Ten@10: Freshman TB Isaiah Crowell won’t inherit experienced O-line like Dyer, Lattimore

Marcus Lattimore ran behind an experienced offensive line as a freshman at South Carolina last season. (AP photo)

Marcus Lattimore ran behind an experienced offensive line as a freshman at South Carolina last season. (AP photo)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. With Washaun Ealey’s departure, the inevitable questions about whether Isaiah Crowell can match the freshman performances of last year’s star SEC tailbacks are in full force. But while Crowell’s high school accolades — nation’s No. 1-rated running back, 10-plus yards per carry — are similar to South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Auburn’s Michael Dyer, they had something Crowell will not have: An experienced and intact offensive line.

Auburn had the best offensive line in the country, starting four seniors and a junior, including All-American tackle Lee Ziemba. They paved the way for Dyer (1,093 yards) and run-first quarterback Cam Newton (1,473). South Carolina brought back four returning starters last season when Lattimore came in and rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Georgia’s offensive line this season will be a comparative patchwork. The Bulldogs will likely start three seniors — center Ben Jones, left tackle Cordy Glenn and right tackle Justin Anderson. But of them only Jones will be playing the same position he did last season. Anderson is coming back over from a one-year experiment on defense and Glenn has played mostly guard  during his career.

That said, it is not a unit devoid of experience. Jones and Glenn have 68 starts between them. Kenarious Gates started three games at guard and played in every game as a true freshman. Anderson has played in 25 games on the offensive line with 12 starts.  Only Chris Burnette, who projects as the starting right guard, is a true greenhorn.

Georgia’s line would have been comparatively similar in experience to Auburn’s and South Carolina’s had Trinton Sturdivant not suffered a season-ending knee injury in the spring. But he did and the Bulldogs were forced to shuffle again. The question now is if they can make Crowell look good, or vice-versa.

2. Georgia Southern boosters are in the process of raising money to have a statue of Erk Russell commissioned and erected in Statesboro. If successful, it’s likely Georgia fans will have had a hand in making it happen.

Former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, for whom Russell earned his reputation as a crafty and inspirational defensive coordinator, is assisting in the fund-raising effort. He has already offered up a substantial contribution of his own and wrote a letter to Georgia Southern alumni and boosters urging them to do the same.

“I was very excited to learn there is a movement to have a lifetime statue erected at Georgia Southern in memory of my long time good friend and coaching associate, the late and beloved Coach Erk Russell. It will be a fitting tribute to one of the great all time football coaches and one of the great all time people that I have ever known. I never knew a coach that was more loved and respected as Erk Russell. His record speaks for itself. . . . I am very happy and totally supportive of this effort which will be a fitting tribute not only to Coach Russell but to his family and to all of the supporters of Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia. God bless his legacy and the wonderful memories he left for us all.”

3. It sounds like you might be able to strike off Georgia Southern from the list of possible destinations for Ealey. I called Rose Carter, the Eagles’ assistant athletic director for sports communications, to find out if they had been in touch with Georgia’s leading rusher, who was granted an unconditional release by the Bulldogs. Her reply: “We have not had any conversations with Washaun Ealey and we will not have any conversations with him.”  “Will not” are the key words in that sentence.4. Speaking of Georgia tailbacks, head coach Mark Richt spoke at the Greenville (S.C.) Bulldog Club on Wednesday and sounded like he was counting on Caleb King to be a leader in the backfield as a senior this season.

“Caleb has become a very dependable football player,” Richt told reporters before the meeting. “People can have a debate on how effective he’s been. But when it comes to knowing what to do, when it comes to pass protection, when it comes to doing the things that we’re asking him to do, he does a good job. I’ve got faith that he knows what to do and will compete well.”

King and offensive lineman A.J. Harmon were benched for the Liberty Bowl because of academic problems. Richt said spring semester grades will not be posted until Monday and, therefore, player eligibility for this fall has not been determined.

5. Sixty-nine athletes, including 12 football players and every senior on the men’s basketball team, will be graduating when UGA holds commencement ceremonies on Friday in Athens.

