Tailback talk: Thomas out 1 game, Samuel to start No. 1, Crowell to wear 1

Hoover, Ala. – Georgia coach Mark Richt and three Bulldogs players met with the local beat writers and a few national reporters Thursday morning before their main session at here at SEC Media Days. As expected, UGA’s running back situation was the issue most discussed.

To his credit, Richt was not wishy-washy about his feelings on the position or what he expects to happen. So without further ado, here’s what he had to say about the tailbacks:

  • Richt confirmed that Carlton Thomas is indeed suspended for the opener against Boise State and that it is a one-game suspension.

“All I’ll say on that is Carlton won’t play Game 1 and I’ll say ‘team rule’ and you guys can figure out whatever you want.” Asked if Thomas would be back for South Carolina, he stated flatly, “yes.”

  • On overall running back situation in light of attrition with loss of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King:

“I’m just going to reserve my decision on whether or not we’re losing anything there or not. We may be gaining, OK? A year ago, I can’t sit here and say I was ever really at a point where I was saying, ‘man, our guys are being highly productive and kicking butt and they’re guys I can count on.’ That wasn’t happening. By the end of this year I might say, ‘these guys were kicking butt and guys I could count.’ So I wouldn’t sit here and say our running back situation is worse now than it was a year. We’ll see on that.”

  • What about the young backs, Isaiah Crowell and Ken Malcome?

“These are talented guys who are going to get an opportunity to make plays. I’ve seen so many young backs play well over the years, I’m not fretting right now. I don’t lay awake at night going, ‘oh my goodness, what are we going to do now.’ I just don’t. I know that we’ve got some guys on this team that can be highly productive offensively. Now will we find a back that carries the ball 20 times a game? I don’t know. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.”

  • What about moving Richard Samuel from linebacker back to tailback?

“I do think moving Richard Samuel back was very much needed. If anybody needed to be soothed a little bit, that should do it, because he’s a very physically mature man and he’s a mature man in the way he goes about his business. And he certainly has two years experience within our system and knows what to do. So it’s not like we’re wondering what he can do.

“He’ll be in those meetings and will be a great example of how to prepare and how to play the game and the position of tailback. I know he’ll hold onto the ball; I know he’ll secure it; I know he’ll strike you; I know he’s fast; I know he’s powerful; and I know he’ll play hard. He’s not really interested in dodging many people, but he is what he is. I’ve seen a lot of backs with that type of style who are going to hit you and drive their feet and make it tough on you to take them down. So there’s a lot of very positive things about Richard that are really going to help us.”

  • Will there be anymore players miss the opener due to suspension or ineligibility?

“Well, I’ll say this: If there’s anybody else we need to announce, we’ll announce it at the appropriate time, which is not today. We’ll see. But we’ll be ready to play on Sept. 3rd, I can promise you that.”

  • What do you know and what have you heard about Crowell?

“He’s a freshman like the rest of them. He’s got to learn how to handle college, period. I think he’s doing well. I don’t know. You can’t get reports from your strength coach and you can’t go out and watch or coach those guys. You can talk to your players. You might want to ask [Aaron] Murray, you might want to ask [Ben] Jones or [Brandon] Boykin, who are here. They’re really leading our off-season program. They can tell you how they’re doing.

“But we don’t expect Isaiah to save the program. We don’t expect Isaiah to put the team on his back. We just want Isaiah to learn what to do, to do things the Georgia way and try to do anything he can to help the team win as a freshman. How far that goes, I don’t know.

“I’ve got a sense of anticipation. I’m excited to find out what’s going to happen when we put the pads on for the first time and get him in an inside drill or go live and see what he does. I want to see how he handles getting hit real hard and how he handles the speed of the Southeastern Conference. I’m like any other fan would be, just curious to see how it’s going to go. We won’t treat him a whole lot different than any other player who is talented, but we want to make sure that he has success.

“Was I anxious to see A.J. Green and what he could do? Yeah. I’m anxious to see these guys also. But, you know, you could have a missed assignment at receiver and not be nearly as devastating as a tailback missing an assignment when it comes to pass protection or going to wrong way on a run. When a running back makes a mistake it’s not good. When a wide receiver makes a mistake you can probably just line up and run another play or punt. There’s a buzz out there about him. Our veterans believe he’s a very talented guy.”

  • Who will start the preseason as the No. 1 tailback?

“I would start practice with Richard No. 1.”

STORIES FROM HOOVER:

167 comments Add your comment

Dwayne

July 21st, 2011
11:30 am

Nomobama

July 21st, 2011
11:31 am

All those # 1’s will result in a #1 finish this year…NOT.

