I’ll scream when I’m done yawning.

For some reason, I find myself somewhat surprisingly blasé about the effect Caleb King’s departure will have on Georgia this season.  It’s not because I’m overcome with a case of sunny optimism about Georgia’s 2011 chances.  Nor is it because I’m numb with pessimism.

It’s just that, like Jeff Schultz, I’m feeling this “it’s Caleb King – how worked up should I get?” vibe.  It’s not so much that King was a bad apple as it was that he was a poster boy for a program that acted as if talent would always trump effort.  In a season when it appears that Richt has finally gotten the message that the old rules were no longer a recipe for success, King had woefully become a fish out of water.

And don’t think his coach didn’t know that.  As Tyler Dawgden points out,

Anyone that thought King had more than a puncher’s chance at playing this fall after failing to get six credits in the fall while needing 18 for the year was crazy.  Does it suck? Yes.  We are desperately thin at running back now.  Oh, and anyone that thinks Richt isn’t serious about getting rid of problems, remember: He knew King was in this predicament, yet he parted ways with Washaun.

(By the way, Richt was already making phone calls yesterday to “help King toward his next destination”.  That sure didn’t take long.)

Georgia’s thin at tailback!  Thin at offensive line!  Where’s your sense of panic, man?  Well, if I’m having trouble getting worked up about it, Barrett Sallee, a fairly level-headed bloke, isn’t.

… But with games against Boise State and South Carolina – two top 15 teams – to open the season, Georgia needed King to navigate that backfield through those early season battles before possibly giving way to Crowell.

What’s the biggest obstacle for most young running backs to overcome in the transition from high school to college football? Pass blocking. Georgia is a team with big offensive line problems, and that’s where King’s absence will make the most noticeable impact. Out of Georgia’s tailbacks, only Carlton Thomas has any playing experience, and he’s only 170 pounds. What does that mean? Boise State and South Carolina are going to bring the house – and maybe the whole neighborhood – on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Without A.J. Green to throw jump balls to, that presents a huge problem for the Bulldogs.

You hate to toss games away, but Georgia’s game vs. Boise State is almost an afterthought at this point. For Georgia’s season to be successful, the Bulldogs have to win the SEC East and make it to the Georgia Dome in December, not beat Boise State in it in September. That makes Georgia’s Week 2 game vs. defending SEC East champion South Carolina the biggest game of the season, and possibly Mark Richt’s entire Georgia coaching career.

Before King’s departure, I had Georgia winning that game and, thus, winning the SEC East via tiebreaker. King’s absence – particularly on passing downs – definitely changes that, especially considering the firepower the Gamecocks have on the defensive line.

Allow me to retort:  ladies and gentlemen, presenting your SEC East-winning 2003 Georgia Bulldogs.  No back on that team rushed for over 700 yards.  None of the top three running backs averaged over five yards a carry (King’s career rushing average).  David Greene’s TD/interception ratio was a mediocre 13/11.  The line gave up 47 (!) sacks.  No wide receiver had more than three touchdown receptions.

Nevertheless, they won 11 games and finished seventh in the final rankings behind a stellar defense and a very good kicker in Billy Bennett.  The offense did just enough to stay out of their way.  That’s a standard the 2011 offense should have little trouble meeting.

Looking at this year’s team before King’s departure, did anyone really expect Georgia to excel without the defense returning to the level of play it exhibited in the first five or six years of Richt’s tenure?  I sure didn’t.

Yeah, Georgia can’t afford any injuries at tailback based on what we see now.  But Caleb King was never going to be the one to lead this year’s team to glory.  That’s been on Todd Grantham’s shoulders all along.

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57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

57 responses to “I’ll scream when I’m done yawning.

  1. Castleberry

    I agree. This is also an opportunity for Bobo to step up and show some creativity with formations and play calls.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Lets hope he utilizes the TE more in ’11 than he did in ’03! Carlton Thomas could be as productive as Tyson Browning was. They are similar size and style.

      • James Stephenson

        Hmmm, Mark Richt was calling the plays in ’03. Bobo gets enough grief without people blaming Richt play calling on him.

  2. Chuck

    Don’t understand what I am about to say as an actual prediction.

    It’s more of a hope, really, but this is a great opportunity for Figgins. He is physically gifted, he isn’t completely new to his job, and he has something to prove. Dawg knows he can pass block. I am not sure he’ll answer the bell, but I never really thought Caleb was going to do so, either.