Among the football players planning to walk are Geno Atkins, Drew Butler, Logan Gray and Tanner Strickland. Also returning after completing  his degree is NFL veteran linebacker Tony Gilbert. Men’s basketball players Chris Barnes, Jeremy Price, Connor Nolte and Gerald Robinson are all graduating.

6. It’s going to be a zoo in Athens this weekend. In addition to commencement ceremonies on Friday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., UGA will be hosting men’s and women’s NCAA tennis regionals at the Dan Magill Complex (Friday through Sunday) and the SEC Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Spec Towns Track (Thursday-Sunday). The track competition is expected to draw thousands to the Classic City. As many as 700 men’s and women’s athletes will be participating and friends and family of many of those competitors will surely follow. Here’s a feature I wrote on UGA steeplechaser Matt Cleaver to advance the SEC track meet.

7. Georgia baseball’s postseason hopes have taken a serious hit this week. They were already dinged pretty good after losing two of three at Auburn, then came a t-bone crash with a 4-2 home loss to Mercer on Wednesday. Now it has become a mathematical situation for the Bulldogs. While their RPI remains relatively high, they simply have to end up at least three games above .500 heading into the SEC Tournament to give the NCAA selection committee any reason to consider them come June. That means they need to win at least five of the final seven regular-season games. That’s going to be a tall order with three at Kentucky this weekend, and then home against Kennesaw State and then three home games against No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt.

8. The Macon Telegraph’s Seth Emerson tweeted that the Twitter ban for Georgia men’s basketball players has been lifted by prolific tweeter/coach Mark Fox. Emerson was apparently alerted to this new via a tweet from rising sophomore Marcus Thornton.

9. It’s really exciting to see that the University of Georgia and the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism has established a news sports journalism major. While it has been in the works for a while, the official announcement was made Wednesday. The formation of the program was made possible by a $1 million gift from Atlanta’s Carmical Foundation, which will fund a “Chair in Sports Journalism and Society.”

Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t have an indirect efffect on Georgia’s football recruiting. Jordan Watkins, a defensive end out of Woodward Academy and a top 10 prospect in the state, is a 4.0 student who wants to major in sports journalism.

10. THIS & THAT: The good news that all of Georgia’s season-ticket holders were able to get the tickets they requested for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Boise State in the Georgia Dome. The bad news is some tickets are still available, at least according to one empassioned fan blogger. . . . The Georgia softball team, at one time ranked No. 1 in the country, stumbles into the SEC Tournament, which begins today in Oxford, Miss. The eighth-ranked Bulldogs (45-11, 17-9 SEC) will face LSU having lost four of their last six games, including a loss to Longwood on Wednesday.

320 comments Add your comment

51WTGW50

May 12th, 2011
10:18 am

51WTGW50

May 12th, 2011
10:19 am

Congrats to those graduating.

Boise Tickets

May 12th, 2011
10:23 am

Boise tickets are gone. They were gone Tuesday, I think (the same day that the message went out to donors).

Joey

May 12th, 2011
10:23 am

Surely Richt wouldn’t be saying those praising words about Caleb is he had any worries about Caleb’s grades.

Right?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 12th, 2011
10:23 am

thanks for the updates Chip!! I think the O-line will start off shaky but eventually gel together just fine

fan

May 12th, 2011
10:36 am

I’d like to point out that in 2008 we had a couple of freshmen on the line and Knowshon still ran for 1200 yards. Good backs can make a 1 yard loss into a 3 yard gain. Hopefully IC, CK, and company can do the same. HAVE FAITH IN THE DAWGS!!!!

Paul H

May 12th, 2011
10:36 am

Really GA Southern? You wouldn’t take Ealey, huh?

RHALL55

May 12th, 2011
10:36 am

A lot of 4-5 star talent on the OL; now is the time to produce!!! Mail Bag tomorrow; looking forward to questions answered on Juco Talent and JSW and his scholarship!!!

