Dogs don’t have to ‘drag’ Crowell to workouts this season

Malcolm Mitchell doesn't want to come off the field. (Associated Press)

Malcolm Mitchell doesn't want to come off the field. (Associated Press)

One thing to keep in mind when parsing the comments of college football players about their program in the offseason is that you can nearly always expect to hear that everyone’s working harder than they did last year and the whole team is more focused.

Keeping that in mind, there still were nuggets coming out of Thursday’s interview session by several players worth noting — some that are encouraging, even taking the Everything’s Better This Offseason Syndrome into account, and even a couple of comments that were downright revealing.

On the encouraging side, you have to admire the attitude of current wide receiver and possible future wide receiver/cornerback/kick returner Malcolm Mitchell, who, when asked about former UGA iron man Champ Bailey playing 100 snaps in a game, replied: “I want 101.”

“I don’t want to come off the field,” Mitchell said about possibly going three ways in games. “I will put in the work to make sure I can physically withstand it all. If I get the opportunity, I would definitely take advantage of it.”

On the other hand, the main knock on running back Isaiah Crowell last season was that, at times, he didn’t seem to want to stay on the field. Now, that doesn’t mean fan obsession with and criticism of Crowell wasn’t over the top, because it was. He was, after all, named SEC freshman of the year. And his team mentor, Artie Lynch, was eloquent in defending Crowell over his inability to get past an ankle injury late last season — though that’s sort of what you’d expect Lynch to say.

Isaiah Crowell finally gets it, a teammate says. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell finally gets it, a teammate says. (Associated Press)

But in talking about how much harder Crowell is working this offseason compared with last, Lynch pretty much confirmed last summer’s rumors about the then-incoming freshman tailback. “I have seen him mature from the day he’s got here, when we had to drag him to workouts, to now, when he’s the leader of his group during workouts,” Lynch said. “Just to see him working out in the sprints and mat drills, you can see he wants to get better and that he’s finally getting it.” (The italics for emphasis are mine.)

Richard Samuel had a similarly telling comment about Crowell when he said, “He’s grown and learned from things that happened. … He’s working toward a goal instead of going through the motions.” (Again, my italics.)

So, Crowell wasn’t the hardest working back in show business last year, but he is working hard this year. Well, good. Because he’ll need to work hard if he wants to hold off Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley.

Meanwhile, back on the positive side, I really liked this from Samuel: “I tried to get on special teams last year but the coaches wouldn’t let me because we had short numbers on backs. But I’m real interested in playing special teams. Freshman and sophomore years I played special teams all the time. I really like it.”

Let’s hope there are more veterans on the team with that mind-set. Sure, that might mean a few walk-ons don’t get quite as much playing time, but the team will be better off for it.

And there also was a tantalizing tidbit from Bacarri Rambo, who believes the Dogs finally will be able to dazzle us with the deluxe version of Defense a la Todd Grantham. With all the returning starters, Rambo said, “We can get deeper in the playbook because we’ve all got another year under our belts under Coach Grantham’s scheme. I know he’s going to have fun with us now because we all know what we’re doing.”

Grantham having fun … that’s definitely something Sanford Stadium crowds will enjoy.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

117 comments Add your comment

teddyballgame

March 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

We are going to give a nice initiation to the Tigers….Welcome to the SEC…..

Shawn

March 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

Step up and represent Columbus IC!

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Dean Tate

March 2nd, 2012
10:02 am

I think having Lynch at TE this year might really help the running game. Love Orson Charles, but he wasn’t much of a blocker.

Leroy1970

March 2nd, 2012
10:03 am

JDub

March 2nd, 2012
10:07 am

IC was a freshman who did not understand the surreal pressure that had been heaped upon him. No Freshman should be the “Savior” of a football team, and a Freshman’s performance shouldn’t determine whether the “team” has a good season or not.
Unfortunately, the Dawgs were in such a bad spot at RB that IC had too much asked of him. He had highs and lows but overall ‘Freshman RB of the SEC’ is pretty damn good.
This year he knows the pressure and he has more ‘brothers’ at RB to help him share the load. I predict he will be a monster for us.

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sogadog

March 2nd, 2012
10:18 am

We all seem to forget how young the Dawgs were last year yet they still won the East and ten games defeating Florida, Auburn Tenn. and Tech in the same season. 2012 could be a championship season with so many playmakers returning.

