Vince Dooley says losing Isaiah Crowell ‘best thing to happen’ for Bulldogs

ATHENS – Isaiah Crowell getting arrested and kicked off the team may have been a blessing in disguise for the Georgia Bulldogs.

So thinks former Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. I was interviewing Coach Dooley on Monday for another project I’m doing for the AJC when the subject of Crowell came up. Crowell, a rising sophomore and former 5-star recruit who was the Bulldogs’ leading rusher last season, was dismissed by head coach Mark Richt following Crowell’s arrest on felony weapons charges. Crowell has since transferred to Alabama State, an FCS program in Montgomery, Ala., and started classes on Monday.

That chain of events may help the Bulldogs in the long run, Dooley contends.

“I don’t want to put any pressure on them, but losing that guy may have been the best thing to happen to them,” said Dooley, who coached the Bulldogs to six SEC championships and one national title in 25 seasons. “It was a bad-apple type thing, if you ask me.”

“Bad apple” was the second term Dooley used to describe Crowell’s effect on the team. The first was more effective but he asked me not to use it.

Dooley said Crowell undoubtedly is a talented football player and probably was the Bulldogs’ best option at tailback. But the negative effects as far as being a troublemaker and a distraction far out-weighed any skills he brought to the field, Dooley said.

Now that Crowell is gone, “That kind of thing will unite a team many times,” Dooley said. “Historically when things like this have happened in the past, they tend to have a unifying effect on teams. They go on to have an even better season than they were predicted to have.”

Georgia, of course, is generally considered the favorite to repeat as the SEC Eastern Division champions and play in the SEC Championship. That is, if the Bulldogs are still able to field a team. With Crowell out and linebacker Brandon Burrows’ recent decision to transfer in search of more playing time, Georgia has dipped below 70 scholarship players heading into next season. The NCAA allows 85.

At least one person agrees with Dooley. Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said the last three SEC teams that sent high-profile transfers to play for him — Florida, Auburn and Alabama — went on to win national championships the following season.

Dooley recalled that Georgia had a great player that left after the 1958 season and turned pro as a junior — very unusual in those days — and that rallied the rest of the team, which went on to win the 1959 SEC championship. Dooley could not immediately recall that player’s name, though I deduced it must have been center/linebacker Dave Lloyd, who was drafted in the fourth round that year by the Cleveland Browns. I couldn’t find anyone who knew for sure, but you get the point.

“This guy was a heck of a player, but he was a real problem on the football team,” Dooley said. “When he decided to leave, Coach [Wally] Butts went into a depression; he knew he had lost his best athlete. But as it turned out it unified the team. That often happens.”

Dooley also offered what I thought was one of the more insightful observations I’ve heard about Crowell as a running back last season. As we all know, Crowell’s toughness was questioned as he often pulled himself out of games or found himself sidelined with minor injuries. Dooley thought there might have been a good solution for that.

“Looking back at it, he would have been a great second-half running back,” Dooley said. “I never wanted that guy around in the fourth quarter if he started the game, because it seemed like he’d had enough by then. But I would’ve loved to have him around in the third or fourth quarter if he hadn’t played any to that point. Imagine once the defense gets tired and he comes in. He could’ve been a superstar second-half player. Herschel [Walker] got stronger in the fourth; this guy got weaker. So I would’ve waited until the second half to play him. He was pretty doggone good when he was fresh. That might’ve been a good idea looking back at it.”

Dooley has always had a great football mind.

395 comments Add your comment

merbertmoover

July 9th, 2012
2:45 pm

Under two months to go…..cannot wait….

Bulldoga Fan

July 9th, 2012
2:46 pm

The team and IC need to move forward and use this as a learning experience to grow from personally and professionally.

All parties will account for there actions, but “he and or she who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

FalconUGAFan

July 9th, 2012
2:47 pm

@Goldenrod..What would you know about class? Yep nothing.

Observer

July 9th, 2012
2:48 pm

It has become clear that personal character is never considered in the recruitment process.

Martin the Calvinist

July 9th, 2012
2:49 pm

Goldenrod, I wouldn’t be throwing out the word cesspool in reference to Athens knowing what seems to happen on a daily basis around Tech housing…….just sayin’

dmr

July 9th, 2012
2:51 pm

GOLDENROD is obviously a BLITHERING IDIOT who has never met coached Dooley. Goldenrod is one of those bleeding-heart lefties who thinks that when life isn’t fair, it is always someone else’s fault.

