Tag:Carlton Thomas
Posted on: December 1, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Richt: No update on Georgia running backs



Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Georgia didn't have any real problems with Georgia Tech last Saturday, but one look at the stat sheet will tell you that wasn't because of any dominant play from their tailbacks.

With No. 1 running back Isaiah Crowell sidelined with a sprained ankle and No. 1a tailback Richard Samuel still recovering from an ankle surgery that's kept him sidelined for four weeks, replacements Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas carried 17 times ... for all of 45 yards, a 2.65 per-carry average. The Bulldogs' best tailback on the day was a moonlighting cornerback, Branden Smith, and even his 5 carries only netted 20 yards.

So with nothing less than the nation's fourth-ranked rush defense on tap in a game no less important than the SEC championship, it's understandable that Bulldog fans are anxious for some good news on their tailback position. Too bad Mark Richt isn't in the mood to give it to them. 

"I don't want to talk about tailbacks," he said Wendesday after practice. "There’s no good answers, so I’m not going to answer any ... Let’s just talk about something else. I was really in a good mood and then you had to ask about that thing. No more tailback questions until after the game."

Despite Richt's reticence, there is some optimism available for Georgia supporters; Crowell practiced both Monday and Tuesday and was fit enough to at least dress (if not see the field) against the Yellow Jackets. Samuel hasn't practiced, but like Crowell is still reportedly expected to play. 

That would be a huge boon to a Georgia running game that needs all the help it can get, and frankly, simply can't afford to run Malcome and Thomas against the likes of LSU.

Tailback has been such a question mark for the Dawgs all season, we don't blame Richt for both being a little tired of answering questions about it and not wanting to give the tigers any more information than he has to. But we also don't blame Dawg fans for being just a little nervous up until the moment Crowell and/or Samuel hit the field.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:39 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Georgia at Georgia Tech

Posted by Chip Patterson

GEORGIA WILL WIN IF: The Bulldogs can establish their running game. In this contest, making the most of every possession will be crucial. Georgia has had a revolving door at running back recently because of health and personal issues, but to win Saturday they will just need SOMEONE to be productive out of the backfield. Freshman sensation Isaiah Crowell is questionable with an ankle injury, Carlton Thomas's status after another one-game suspension is murky, Richard Samuel is still recovering from Nov. 1 ankle surgery, while backups Brandon Harton and Ken Malcome combined for three fumbles against Kentucky. The questions of "who" and "how many" running backs play against Georgia Tech do not matter as long as the Bulldogs offense can establish a consistent ground attack.

GEORGIA TECH WILL WIN IF: They catch the Bulldogs off guard between crucial SEC contests. Georgia Tech is out of the ACC Coastal Division race, and has nothing to save themselves for in their new mission for 10 wins. Two of Georgia Tech's losses this season have come against teams that have had extended time to prepare for defending Paul Johnson's offense. Extra time isn't the only way to beat Georgia Tech, but both of those coaches and/or players credited the extra time as a helpful advantage after the fact. Georgia enters the game having just wrapped up the SEC East with the SEC Championship in Atlanta just a week away. If there is any scheduling advantage here, it favors the Yellow Jackets.

X-FACTOR: Isaiah Crowell's availability. In Georgia Tech's three losses this season the defense allowed an average of over 220 yards per game on the ground, in wins that number is 145.5. Early reports make it appear that Mark Richt will have up to four of his tailbacks ready to go against the Yellow Jackets, and some have suggested the Bulldogs rest their star freshman to allow his ankle to fully heal in preparation for the SEC Championship Game. If the Bulldogs run all four backs, they will be able to limit Georgia Tech's time on the field and likely have an opportunity to eat up yards against the 3-4 defense already concerned with stopping Murray through the air.

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 3:12 pm
 

Georgia RB crisis: Samuel out, Crowell suspended

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Ever dreamed of toting the rock for the Georgia Bulldogs, random UGA student? Now may be your chance.

In the space of one afternoon, the Bulldogs have lost four scholarship tailbacks for this Saturday's game against New Mexico State. Starter Isaiah Crowell and backups Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome have all been suspended for one game for a violation of team rules, the program has announced.

But even that's not the worst news of the day from the Bulldog tailback perspective. Mark Richt announced earlier Tuesday that Richard Samuel, Crowell's immediate backup and the Dawgs' initial 2011 starter, underwent surgery on his ankle Tuesday morning and will miss the remaining four games of the regular season.

Samuel scored the winning touchdown against Florida last Saturday in the junior's career highlight to date, then was injured in the game's closing moments.

