One reason for optimism about the 2013 Georgia offense is that for the first time since 2010, the team looks likely to return its leading rusher. It will be the first time since 2008 and only the second time under Mark Richt that Georgia returns a 1,000-yard rusher.
The relative calm surrounding the running back position is a stark contrast to the saga of Georgia’s leading rusher from 2011. Isaiah Crowell transferred to Alabama State after his dismissal from the Georgia program. Crowell had a fair season with 842 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he was named the SWAC newcomer of the year. But as with Crowell’s 850-yard debut in Athens, his first year at Alabama State can’t avoid drama.
ASU self-reported violations regarding Crowell before the season even started. The violations didn’t affect Crowell’s eligibility, but they ended up as a central issue in the firing of the school’s athletic director.
Former ASU AD Stacy Danley claims, and the school denies, that “(Danley) was pushed out at the school after he insisted that head football coach Reggie Barlow be fired for repeatedly lying” during the Crowell investigation. The whole story is a strange volley of allegations between Danley and the administration involving Danley’s role during Crowell’s reinstatement, a Burger King, the daughter of the school’s executive vice president, and the local Thai place.
Georgia has a lot on its plate between now and the 2013 season, but I’m at least glad that the cloud that seems to follow a running back wearing #1 has moved west. Considering what it seems to have cost ASU to land him, Georgia should consider itself lucky for a certain June traffic stop.