    If we win, it is likely to be a combination of offensive guile and stealth, defensive shut downs and great kicking. But we can still win.

  3. 69Dawg

    You have a 6th O lineman in Figgins at FB Arron will be as safe as in his mother’s arms. I think we will see run blitzes after run blitzes and our biggest play will be the short quick passes to the TE’s or the FB’s. I will start to contemplate suicide if when fall practice starts we lose any DL players. If TG’s boys can come through we will be fine if not it will be messy.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Go back to those 47 sacks in ’03 and look at the TE production. I hope Bobo reads your post!

  4. Reptillicide

    I felt the same way when I heard the news. In fact I was pretty surprised by how apathetic I was about it. The people saying this dooms us are speaking of how King is the only experienced guy on the roster. Well, what good is experience if the guy has always been mediocre and has never gotten better? King has had so many chances to take over, the job was begging for him to take it last year and he couldn’t do it.

    Okay, so we’re thin. I refuse to get upset over losing the biggest recruiting disappointment at Georgia in the last 10 years.

  5. ScoutDawg

    You had me at 2003 Georgia Bulldogs.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Oh, did you mean the 2003 University of Georgia football team that got shellacked by LSU in the SEC Championship game 34-13? That team? If we’re going to get all sentimental I believe there are a few other UGA teams that would qualify over that one.

      • Hobnail_Boot

        If Lumpkin catches that ball in the Dome, who knows. Better yet, if Greene and Bennett don’t make huge mistakes in Baton Rouge, we play Ole Miss in the SECCG.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          My point was that there are more parallels between this coming season’s team and the 1980 team than with the 2003 team if one is looking for some consolation. Returning experienced QB, incoming projected all-world freshman RB, coming off 6 win season, etc. That 1980 team did OK, didn’t it?

          • Hobnail_Boot

            Must.. not.. tackle.. couch..

          • NCT

            Argh. Hindsight’s 20/20, the benefit of which we have for Herschel but do not have AND I WILL NOT HAVE for Isaiah.

          • !980. Herschel at Tenn. + 1.

          • Go Dawgs!

            Crowell ain’t Herschel, folks. I think he is gonna be awfully good, but he isn’t Herschel. If you expect more than 2003-type production from him, I am not sure how realistic that is.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              I never said anything about realistic. I just said that the leadup to the 1980 team looks more like what is going on now than leadup to the ’03 team does. Karma, baby. it’s about time the sun shined on the Dawgs’ asses for a change.

            • Aaron Murray ain’t Buck Belue either.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Some of your comparison with ’80 is true….but all the o-line starters in 80 played pro ball at least for a while. There was a very solid team around Herschel….don’t think you can say that about the ’11 team.

            The only question I have about King is how did it take him so long to finally flunk out of school….only took me two semesters.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              To paraphrase one John Blutarsky as if he were talking about about Caleb King: “Five years of college down the drain.”

      • gatriguy

        It’s a little unfair to look at it like that. By the time that team made it to the dome, we didn’t even let the OL practice together. That team was as beat up a group as we’ve ever had. But my God that defense…

    • Spence

      You wouldn’t settle for an SEC East championship this year after what we’ve had? Wow. Just fucking wow.

  6. JG Shellnutt

    I don’t want to say I’m in panic mode, but I would have rather had CK with the team this year than not. A 5th year senior who averaged over 5 yards per carry is hard to come by. I would have liked for IC to have had more competition from the start rather than had the starting position handed to him on a silver platter from day 1. I would have liked a (relatively speaking) level-headed, experienced guy whispering in IC’s ear throughout the season…soothsaying and calming when necessary. And between last year’s WE and CK, CK was the better pass blocker.
    Again, I’m not in panic mode, but I am not really happy about this, at all. I think the team would have been better with CK than without him. Frankly, I know our natural instincts are to go into damage-control and spin this the way we want it to be, but unlike when Waushaun left the team, I do not think we’ll be better without Caleb.

    • I don’t think the team is necessarily better off without him, but for some reason I’m just not that worked up about his departure. Weird, but that’s how it is.

      • Merk

        Its not hard to be careless about losing players…esp when with King and Ealey last season you could set king as heads and Ealey as tails. Then flip a coin and you would have a good idea of who was going to either get suspended or fumble on a game winning drive.

    • dawg521

      “I would have liked a (relatively speaking) level-headed, experienced guy whispering in IC’s ear throughout the season…soothsaying and calming when necessary.”

