Georgia drags major tailback dilemma into Georgia Tech game (UPDATED)

Georgia has already displayed recognitiion of its 2011 SEC Eastern Division championship on the wall of the team meeting room at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. (AJC)

Georgia has already displayed recognitiion of its 2011 SEC Eastern Division championship on the wall of the team meeting room at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. (AJC)

UPDATE (6:20 P.M.) Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he expects both Carlton Thomas and Isaiah Crowell to play at tailback. . . .

ATHENS — The question posed to Georgia coach Mark Richt was a simple one. His answer was not.

Richt was asked what the Bulldogs’ tailback rotation might look on Saturday against archrival Georgia Tech. In a nutshell, he either legitimately does not know or is not saying.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Richt said at his weekly news conference Tuesday at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. “We have to sort through it. It’s just not cut and dry. I don’t know who is going to start. I don’t even know who’s going to play 100 percent. But we’re working our way through it and we’ll know more by the end of the week. I don’t know what I’ll announce, but right this second I do not know exactly how it’s going to come out.”

There are a number of issues facing the Bulldogs at their prestige position:

  • No. 1 tailback Isaiah Crowell was limited to two carries for 11 yards this past after spraining his left ankle. Initially, Richt expressed optimism that Crowell would be able to go Saturday. Now he says he’ll be in a green, non-contact jersey for Tuesday’s practice and his status is questionable.
  • No. 2 tailback Carlton Thomas is coming off his third-one-game suspension of the season on Saturday and Richt has remained vague about what his status will be for Saturday’s game. “I don’t know that answer right now.,” Richt said Tuesday.
  • No. 3 tailback Richard Samuel, who had ankle surgery on Nov. 1, is now practicing in a limited capacity but is not ready to come back. “We hope he’s in the mix next week,” Richt said.
  • Nos. 4 and 5 tailbacks Brandon Harton and Ken Malcome combined for three fumbles this past Saturday. At this point they have seriously breached the coaches’ trust regarding ball security. “We’ve got some guys that need to learn to hold onto the football,” Richt said.

So the rotation, Richt said, will be determined in practice this week.

“I want to see them practice,” he said. “I guess competition is the hold up, deciding through competition who deserves to start, who deserves to play.”

Despite its many issues Georgia has had this season, it has managed to run the ball fairly effectively throughout. The Bulldogs are fourth among SEC teams in rushing at 185.4 yards per game and they’ve had three different players bust the 100-yard barrier.

That will be especially important against the ball-hogging Yellow Jackets.

“We always like to run the football,” Richt said. “But you have to have backs who can do it and some backs who are willing to hang on to the football in the process. The thing about this game is every possession really is pretty crucial.”

– Chip Towers

248 comments Add your comment

jaglaw

November 22nd, 2011
3:16 pm

jaglaw

November 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

wow. i am not sure that runnning the ball against tech is nearly as important as stopping the run. lets hope our D is up to the task of dodging those illegal knee chops, and stuffing the run.

jaglaw

November 22nd, 2011
3:20 pm

anybody out there???? oh well, i need to get back to work anyway.

uga student

November 22nd, 2011
3:21 pm

1eyedJack

November 22nd, 2011
3:22 pm

Let Figgins dot the I and see if they can stop him.

bulldawg/thomas brown said we would go 12-2 in 2010

November 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

We are going to lose this game short of a miracle. If we can’t run the ball, play action is gone and they will blitz and play press coverage all day.

secdawgs

November 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

Sounds like the Brandon and Branden show, as in Boykin and Smith!

George Stein

November 22nd, 2011
3:25 pm

Eh, I’m not sure the guys running it are as important as the ones blocking. I’m sure y’all will have someone competent back there.

coachx

November 22nd, 2011
3:26 pm

Now all Dawg fans are worried silly.

I think UGA will do what they Gators did against us with Brantley.

Have Crowell warm up and go in early to the locker room before the game. Then when they announce the starters you have Harton run out there at RB. However, Crowell actually starts the game.

The Gators did that crap with Brantley acting like he could not start as he did not even run out on to the field as starters were announced……………..but he started the game with like 10 passes in the 1st 12 plays catching UGA’s defense off guard.

There will be alot of “gamesmanship” going on for sure.

JimDog85

November 22nd, 2011
3:27 pm

Sounds like it will be Harton and Malcome carrying the rock. Maybe they will give the Brandon’s a few more carries, but really, they are not ready to take the pounding of carrying the football 10+ times a game. Murry is going to need to play much better than he did against Kentucky for us to win. A big part turns on which GT team shows up to play – the one who beat Clemson or the team that lost to Miami and UVA. My guess is the loser team. If we can get up a couple of scores in the first half, they are likely to fold.

Dawglasville

November 22nd, 2011
3:28 pm

We just need guys who can run hard and fast between the tackles, hold on to the ball, and get 4-5 yards a carry. We have to run it well enough to set up the play action or this could turn into a stressful game very quickly.

LHarding Dawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:28 pm

I think we’ll be fine at tailback. We had our fumble game last week and I’m sure they are working on that this week. And like he said, we are averaging 185 yards per game without a clear cut starter. And who is to say Thomas will not be back this week. All he did was get caught with a girl in his room. I say, give him a metal.

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

The legal knee chops (one of many cut block techniques) will be enough to handle. No need to put irrational fear into the heads of the defense.

StuDawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

I think we just rotate who we have, throw short passes to tight ends etc….dink and dunk down the field. Shut em down with defense. Beat the nerds once again.

