As the 2011 college football season enters November, Georgia fans everywhere are just beginning to come down from cloud nine after an emotional win over the Florida Gators. Homecoming week figured to be a long victory lap for Georgia, as well as fans who did not make the trip to Jacksonville. Halloween is over, but unfortunately just when the Dawgs thought it was safe to go back in the doghouse, trouble has burrowed its way between the hedges again.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) is reporting that Georgia’s top three running backs are suspended for Saturday’s Homecoming game against New Mexico State. Specifically, this means no Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, or Ken Malcome for Saturday’s 12:30 contest. To make matters worse, the AJC reports that Richard Samuel is done for the regular season with an ankle injury.
Richard Samuel’s 2011 campaign comes to a close just two days after helping Georgia run over Florida. While the circumstances are unfortunate, here’s hoping that Samuel heals up and comes back stronger than ever. He has been the ultimate team player in switching from tailback to linebacker, and back again, over the past few seasons.
As for the other three rock runners, the timing could not be worse. Georgia is trying to end a five year SEC East drought. These young Dawgs need all the experience and in game reps they can get. Whatever policy the three of them violated, it extends beyond a homecoming date with the New Mexico State Aggies. A lack of rhythm may not bite the Bulldogs this week but it could be a factor when the Auburn Tigers come calling next Saturday. For Georgia, being out of sync at the wrong time could spell disaster for their conference hopes.
This suspension shows a lack of focus from the individuals involved. Georgia already had to get rid of two bad dawgs, (Washaun Ealey and Caleb King) so it is even more frustrating for Bulldog Nation to see most of Georgia’s current halfbacks making similar errors in judgment.
Isaiah Crowell has been hailed as Georgia’s next great running back. Upon further review, he is entering his fourth month on campus, and he has already been suspended twice. To be fair, this is Carlton Thomas’s second suspension of the season as well, but any contribution from Thomas that is not a fumble is looked at as a bonus after he fumbled twice in this years G-Day game.
While Isaiah Crowell should be given some time to grow into the role of lead Dawg, he needs to grow up quickly, or Bulldog Nation needs to lower their expectations. After all, high expectations did not exactly lead to big things for the aforementioned Caleb King. The first suspension for one half of the Vanderbilt game was apparently a warning. Hopefully the second one will be his wake-up call.
As for the actual game this Saturday, the Dawgs should be fine even without many backfield options. Aaron Murray is the unquestioned leader of Georgia’s offense and that should be enough against New Mexico State. Even so, this could be an opportunity for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to come up with gadget plays to trick future opponents.
The infraction committed by Georgia’s three tailbacks should be forgiven and forgotten. The most important thing for the Bulldogs is that the three young men learn from their mistakes, and that no one involved with this team tries to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is just a speedbump for Bulldog Nation as we hope to help the Dawgs get back to the Georgia Dome.