The University of Georgia football team may be hemorrhaging scholarship players — it’s now right at about 70 — but ex-coach Vince Dooley has no problems with one recent, high-profile departure. In fact, Dooley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the dismissal of troubled tailback Isaiah Crowell might just be a good thing for the squad as a whole:
“I don’t want to put any pressure on them, but losing that guy may have been the best thing to happen to them. It was a ‘bad apple” type thing, if you ask me…
Historically when things like this have happened in the past, they tend to have a unifying effect on teams. They go on to have an even better season than they were predicted to have.”
Crowell — who is transferring to Alabama State — was arrested two weeks ago after a gun with an altered serial number was found in a car that he drives. Four UGA teammates were also in the vehicle with Crowell. At the time, we compared the incident to a New Year’s Day 2010 episode in which four Tennessee basketball players were arrested. In that case, the Volunteers’ best basketball player — Tyler Smith — was dismissed after he was charged with having a gun with an altered serial number. Interestingly enough, Tennessee made its first-ever trip to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tourney without its top star… which certainly lends some credence to Dooley’s statement.
Speaking to Crowell’s talent, Dooley feels he might have been better suited playing a smaller role in Georgia’s offense last season (though he rushed for 850 yards and was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Year last season):
“Looking back at it, he would have been a great second-half running back. I never wanted that guy around int he fourth quarter if he started the game, because it seemed like he’d had enough by then. But I would’ve loved to have him around in the third or fourth quarter if he hadn’t played any to that point. Imaging once the defense gets tired and he comes in. He could’ve been a superstar second-half player. Herschel (Walker) got stronger in the fourth; this guy got weaker. So I would’ve waiting until the second half to play him. He was pretty doggone good when he was fresh. That might’ve been a good idea looking back at it.”
While Mark Richt might not be thrilled with that second guess, he’s no doubt pleased that linebacker Brandon Burrows has decided to return to the Bulldog team just a week after quitting it. Crediting Richt for being “as caring and understanding as they come,” the redshirt sophomore told The AJC that he’s “thankful” and “elated to be a Georgia Bulldog.
After months of players leaving for various reasons, it’s good news in Athens when a prodigal son returns.