Another UGA tailback out; Carlton Thomas suspended at least one game

Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs leading returning rusher from last season, will miss the Boise State game due to suspension for a team rules violation. (AJC photo by Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com)

Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs leading returning rusher from last season, will miss the Boise State game due to suspension for a team rules violation. (AJC photo by Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com)

Athens — There’s another reason Georgia felt the need to move Richard Samuel to tailback. Carlton Thomas is suspended for at least the first game of the season.

The rising junior from Frostproof, Fla., violated team rules back in the spring, three persons familiar with the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As per Georgia Athletic Association student-athlete policy, Thomas has to sit out 10 percent of scheduled games this season.

The Bulldogs play 12 games this season, including the season opener against Top-10-ranked Boise State in the Georgia Dome. Most recently that has resulted in one-game suspensions, though Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity declined to specify.

“If we have any announcements regarding suspensions, they’ll be made at the appropriate time,” said McGarity, declining further comment.

Had Georgia not moved Samuel from linebacker to running back, it would have had only redshirt freshman Ken Malcome and true freshman Isaiah Crowell on scholarship at tailback. Neither, of course, has played in a college game.

Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, Georgia’s top two rushers each of the last two seasons, each have left the program since the end of spring practice.

Thomas (5-foot-7, 175 pounds) has played in 17 games the last two seasons, including one start last season against Colorado. He is the Bulldogs’ leading returning rusher from last season with 272 yards and two touchdowns.

Indications are Thomas’ infraction occurred before Georgia’s announcement this summer that King would be ineligible this season. Interviewed this past Friday, Thomas talked about serving as a leader as the most experienced member of Georgia’s backfield.

“I pretty much take it as I’m the back with the most experience, the most game-time experience, the most knowledge at the position,” Thomas said. “So I take it as a challenge to lead the group. That’s what I try to do every day. I try to be positive, I try to be motivated and try to give them somebody whose going to push them as much as they push me. We’re trying to get the best out of every guy.”

Thomas’s suspension continues an alarming rate of attrition for the running backs under the watch of position coach Bryan McClendon. Ealey was indefinitely suspended and eventually granted an unconditional release due to mutual discontent and King was unable to meet the NCAA’s satisfactory progress rule for fifth-year seniors. Now Thomas has run afoul of team policy.

No specific reason was given for Thomas’ suspension. A 10 percent-competition suspension can be applied for missing excessive academic appointments, arrests or flunking a drug tests. No record of arrests could be found.

Last Thursday, Georgia moved Samuel linebacker back to tailback, where he played his first two seasons. Samuel started six games as a sophomore before falling behind Ealey and King on the depth chart. He moved to linebacker and redshirted last season after a minor knee injury.

|– Chip Towers

423 comments Add your comment

Old Dawg

July 18th, 2011
12:08 pm

Why can’t he serve the suspension for the Coastal Carolina game? The Boise State game is too important not to have an experienced back in the game.

Thanks for the quick reporting, Chip!

outkasted

July 18th, 2011
12:09 pm

thought the same thing…

whippersnapper

July 18th, 2011
12:09 pm

Time for someone to step up and be a leader.

Bradley G

July 18th, 2011
12:10 pm

At this rate, Bruce Figgins will be the starting TAILback for Boise State.

AAdawg

July 18th, 2011
12:10 pm

Mike Smith

July 18th, 2011
12:11 pm

This group of RBs has been a dude as well as the O Line. Both need house cleaning with the players and/or coaches. It leaves the team short in a year that Richt needs to go well, but it has to be done. Its time these guys got serious about wearing a Georgia uniform.

Dawglasville

July 18th, 2011
12:11 pm

Sit him. We are doing the right thing. I hate it that it all happened at the same position but these kids have to learn. If you pass them through, like their high school coaches did, they are not learning anything.

Bama in Atlanta

July 18th, 2011
12:11 pm

The Samuel move makes even more sense now. The only problem is that this puts more pressure on Murray. I think a big component of how well UGA moves the ball downfield will fall to the receivers, so I hope Murray & receiving corps are putting in some extra time practicie on timing routes.

BTW, no one is allowing Murray to ride a scooter this sumer, right?!?

JohnFromMilledgeville

July 18th, 2011
12:12 pm

I sure wish these kids would step up to the plate and start showing a little respect for the coaches and the program. I am dawg all the way but this is getting old…………..

11Dawg

July 18th, 2011
12:12 pm

Who needs running backs anyway? Apparently not us.