Crowell has G-d given talents. He still has a chance to make something of himself and I hope he does. The problem isn’t that Crowell grew up having it rough. The problem is the morons who went on to let him think it was okay to break rules and be a burden to his teammates and then use others as an excues.

Plenty of people have had it rough. Ask Warrick Dunn about losing his mother and taking care of his entire family.

Dooley has plenty of class. It’s when you talk to an idiot like Goldenrod, that you find out that when you tell someone the cold, hard, truth, the only thing they can do is try to turn on someone else.

Hey Goldenrod…GROW A PAIR AND GROW UP!

Martin the Calvinist

July 9th, 2012
2:52 pm

BTW, the last two times Tech has won the ACC in football, they have had to vacate the title……Tech sucks! There won’t be another dominating Tech football team for a long, long time……

BigDawg

July 9th, 2012
2:52 pm

Golden Tool, GT has a lovely safe campus, vibrant support of its football in a massive stadium, beautiful coeds, and alumni who run Olympic games and serve as Governor, no wonder you are once again on our blog. hahahaha!

corkylovesbeer

July 9th, 2012
2:54 pm

if dooley didn’t have 34….he would have been fired

Columbus

July 9th, 2012
2:56 pm

Character is and was considered. It was well known he had some growing up to do and he was still in the process but certainly not there yet obviously and who knows may never be. Schools still wanted him despite his immaturity. Its more about maturity and growing up and putting down the weed and having fun than character. Like Georgia’s top recruit recently said” everybody isnt brought up the same way. He obtaned some bad habits hangups along the way. that he needs to let go of and get some emotional growth. Lets not judge unless we walked in his shoes. MANY kids who grew up where and how he did turned out MUCH worse than smoking weed. Stone casters.

Beast from the East

July 9th, 2012
2:56 pm

Losing any player, much less the #1 rated RB coming out of high school, is NEVER a good thing. I think he certainly deserved to be dismissed, but there is no way any rational person can spin this as a positive thing…unless you’re looking through red and black glasses.

@spencaman

July 9th, 2012
2:57 pm

I guess Goldenrod’s comment was taken down prior to me reading this article. Oh well, would love to have seen it to give my opinion. #GATA

gomdawg

July 9th, 2012
2:57 pm

Crowell is in the past let’s leave it there. Let’s talk about the real Dawgs .55 days and counting GO DAWGS 2012

King Pellinore

July 9th, 2012
2:57 pm

Agree with Vince. However, it is disturbing that this continues to be a pattern with the program. How much effort and time is wasted on players who we know have questionable character, and have very little chance to make it in a big time college environment?

Nate the Great

July 9th, 2012
2:57 pm

I am honestly expecting a major let dow of a year. I love UGA, but I do not expect any more than 9 wins. I hate UF, but I really think they will take the east because of too many distractions.

Assessment for 2012:

1) Defense will play well, but not what people are expecting.
2) Offensive line will be MUCH more stout than anyone expects and look better because KM is the real deal!!
3) These off the field mental lapses will continue onto the field and will cost us a few close games.(UF, TENN, and Vandy…we will win in both Columbia’s).
4) CMR is back on the hot seat for not winning more with a cupcake schedule.

IMO. There is a reason the AJC (or anyone for that matter) hasn’t hired me to make predictions!!!!
4)

Dawggone

July 9th, 2012
2:57 pm

OOPS you had it right I was wrong. Hope Coach Dooley is correct in his thinking. It could happen.

Roger

July 9th, 2012
2:58 pm

When will these coaches learn that when a player want the number “1″ it is all about them, and not the team. We’ve seen this many, many times. And … why would Richt allow two players to wear No. “1″ last year – apparently he just doesn’t get it.

claytondawg

July 9th, 2012
3:01 pm

@Goldenrod…”Dooley is a classless mutt.” You really have exhibited utmost stupidity. Vince represented UGA with more class during his 25 or so years tenure than ANY OTHER coach has or will ever coach in the SEC. I’ve met and spoken with him personally several times while at UGA and out of college. Each and every time, this man was a gentleman throughout those conversations. Actually, one of the few people who talk and look you in the eye with answers. Show some “class” of your own; think before you spout off inane rants.

dawgs1966

July 9th, 2012
3:01 pm

Nobody asked you, Vince. Maybe you’ll tell us why you cut your political aspirations – so quickly.

sfeet

July 9th, 2012
3:02 pm

Dear AJC,
We’re all tired of hearing about Mr. Crowell. Enough already. I know, “then don’t read the article”.
Also, next fall, don’t succumb to temptation and report stats from Alabama State football games. We. Don’t. Care.

gomdawg

July 9th, 2012
3:06 pm

THANK YOU sfeet will said.

