You offer no value to any kind of adult discussion about football.

DawginLex

May 10th, 2011
11:19 am

WOW observation!

You win Mr Obvious award.

how long did your research take?

Geez

May 10th, 2011
11:20 am

“and Geez, you fat wimp moron.’

Folks, DawginLex is a classic example of inbreeding gone horribly wrong.

“Where did you go to college?”

Florida

“Your posts are retarded.”

No, you’re retarded, Corky.

“Why don’t you go stalk somewhere else? You offer no value to any kind of adult discussion about football.”

Says the gal who hangs out on UGA blogs all day.

Nomobama

May 10th, 2011
11:20 am

“and the other guy. We’re deep folks and talented”. LMAO. If you actually were deep or talented, you’d think you’d be able to recall the other guys actual name.

Observation

May 10th, 2011
11:22 am

DawginLex reminds me of the Gabbie Gifford shooter. Big conspiracy type, angry and calls other people names.

Seek help, sick one.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 10th, 2011
11:23 am

Observation,

What is the point of your “observation”? Do you not realize we already know this? As a UGA guy and SEC fan I am proud of the conference to achieve this type of success. Do I find it difficult to pull for certain teams in the games? Of course, but conference superiority is a pretty good thing also. So I eliminate my personal feeling towards sadi teams. By posting this it only makes you look juvenile and is very sophomoric. I am sure this is over your head as it deals in the world of sanity and logic. Just know that all the exclamation marks on accentuate that point.

hop

May 10th, 2011
11:25 am

dawginlex.. you are an absolute idiot. gray and mett are not cancers,but you certainly are!

DawginLex

May 10th, 2011
11:25 am

Geez and observation are classic examples of kids whose parents wish they had practiced better birth control and had one less kid.

Changing your blog handles, posting inane drivel over and over and wishing they had gone to UGA.

Really sad and pathetic.

I’m going to escape this misery you have created on this blog.

Enjoy talking to yourself.

icedawg

May 10th, 2011
11:27 am

“Observation” you must have been born after to 1980. Granted not much to show after that. King has been injury and fumble prone. The poor play or talent along the OL has “dogged” us for the past few years and made the running game a yawn. Why wouldn’t they give the ball to the new guy since he will probably only be around 2 years? I can remember when freshmen did not play their first year but stayed the 4. It’s all about the money now.

BG

May 10th, 2011
11:28 am

Caleb will have a big year and a shot in the NFl.

Observation

May 10th, 2011
11:28 am

Lowcountry Bulldawg

I post this to irritate angry dawg fans who didn’t even attend UGA.

“Of course, but conference superiority is a pretty good thing also.”

It is for teams who pull their weight and win national championships. Band wagoners like you just give the SEC a bad name.

Observation

May 10th, 2011
11:29 am

DawginHeat

How many times did your sister/mom drop you on your head in the trailer park?

Observation

May 10th, 2011
11:29 am

“By posting this it only makes you look juvenile and is very sophomoric.”

You should point that statement to DawginLex.

RxDawg

May 10th, 2011
11:30 am

“No, if you ask me the heat has been turned up on Caleb King.”

I completely agree Chip. That was one of the first things I thought when I saw the news about Ealy.

mcdawg

May 10th, 2011
11:31 am

look some of the folks don’t get it-BoBo and Richt are committed to a “balanced” attack-when we have fallen behing often and early during the Cox days-we had to throw alot more

Ealey could should woulda been a great one-but if King and Malcome stay healthy i don’t see a big drop off in production -and who know maybe Crowell can step in–but they have to know how to read a defense and they have to know how to block

it is not as simple as hitting a whole

NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

May 10th, 2011
11:31 am

Hey DawginLex,

Why are you such an angry person?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 10th, 2011
11:31 am

Band Wagoner? Nah, not really. But if you would like to think that feel free. Nice thing about this country we are entitled to our opinions no matter how dumb they may be.

Geez

May 10th, 2011
11:32 am

DawginLex is angry because she’s been cheering for a school that hasn’t done anything since 1980.

Joe

May 10th, 2011
11:33 am

Note to CMR: PLEASE PLEASE…dont let Caleb take Crowell under his wing…..what we get is a player with a attitude….a player that is nothing about team….funny…Caleb of all people would make the remark about “he still has to come in and work hard” LMAO on that one from King….yeah Caleb…you’ve been working REAL hard the last few years……..maybe Caleb could learn something from Crowell- like ATTITUDE…..perhaps he will take Caleb under his wing….