StevoDeg

July 18th, 2011
12:13 pm

The thing for me is, have any of yall seen video of Boo Malcome? Kid’s a beast. I know that it’d be crazy to throw him into such a big game so early in his career, but I think he’s the real deal. I want him and Crowell to be getting carries ASAP in order to acclimate to the college game.

bgdawg

July 18th, 2011
12:14 pm

wow what the #$%@# !!!! we’re losing backs at an incredible pace! we have samuel (former LB) malcome (RS freshman) and crowell (true freshman) that’s pathetic smh….

JAWJeRDAWG

July 18th, 2011
12:14 pm

For the Boise State game, we need Richard Samuel in the running back position now eveb more thab we did last week.

Hope he, Boo and Isaiah can stay healthy and that IC can pick up the play book and blocking schemes quickly. .. Go Dawgs!

danny c

July 18th, 2011
12:16 pm

stick to your guns and don’t put up with their crap

Saban

July 18th, 2011
12:21 pm

Wait for the real hammer to fall

Chuck

July 18th, 2011
12:21 pm

I bet the AJC pored over everything they could find for any arrest for Thomas.

Already more time spent in the public record for Tech getting in trouble with the NCAA.

How do you sleep at night?

theevilone

July 18th, 2011
12:22 pm

And I laugh, and laugh, and laugh…..aren’t these the same fans who like to point fingers at Auburn and call that program “dirty”? You guys are the worst, dirtiest program in the country!!! And then I laugh some more………….

UGA Student

July 18th, 2011
12:22 pm

@richtfan
because the running backs coach should be responsible for the running backs. If you got a raise and then started underperforming, your boss/investors would be upset. It’s the same deal. We pay him more, so he should be coaching the backs well enough that they can play when we need them to.

JB

July 18th, 2011
12:23 pm

you will see Brandon Smith touch the ball 8-10 times from an offensive set against Boise. will Malcome and Crowell be in No contact jerseys for August practice? Really?

Dawgs Tell

July 18th, 2011
12:23 pm

Bobo is probably licking his chops.His game plan will be to throw it 40 times a game!No running game and Murray better keep his arm in shape( remember he had tendinitis in his throwing arm about a year ago).Go Dawgs!

SmyrnaMan

July 18th, 2011
12:24 pm

Hmm. A freshman starting in your backfield on day 1 against a Top 10 team. Yea he should be able to pick up the blitzers with no problems, Not.

JB

July 18th, 2011
12:25 pm

Comparing Georgia to Auburn as far as running a clean program is like comparing Bill Clinton while in office to Billy Graham.

Tobias Funke

July 18th, 2011
12:25 pm

Why can’t our first 3 games be cupcakes? All the programs do it except for UGA. Make it happen McGarity.

securtiy dawg

July 18th, 2011
12:25 pm

ok so lets get this straight, as a GA fan and backer I’m supposed to be optimistic about this season w no RB(w significant experience)/a 2yr starting QB, a 2yr REE-vamped DEF, & and a OL put together with duct-tape and superglue……….real funny,,,,

JB

July 18th, 2011
12:26 pm

SmyrnaMan, no problem, we have 4 or 5 experienced WR’s to counter that………Whoops, wait a minute,….let me get back to you on that…..

Steve

July 18th, 2011
12:26 pm

Why can’t he serve the suspension for the Coastal Carolina game? The Boise State game is too important not to have an experienced back in the game.

———-

As much as I dont want to hurt the rest of the players that are doing things correctly by benching starters in ciritcal games, I certainly don’t want us to turn into a Bobby Bowded/FSU joke or Saban, or Spurrier? We may not win, but this pick and choose suspensions should not factor in to anything we do.

RacineDawg

July 18th, 2011
12:27 pm

No big deal–Crowell will start and carry the load entire game. He’ll get 150 yards on that weak boise st. D—book it!

Quality over Quantity and Stars

July 18th, 2011
12:27 pm

For the past three seasons we have witnessed a number of great 4 or 5 star high school players sign with UGA, and go on to get in trouble, have academic issues and or run afoul of team rules.

We just had 5 players commit to UGA over the weekend, that is great,, however if the quality of our players do not have character, care about their teammates, their school, or their own personal quality of life then we need to look a little closer at what players we are bringing into our program.

It is very very difficult to change the mental, and social behavior of players who have been put up on pedestals during their high school days. My personal opinion is many of these high school stars are spoiled and they bring that same attitude with them on campus. We need to do a better job of either bringing in quality players or our coaching staff needs to take on the approach that poor behavior, academic shortcomings and not being a productive citizen is the fastest way off the team than not performing on the field.

gomdawg

July 18th, 2011
12:27 pm

We will be fine at Tailback Boo Malcome is very good Richard Samuel is excellant and Cralton will be back in the S. Carolina game and DON’T FORGET WE GOT CROWELL THE #1 RUNNING BACK IN THE NATION COMING IN.. LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME GOOD THINHS THE JUNKYARD DEFENSE GO DAWGS. 2011

Tobias Funke

July 18th, 2011
12:29 pm

Just keep supporting your team Security Dawg. They will be fine. You can be optimistic about the different mind set they’ll have. Tuff Dawgs!