North ave. faithful

November 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

illegal knee chops, good grief. now theres a guy who knows his football

George Stein

November 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

You may be right, JimDog85, but we’ve been down two touchdowns each of the past three years and we fought back. We’ll know more in 96 hours.

George Stein

November 22nd, 2011
3:31 pm

That made me chuckle, LHarding.

StuDawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:31 pm

the major dilemma is trying to figure out WHICH TWO OF OUR BACKS ARE GONNA HAVE 100 YARD GAMES!!!!!
HAHA
TECH SUCKS

JG

November 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

How can you have three 1 game suspensions in a season and still be on the team?

UgaDawg82

November 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Anyone know if Crowell was actually running in practice today?

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Georgia has lost 9 fumbles this year, and Tech has lost 10.

coachx

November 22nd, 2011
3:33 pm

On a positive note………..I personally saw I. Crowell and his family at the Athens Red Lobster Saturday night after the UK game.

Crowell was in normal tenning shoes with no walking boot. He had a small hitch in his walk but nothing that a week off can’t cure.

Big Wally Butts

November 22nd, 2011
3:34 pm

They’ll figure it out. Tech doesn’t have a very good run defense. Actually they remind me of UGA about two years ago prior to and at the beginning of the change to the 3/4 . Run it up the middle because unlike UGA which has goten a couple of hogs to clog it up, Tech doesn’t have the players to run the 3/4, especially in the middle. Not sure why they are still trying to run it.

North ave. faithful

November 22nd, 2011
3:35 pm

you shouldnt get in trouble unless you have girls in your room.

North ave. faithful

November 22nd, 2011
3:36 pm

that should be 2 girls in your room.

Dawglasville

November 22nd, 2011
3:36 pm

George Stein – “We’ll know more in 96 hours.” You said it all brother.

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2011
3:38 pm

481 rushing attempts for Georgia, 608 rushing attempts for Tech. That includes all fumbles, not just offense.

Bigdsel

November 22nd, 2011
3:38 pm

I think it’s time for boo Malcolm to play like he wants it.

DawginLex

November 22nd, 2011
3:39 pm

I hate Richard Samuel is hurt. He could have a big day running between the tackles.

George Stein

November 22nd, 2011
3:40 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Dawglasville.

George Stein

November 22nd, 2011
3:40 pm

Samuel would kill us, Lex.

LHarding Dawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:43 pm

Malcolm could have a big day running through the tackles if he could only hold on to the ball. He looked good last week, when he was’nt fumbling.

Dawg_Mike

November 22nd, 2011
3:43 pm

With all this gnashing of the teeth we still have given our fullbacks the ball

wait for it

thats right.

Zero carries this year.

DILLIGAF

November 22nd, 2011
3:44 pm

LHarding Dawg said, refering to Carlton Thomas:

“All he did was get caught with a girl in his room.”

That’s one thing GT players don’t have to worry about.

Dawg_Mike

November 22nd, 2011
3:44 pm

Figgins should be a defenses nightmare coming at them with a head of steam so again, why no carries?

robodawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

I’d love to see what Figgins can do as a downhill runner. I don’t think we’ve seen that yet this year?

We can also give carries to Smith and Boykin, but they’re not every down backs.

The passing game had their off day last Saturday, so hopefully they’ll be back in sync and we can eat clock and keep the chains moving with a possession passing game.

Nate the Great

November 22nd, 2011
3:46 pm

Why dont we run Zander Ogletree?

HABDAWG

November 22nd, 2011
3:46 pm

Dawgs handle their businessand then it’s off to the dome.GOOOOOOOO Dawgs!!!

CHDawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:47 pm

It sounds to me like Coach Richt wants to start Harton, but the two lost fumbles make that difficult. He may just be making a point with both of them, since we usually play two or three TBs. I’m glad some of our walk-ons and guys who never thought they would see a play in a UGA uniform got some experience against NMST. We will have to use them if another injury or more fumbling occurs.

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2011
3:47 pm

VT’s strategy on defense this year against Georgia Tech was to replace size with speed. The moved a 225 LB to DE and a safety to LB. Clemson put 9 in the box, but they have a poor defense and got gashed inside a lot.

DawginLex

November 22nd, 2011
3:47 pm

nate

We haven’t handed off to the fullbacks all year. It is not just zander.

Maybe he is waiting for the right spot?

Maybe they only block and can’t carry the ball?

Fleming Island Dawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm

Frost proof is on the Garcia suspension plan.

DawginLex

November 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

fleming

That’s chicks and weed right?

Fleming Island Dawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

Yes, and has 3 more to go.

CHDawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

We do have a scholarship TB left in the stable, a four start recruit named Ken Malcome. Ken, if you could, hang on to the ball, don’t miss any blocking assignments, and run like a wild man. These opportunities don’t come up that often.

by the way,

November 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

is that a joke about your coach leaving after the season?

Why would he?

Fleming Island Dawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

I might get on that plan myself

George Stein

November 22nd, 2011
3:51 pm

The issue y’all are having is that Ealey and King should still be there. Sorry for being Captain Obvious.

chipperdawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

CTG’s Junkyard Dawgs will steal the show Sat. and seal the deal on another 10 win season for UGA!!
I like 1eyedJack’s idea of getting Figgins involved in the game plan more, too.
The TD he caught in the flat against Auburn has been there all year.
I’d love to see Bobo call a few more throws to him out of the backfield.
Utilizing all our other weapons will help compensate for the drop off we may have in the running game.

CHDawg

November 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

Star…I have to figure out a way to disable Apple’s auto misspelling function.