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 12th, 2011
10:37 am

am i the only one who thinks EALEY will be sorely missed?…yall building up CROWELL like hes a combination HERSHEL WALKER BO JACKSON,MARCUSDUPREE….

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 12th, 2011
10:38 am

OFFENSIVE lines are overated…a great runningback/qb makes the OL look good….Auburns line was “great” last year because they had CAM

RT

May 12th, 2011
10:45 am

Chip,

The rumors are it’s a battle of the top ranked teams for Ealey.

Auburn, LSU, UCF, Oklahoma, USC are considered to be Ealey’s potential destinations.

fan

May 12th, 2011
10:46 am

Hey lefty, I sure as hell wont miss Ealey’s fumble on the one yard vs UK in 09′, his fumble on the SC one yard in 10′, his fumble on the one yard line vs Miss st in 10′, and his horrible pass blocking that led to a loss to Ark in 10 and prob more stalled drives throughout his career. He was a cancer to the team. He fumbled in the worst possible times.

fan

May 12th, 2011
10:47 am

primere backs don’t fumble

Bo Williams

May 12th, 2011
10:51 am

Sounds like CMR is willing to do anything to get Keith Marshall. He’d better get an OL if he has any chance of beating out UNC, because their OL is going to be “killer”.

EagleInAlpharetta

May 12th, 2011
11:01 am

So, PaulH, Ealey’s not good enough for good ole UGA, but lil ole GSU is just supposed to jump at the kid and take on his issues. No, thanks, we don’t need your castoffs.

Dill

May 12th, 2011
11:01 am

Murray had more fumbles this year than Ealey did his entire career. Doesn’t count Murray’s int’s, hopefully #11 gets on track. 4 turnovers against biggest rival Florida won’t get it done.

Bring Back Wally Butts

May 12th, 2011
11:02 am

Hey Leftie, you sound like you have never played football! The main problem with the Dawgs last year was line on both sides of the ball. They couldn’t run block for anyone and on d they couldn’t stop the run from anyone.

ATL Sports Fan

May 12th, 2011
11:03 am

RT sounds like Dave and some of ther other alias he/she uses when talking about Mettengerger, Gray and Ealey.

chilidawg

May 12th, 2011
11:07 am

Oh, they’re experienced. They just haven’t done any of that “jelling” stuff yet.

RxDawg

May 12th, 2011
11:13 am

I’m proud of GSU for two things in this article.

1. Passing on a horrible teamate in Washaun Ealy.

2. Errecting a statue to honor a person who truly deserves it for GSU football. The bald eagle created Eagle football. It’s really great to see the support from Dooley on this too. As an alumni of both GSU and UGA, it brings me joy.

Rooster

May 12th, 2011
11:13 am

Fan, Murray had five turnovers in the Florida game. Four interceptions and a fumble. You don’t know what your talking about. Murray cost us more than Ealey did.

Facts

May 12th, 2011
11:13 am

Ealey quit. Murray is still on the team. Quitters never win.

Rooster

May 12th, 2011
11:15 am

Murray didn’t quit because he had Richt on his side and Richt has not thrown Murray under the bus publically over and over and over and over like he did Ealey.

Rooster

May 12th, 2011
11:15 am

Ealey was the #4 back in the SEC according to ESPN. GSU would be crazy not to pick him up. Most of you Ealey haters are entitled to your opinions though.

Dink

May 12th, 2011
11:19 am

Great write-up Chip, thanks. Hope things will work out for Ealy. Congrats to all the graduates, but to quote the late Rodney Dangerfield, “stay in school!”

Mtn Dawg

May 12th, 2011
11:26 am

Is Drew Butler gone? I thought he had one more year of elligibility.

mcdawg

May 12th, 2011
11:35 am

i wish people would stop annointing crowell as the 2nd coming- i think they will be rather disappointed

so Monday we know King & Harmon’s fate

mcdawg

May 12th, 2011
11:37 am

i don’t think you can fault Ealey in the MSU game-that was an incredible hit

Rooster

May 12th, 2011
11:42 am

Only the people who really hate Ealey fault him for the the fumble against MSU. I don’t because that was a ferocious hit.