Dwayne

July 21st, 2011
11:34 am

so samuel wasn’t good enough to be 8th best rb behind ealy, king, crowell, malcome, thomas, trainer, waterboy is now first. Ima UGA fan, but how can anyone feel UGA will win the east…

You have to be kidding...

July 21st, 2011
11:35 am

…moving Samuel is just a ploy to make HIM feel good. He just is not a D1 running back OR linebacker, but at least he is a good kid who is being used as an example of how to be a TEAM player in order to “lead by example”. If he is still the #1 running back at 8pm on Sept. 3, then UGA is in for a LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG season unless someone else steps forward at that position during the BS or SC games…

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

July 21st, 2011
11:43 am

I’m feeling very good about all this situation, honestly.

Think about it this way, we were all on this ride last year when the position we were all fretting about was QB. People were asking about how thin we were, about what would happen if Murray got hurt, about inexperience, etc.

And I’d say things turned out pretty well in that scenario.

Players make plays. Yeah, the RBs are young and relatively inexperienced. No one enters college with big game experience. They’ll gain that experience as they play. In this case, they’ll be tested early and hard, which I think will only make our playmakers (whoever they are) step up to the plate.

Go Dawgs!

EDAWG

July 21st, 2011
11:45 am

Cant get a read on this guy hanging around check, check, check

81Dawg

July 21st, 2011
11:45 am

I think Samuel is going to be hard to beat if he can hold the football. Sounds like we have several immediate impact freshment coming in the door.

I wonder if ole “Chiz” is feeling the fire getting a little hotter under his feet at his Angelic never do anything wrong, why are ya’ll always picking on us Barn?

I hate the habitual cheaters that say catch us if you can. Looks like the lid is about to come off. It would be one thing if they could win without flagrantly buying their players.

http://www.teamspeedkills.com/2011/7/20/2285291/cam-newton-danny-sheridan-finebaum

Druid City

July 21st, 2011
11:45 am

…and an 0-1 start in Game 1.

BAMA dude

July 21st, 2011
11:47 am

Maybe Samuel will turn out like Robert Edwards for you. Just two requests: please kick the snot out of the Barn and the Creamsicles.

DawginLex

July 21st, 2011
11:48 am

I don’t know how the season is going to play out but after watching Richt speak I can say I am truly proud to have him as our coach.

He has a look of someone who is disgusted inside over where things are and also looks like he knows he has something really good coming.

slydog

July 21st, 2011
11:48 am

Samuel moving back to tailback means one thing? this will be a mostly short passing and power running offense. malcome and crowell are not entrusted with picking up blitzers and overall pass protection just yet. samuel, by playing lb for a year, is an even better pass protector. the offense is going to be bend but don’t break and chew alot of clock. this will be a defensive team. i see samuel as #1 starting the year, if not the entire year, with crowell/malcome splitting the majority of the carries as the season progresses.

Born2Bark

July 21st, 2011
11:50 am

@ You have to be kidding: How can you say he is not a D1 RB or LB?…you must not have a darn clue! He is a world class athlete with all the tools. He just needs a plenty of reps to prove it….. He ONLY had 114 carries and averaged 4.6 yds, and looked pretty damn good breaking through ARkansas on an 80yd run! He fumbled a few times as has every other RB in history. He has the size, speed, and experience to be a factor. AS you LB, none of us got to see what he could so that further proves you don’t know what you’re talking about.

P-Man

July 21st, 2011
11:50 am

Regardless of what anyone says or believes, we will know how the running back situation works out by the end of the year. Everything else is just speculation and/or opinion, and, like noses, everyone’s got one.

I, for one, have faith in the coaching staff and the players. I believe they will play hard and smart, and to the best of their abilities. The results will speak for themselves, but I believe in this team.

Gary

July 21st, 2011
11:51 am

I seem to remember that Samuel was a good back who ran hard. His problem was hanging on to the rock. If he has that solved we are fine with him as a starting tailback, but I am really looking forward to what Crowell can do.

Jimmy Crack

July 21st, 2011
11:51 am

Yea, Samuel is only a ploy. A 240lb ploy that’s going to punk the first opposing linebacker he sees. Richard is a hammer and he will bring pain.

Alaska Dawg

July 21st, 2011
11:52 am

Let’s just see what happens. The NCAA, especially the SEC, is full of surprises yearly. It sounds like Samuel is a mature kid who has been patient and is ready to contribute wherever he is needed. I think everyone out there is waiting for Crowell to be the next Herschel Walker. Let’s face it, Herschel was a really special back. Crowell should not have to be pressured in to being the second coming of Herschel. Murray is poised for an awesome season. If we can get 125-150 yards per game running the ball, then who cares if we have a feature back or not. Go Dawgs!!!!!

