Most of the time, college football coaches downplay the possibility of true freshmen competing right away, or hedge about it at best.
Mark Richt wasn’t doing any hedging Wednesday when he talked with ESPNU about running back Isaiah Crowell, who had just signed to become a Georgia Bulldog.
Richt said Crowell will contribute “heavily” this coming season.
“I expect him to come right in and compete right away,” the coach said. “I wouldn’t be shocked to see him running that rock in the Dome against Boise State on the opening play if he does what he’s supposed to do.”
Talk about giving an incoming player some incentive …
Some might see going with an untested back in a big, nationally televised game as a gamble. Will he have picked up all the nuances of Mike Bobo’s offense by then? Can his pass protection possibly have progressed enough strictly in practice?
Probably not. Doesn’t matter. Richt sees Crowell as a game-changer and knows he’s in a position where playing it safe isn’t going to cut it.
Let’s face it, coming off a losing season and needing to get both his program and his fan base back in the right mindset, Richt faces a tremendous challenge in opening with what’s going to be a heavily hyped game in Atlanta against one of the flashiest teams in the nation.
Can he rise to the occasion, as Erk Russell would say? So far, with Georgia’s tremendous Dream Team recruiting class, Richt has. Now the Dogs have to do it on the field, and Richt obviously recognizes that what Georgia’s been doing in its running game isn’t getting the job done.
So if that means starting a true freshman tailback against Boise State, so be it.
Looks like Richt is going “all in,” as the Auburn folks would put it.
Sounds like a plan to me. How about you?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg