I think Bradley has made an error regarding Isaiah Crowell that isn't that uncommon; so I don't want to be too hard on him. But we need to take a look at a few points from yesterday's article following the suspensions.
I'm on a bit of a deadline myself here, so let's get right to it:
Isaiah Crowell: Once again, he’s the ‘missing man’ for UGA
Georgia wanted Isaiah Crowell so much it committed a secondary violation to get him.
I'm going to write a sentence that has about the same meaning: TQCOA wanted to get his wife to the hospital to deliver their child so much that he drove 40 mph in a 30 mph zone to get there. The violation in question is so minor that at first I thought Bradley was being sarcastic....most schools would have committed firstary violations to get him....get it together guys, cheat harder! Firstary is totally a word. I'm using it henceforward.
It had 10 incumbent Bulldogs array themselves, in uniform, in an offensive set, and it had Crowell, who was on a recruiting visit, take his place in the backfield. This, Georgia was saying, is where you can be next season. (It was also a breach of byzantine NCAA rules.)
So NCAA Byzantinum not withstanding, what you're telling me here is that Georgia, having identified a very talented tailback, and having no very talented tailbacks themselves (with apologies to the since faithful departed Caleb King and Washaun Ealey), told the very talented tailback that they would like him to play football at Georgia. Isn't this pretty much the message with every single player who has ever been recruited to any college, ever?
And, at least for part of the time, that’s where Crowell has been this season — ensconced as Georgia’s No. 1 tailback.
By part of the time you pretty much mean the 2011 football season right?
He leads the team in rushing and has had three 100-yard games.
He's fifth in the SEC in rushing with 689 yards. It isn't exactly Herschel Walker territory, but it's within 6 yards per game of Marcus Lattimore's season last year. You know who the next Freshman on the SEC list is? Josh Clemons from Kentucky with 279 yards; the kid's playing some serious football.
He has also gone missing during games so often we’ve all taken to wondering what’s really going on.
Running Back A: averages 18.25 carries per game, is in the top five in the conference in rushing yards, has a high of 30 carries and a low of 10 carries.
Running Back B: averages 18.63 carries per game, is in the top five in the conference in rushing yards, has a high of 29 carries and a low of 11 carries.
One of those two backs is who Mark Bradley has described as going missing often enough to hint at a conspiracy, one is Trent Richardson who is going to win the Heisman Trophy (Andrew Luck is probably going to win the Heisman Trophy, but you get my point0. Running back A is Crowell. And before I start getting emails from the Alabama fans out there, I'm not saying that Crowell has had the same type of season Richardson has, he has not. I also understand that Alabama has blown a lot of people out meaning that Richardson hasn't needed to be in the entire game. However what I am saying is that the guy who is the SEC's likeliest contender for the award to recognize The. Most. Valuable. Player. in all of college football, and the guy being accused of a disappearing act have carried the ball about the same number of times.
Is he taking himself out of the game because he’s tired?
Yes. Because he is carrying the ball as much as anyone not named Marcus Lattimore in the SEC. He is also a true freshman. Running the ball that much in the SEC is hard. Crowell hasn't been in a college strength and conditioning program very long. So yeah. Tired seems reasonable to me.
Does he get injured that often?
So often that he is fifth (FIFTH!) in the conference in carries as a Freshman. And yes he has been injured, which you might expect because he carries the ball 18.25 times per game as a Freshman, and the fact that he has been able to continue doing this while hurt makes it more remarkable not less.
Are the coaches holding him back? If so, why?
Seriously. Nick Saban, stop holding Trent Richardson back. 18 carries per game is simply not enough. He's got potential that he isn't realizing. He's not a freshman anymore, let him tote the mail. Oh, you were talking about Isaiah Crowell, who is still a freshman, ok, got it.
He explains the situation with Crowell being suspended for Vandy in the first quarter and now New Mexico State....and then:
Thus will the Bulldogs be minus four tailbacks Saturday: Richard Samuel was hurt against Florida and has undergone ankle surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the regular season. But the greater issue is Crowell, of whom so much was expected.
And which he has fulfilled right?
To be fair, he has come close to justifying the massive hype that preceded him,
What exactly would you like to see to remove "come close" from that sentence. He's in the top five in the conference in rushing yards and carries on a team that has gone from 6-7 to 6-2? This is what they had in mind and it's happening. If you got a beef with run production, i.e. that Crowell isn't producing enough yards, well take it up with Will Friend or Mike Bobo; Crowell is 1.4 yards better per carry than Richard Samuel (4.7 vs. 3.3) there is a clear difference between the tailbacks, the scheme and the offensive line have to improve to get him into Trent Richardson territory (6 ypc).
but the stop-and-start nature of his season — now you see him; now you don’t — have led some to wonder if he’ll be a Bulldog long.
OK I get that the suspensions are a problem. You are right. They need to stop. But prior to this coming week it had only been for one quarter. Isaiah Crowell has virtually equal carries to the following backs: Trent Richardson of Alabama, Monte Ball of Wisonsin and Doug Martin from Boise State. Now those three have been more productive than Crowell, but they have not been meaningfully more consistent in terms of carries. (Actually Martin has, but Ball and Richardson have the same spikes as Crowell). I want you to read the sentence above but replace Crowell with one of those other backs and tell me if it makes sense to you.
Some cast Isaiah Crowell as the recruit who was going to save Richt’s job, and clearly the freshman has done his part to lift the Bulldogs to 6-2 and second place in the SEC East.
That's right. Why did you write this article?
But there have been warning signs over those eight games that make us ask: Will the “missing man” turn out to be more trouble than he’s worth?
There are two warning signs. 1) Whatever caused the Vanderbilt First Quarter Suspension and 2) Whatever caused the New Mexico State suspension. Now we have suspicions and reports about the latter, but I don't think we know the former. I am ok with acknowledging that these signs are troubling. But to extend this from "off the field" to "on the field" warning signs simply ignores the contribution that Crowell has made.