I haven't posted in a while - deal with it.
Washaun is gone.
(And there was much rejoicing)
Look folks all of you who are saying the departure of Washaun Ealy is yet another sign that Mark Richt has lost touch with his players (and thus is on his last legs) need to take big whiff of that stuff you're shoveling around. Seriously. Ealy is not a casualty of Richt's inability to pick a lead guy in the back field. Ealy's situation is not the result of a lack of focus on the part of Mark Richt.
What is Mark Richt supposed to do? Bend to the desires of a kid who can't get his discipline in order, has shown a general inability to accept responsibility and has underperformed in key situations? Negative. The relationship has grown sour, and it's time for Ealy to ride off into the sunset. Ealy says he wants to go to an institution where he'll have the opportunity to be the feature back. Does he really believe he hasn't had that opportunity at UGA?
In 2010, Washaun had a 2:1 carry ratio over the other "primary" back, Caleb King. That was up from a nearly 50-50 split in 2009. Washaun also carried for 11 TDs compared to Caleb's 2. So, the coaches were certainly giving him his reps. However, it wasn't the lack of PT in the past that worried Washaun - it was the possibility of a diminished role in the future.
This leads me to wonder - does Washaun Ealy understand far more about his own limitations than any of the scouts/coaches/fans ever did? Here's a kid who was the primary rusher at the University of Georgia last season. He carried for 5 TDs in one game. Still, he's worried about losing carries to a RSFrosh and a true Frosh. To hear him tell it, he believes that the coaches wouldn't be giving him a fair shake - that they'd be giving other people a chance just to give them a chance. Still, I have to think that perhaps he has simply read the writing on the wall - he doesn't have what it takes. We've seen this before.
In 2006, Danny Ware, Kregg Lumpkin and Thomas Brown split carries during a tough season for UGA's offense. Knowshon Moreno was redshirting, and no one was set to graduate. Lumpkin, the elder statesman, elected to stay in school for the 2007 season, hoping to get over nagging injuries and put himself in position to get drafted. Danny Ware, unhappy with the thought of splitting carries even MORE ways in '07 opted instead to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. By the fourth game of the 2007 season, Knowshon Moreno had proven himself to be a solid back, and by mid-season, it was well-known that he was the future of the running back position. Lumpkin did little that year, and was signed to the Packers as an Undrafted Free Agent in 2008. The fall of 2007 for Danny Ware proved much more fortuitous, as Ware bounced from the Titans and Jets practice squads to the dress squad of the New York Giants (with whom he won a Super Bowl).
So, if we consider either Crowell or Malcome to be 2011's Moreno, and we know King to be like Lumpkin in regards to injuries slowing progress, and if we compare Thomas's pass-catching and play making ability to be similar to Thomas Brown (though without the "run you over" ability)....then we certainly can understand why Ealy would take a Ware-like approach, and get while the getting is good.
Many people have said "Good Riddance" to the kid, heaping ridicule on him. I won't do that. I do think he has some growing up to do, but I also understand where he's coming from. He wants to make a life out of football - and he knows that in the world we live in today, you don't need a big "G," a big "M" or a Tommy Trojan on your helmet to do that. You need to prove yourself as a viable commodity - and doing that at UGA seems unlikely for Ealy. Maybe his work ethic sucks, and he wants to go to a school where he can get by on talent alone. Maybe he feels that if he faces less competition, he'll be more of a standout. Or, maybe he simply feels that he's past the point of turning his experience at UGA into something that will be good for him in the long run. I can't fault him for that. Move on, start over, and do what's best for your career. Good luck with it.
In the meantime, thank you Washaun for making Bryan McClendon's job just a little bit easier. Maybe one of these young kids will step up and force McClendon and Richt to make HIM the primary ball carrier. That'd be nice to see.