|Photo Credit: Kelly Lambert/OnlineAthens|
In 2002, Pat Dye laid down a gauntlet for Georgia when he declared they weren’t “man enough” to beat Alabama. That team, led by David Greene, David Pollack, Jon Stinchcomb, and Terrell Edwards, had the last laugh—beating the Crimson Tide en route to winning their first SEC Championship in 20-years.
They were plenty man enough.
So, in thinking about Georgia’s running back situation, it’s no mistake that the same phraseology has entered my mind.
After seeing what each player—minus Malcome—had to offer in 2010, it seems logical to question the toughness, focus, and motivation of each player as they enter 2011.
According to a report by Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com, Georgia running backs coach, Bryan McClendon says the tailbacks are working hard right now($$$). Said McClendon, “Right now I think it’s more of the open competion which has sparked them [emphasis added]. I tell them all the time let’s just worry about today…right now today is we have on scholarship Caleb (King), Carlton (Thomas), Washaun (Ealey) and Ken Malcome. Those are the guys we have on scholarship; those are the guys who need to worry about today right now.”
Seriously, those guys need reassurance that they still have a shot at playing time to stay motivated? How about these reasons—just off the top of my head—you stunk in short-yardage situations, you ran like sissies for the better part of the season, you acted like idiots off the field (particularly you, Caleb and Washaun), and you contributed in a major way to at least three of Georgia’s losses by committing crucial turnovers on key downs.
Isaiah Crowell is the least of your worries.
If you’re a Georgia fan, which I don’t deny myself the privilege of admitting, you have to ask yourself: are any of these guys ready to strap on the challenge of helping lead this team back to glory? Can Ealey or King set aside their egos long enough to remember it’s a team sport? Can any of us have faith that Carlton Thomas’ heart is enough to overcome the limitations of his sub-175lb body? Can Malcome really be an every down back?
In the best case scenario, Crowell turns out to be the workhorse, and the star, Georgia wants him to be and he, along with Aaron Murray, wreak havoc on the rest of the SEC for the next 3-4 years. But, what if that doesn’t happen? Do any of us, right now, feel confident that either Ealey or King (two of the only other guys on the roster with significant experience) will continue to work or play nearly as hard for the team if they aren’t 1 and 1A on the depth chart?
Honestly I’m a bit skeptical because if the only motivation any of them can find in giving their best effort is in the possibility that Crowell won’t start, they’re still missing the point—it’s about the letter on the helmet, fellas, not the name on the back.
I’m no coach or expert in these matters, but I do have a little advice for those guys: start playing like you want to be at Georgia and maybe you won’t have to look over your shoulders as much.