      That’s what coaches are SUPPOSE to be for. I still don’t understand why we have a former WR coaching RB’s and a former RB coaching WR’s.

      • “I still don’t understand why we have a former WR coaching RB’s and a former RB coaching WR’s.”

        Why wouldn’t we have that Bro? Please take a look around, you will find it is not unusual for a football coach to coach positions other than the one he himself played. Quick quiz: If you think Rodney Garner is an effective DL coach, do you know what position he played? If memory serves, Kirby Smart was our RB coach before Coach Ball came to town – I don’t recall him playing RB.

        • dawg521

          I understand that people can have knowledge of a position outside of what they played and just because they didn’t play it doesn’t make them a bad coach. I haven’t “been in the arena” so I don’t have a whole lot of room to talk. In my current profession, leadership style and effectiveness could put you in a position to lead others in a specialty you may be slightly unfamiliar with so I understand the concept.

          Coach McClendon has been a tremendous recruiter (took the lead on IC) and Coach Ball has done his fair share with what he’s got but maybe my expectations are too high. To whisper those words of wisdom when the clock is reading 0:30 in the 4th and we are facing 3rd and 4 in the red zone, down 6 points, I’d prefer him to have a person whose literally been in his shoes and knows what it’s like to run between the tackles (or run a fade into the corner and catch a game winning TD).

          I trust Coach Richt to get IC his mentor given all that he has riding on this season and the expectations of IC. Thomas Brown couldn’t be a better choice. Hopefully the leadership we have will come together to rally the team and give us something to really be proud about. Go Dawgs!!!

          • NCT

            Bryan could always ask his dad what it was like. Too bad we forget we had some pretty good RBs before HW.

      • Joe

        His name is Thomas Brown. As I understand things, TB has taken IC under his tutelage this summer, and made him a priority to get him ready…this was BEFORE CK4 news broke.
        I think TB is a good one to listen and learn from.

        • Dawgfan Will

          This.

        • gatriguy

          TB should be the model for every running back we ever sign. No one got more out of what they were naturally given than Brown.

        • MT

          Exactly. Remember, coaches can’t work with players over the summer, but the weight room staff sure can

        • AthensHomerDawg

          IC gets his own personal trainer! Now that is pretty smooth. There is a LB who played in the pros who is going to help someones game a whole lot this summer! That will help make up for any NCAA problems at LB those first two games.

    • OKDawg

      I think your response says it all: “well, we would be better off with him.” That’s not exactly a resounding endorsement. Like you, I am disappointed but not feeling despair. I agree we would be a better team with CK. But I don’t feel losing him is devastating. If it were devastating, our collective response would be: “Oh s@!t, not him. Anyone but him!”

    • Coastal Dawg

      I’m not sure I would want Caleb King to mentor anyone. What a dumbass from the time he arrived in Atheens to his final tweet.

      Perhaps Caleb’s biggest service to UGA will be to serve as an object lesson

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        +1. Maybe seeing what happened to him and Ealey will “scare straight” some of the others who might have made the same kinds of mistakes.

  7. Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

    Bingo!

    It’s defense, defense, defense that’s going to win Georgia football games.

  8. will

    Last years SEC championship representatives (USC and AU) didn’t have a fifth year senior back who averaged over 5 ypc last year. They both had a highly regarded freshman RB recruit with every opportunity to seize the spotlight.

    This job was Crowell’s to lose from the get go. If he is average to better than average we will be in the hunt. If not, we dang well better hope the light comes on for Granthem’s bunch.

    Color me apathetic to this news. Experience is overrated, work ethic is not.

  9. Dog in Fla

    “By the way, Richt was already making phone calls yesterday to “help King toward his next destination”.

    Caleb just had the bad luck of taking courses with some hardass professors who routinely gave low grades. Other than that, Mark still believes that Caleb is a fine young man who, through service learning in business and in the arts while at Georgia, has a skill set that will help his future career advancement

    http://www.redandblack.com/2010/10/12/accusations-piling-up-for-running-back-king-tally-of-arrests-increasing/

  10. AusDawg85

    Senator, you’ve laid out a thoughtful and fair analysis supported by facts and other “expert” opinion…other than Schultz’s.

    But it’s too early…should have waited until tomorrow. 24 hours later I still want to run in circles with my hair on fire awaiting the end of the earth. Stop trying to ruin a great fit I was pitching.

    Thank you.

