Sunday, June 12, 2011

Production replacement - Running back

Not too long ago Georgia would have been looking at having almost 100% of its rushing yards back for this fall and get to add on top of that Isaiah Crowell and Ken Malcome being tossed into the mix. Now the team has lost its leading rusher from the past two seasons. If you take away Murray's stats as a runner then losing Ealey takes way 43% of the carries from last year and just under 50% of the yards rushing. Most of the time I would consider that a huge loss but in this case I am not so sure. Ealey had a tendency to fumble in big spots, had big games followed by subpar games, and lots of off field problems.

Many people are expecting (hoping?) Crowell will be the next great running back in the SEC. For UGA to improve its running game and more importantly its win total I don't think he has to be great, just consistently good. Would expecting him to get 15 carries and 75 yards a game be asking too much? Would expecting him to not fumble inside the other team’s 5 yard line late in close games be asking too much? If he can do those few things he would not only improve on Ealey's numbers (13 carries 67 yards a game) but would give the team a big lift in knowing they had a guy they could count on.
Caleb King is also a bit of a wild card. Despite missing time with injuries and suspensions last year he averaged 5.38 ypc last season. If he can do that but play in every game he would take a lot of pressure off Crowell, and possibly more importantly keep the freshman from having to wear himself out. I believe Crowell is capable of carrying the ball a lot of times in a single game but not sure how he would hold up in the SEC having to do it game after game. A solid contribution from King would be great. Toss in a few carries for Malcome and it would not take much at all for the running game to be better than last years.

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