Richt dangles possibility of Dome start for Crowell

Isaiah Crowell could start in the first game of the season, Mark Richt says. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell could start in the first game of the season, Mark Richt says. (Associated Press)

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

376 comments Add your comment

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
1:29 pm

Its not really an emotional thing for w/ AM, I’m simply looking at his body of work on the field as RsFr, and I and most others would agree he handled his own and learned from his mistakes. I agree he may not be “the guy” to win it for UGA, but as far as last yr went he was the best option to go with. Mettenberger was dismissed in April so we really had no choice. This yr is different Lemay will have a shot at QB. I definitely want the best product on the field.

Terry

February 3rd, 2011
1:29 pm

Aaron Murray’s stat’s ATT 342 – COMP 209 – PAC% 61.1 – PAYD 3049

Joe

February 3rd, 2011
1:31 pm

Murray’s stats? 6-7 as a starter, 0-6 against winning teams, couldn’t beat Colorado.

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:31 pm

Rooster, just because CMR says Crowell may run the ball on the first play doesn’t mean he’s running anyone off the team. King with his off the field problems is running himself off the team and Ealey has been a good back for UGA last year.

Joe

February 3rd, 2011
1:32 pm

Cam Newton didn’t take well to sitting the bench at Florida. Yes, he was better than Tebow at the time, yet Tebow retained his starting position.

Losing Newton cost Meyer a National Championship in 2010.

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

Logan Gray had plenty of opportunity. He graduated from UGA and is pursuing a masters back home, that argument is old. As far as CMRs comments, I glad he said them, Ealey/King have had no competition and been allowed to cake-walk, not anymore. Ealey/King need to handle any off-field issues before their parents call CMR.

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

Terry..putting AM stats up is like going to NFL.com and looking at QB rating. Why are there so many losing teams with QB’s with great ratings? Why is AM stats better than most team QB that beat UGA? Why can’t AM put up those stats in the 1st, 2nd quarter when the defense needs a rest, and the team needs the lead, but puts up great stats in the 4th quarter when the game is decided against prevent defenses?

how2fish

February 3rd, 2011
1:39 pm

Joe you seem to be the master of looking back and telling us what should have happened differently…my what a rare talent!

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

SmyrnaDawg…You have no problem giving Ealey/King competiton, but AM should be able allowed to cake-walk? Seems like you like to have your calk and eat it too…

CMR said yesterday…No one job is safe….AS it should, it seems as if Meyer and Saban has the same idealogy…and both has won BCSC.

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Joe…Losing Newton cost Meyer a National Championship in 2010…that’s true, there’s no doubt that all Auburn had was Newton. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost 5 games this year without him.

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Joe…Logan Gray wasn’t/isn’t better than AM. Let it go man…

Okefenokee Brave

February 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

Amen Smyrna! Murray was the least of our problems last year. Yes he had a couple of sub-par games, but you would expect that fromany freshman QB. Late fumbles on scoring drives and a defense that gave up big plays at times when we had to stop the opposing team were our biggest problems. Martin needs to go study the game with Richt and then come back and make some intelligent posts.

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
1:47 pm

John…..you do realize that Murray is instructed to run the plays that Bobo calls right? For you say that AM couldn’t produce is tough. The entire year we never established an offensive identity and I believe that starts with the OC and his plan of attack.

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:51 pm

SmyrnaDawg…now you’re blaming Bobo. So when AM does good, he’s a great QB, when he can’t produce, it’s all Bobo. Your arguement is falling apart. FYI, Murray has the ability to option out of any play (per CMR) he can call audibles. What’s your next arguement?

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
1:51 pm

Thanks Okefenokee, I know this past season was a tough pill for all fans to swallow, just trying to separate a few positives, from a lot of negatives. Our D improved but @ times we were confused and out of place and couldn’t stop anything. That hurts cause in most situations last yr it forced us to answer with points.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Murray played his ass off last season with a pathetic OL,a running game that all but disappeared and without the best WR in College football for 4 games and people are bi%ching about him? Where is perspective here…

John

February 3rd, 2011
1:54 pm

Okefenokee Brave…the offense goes 3 and out for most of first half & 3rd quarter, the defense is tired and gets behind by 2 touchdowns, and you think offense is not part of the problem? That’s rich…

icallbs

February 3rd, 2011
1:55 pm

I’m still having trouble remembering the name of qb recruit UGA signed instead of Newton? I mean, WHY would UGA not sign the guy AS a qb that qb’d the last National Champ team?

7576DAWG

February 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

John
I played a little football many years ago and was the quarterback and I am short. You are correct when you say that Murray probably couldn’t see the receivers down field because he is too short. The problem is our offensive line couldn’t block long enough for Murray to pick up an open lane. When he finally got frustrated at not being given enough time in the Florida game and the Bowl game he started trying to force the ball which didn’t work very well.
Murray’s strengths are :
1- not making mistakes because of his patience. He needs to realize that the reason we didn’t get blown out in any game and could have won every game was because he didn’t have near the turn overs that Cox did.
2-With LeMay on the team Murray should be able to make quicker decisions about whether he should run or not.CMR want have to worry about if Murray get’s hurt ,who will be the quarterback. Look down field and if nobody is breaking open or none of the back’s are open so he can dump it to them Murray needs to not hesitate any, just run the ball.
What coach Richt needs to do is rework his play book so it will speed Murray up in deciding to run , throw down field or dump it to a back. If LeMay can execute these three things faster then he should be quarterback.