"We don't know exactly when he'll be back, but it obviously won't be anytime soon," Richt said. ""Richard really had probably his finest performance, in a really big game. For it to happen on the last play is just sad for him."

With all the absences, the tailback job will likely fall to redshirt sophomore Brandon Harton, a former walk-on who received a scholarship this fall. Harton has 11 carries for 33 yards this season, all against Coastal Carolina. Another former walk-on, senior Wes Van Dyk, could see time; Van Dyk has two career carries, both vs. FCS competition.

Against the 3-5 Aggies, all the running back absences shouldn't matter too much (though NMSU does have one BCS conference scalp to their credit this year ... if you count Minnesota, and we're not sure you should). The Georgia line should still be able to open holes nearly anyone could run through, Aaron Murray should still have little problem finding receivers, and or Jarvis Jones should still live in the Aggie backfield. We shouldn't oversell the damage here as long as the suspended three return as expected for a potentially make-or-break visit from Auburn Nov. 12.

But losing Samuel hurts -- his surge against the Gators might have taken him back into the starter's role -- and a topsy-turvy first several months in Athens has made Crowell seem less-than-100-percent reliable. Georgia's OK for the present, but the future looks much murkier than it did 24 hours ago.

Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Isaiah Crowell named Georgia RB starter

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Anyone who was paying attention knew it was inevitable sooner or later. As it turns out, Isaiah Crowell's acsension to Georgia's starting running back position wound up coming "sooner."

Mark Richt confirmed tuesday that Crowell would take over as the Bulldogs' No. 1 tailback, thanks to a combination of his performance against South Carolina and an injury to previous starter Richard Samuel. Crowell had 118 yards rushing and 40 more receiving, averaging a robust 8.8 yards per touch.

"I think he's a special back," Richt said. “As the (South Carolina) game was going on I thought he was running well, but when I looked at the film he made great runs."

Which is why Crowell likely would have jumped to the No. 1 spot even without Samuel's injury. But it no doubt made Richt's decision a little easier that Samuel is "kind of hobbled" by a heel contusion, Richt said. Despite being the nomianl starter, Samuel is only the team's third-leading rusher, having averged only 3.1 yards on his 18 carries.

Samuel is expected to receive limited practice time this week, and if he can't go against Bulldog Week 3 opponent Coastal Carolina, junior Carlton Thomas is expected to be Crowell's top backup. Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome may also get a look. (And if he doesn't, it won't be a very good sign at all for his future chances at contributing.)

But all eyes will be on the five-star freshman Saturday. Not so much for the boost he might give his team against the FCS Chanticleers (who would still be overwhelmed even if the puppy from Crowell's Signing Day announcement was named the Dawgs' starting tailback), but to see if he can repeat his breakout performance against the Gamecocks--and confirm himsef as the playmaker who might be able to drag the Bulldogs to a successful season after all.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Isaiah Crowell limited with minor groin injury

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The hits just keep coming to an already injury depleted Georgia team.

This time it's prized recruit and possible starting tailback Isaiah Crowell, who is dealing with a minor groin injury according to head coach Mark Richt. Columbus Ledger-Enquier beat writer Seth Emerson reports that the injury has sidelined Crowell for Friday's practice and made him day-to-day the rest of camp.

How big is this injury? Considering that the team's top two rushers from last season, Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are both no longer with the team, Crowell was expected to compete for significant playing time for the opener against Boise State.

Journeyman Richard Samuel entered camp as the number one running back but with Crowell limited, the depth at the position is perilously thin. Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome is the lone back behind Samuel with Carlton Thomas expected to return following his suspension for the Boise State game.

Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 8:07 pm
 

Richt: Samuel enters fall camp as No. 1 RB

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Asked about five-star Georgia running back recruit Isaiah Crowell on Signing Day, Mark Richt said he "wouldn't be shocked to see him running that rock in the dome against Boise State on the opening play." But even after losing top two rushers Washaun Ealey and Caleb King during the offseason, Richt declined to name Crowell the Bulldog starter Thursday at SEC Media Days and seemed to be making a concerted effort to keep a lid on the Crowell hype.

How concerted? Away from the main Media Days podium, Richt told Dawgs247 reporter Gentry Estes that entering fall camp, the Bulldogs' No. 1 tailback would be positional journeyman Richard Samuel:
“If anybody needed to be soothed a little bit, that will do it,” Richt said of Samuel. “He’s very mature physically, and he’s a mature man in the way he goes about his business. He has two years of experience within our system to know what to do.
“He’ll be in that meeting room, and he’ll be a great example of how to prepare and how to play the position.”

