Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Key players return for UGA and AU

There are several key players back for both teams as this weekend's game approaches. Emory Blake and Trevon Reed have both been big parts of the tiggers offense this season. Blake is leading AU with 24 catches for 404 yards and 5 TD's. Reed has 15 catches for 117 yards and no TD's. Reed also has returned punts for AU at times during the season.

For Georgia leading rusher Isaiah Crowell will be back after serving a one game suspension last week. His is now primary backup Carlton Thomas. Malcolm Mitchell has been out since the Tennesse game with a pulled hamstring. Crowell leads the team in rushing with 146 carries for 689 yards and 4 TD's. Thomas is third on the team in yards and carries. Mitchell leads the team in receiving yards on 25 receptions for 438 yards and 3 TD's.

Both of Auburn's receivers as well as Mitchell will be unknowns for the game as they are all recovering from injuries. Georgia is deeper at receiver so if Mitchell is not 100% it would not hurt them as much as it would Auburn if either of their returning players are not able to perform at a high level due to their injuries.

For Crowell the suspension, while never a good thing, could have a silver lining. For most of the year Crowell has been near the top of the league in carries per game, currently 4th. He has shown that he wears down a bit in the second half of games while carrying that type of load. The most times he carried the ball in a season in high school was 175, including playoffs. He already has 146 carries for UGA this season and has been banged up one way or the other all season. He sat out the first quarter of the Vandy game, had a bye week, missed a good part of the second half against Florida and now served the suspension. That has resulted in him only carrying the ball 28 times in the last month. His body should be the freshest it has been in a long time and hopefully lead to a big game against Auburn. There is no doubt in my mind that Georgia will need Thomas and possibly Harton to help ease some of the load on Crowell but I feel he will need to have 22-25 carries in this game. He is by far the best back Georgia has and when he is running well the offense is much more effective. The biggest question I believe for Crowell is going to be can he handle the extra carries and still run as hard in the second half as he does in the first half. He averages almost 2 yards per carry less in the second half as he does in the first. We shall see come Saturday.

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