Ogeechee Dawg

July 9th, 2012
3:07 pm

Time to move on …however, the AJC will find a way to print 10 more stories over the next 2 weeks regarding UGA and IC.

gomdawg

July 9th, 2012
3:07 pm

Real GT Fan

July 9th, 2012
3:08 pm

Obviously, Goldendouche doesn’t speak for GT. Vince Dooley epitomizes class. UGA would do well to find a new coach with half the class of Dooley. If they did, this stuff wouldn’t keep happening in Athens.

FLA DAWG

July 9th, 2012
3:08 pm

Coach Dooley is on the mark with every statement he made in my opinion.
I am also glad Crowell is gone. I seem to recall problems with the guy as soon as he showed up in Athens last year.

As far as the team coming together because of adversity, I hope that is the case. We sure need something to have these guys execute like a team for a change.

Newman

July 9th, 2012
3:09 pm

It was indeed Dave Lloyd. He went on to be an All-Pro for the Eagles.

gomdawg

July 9th, 2012
3:09 pm

AJC its because there is nothing to write about in Atlanta and the bumble bee’s

ozzfest

July 9th, 2012
3:09 pm

Imagine how GEORGIA would have dominated the 70’s and 80’s IF “bad apple” and “offensive bozo” Vince Dooley had not been the coach. Take away 1980, 1981, and 1982 and Dooley’s winning % was less than JIM DONNAN’S while at UGA.

Taste that apple.

LaGrange1975

July 9th, 2012
3:10 pm

I am sorry, but Georgia will not win a National Championship in football this year. I am disappointed that coach would say this. Those teams such as Florida, Alabama and Auburn have championship calibur teams regardless. Every year we do the same thing as fans of UGA. We try to find some technicality that will crown us champions this season. And when it doesn’t happen, we give up on the superstars that broguht us promise of a bright future. My wife who graduated from Alabama mad a great point. She said, “Ya’ll (Georgia) turn on your players too quickly. How in the world can you kick a player off of a team before he is even found guilty?” As a Georgia Alum and fan I am more embarressed by the way we kick our players under the bus at every sign of trouble. I know some of you are going to read this and tell me how wrong I am, but honestly I don’t care. Also, there is no way anyone can tell me that kids at other schools don’t have problems with their behavior as well. The difference is Athens seems to be the only one that goes out their way to find it.

Lastly, I am tired of people’s lives being ruined over victimless crimes. The constitution gives us the right to bare arms. For those of you ready to blast me, I do understand that having an altered serial number is illegal. For us to be such a free country we have some of the most idiotic laws. The one I hate the most is our drinking age. What sense does it make that we can send a 17 year old to die in war for this country but that same 17 year old can not legally have a drink of alcohol. BTW, I graduated from UGA

BG

July 9th, 2012
3:11 pm

I wonder what Vince thinks about his son keeping Da Rick Rogers on the team at UT? Rogers is a bad apple all he way around.

RHall55

July 9th, 2012
3:11 pm

The real question to Coach Dooley should have been: “How many changes would you make on this present coaching staff?” I will include Mike Bobo on that list; sure Vince would that include Bobo’s name but his play calling failures have cost UGA too many games!!

gomdawg

July 9th, 2012
3:11 pm

Crowell when he was out of the games he was on his cell phone . That told me enough about him he was not even watching the game . NO TEAM PLAYER DON’T NEED A KID LIKE THAT

lawzoo

July 9th, 2012
3:12 pm

Georgia is generally favored to win the east? Yeah because of the manipulated schedule. Ole Mess? At home? Carolina gets LSU on the road?

Wasn’t supposed to be that way. Slimey !

UGA = Yawn

July 9th, 2012
3:13 pm

It was a pattern under Dooley too. That is why he didn’t mention any ‘patterns’ or any decent journalist would have podded him further. How anyone can pick UGA when Spurrier is a coach of one of his rival SEC teams is beyond me. Spurrier will hit 3-in-a-row against UGA this year on his way to many wins over UGA – just like he did when he was at the U of F.

RHall55

July 9th, 2012
3:14 pm

If Will Friend does not get at least (2) OL commits @ Dawg Nite…..please send him packing!! Must be more productive on the recruiting side or we will continue to hear that the OL has a depth problem!!