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Macclenny_dawg

March 2nd, 2012
10:33 am

Crowell better step up because if he doesn’t he could find himself buried on depth chart. As 4 Mitchell playing both ways I don’t think is a good idea. We need for him 2 be fresh. Samuel I would like 2 see on the punt block team if we even have 1!!! Lord knows we never seem 2 call 1!!! Samuel should be used more at fb. If this year we don’t play for National title we may never!!! This road is paved with just a couple of bumps 2 dodge as the road is smooth!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Dawg Haus

March 2nd, 2012
10:33 am

Crowell just needed a break to get healthy and refocused. He will come out with guns blazing in 2012; no doubt. Sic ‘em, IC!

DawgDayBlog

March 2nd, 2012
10:37 am

I hate the thought of copying the Gators at anything they do, but I know when Urban Meyer was at the helm in the hellhole in north central florida, Special Teams was a spot ALL the players fought for!

According to ESPN reports a few years ago, ONLY the best athletes were on special teams, with incentives for being on the teams and providing results. ie: better meals on team trips, first to pick the bowl game swag, special treatment in practice, etc.

I admired that philosophy, and the results clearly came from it. I would love to see Richt take the exact same stance.

Go Dawgs!!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 2nd, 2012
10:39 am

Now if they can just get him to STAY on the field for more than 2 plays in a row.

Brian

March 2nd, 2012
10:42 am

UGA has 2 speed backs, 2 power backs, a short dude named Thomas that Bobo likes to run up the middle, and a good quarterback. Besides Thomas running up the middle I see no reason why we should not lead the SEC in rushing. Line is iffy but we golt some big dudes in waiting.

Brian

March 2nd, 2012
10:42 am

Brian

March 2nd, 2012
10:44 am

Does not matter anymore about 2 plays straight. Thats why we got Marshall and Gurley. You might need some better Kool-aid or better info

homer

March 2nd, 2012
10:44 am

this year is totally the year!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 2nd, 2012
10:44 am

Crowell’s attitude last years was a in direct correlation to his recruitment. Crowell KNEW he would Start the BSU game. He knew he was Next newest Herschel. It didn’t matter what he did he was the MISSING PIECE the dawgs needed from the Missing Man Formation forward.

Bigdsel5556

March 2nd, 2012
10:46 am

Get em dawgs!!!!!

Brian

March 2nd, 2012
10:50 am

I think immaturity played a bigger role than recruitment. It took a while to get the “thug” out of him. Marshall will show how to come in and get ready.

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GTBob

March 2nd, 2012
10:56 am

Besides Thomas running up the middle I see no reason why we should not lead the SEC in rushing.

This may shock you but some of the other SEC teams have good running backs also, and they have decent offensive lines to go with them.

DIT

March 2nd, 2012
10:58 am

Mr. Crowell is getting ready to have an incredible year if he stays on the path that he is now. Just my opinion, but I believe he will. I look forward to watching him this Fall.

@DawgDayBlog

March 2nd, 2012
11:02 am

I am actually not too worried about our O-line this year.

One of the biggest mistakes college football fans make (especially during trash talk) is the assumption that improvements are simply not reachable.

John Theus is likely to step in and start as a freshman, Mark Beard brings JUCO depth, while Watts Dantzler has apparently made huge strides in becoming the big man he has potential to be. Dallas Lee looked great last year before breaking his leg, and if we ever get this Kolton Houston/NCAA “issue” cleared up, the depth is there.

So to all the #DisasterDawgs and haters alike, the O-line is not as dire straits as you want them to be.

Go Dawgs!!

Newman

March 2nd, 2012
11:20 am

Screw “scheme.” Just block and tackle.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 2nd, 2012
11:20 am

John Theus the Molly Ringwald of the dawgs. That was a great pic of him and Chester Brown. Both needed bras and looked like Molly Ringwald and Kim Kardashian of UGa football.

Thomas Brown

March 2nd, 2012
11:22 am

Aaron Murray would benefit greatly, too, from some good ole competition from the 5 Quarterbacks Mark Richt has now with his latest commitment 2 weeks ago too.

Richard Samuel IV, Carlton Thomas, Isaiah Crowell, Ken Malcome, and then we added Gurley and Marshall – all of whom obviously are going to be given every possible opportunity, for All of Them.

So, why is it again with the same competition at QB as we have at Tailback, that no one is ever in any game for any of the snaps except just for only the

# 72 Passing Completion % QB nationally

?