GtDawg

July 18th, 2011
12:29 pm

Having young RB’s may not be a bad thing. Remember the 2 years VaTech was short on RBs and those freshmen set a school record. Go Crowell/Malcome.

Elop S Dog

July 18th, 2011
12:29 pm

Bring back Ealey! Ga’s getting thin at RB.

theevilone's top

July 18th, 2011
12:29 pm

Stop talking about football and get back in bed!

Sam

July 18th, 2011
12:30 pm

Well, let’s just hope RS developed some instincts for the position after spending a year on defense.

NdawgsC

July 18th, 2011
12:31 pm

Bradley G…….ahahahahahahahahahaha that is funny and soo true.

another note… looks like we got 2 bruisers in Samuels and BOO, i think the runningbacks should be good enough to take some of the heat off murry

Quality over Quantity and Stars

July 18th, 2011
12:31 pm

The exact same things being written about IC was written and promoted with King a few short years ago.

If you have not watched the video tape of Columbus Carver in the playoff last year then please go do it, Crowell is a fine running back but the entire game he was pointing fingers and arguing with his offensive players and coaches. I hope that attitude gets left at the door.

Tobias Funke

July 18th, 2011
12:31 pm

Boo Malcome is a beast. Just wait. He will carry the load this season. If you saw him at G Day, then you know what I’m talking about.

Gorilla Biscuit

July 18th, 2011
12:31 pm

We’ll start a walk-on if need be, by God!!

Coach Hewitt...

July 18th, 2011
12:32 pm

Chit…Half of Bobo’s playbook just went out the window….

PMC

July 18th, 2011
12:33 pm

Isn’t this more of a hamstring for Bobo? 3rd and inches, handoff inside to Thomas!

coloradobulldog

July 18th, 2011
12:33 pm

did anyone actually think thomas would add anything to running back situation anyway? Too small to be a full time back in SEC. Samuel, Bo or Isaiah were gonna get most of carries in opener anyway.

Wombat9195

July 18th, 2011
12:33 pm

We have a bunch of dumb rocks on this team. Seriously, its not looking good for Richt. Its apparent the players have no respect for him or the school and they are not going to fight for Richt. Richt needs to go to a college spread and just hope Murray and the WR/TE core can shred defenses. All I can do is SMH at these dumb kids.

PMC

July 18th, 2011
12:34 pm

Here’s hoping he comes back after the 1st one like Thomas Brown.

HInes "Don't Penetrate My Hiney!" Ward

July 18th, 2011
12:34 pm

Are we sure he wasn’t suspended FOR actually going to class?

Back in my day at UGA, that was discouraged for the student-athlete population.

Tiger in the Valley

July 18th, 2011
12:34 pm

The rest of the SEC is laughing our heads off at the attrition rate at UGA. The number of players leaving in packs is just too funny, the number of suspension is even funnier. And Marky Mark complains about others doing roster management! He is doing it himself. Too funny.

Stay Unclassy UGA!

atta kid RS GATA!!

July 18th, 2011
12:35 pm

no worries, we will be fine.

mikey

July 18th, 2011
12:35 pm

University Of Knuckleheads!

[...] I’m gonna miss those futile up the middle runs on third-and-fifteen. Carlton Thomas is suspended for at least the first game of the season. [...]

how2fish

July 18th, 2011
12:37 pm

Well last year all the haters were screaming we let the players run wild..now not so much. But now its all doom and gloom because we are thin at a position , folks you can’t have it both ways. I’d rather that we had this to deal with than a dozen arrests. Or a ongoing NCAA investigation. @ securtiy dawg I feel your pain but you have only two choices really, find another team or get behind this one. The QB and D should be better, and can the OL be much worse? RB is a concern but we will have to deal with it I think Samuel coming back to RB was the first step.

coloradobulldog

July 18th, 2011
12:37 pm

Not sure I follow the logic of these Auburn fans. A player being suspended a game for his actions (though AJC doesn’t know what those are beyond team rules) does not mean you don’t have a clean program. Actually if you suspend a player for a more impt. game (Boise vs Coastal Carolina), it shows you program has more integrity not less. Not having a clean program is when you lie to the NCAA or when school/boosters pay players.