  11. Merk

    Well…this is 1000000x better then getting to 3-4 weeks in Fall practice and hearing King was going to flunk out. At least now Bobo has all fall practice to try some of the other options: IE B. Smith, Mitchell, Boykin, or other ridiculously fast guys at a RB position. Also maybe…just maybe the coaches will realize that Pass Blocking will be an issue and create more bootleg plays….ie the ole roll out hitting FB, RB, or TE in the flats type plays, which would be great since we have good pass catching FB and TEs.

  12. Vindexdawg

    Count me firmly in the “underwhelmed” camp here. I just really can’t see getting all that freaked out about it at this point. Now, if you teleport me to the sideline of that little matchbox of a “stadium” in Atlanta almost 20 months ago, leave me there for 3 hours, and then shoot me back to where we are now – Yes, I would be extremely weirded out. But almost everything that has happened with both those guys since then has been a humongous disappointment. That’s just the way life is sometimes, and I just have to hope that his is building the law of averages or karma or whatever in our favor for the future. To say a few things in their favor, and in our program’s favor:
    1. Neither Ealey nor King ever texted their g/f’s with little love notes like “Timetodiebeeyotch!”
    2. Neither had a daddy shooping them to us for $180,000 or more;
    3. Neither was ever suspended 4 or 5 times in a single off-season, only to be “invited” back with clocklike regularity;
    4. Neither was ever involved in any bar brawls that put an off-duty policeman in the hospital with intracranial bleeding, nor indeed was either involved in any kind of criminal violence.
    I don’t wish either any ill, but nonetheless I am not really sorry to see them go.

    • Merk

      I do not think anyone thinks they are bad people. They were just 2 young men who were given so much and gave so little effort back for it that they lost it all.

      • Joe

        Ealey was one of the leaders of the cancers on the team, I was glad to see him go.

        • Not necessarily doubting you Bro, but how do you know that? (I’m not asking you to name your sources, but if you could give a general description I’d appreciate it.)

  13. W Cobb Dawg

    The ’03 D had Pollack, Davis and DC Van Gorder – the likes of which we haven’t seen since they left. The ’11 team has …? I’m all for being optimistic – perhaps not enough to suit some fans, but let’s not delude ourselves that we have that kind of talent on D. The sad reality is this season is starting to look more and more like a rebuilding year. The easy schedule should still get us a minimum 8 wins.

    • Don’t forget O’Hell and Sean Jones with GBlue riding the pines. The incredible thing about that ’03 D was the whole LB corps was new and we’d lost the #6 pick in the NFL draft – pretty sure Boss went Rd1 as well.

    • ACM

      True, but I think the point is, like 2003, we are not good enough to win the SEC, but we are good enough to make it to the Dome in December. Given that the rest of the SEC east is a mess, 8 wins is going to put you in the conversation for the East crown, which is what we need to do to prove we’re still relevant.

  14. Will Trane

    I think it would be a long stretch to predict the 2011 Dawgs will be anything close to the 2003 team. Especially with an offense with no back. In 2003 the Dawgs had a defense that could score and keep opponents out. It has been awhile since I have seen one of those in Sanford or any SEC road game.
    Plus. let us think how the offenses have changed in the SEC and elsewhere since 2003 [just 7 years, but in football that is a while]. With the spread and hybrid speads it is important for any SEC school to score alot on offense. Ask the old ball coach when he walked out of the Dome last December.

  15. sUGArdaddy

    We boatraced Clemson to start the ’03 season 30-0 with Ronnie Powell, Tony Milton and Michael Cooper at RB. Tyson was suspended and Lumpkin didn’t play till later in the year. RONNIE POWELL. TONY MILTON. MICHAEL COOPER.

  16. I see both sides of the coin here. On one side would it be nice to have some more depth and a bit of a low grade insurance policy should a)Crowell not be ready to carry the load in game one or b)He gets injured at some point in the season or c)wears down as the season goes on. On the other hand is a guy like King who we really want mentoring Crowell? He has never shown that he can handle taking care of his own business much less show another guy how it is done. May be wishful thinking at this point but maybe having a couple of young guys who haven’t picked up any bad habits from Ealey and King might be the best thing for this season.

  17. Spence

    All I really want to see next year is the defense improve substantially. If that happens we get to 9 wins and i am happy. Thus I am also not that worked up about Caleb leaving.

  18. Cojones

    Screw the wins!! Just want to see our Dawgs play and the enjoyment of cheering them on.

  19. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I’LL YAWN WHEN I’M DONE SCREAMING!