“It sucks that he made a mistake, but it happens,” guard Dallas Lee said. “I wish him all the best of luck at Alabama State and moving on with his life, but I wish he was here.”
Lee said he expects the other tailbacks to “pick up the slack” after Crowell’s departure.
“I feel like sometimes that’s part of the game,” senior linebacker Mike Gilliard said. “You lose guys and when adversity hits, what are you going to do? That situation we handled it well and we’re going to keep moving forward. We’ve got some legit guys who can play this year — Keith Marshall, Ken Malcome, I’m just excited about those guys. I know those guys can get the job done as well.”
Matt Stinchcomb, a studio analyst for ESPNU and Southeastern Conference games, said Crowell being booted from the team may be a distraction, but doesn’t think it has to keep Georgia from being a force still this season.
“Guys get suspended, guys get kicked off, if it’s not a distraction to some extent, if guys don’t notice that one of their teammates isn’t around anymore, you’ve got a chemistry problem and an awareness problem,” he said. “These guys know they lost a tailback, they lost a guy that probably could have contributed this fall. At the same time, this is a team, and if you can’t adhere to the rules, policies, regulations and laws of this country and this program, then you have to recognize that you can’t be a part of it any more. I think that’s what we’ve seen transpire here. If this team is going to go on to great things, they should be more than capable of seeing past what’s happened with the tailback position.”
I don’t hear any relief there about being rid of a bad apple (or however else Dooley referred to Crowell). Just recognition that a player being counted on didn’t follow the rules and others will have to step up to replace his production.