Jim

July 9th, 2012
3:16 pm

The phrase “We WILL run this state” is one of the more pathetic Tech “Battlecry” I’ve yet to hear. 1) It’s a play off of a UGA phrase. 2) It further implies your inferiority. Have a sense of pride about you man and come up with something better on your own…smh.

gomdawg

July 9th, 2012
3:18 pm

LaGrange1975 , I do see where you and your wife are coming from, but a player that has been in trouble and was given rules to go by , out at 02:30 and coming from a smoking bar where mariyuana
was being smoked he choose to be there . and as i stated earlier on a phone during a game , not watching the or caring who wins. NOPE SORRY I GLAD HE IS GONE.

dawgfan

July 9th, 2012
3:18 pm

LaGrange1975 – you may be a UGA grad but your still a DUMBASS.

Dawg Haus

July 9th, 2012
3:20 pm

Crowell was a gamer when he felt like playing and the Dawgs will definitely miss his abilities on the field. That being said, a few decent carries aren’t worth the damage a kid like this can do to a locker room. Coach Dooley is probably right.

BAD DECISION!!!!!!!

July 9th, 2012
3:22 pm

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

UGA should have kept Crowell.
AK should have kept Petrino.

Bottom line, it is all about wins. No one cares what issues Alabama had last year, it is all about the trophy.

You are idiotic (and in denial) to disagree.

Bad decision, Richt!

ZinoDawg

July 9th, 2012
3:23 pm

Hey Bigdawg – you forgot to mention 10 out of the last 11! No more telling stat concerning the state of The State than that!

LaGrange1975

July 9th, 2012
3:23 pm

@dawgfan. You don’t know me. I offered my opinion and that’s what it is. I do not mind debating with anyone on this forum, however, I refuse to allow you to call me out of my name. Apparently, you have nothing intelligent to offer to this conversation so therefore I will not stoop to your ignorant level. For those of you who disagree with me then I can respect that. For those of you can only respond with an insult then you can “fill in the blank _______________________. Thank you.

LaGrange1975

July 9th, 2012
3:29 pm

@gomdog, I understand your position about the phone. No player should be allowed to have a phone during a game unless there is some type of emergency or outside family issue that is going on. As far as getting in trouble, when I was in school, I did some crazy things. I am glad that I had some adults around me that didn’t give up on me just because I made a few mistakes.

DIT

July 9th, 2012
3:29 pm

Out of curiosity, why is it when people on these blogs have nothing intelligent to say to turn to name calling?

John

July 9th, 2012
3:30 pm

LaGrange, your wife is as clueless as you, Crowell was given many chances and yes Alabama went thru a lot of lean years, and they also kick their kids under the bus like every other school does, you only hear about it more because you live in Georgia. UGA doesn’t need more dummies on the team.

BillS

July 9th, 2012
3:31 pm

@LaGrange1975, I concur with your rant about our liquor laws. Whose fault is that? It’s the Georgia legislature. Blame them and their lack of courage and ethics for outdated, antiquated, contrarian laws.

corkylovesbeer

July 9th, 2012
3:36 pm

Lagrange1975,

I agree with your comments. We do turn our backs on the players in a heart beat. I also graduated from ga. The ACC police are major league _______________ fill in the blank. Most of the ACC police are envious of the students.

JFKDawg

July 9th, 2012
3:36 pm

Hey Bad Decision. You should also add Bad Geographer. Its AR, not AK as in Alaska you dufus.

LaGrange1975

July 9th, 2012
3:37 pm

@John, No my wife and I are not clueless. We just understand that you can’t turn your back on someone everytime there is a sign of trouble. I don’t care what was reported about this kid in the past. What we are talking about here are the weapons charges. If it is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty then his spot should have been held until he either admitted that he did wrong or was found gulity.

Also, when I was his age, trust me, I stayed out late partying as well. That’s what college kids do. I just don’t understand why so many people are forgetting what they themselves did at the same age. So no, my wife and I are not clueless. We are just not a bunch of hypocrites who get on a forum and act like we live these perfect lives.

Swamp Thing

July 9th, 2012
3:39 pm

UGA won the SEC East last year, and might again this year and “It’s not the economy, Stupid – It’
s the cupcake schedule. SOS beat every team in the SEC East last year and didn’t win it. How did BAMA magically disappear from UGA’s schedule this year – must be cheaper to go to Missouri then Tuscaloosa. Food for thought – UGA will lose to Vandy this year – we all know how their coach loves UGA, and that’s not all – UF might lose to Vandy too. USCe is the best team in the SEC East…