First before I rip into Crowell, let’s dispell any internet message board rumor with facts and precendence. I am no lawyer, although Kensingtondawg pretends to be sometime.
There is speculation that perhaps Georiga Coach Mark Richt knew the “positive” drug test results before Saturday’s game against the Gators.
(Allow me to ramble for a second: does it not bother you that people refer to test results backwards? “Your cancer tests came back negative” is a good thing, but testing positive is a bad thing. Very confusing. A little hang up I have about the medical profession, and another reason our English language is tricky.)
At no time in his tenure at UGA has Mark Richt ever skirted discipline. While other blue and orange schools to the south of us have relatively light discipline, there is one thing that Mark Richt has never done, and that is skirt discipline, and Lord knows he has had plenty of opportunities to dole it out.
It doesn’t matter when a player commits an infraction, the penalty has always been the next game. Claude Felton addressed this yesterday (I couldn’t find his quote I saw somewhere) as did Greg McGarity:
Athletic director Greg McGarity said “absolutely not,” when asked Tuesday if discipline was held over until after the Florida game.
“This had nothing to do with the Florida game or anything,” McGarity said. “It was all timing.”
Georgia said it has strict policies that suspensions “as a result of team or Athletic Association policies are immediate and occur at the next scheduled competition.”
Most folks seem to hold Greg McGarity in high regard, Claude Felton is the most respected SID in the country, and Mark Richt has never skirted discipline no matter who the next oppent was. The rule of missing the next scheduled competition has been seen before, and it hasn’t matterd if it was against a directional FCS team or a BCS team:
-Tripp Chandler was suspended the first game of 2007, when the opening opponent was Oklahoma State.
-Fred Munzenmaier was suspended two games, one of which was South Carolina, for talking smack to a cop following an alcohol related arrest in 2008.
-Justin Houston was suspended for the first two games of the 2009 season against top ten ranked Oklahoma State and SEC Division foe South Carolina, despite being the only scholarship defensive end with any game time playing experience.
-Most Georgia folks were concnerned that Cornelius Washington’s suspension would hurt the pass rush against Tennessee. It ended up not mattering, but UGA suspended one of its best pass rushers before going on the road to play a team with a good quarterback.
Sure, most transgressions take place in the off season, and most of the time the next opponent is a cupcake team where it really doesn’t matter. But there have been instances where the suspensions have been against legitimate teams, so to think that Richt is cherry picking punishment is a bit of a conspiracy theory. Sure, Richt’s seat has never been as hot as it was before Saturday, and this was a year UGA most definately HAD to beat Florida. I don’t think Richt would decieve us at this point, when he hasn’t done that in his 10 previous seasons.
I am not one of those who love Richt becuase he is a good person. Sure, him being a good guy and doing good things is a cherry on top, but I am not one who says we should keep Richt just becuase he is a good guy. But of al the on and off the field issues the last few years, one thing Richt has that is his Ace in the hole is he has always done the right thing. What has kept him out of the administration’s dog house during the down years is his tremendous amout of good will he has stockpiled, from the early victories and the fact he has not embarrassed the University. The Georgia fans (the ones who pay the large donations, anyway) are by and large old, white, upper class, conservative people. I don’t think they would look to fondly on losing to the Gators, but I also don’t think they would look to fondly on lying and being dishonest, either. When Mark Richt is being scrutinized the most, I just don’t see him selling out, regardless of the Gators being the next game or not.
I don’t know the procedures for drug tests, but I don’t think Richt would lie to us. I think he has proven to do the right thing, and I think he and the Athletic Deparment have earned the benefit of the doubt here.
Now, onto Crowell:
What an idiot. Crowell has the talent to be an elite SEC runningback. But he has already been in Richt’s dog house once this season, and this surely will keep him in it for a little while longer. Isiah Crowell, statiscially speaking is having a good year, being the 5th best running back in the SEC. The folks ahead of him are no slouches-Marcus Lattimore, Trent Richardson and Michael Dyer. I believe Richardson is down to just a few more games at Alabama, and Lattimore will surely only play one more year at South Carolina. In just a season or two, Crowell has the talent and potential to become the BEST running back in the SEC. His problems have been his durability. But that was expected this preseason, coming from a AA high shcool to the SEC. He needed time to get conditioned and get up to the speed of SEC play.
Short term, this is not a problem for UGA. We caught a huge break by playing New Mexico State. Crowell was only going to get 10-16 carries (he got 16 vs Coastal Carolina, and this late in the season, you’d expcet him to get less). LSU had players suspended two weeks ago for Auburn, and they are in a National Title hunt. This doesn’t derail the chances of UGA to win the SEC East or win 10 games in a rebound season.
But get out of the weeds and look at it long term? Can Isiah Crowell be the best running back in the SEC if he doesn’t have his crap together? Will he be Weshaun Ealey Part II? You know, these guys are 18 year old kids. I am not going to cast stones at them. I never smoked pot or even got arrested, but I did other things that I am sure if I was under the same microscope the football players are under I would have gotten in trouble. I drank cold beer (gasp!) before I was 21. I cut classes. We all did. These guys are going to make mistakes, and he is paying the price. If you randomly drug tested the whole student body at Georgia, or just the fraternity houses or dorms, I am sure there would be a lot postive test results. He is a 5 star recruit playing running back at the same school where Herschel Walker played. His scrutiny is high.
But what is alarming that he has already gotten in some kind of trouble once. Crowell isn’t just like everyone else. This is twice in his freshman year he has found trouble. If Crowell is going to be an elite player, ergo if UGA is going to be an elite program again, then Crowell has got to recognize he is not like everyone else. Uncle Ben told Peter Parker in the Toby McGuire Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Crowell has to grow up fast, man up and learn his responsibility, or UGA is going to be in bad shape. Not this season, but not too far down the road. And not just for UGA’s or Mark Richt’s sake. Crowell no more wants to be playing at Georgia Southern or Jacksonville State no more than I want another hole in my head.