Concrete Pete

July 21st, 2011
11:53 am

If Crowell will wear #1, what # will Branden Smith be? He will be playing offense as well and can’t wear 1

UKNOWIT

July 21st, 2011
11:54 am

Samuel might not be a slagher like so many uga fans seem to like but one thing is for sure hes going to flight run over you and if he breaks into the secondary go luck catching him. To be 245 the guy stilll runs like hes 205.

ECB

July 21st, 2011
11:55 am

I was really glad when he moved to LB. Now I will go back to closing my eyes when they hand him the ball!

seabass

July 21st, 2011
11:57 am

Again, Richard Samuals was a 5 star linebacker who was also a running back, coming out of high school . He is quick, and big. Bigger than he was two years ago when he was a running back. I would hate to have to tackle him.

Dirtywhiteboy

July 21st, 2011
11:57 am

Remember Herschel was a true freshman the first time he walked on the field, same as crowell will be. We’ll be fine , every year everyone is worried bout one postion on another and it pans out, CMR has a plan and will do his best at game time,

Coach Grohbo

July 21st, 2011
12:07 pm

Richard Samuel = Robert Arnaud.
Isaiah Crowell = Jasper Sanks.
Ken Malcome = Brett Millican.

This is not going to end well.

Tobias Funke

July 21st, 2011
12:07 pm

I hate the double number. Hate it.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 21st, 2011
12:07 pm

Smith and Crowell can each wear #1. They jusy cannot be on the field at the same time on offense.

Samuel was assured of starting camp #1 RB at the start of camp, make no mistake. He though will have to fend off Crowell and Malcome but I still think no matter what RS starts against Boise simply for outting the team ahead of his on interests.

Samuel if he holds on to the ball will be a brusing back in the mold of Lattimore. Still only 20 and with two years at RB he could be primed to take the bull by the horns and be the man at the position. I would not be surprised by it at all.

Billy Haynes

July 21st, 2011
12:08 pm

I like a Figgins / Samuel back field pound the ball down their throats then turn Murray loose.

Tobias Funke

July 21st, 2011
12:10 pm

Coach Grohbo

Sucks to be a Yech fan, doesn’t it?

KeepDreaming

July 21st, 2011
12:11 pm

Kinda surprised he would just anoint Samuel the #1 running back BEFORE fall practice begins. Lets at least give Ken Malcome or Crowell for that matter the chance to start to keep the competition at RB healthy.

Coach Grohbo

July 21st, 2011
12:12 pm

We’ll be ready to pick up Sanks’, I mean Crowell’s fumble this year.

ATL Sports Fan

July 21st, 2011
12:13 pm

Being #1 on the depth chart on August 2, does not translate into being #1 on Sept 3.

ATL Sports Fan

July 21st, 2011
12:14 pm

Grohbo, you and everyone in the world knows that was not a fumble. Just be thankful the NCAA didn’t mandate instant replay until well after that game.

ATL Sports Fan

July 21st, 2011
12:15 pm

Keep Dreaming he never said he is the number 1 and will be the starting RB opening day. He said to start camp he is the #1. Heck, you people would complain if he listed Crowell or heck even somebody else as #1.

@coach grohbo

July 21st, 2011
12:16 pm

the peanut gallery speaks, Samuel would be the best athlete on techs squad. Would start at linebacker or whatever backfield position that the transfer from Colgate would be playing. Wake up on the wrong side of probation this morning?

John

July 21st, 2011
12:17 pm

Last year, if the backs simply hold onto the ball, UGA wins two more games. Fumbles were killer.

mgdawg

July 21st, 2011
12:17 pm

Samuel is number 1 at the start of camp, that doesn’t mean he will be there at the end of camp. The only real reason he is number 1 is because he’s the only one with experience.

BAMA dude

July 21st, 2011
12:17 pm

He though will have to fend off Crowell and Malcome but I still think no matter what RS starts against Boise simply for outting the team

He outed THE WHOLE TEAM??? TMZ must be all over this one.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Tobias Funke

July 21st, 2011
12:18 pm

KeepDreaming

Suprised? Why? Its to motivate the others. You must not have played any sports growing up. Pretty obvious to me. Samuel is #1 going into practice. It doesn’t mean he will be #1 at the end of summer practices. (He won’t.) My prediction is Malcome will be your starter on Sept. 3rd.