Scott

February 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

I was dissapointed with Aaron Murray’s play in big games. He only had a few td’s against winning teams, close to 70% of his td’s were against poor competition like Vanderbilt. He just doesn’t have that “Lemay like” ability to play your best when you play the best.

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

John…my argument isn’t falling apart. I defended AM b/c you attacked his performance. I brought up Bobo b/c I (and I is an opinion) think his creativity(or lack thereof) should put these kids in a position to make plays(audible or not). We seem to love Play-action w/out establishing the run and long developing routes: a detriment. How many times this year did we receive the KO and know the 1st play would be a bomb?

Paul

February 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

Murray, Lemay, Mason, Crowell, King, Ealey, will all get playing time if they have good Springs. There’s enough plays for everybody to touch the football.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

“Lemay” like ability, hell this kid has proven nothing in Athens, didn’t play his senior year and half the fanbase is ready to start the kid. No wonder fans of other schools make fun of us. We now have morons thinking after watching Cam Newton that Lemay will walkin and perform equivalent to that….

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

UGA needs to work for the big play by picking up 1st downs and concentrating on ten yds @ a time(look at Falcons success) When our backs pick up 4-6 yds a carry we should win every time, problem being is we went away from that and made our QB have to work extra just to compensate. It made us predictable and @ times 1-dimensional.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
2:01 pm

Murray completed 61% of his passes. Go check the Comp % of Greene and Stafford as freshmen. Also go check out the ground game they had also. If Murray would have had a solid running game that would have took some pressure off him some of these arguments would be irrelevant.

oakwood dawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:01 pm

For all you AM bashers–when he has the protection, he throws as accurate as any QB (much like David Greene) we have had in a long time. He is much better than the great Matt Stafford. WHEN HE HAS PROTECTION is the key. Go back and look at the games. This kid is very dedicated i.e. constantly studying game films to see how he can improve. Yes, he made mistakes as a r.s. freshman but don’t look for those mistakes to continue. And yes he may have a bad game once and awhile–all qb’s do. And don’t give me that crap about his height. He can get the job done. Our QB next fall(baring injury) will be AM. Its his to lose and he won’t lose it because of his ability.

John

February 3rd, 2011
2:01 pm

Apples II Oranges …Should we grade him on a curve because he’s too short to see downfield? Should UGA stop recruiting OL’s that are over 6 ft tall because AM can’t see over them? Does he need the best WR in college football to succeed? Cpuld it be the running game disappeared because most teams stacked the line and doubled AJ which rendered AM useless? You want perspective, but you make no sence…

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:02 pm

Amen Apples. Amen. Nothing against Lemay b/c if he’s good, he will play. AM suited up and represented UGA as best he could every minute of last season.

7576DAWG

February 3rd, 2011
2:04 pm

Joe
The reason that Mettenberger left was because he was deep in CMR’s dog house because he sexually assaulted a girl at a bar and because he LIED to coach Richt. The one character trait that CMR demands and I agree with is that his players better not LIE.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
2:05 pm

John,

That is your argument?

Aaron Rodgers is 6′2. Aaron Murray is 6′1. If Murray cannot lead the damn Bulldogs through the SEC when a QB 1in taller lead his team to the Super Bowl then we have a problem. Get a running game and watch the kid flourish. You need some sence..or rather sense.

SmyrnaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:05 pm

No john we all make a lot of sense(sp correctly). You have yet to support your argument with any factual information. I showed you Am’s productivity in stats and you argue that it all came against prevent D’s in the 4th Qtr when everything is out of reach yet you can’t provide a stat line to go along with your bantering.

oakwood dawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:06 pm

Also makes you wonder why AM is being touted as All SEC qb next year if he is so bad?

Dawgs73

February 3rd, 2011
2:07 pm

I will give Mark credit, he recruited very well this year but more importantly, he recruited needs and talent (let’s hope Jenkins signs). It’s already been stated that UGA recruiting really hasn’t been the problem, it’s the lack of development and use of the talent that has eluded Richt.

My ultimate desire is that Mark will get it right and somehow adjust to the current level of coaching competition in the SEC. He has all the ingredients in place, now it’s time for results.

John

February 3rd, 2011
2:08 pm

oakwood dawg…So AM has to lose his job, he doesn’t have to earn it this year, because of the fear that if other QB’s compete for the job…they may do better…and it makes you sad?

7576DAWG

February 3rd, 2011
2:13 pm

What Bobo and CMR are planning to do is establish the run, thus the comment about Crowell . Having said that CMR is going to play his best running backs. I still say that the starter at tailback will be Malcomb. CMR praised the hell out of his practice play last year but it didn’t make any sense to take the red shirt off him after we went 1 and 4.

McDawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:15 pm

can he pass block???

John

February 3rd, 2011
2:16 pm

SmyrnaDawg…you’re arguing the point, so the burden of proof is on you. Why did AM outperform most QB’s that beat UGA in stats? If they stats were sooooo important wouldn’t it be the reverse. Should not the team win be a mirror the supporting cast & stats? AM stats were made in “garbage time”, not when the team needed the points…not when the defense need a rest.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
2:18 pm

Also if anything would need to be addressed concern wise is going to be the consistency of the receivers on the outside. The OL with improved strength, conditioning and hopefully coaching should be strong enough to open the running game. Also with the addition of Crowell lets hope that Ealey and get get the message and work harder to show the staff that they, not the hyped Freshman should be back 1A and 1B not the new kid on the block.

That leaves the wideouts and King, Troupe,Brown and Wooten have never had to be even the 2nd WR in Athens. Let’s hope 1 or 2 step up in the offseason and show some consistence that will help Murray. We have talent at TE, but are going to need some playmakers to stretch the field vertically.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
2:19 pm

should read Ealey and King

WIN WITH RICHT

February 3rd, 2011
2:19 pm

Marlon Brown and R. Wooten will be juniors. If they don’t start producing, freshmen wrs like Mitchell, Wesley, and Conley could be competing for starting position opposite T. King. It is time for them to fish or cut bait.

John

February 3rd, 2011
2:21 pm

7576DAWG…if Malcomb is good enough to start at RB this year, CMR should be fired. That means he did the same thing to Malcomb that he did to Knowshon, which means UGA get’s 2 years from Malcomb then he can go to the NFL. Let’s hope that CMR didn’t do that again. Therefore, I believe your premise to be false.

Okefenokee Brave

February 3rd, 2011
2:22 pm

John – I never said the offense was not part of the problem. I only said that I don’t think Murray was the main problem. He had no OL, play calling from the sidelines was questionable, and our hyped up RB’s could hold on to the ball at crucial times. Get a life! There was plenty of blame to go around for the entire team. It certainly was not Murray’s fault that Mettenberger got himself kicked off the team and I think everyone on here would agree that he turned out tobe a much better QB than Joe Cox who managed to get credited for 8 wins the year before. Of course there was also that little issue with AJ having to miss the 1st 4 games. Yeah,I guess all of that was Murray’s fault, huh?

AltamahaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:25 pm

I don’t thihk they are saying that he shouldn’t have to earn his job. They are saying that they believe he will. Glad to clear that up. You’re welcome.

AltamahaDawg

February 3rd, 2011
2:33 pm

Mettenberger got kicked off?….I thought he “transfered” because he wasn’t treated fairly.

7576DAWG

February 3rd, 2011
2:33 pm

The most important thing for our running back’s will be the blocking of the offensive line. The most important lineman will be Sturdivant. This guy is a beast and as a freshman was dominate until he got hurt. This year he will either get re-injured which will end his football career or he will regain his dominance on the line. He knows what’s at stack for him so he will not be holding back any to prove whether he can hold up over an entire season. The NFL will need proof that he can go all out for the entire season before they will take a chance on him.

John

February 3rd, 2011
2:36 pm

FYI…AM doesn’t have a mid-range game. Notice all he throws is either a bomb,a swing pass to AJ or receiver, or screen to RB…which means his arm is a factor. He either throws short distances or easy to loft long passes, nothing mid-range with mustard on it. He got redshirted because his arm went dead, which comes from over-stressing the muscle. He’s developed tendonitis in the arm and wrist…hence the throwing glove and arm stress bandage he wears. UGA coaches know this, but won’t comment…but CMR and Bobo are already hinting of LeMay not being redshirted. I will bet he dresses every game and will be used in redzone situations next year.

LMAO

February 3rd, 2011
2:36 pm

We have that one guy who for some reason holds a grudge against Aaron Murray on here again. He keeps posting under various names so we think that there are a ton of AM haters. We all know there is just one! Do you really think you are going to convince all the people on here that AM sucks? We all watched the games you moron. So did AM steal your girlfriend or what? LMAO!!!!!

icallbs

February 3rd, 2011
2:37 pm

Being good enough to start after a red shirt year doesn’t in anyway translate to having been good enough to start as a true freshman. Good Grief. That is the entire purpose of red shirting some of these kids – to get them ready to play. Yeah, once in a while a kid was ready and didn’t play, but most of the time that is not the case.

John

February 3rd, 2011
2:40 pm

Okefenokee Brave…Joe Cox proves that you can plug anyone in the QB slot and with good players around him, you can win at least 8 games. That doesn’t say much for Murray, he only got 6 wins against teams that won no games. At least Joe Cox got some quality wins on the scoreboard, Murray gets them on the stat sheet.

Apples II Oranges

February 3rd, 2011
2:41 pm

The guy is obviously a tool and knows nothing about UGA football. Couldn’t come up with a answer on the height issue, 6′1 is not good enough for SEC, but 6′2 and a guy can lead a team to a Super Bowl.

I do want you to keep posting your arguments for why he sucks because the more you try the more you show just how little you know.