There's a ton of frustration among fans. Which is surely a fraction of what there is on the team. There's a lot of emotion and a lot of ill will. I think most of the concerns fall into two areas: his ability to handle the role of an SEC tailback physically and mentally and his attitude as a whole.
Many have questioned his toughness after some nagging injuries this season, but in reality this was an adjustment we should've expected. Crowell carried the football 147 times his senior year of high school. Going into the Outback Bowl he's carried the ball 182 times this season even though he didn't play in two games, played minimally against Kentucky and missed a full quarter against Vanderbilt.
The comparisons to Lattimore were unreasonable, albeit understandable. An off season of strength and conditioning training will help Crowell prepare to carry the load at an SEC level, rather than a Class AA.
This is a much bigger concern. Put simply, Coach Richt and Crowell are not seeing eye to eye. The writing began appearing on the wall for fans to read back before the Vandy game, when Richt said he "loved" his running back. The message between the lines was just as subtle leading up to Saturday's game with LSU, but much more terse. The next couple weeks are critical if Crowell is going to grow into the role we need him to. He's done things to distance himself from his coaches and teammates alike. If he wants respect he's got to give it, pure and simple.
Case in point: back around the Ole Miss game I mentioned that I was a little concerned by our star running back's penchant for mouthing off after runs. I was blasted for it. Back then you'd see the coaches and players redirect Crowell in a supportive way. Saturday the response to his mouth was to sit the rest of the game on the bench.
A lot of people have put some blame on Richt for the way Crowell was recruited (read: the missing man formation). However, if you feel that way then you must first look at the national attention that college recruiting has taken on. If you patted Richt on the back for landing the crown jewel of the Dream Team, then you can't exactly criticize him for the way in which his staff did it.
The easy thing to do would be to give up on Crowell altogether. And I'm talking about fans here; we should know Richt isn't going to give up on him. But given the fact that we live in an era when an 18 year old can get so much unearned attention just over the act of putting on a school's cap or holding up a miniature mascot, I think it's more prudent to let the next few weeks play out. They'll be crucial to the tailback position's future at UGA, not to mention the young man's as well.
Clearly the only way to get the best out of Crowell is good, old fashioned competition. Get a couple more RB in Athens with shiny stars next to their names and let the best man win. Worked with Thomas, Ware and Lumpkin why wouldn't it work again? Besides, if Crowell doesn't like to compete and folds up the tent, it's nice to have a back up plan.
IC has the talent to be a big time SEC tail back. However, I believe that it won't be at Georgia. Hope I'm wrong and he buys into the Georgia way this off season (strength and conditioning as well as attitude). He has a lot of good folks around him that will help him, but it will be what he makes it!
Your not going to have to worry about him "growing up" before the Outback. He's going to be be academically ineligable anyway. What a loser! This is what is produced by having everything handed to you.
Crowell and Malcome will be an awesome combo
Dude... if he was going to be a-i I think Bernie would have already hinted at it. Please it tough to lose a game but no piling on!
This won't be as much of a story if UGA can get commitments from Marshall and Gurley. We need at least two quality RB's to take the pressure off of Crowell. I haven't given up on Crowell, I've just lowered my expectations.
I think his biggest surprise has been how hard and how often an SEC tailback gets hit at this level. I agree, a full off- season of UGA S&C can only help. We knew he was a prima donna when we signed him, so we gotta live with that. His own teammates make bring him down a notch or two before that's all said and done anyway. From the neck down, he has all the tools to be a great one; it's the shoulders up that concerns me.
I've seen a lot this season that makes me concerned about Crowell - 1) lots of mouthing off when he hasn't proven anything, 2) sitting on the sideline during the Kentucky game after he got hurt and not cheering on his teammates, 3) walking away when Richt was talking to him on Saturday after his penalty (I could go on). My basically opinion is that he is a punk kid who thinks the game should come to him as easy as in high school. Hopefully, Joe T. can kick the crap out of him during off-season workouts to get his head on straight.
I remain a fan of Isaiah Crowell and sincerely hope for him to do well not just because it would be good for UGA but also because it would be good for him and his family. And I trust our coaching staff in teaching our boys how to become men who excel at life, in football and after it. Best of luck to IC.
Dead on Sportsdawg. Dead on.
I'd take it one step further. Let's get Samuel the ball 20+ times in the Outback and give Crowell (as well as any 2012 signees we pick up) something to really think about this Winter.
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