The Mole

July 21st, 2011
12:20 pm

Richard Samuel will be the starting fullback by the third game. Crowell and Samuel in the same backfield sounds like the good ole days.Fantastic

OEJ

July 21st, 2011
12:21 pm

Samuel is going to start spring as number one, but he is not going to be the starter against Boise. Samuel is going to probably get carries in every game, but if every RB can stay healthy he wont start any game,s only get playing time.

P_The_Ricker

July 21st, 2011
12:22 pm

I second DawginLex’s interpretation of the interview exchange.

Selecting Samuel as the No. 1 TB going into camp means little, but if anyone was expecting anything different….they’re kidding themself. He’s a Jr who’s proven he’s a team player and he also has the most game experience. He’s the correct choice. If performances by the other TBs changes up the starting roster, so be it….but don’t count on it going into the season opener.

On a side note,

Coach Grohbo

July 21st, 2011
12:22 pm

The Bulldogs picked up their second OL prospect in less than a week when Chester Brown committed on Wednesday. The 6-foot-5, 331-pounder from Bradwell Institute picked Georgia over Georgia State and South Alabama.

Georgia State and South Alabama? Y’all are on a recruiting roll now!

Tobias Funke

July 21st, 2011
12:23 pm

Yech goes 4-8 this year. PJ is fired at the end of the season.

Top Row Dog

July 21st, 2011
12:23 pm

Hey coach thank goodness for lucky win in 08 and not having to vacate the 3 games where you used 17 ineligible players, otherwise Tech has not beaten Ga since the charity championship of 1990. Citrus Bowl National Champion, what a joke. One conference championship since 1952 and no appearances in the BCS bowls (officially). What a legacy.

God it’s sucks to be a Tech Man/fan.

Tobias Funke

July 21st, 2011
12:24 pm

Grohbo

Thank you. The kid is a beast.

hot diggidy damn

July 21st, 2011
12:28 pm

Look people, RS is older, better, bigger, stronger and just as fast as he was a cpl years ago. How many of you have actually seen this kid up close??? He is HUGE!!!!! Bruce Figgins is too. Kids with their size and strength need to be on that field. I am very optimistic about our season. I”m glad RS is going to get the chance to play. ITs your time to shine Richard!!!!! This is the opportunity you have been waitng on!! And Richard will be a better mentor for Malcome and Crowell than Ealey or King. We as fans need to count our blessings in that regard. Go get em dawgs!!!!

HardTruth Soldier

July 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

Here we go again, the critics, who have probably never played a down of college ball(Dwyane,and you have to be kidding) but seem to have the solution, and think this kid will be a flop. First any kid that makes it to the SEC or any other school is a success, but back to Richard Samuels, This kid came to Georgia at 16 years old, alot of expectations, and alot of hype. Sixteen man! Could you handle the pressure of being a sixteen year old with 92;742 thousand people looking at you to be there savior? I think not. Lets hope that his maturity off the field has spunned his maturity on the field, and he’s looking at this as a second chance to show that I can handle this.Georgia will win this year, and win BIG, but it will be with a defense that’s going to bring alot of pressure, and thats huge across the front. Everybody in the state is focusing on Crowell (those that really don’t know football) but aren’t these the same fans that said King, then Ealey, or the forgotten Dontavious Jackson was going to save Tailback U Southeast. This is the hardest conference in football, bar none in college. Take it from someone that played in the Big Ten(now the Big eleven or twelve or whatever)and was able to see ample playing time. I’m from Athens, Ga and know this program well. Georgia will win, and win big. Just one thing all SEC fans need to know, it will be Ga vs Arkansas, not LSU come December. By then #1 will know what to do and so will #22, and #24. The three headed horsemen in Bulldawg nation.

PreyDawg

July 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

Some of you statistic nuts look up the fumbles. I dont think Samuel fumbled THAT much. Yes he had an issue with it but as someone said he is stronger now. He was nothing short of dominant against Arkansas. I dont think this is such bad news.

OMG

July 21st, 2011
12:34 pm

Dwayne…you’re a dork…who cares who’s first.

Spike 80DF

July 21st, 2011
12:36 pm

@grohbo, wow, haven’t thought of Brett Millican in a long time, haha….

PreyDawg

July 21st, 2011
12:37 pm

@HardTruth- I will have you know sir, that I was a star for a single A Georgia High School Team that failed to win a game for my entire 4 years. I could mix the best dam gatorade you ever tasted and I rapidly delivered the tee to the kicker before returning to my spot on the bench. So I think I am qualified to run a major division 1 program thank you very much.

Did you really play Big Ten ball or are you messing with us. If you did, that is outstanding man! Hat’s off to you. I like Samuel too.

Ace

July 21st, 2011
12:39 pm

Coaching is lacking, the past 3 years show it. Get used to it.