Washaun Ealey is on pace to become the first player in Georgia football history to lead the team in rushing four consecutive seasons.
Provided he gets the opportunity, that is.
Georgia's leading rusher the past two years has been suspended from team activities by Bulldogs coach Mark Richt. Reports surfaced Tuesday that Ealey had skipped out on a recent run that was punishment-related, but Richt did not reveal cause for the suspension.
"We have certain expectations and standards that apply to all our student-athletes," Richt said in a statement. "We expect them to do things the right way, the Georgia way. If Washaun does things the Georgia way, he'll be back in good standing."
Ealey rushed for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns on 157 carries in 2010 and set a program record with five rushing scores in the 44-31 win at Kentucky. He also had fumbles inside the opposing 5-yard line in losses at South Carolina and Mississippi State.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder from Stillmore, Ga., missed last year's opener after getting arrested in late August on charges of hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license.
As a freshman in 2009, Ealey missed the first four games because of injury yet wound up with 717 yards and three touchdowns on 125 carries. His top career performance was 183 yards on 20 carries in the '09 regular-season finale at Georgia Tech.
Caleb King, Georgia's second-leading rusher the past two seasons, added 166 yards and two touchdowns against the Yellow Jackets in '09 but had his share of issues last year as well. King was suspended for two games in October for missing a court date that addressed a speeding ticket, and he did not make the Liberty Bowl trip because of a failure to maintain his academic responsibilities.
A week ago, Georgia signed tailback Isaiah Crowell out of Carver High in Columbus. Crowell was rated by ESPN.com as the No. 1 tailback nationally.
New guy in town
Tuesday was the first day on the job for Bulldogs offensive line coach Will Friend, who was hired away from UAB on Monday.
Friend gathered with reporters before meeting his returning players. When asked what he would say to the players, he said, "You guys don't know me and I don't know you yet, but we both picked Georgia."
A new office awaited Friend, providing him a much different setup from his two-year stint as a Bulldogs graduate assistant in 2003-04. He said three or four graduate assistants had to share an office back then and they were always fighting for chairs.
"If you got in early, you got a chair for the day," he said.
Odds and ends
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith will be the featured speaker at Georgia's annual spring football coaching clinic, which has been scheduled for March 31 and April 1. ... Auburn has tweaked its 2011 schedule by moving its game with Samford to the week before the Alabama showdown, so its lone open date now occurs before the Nov. 12 trip to Georgia.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...