Heading into the Kentucky game, Isaiah Crowell needs just 179 yards to eclipse 1000 for the season. He's averaging 91 yards a game, which I think is third best among freshmen in the nation. He's been every bit the playmaker we hoped he would be at this position.
Yet there's a feeling of unfulfillment with this guy. Crowell's best game as far as carries and yardage was Ole Miss (30 for 147), but he didn't cross the goalline. Then Saturday against Auburn he had 24 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown. Those are two very big games for a freshman...but with his talent (and to be quite honest, his recruitment) we've come to expect something even bigger.
He missed a quarter against Vandy and then an entire game against New Mexico State. That last suspension may have led many to dampen their expectations for Isaiah Crowell. Despite having only 4 carries for 15 yards, it was Brandon Harton who got the biggest cheers Saturday, just as Samuel got all the attention from the WLOCP. Fans want more than statistics and moments of brilliance. They also want dependability, and heart. That's been missing in the Georgia backfield for some time and sitting a game, even though it was New Mexico State, brings back painful memories.
And there's also a feeling that the best is yet to come. Crowell said all the right things post-suspension. Even better, he let his feet do even more talking Saturday. He ran with a hunger, an eagerness for the open field. So here's what I think: Crowell really wants to be the guy. He's taken his lumps this season, literally and figuratively. He took a shot against Auburn where I could tell his body desperately needed a play or two from the sideline, but his mind desperately wanted to go back in that huddle. I think the transition from high school star to SEC running back is nearly complete. After a full off season in the S&C program he'll be more prepared, seasoned and ready for the weight his position carries.
To be a dominate SEC tailback you have to be as strong off the field as on it. Crowell loves practice and he has more than enough talent to leave plenty of tacklers in his wake. I think he's at the edge of dominance. The sooner it comes, the louder those cheers will be.
All stats courtesy of CFBstats.com