Richard Samuel looks to leap over the competition in 2012.
Bulldog Nation has high hopes for rising sophomore Isaiah Crowell, as well as incoming freshman Keith Marshall. However, if Georgia is to build on their success from 2011, then Richard Samuel must carry the load for the Bulldog rushing attack in 2012. Samuel will be a senior in the fall, and during his first three seasons in Athens he has been a running back and a linebacker. By switching positions, Samuel displayed a willingness to be a team player and in doing so, he has earned the right to be the starting running back when his senior campaign begins.
Aside from his team first attitude, Richard Samuel is 6’2″ tall and 243 pounds. His size enables him to run between the tackles and pound the football up the middle. He also has the ability to run through defenders, as he did when the Bulldogs bit the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. While Isaiah Crowell provided electrifying runs early last season, he struggled down the stretch and must learn to protect his body better if he hopes to have long term success as a running back.
Carlton Thomas added his fair share of contributions to the Bulldog offense as well. However, the soon to be senior running back has not yet proven he can stay out of trouble. Thomas must earn his carries in 2012 by being a good Dawg on and off of the football field. The Bulldogs also have Ken Malcome, who will be a (redshirt) rising sophomore. Malcome has shown flashes of brilliance with limited carries, but he has not been on the field enough to lead Georgia’s ground game. Continue reading →
Week 13 of the 2011 college football season means “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” for the state of Georgia. Before the Georgia Bulldogs challenge for the SEC title in a little under two weeks, a bitter rival awaits them in a pit stop in Atlanta before the Dawgs head to the Georgia Dome. Georgia must avoid looking ahead to December 3rd in order to secure another ten win season for Mark Richt. Overlooking the Yellow Jackets could mean a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation.
There will not be many other mysteries to solve against Paul Johnson’s team. Georgia Tech runs the triple option, and when Johnson gets frustrated with his option game he has his quarterback throw the ball to try to catch the defense off guard. Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington has 60 completions this season, with more than half of them going to either Orwin Smith or Stephen Hill. Hill stands at 6’5″ and is the go-to receiver when Georgia tech decides to pass the football.
Throwing the football worked very well for the Georgia Bulldogs against Tech in 2010. Aaron Murray threw the ball just 19 times in the game, but he racked up 271 yards on 15 completions. Murray finished the game with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions in Georgia’s 42-34 win a year ago.
What a difference a year has made for the Georgia Bulldog defense. Todd Grantham’s 3-4 struggled the first time around against Tech, as the Yellow Jackets stung the Dawgs for 411 yards on the ground last year on their way to putting up over 500 yards of offense in the game. This year the Bulldogs have been dominant on defense, especially during their ongoing nine game win streak. The Dawgs are ranked highly in every defensive statistical category and have been phenomenal against the run. Last week, Georgia held Kentucky to a mere 23 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
Saturday’s match-up promises to be more challenging for the Bulldog defense. The Georgia Tech rushing offense is ranked second in the nation. Georgia’s defense will need to play disciplined football again this week and set the edge to prevent the Jackets from having many big plays with their option attack. If Georgia can force a few quick 3 and outs to take the crowd out of it, the game could get ugly in a hurry if Aaron Murray is on his game. Georgia Tech’s defense is giving up 25 points per game so it will be important for the visiting Bulldogs to have a fast start at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Paul Johnson once said of playing the Georgia Bulldogs, “We’ve got bigger fish to fry.” The statement rings true this year as well, but only from the Georgia Bulldog perspective. Georgia Tech is 8-3, and they are not a factor in the ACC title race this year. For all the bravado, Johnson is just 1-2 against the Bulldogs and Georgia Tech has not beaten Georgia since 2008.
Meanwhile, Georgia Bulldog head coach Mark Richt is sporting a 9-1 career record against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia is now the team hoping to get a chance to fry the biggest fish in the college football sea. The latest chapter of this storied rivalry should be a good one for the Dawgs. The team is young and hungry, and the Bulldog defense is far too athletic to fall victim to Georgia Tech’s one dimensional offense. Thanksgiving will be a day to be thankful for a banner year between the hedges. Afterward, Georgia will have Yellow Jacket leftovers in Atlanta on Saturday.
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.
Richard Samuel’s 2011 campaign comes to a close just two days afterhelping 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.