While we certainly don't doubt that Samuel (pictured) will indeed be "a great example of how to prepare," we won't blame Bulldog fans if they're less-than-soothed about Samuel's chances of being as great on the field as he is in that meeting room. Samuel spent all of 2010 and this year's spring camp at linebacker after two mildly productive years at tailback in '08 and '09. If he really is the Bulldogs' best option for "running that rock," it seems unlikely the Georgia ground game will have the teeth necessary to get them back to Atlanta.

Which is why Richt's putting Samuel in the preseason top slot is most likely his way of shielding Crowell from the pressure of statements like, well, his own on Signing Day. When asked directly about Crowell Thursday, Richt sang something of a different tune:

“We don’t expect Isaiah to save the program,” Richt said. “We don’t expect Isaiah to put the team on his back. We expect Isaiah to learn what to do and to do things the Georgia way and to try to do anything he can to help the team win as a freshman. We’ll see how far that goes.
“I’ve got a sense of anticipation. I’m curious to see what’s going to happen when we put the pads on for the first time and go live and just see what he does, see how he handles getting hit real hard, see how he handles the speed of the Southeastern Conference. … We won’t treat him whole lot different than any other player who is talented but we’re wanting to make sure he has success.”

Of course, Richt's elevation of Samuel may not be motivation for Crowell alone; redshirt freshman Ken Malcome remains in the mix, and Carlton Thomas is expected to return following his suspension for the Boise game. 

But despite Richt's assurances, he does need someone to put the rushing attack on his back (if not the entire team), and Crowell remains the most likely candidate to do that. Samuel may start the fall at No. 1, but we not only won't be shocked if Crowell takes the opening handoff against Boise; we'll be shocked if he doesn't.



Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Georgia suspends Carlton Thomas

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Georgia's depth chart at running back is quickly becoming the Bermuda Triangle of college football. It feels like name after name is disappearing. First it was Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, both of whom are no longer a part of Georgia's football team, and now Carlton Thomas will be taking at least a game off.

A report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that Thomas has been suspended for at least one game this season.

The rising junior from Frostproof, Fla., violated team rules back in the spring, three persons familiar with the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As per Georgia Athletic Association student-athlete policy, Thomas has to sit out 10 percent of scheduled games this season.

“If we have any announcements regarding suspensions, they’ll be made at the appropriate time,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said, declining further comment.

This all means that for Georgia's season opener, the Bulldogs now have three running backs available to play. Two of them -- Isaiah Crowell and Ken Malcome -- have never played a down of college football. Then there's Richard Samuel, who does have playing experience, but unfortunately it's all been at linebacker as the Bulldogs just moved him to running back last week.

For a lot of football teams, being so short at running back in the first game of the season wouldn't be that big of a deal because most teams start their seasons against FCS schools or maybe a Sun Belt foe. That's not the case at Georgia, because the Bulldogs will open the season against Boise State at the Georgia Dome.

Of course, that game is still more than a month away, and who knows how many more running backs Georgia will lose by then? 

Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 2:53 pm
 

RB Caleb King academically ineligible at Georgia

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Straight from the mouth of our own Eye on Recruiting writer Bryan Fischer:



And thus commences the lamentations and gnashing of teeth in Athens. With Washaun Ealey having already departed the Georgia program this offseason, the Bulldogs have now said good-bye (for 2011, at least) to their top two rushers from 2010, rushers that accounted for more than 1,200 yards on the ground and more than two-thirds of Georgia's rushing production.

Though King never quite lived up to the recruiting hype that greeted him coming out of high school (and, like Ealey, ran into a few off-field snags along the way), his mostly-steady performances offered Mark Richt some kind of security blanket if hyped freshman Isaiah Crowell can't deliver the goods. Now, with the giant King-sized hole in the depth chart, the only other options at Bulldog tailback if Crowell isn't ready are uninspiring junior Carlton Thomas (4.25 yards per-carry a season ago, well behind Ealey and King) and redshirt freshman-slash-unknown quantity Ken Malcome.

Back in June we placed Crowell at No. 32 in our CBSSports.com College Football 100 countdown of the sport's most influential figures, calling him "the most important true freshman in the SEC ... and possibly the country." Assuming Fischer's sources are correct, there's less reason than ever to back off that assessment.

UPDATE: Georgia has now officially confirmed that King we be ineligible for the 2011 season. Mark Richt, in a statement:
"It's unfortunate Caleb will not be with us this season ... We wish him the best in whatever he decides to do; however, we have to move forward and this will provide more opportunities for others to step up."
As for King, he will reportedly "consider the options available to him before making a decision on his future plans."
 
 
 
 
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