Saban

May 12th, 2011
11:47 am

Get serious Dawgs. Another losing season. Another loss to Florida. It is what it is.

Delusional

schmeckdawg

May 12th, 2011
11:47 am

I can’t believe that for the most part CMR doesn’t already know their grades, especially the projected starters!

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 12th, 2011
11:49 am

stop annointing greatness to these high school kids….and then if they dont live up to their so called greatness{CALEB KING} they’re considered failures…King isnt a failure, he just havent lived up to all the hype heaped on him by fans…just because they dominate in high school doesnt mean they will in college

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 12th, 2011
11:50 am

rb’s make the OL great…

schmeckdawg

May 12th, 2011
11:52 am

Mtn Dawg

May 12th, 2011
11:26 am
Is Drew Butler gone? I thought he had one more year of elligibility

No, he is back. He will just have to take post graduate courses to stay eligible.

Hope that helps!!!!!

DawginLex

May 12th, 2011
11:55 am

Predicted order of finish in the SEC

Arkansas 11-1
Georgia 10-2
LSU 10-2
Bmam 9-3
Miss st 8-4
SC 8-4
Florida 7-5
Auburn 6-6
UT 6-6
KY 5-7
Miss 4-8
Vandy 2-10

Read ‘em and weep. :) :) :)

schmeckdawg

May 12th, 2011
11:56 am

Well, well, well Washout I guess bad news travels fast!!!!!!!

catfish suppa

May 12th, 2011
11:56 am

that saban shore gota purty mouth

schmeckdawg

May 12th, 2011
11:56 am

@DawginLex

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bring Back Wally Butts

May 12th, 2011
11:57 am

CMR know the grades. They have someone monitoring those all of the time. What CMR cannot do is talk about it until it is officially announced by the administration. We will all find out Monday if CK and AJ can play this fall.

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 12th, 2011
11:58 am

heres another myth; defense wins championships. well dont the team need offense to win too? if a team wins 3-0 it means that their offense scored 3 points and won the game. no team wins with the score 0-0.

DawginLex

May 12th, 2011
11:58 am

GSU won’t talk to Ealey. Richt kicked him off the team but allowed him to save face by letting him say he wanted to be the premier back. Richt booted him. Richt booted Mett too. Gray left because he thought he could play QB in the SEC but he can’t. He won’t play at Colorado either.

Richt is cleaning house and restoring order. Question is: Is it 3 years too late?

Me

May 12th, 2011
11:58 am

Tennessee’s Sports Journalism program is better. UGA School of Journalism is better funded, but in terms of actual teaching UT is superior.

home&home

May 12th, 2011
11:59 am

I love Erk but to hell with Georgia Southern. They can build their own statue without any help from UGA fans AFAIC. If I was to give money to build a statue for Erk, I’d want it in Athens. Read their message boards and see if you agree.

DawginLex

May 12th, 2011
11:59 am

they teach writing at UT?

Who knew?

Reptillicide

May 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

….and Lee Ziemba continues to be overrated. Chip, he was average. He was a freshman All-American, and barely a blot on the radar after that. There’s a reason that EIGHT other SEC offensive linemen were drafted before Ziemba finally got picked up with a compensatory pick in the 7th round of the NFL draft.

Chip Towers

May 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

Mtn Dawg: Drew Butler is back, he’ll just be so as a graduated student-athlete.

Bring Back Wally Butts

May 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

If a player is troubled and is a cancer on his present team after being supplied with multiple opportunities, why would ANY team want to take him and his baggage on? We found out last year how chemistry affects a team.

NewnanDawg

May 12th, 2011
12:02 pm

Congrats to the grads; especially great to see TG come back and finish his degree!

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 12th, 2011
12:06 pm

if Crowell rushes for about 500 yards , i guess he will be considered a “failure” too

Saban

May 12th, 2011
12:13 pm

When King flunks out and Crowell can`t get in.

Oh Well.