Georgia is in a world of hurt at the running back position this week. Good thing they’ll be facing New Mexico State.
First, Richard Samuel — who really made a difference in Saturday’s win over Florida — is likely to miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his left ankle today. UGA’s second-leading rusher hurt the ankle on the final play of the game.
“Richard really had probably his finest performance in a really big game and for it to happen on the last play is just sad for him,” Mark Richt said.
The injury to the tailback-turned-linebacker-turned-tailback is especially rough considering the news that broke a bit later in the day — Georgia has suspended three tailbacks for Saturday’s game due to a violation of team rules.
That group includes Isaiah Crowell and backups Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome. And that leaves Georgia with two former walk-ons to carry the ball this weekend — sophomore Brandon Harton and senior Wes Van Dyk.
“We have certain standards in all that we do and their actions do not reflect the Georgia way,” Mark Richt said via statement. “They will serve their suspensions, learn a lesson and I’m sure be better men for it.”
As we always ask in situations like this — Did the players’ rules violations occur after Saturday’s game with Florida? Or did Richt simply decide to hold off on the suspension until after his team had played its biggest SEC rival?
UPDATE – Rumors had swirled on Georgia messageboards last week that Crowell and other players had failed a drug test. Some outlets are reporting today that the three players did fail a drug test. Coincidence?
Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald asked Georgia AD Greg McGarity if the players’ punishment had been delayed until after the Florida game last weekend. “Absolutely not,” he responded. “It was all timing.”
Well, if the school knew the players were going to fail the test and they said, “Don’t show me the results until Monday,” it wouldn’t be the first time that kind of thing happened in the SEC.
And that’s one more reason — get ready for us to beat our favorite drum — that the SEC should implement a uniform drug policy for all of its member institutions. Instead, we’re going to be dealing with a lot of questions regarding who at Georgia knew what and when did they know it. That kind of publicity isn’t good for the conference on the eve of its mega-game between Alabama and LSU.