Taco Meat

March 2nd, 2012
11:22 am

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never fed into all the hype and gimmicks of the Georgia program, nor have I ever “drank the Kool-aid”. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, as a loyal Dawg for over 2 decades, anything LESS than a National Championship this upcoming year will be a disappointment. There’s no reason for the Dawgs to not be a serious contender- favorable schedule, veteran QB, veteran WR corp, veteran defense, experienced/deep/talented RB corp, the OL will look different but the talent is there. The only cause for concern is Special Teams with the new kickers. I think that if the Dawgs can address special teams during the summer, then there’s absolutely no reason the Dawgs can’t hoist the crystal ball come February 2013.

harold

March 2nd, 2012
11:32 am

CEROWELL IS VERY DISRESPECTED BY UGA FANS. HE IS A WUSSY—-HE GETS HURT ON EVERY PLAY. CROWELL WILL TRANSFER BECAUSE OF THE 2 NEW GUYS!

SEC Observer

March 2nd, 2012
11:55 am

It sounds like Crowell has an attitude problem. We’ll see if he changes. Most of the time they don’t so I wouldn’t bet on it.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 2nd, 2012
12:03 pm

Love the comments from the bugs and Bummers… keep hating. We love it!

Kyle

March 2nd, 2012
12:20 pm

Hopefully our Defense will be able to overcome Murray- pretty much count on a gift from him to Missouri of 14 points- it will be a huge game since it’s their first SEC game- likely on national TV……and we all know what murray does in prime time……..here we go again

Joe

March 2nd, 2012
12:27 pm

We will not go undefeated- even with the most favorible schedule in decades- why, you ask? Because we have a QB that the coaches have given a green light to screw up as much as he can yet face no loss of playing time. yeah, we won 10 straight but we ALSO lost to the 4 best teams on the schedule.

Cdpridg

March 2nd, 2012
12:29 pm

Gt bob…this will not surprise you but I will remind you of a tidbit of information that you revisit nearly every year of your life…we will shut techs high school running game down….we will pass at will on you…finally we will show you a big boy running game and run it down your throat come Nov Between the Hedges.

Joe

March 2nd, 2012
12:30 pm

same story….different year- one thing you can count on if your a UGA fan (and I am) “it’s always something” you watch, next year it will be the same thing……

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 2nd, 2012
12:38 pm

Cdpridg
March 2nd, 2012
12:29 pm

I will remind you of a tidbit of information that you revisit nearly every year of your life…we will shut techs high school running game down… WHEN EXACTLY has UGa shut down the high School Running Game? You have been smoking with Crowell again and now you are eating Monistat 7 Hash Browns.

DIT

March 2nd, 2012
12:40 pm

Don’t agree with anything short of a NC will be dissapointed. That’s a stretch! Everyone talks about Mizzou, and yes, they will be tough at their place. Also, it’s their 1st SEC game so they will be ready. Then So. Carolina. I hate playing in Columbia. It’s one of the toughest places to play. Florida will be much improved, Auburn will be much improved. And, yes don’t laugh, but Tenn. could be a surprise team along with Vandy because no one is putting them into the mix. Should be wins, don’t get me wrong, but it won’t be walk over games.
I’ll be dissappointed if the Dawgs don’t make it to the SEC CG, but it’s not a stretch to say that there is a good chance they won’t.
The schedule is not the hardest in the SEC that’s for sure, but it is also not as easy as some think it will be.

usc jimi

March 2nd, 2012
12:45 pm

Before you can win a National Championship you have to win an SEC Championship. Before you should worry about an SEC Championship you should worry about beating the teams in your own division! We’ll look forward to seeing the Dawgs in Williams-Brice this year going for three in a row!!!

DIT

March 2nd, 2012
12:59 pm

that is going to be an incredible game no doubt

Terry

March 2nd, 2012
1:03 pm

Still@theKool-aidBAR, Georgia didn’t need to stop Techs running game, just didn’t let them score (31-17), you can have all the yards in the world, if it don’t translate into points, who gives a crap, its a fact that the most important thing is the score, remember Coach Richt is 10-1 against Tech without having to stop your running game.

DIT

March 2nd, 2012
1:05 pm

@Terry

Tekies don’t care about facts. Remember, they only care in “Moral” victories not the actual outcome.

Taco Meat

March 2nd, 2012
1:09 pm

DIT-

I’m not saying the schedule will be easy, because going on the road in the SEC is never easy. But what I’m saying is Georgia will be favored in every single one of the games on the schedule. Yes, FLA will be improved, but they’ll still be young offensively (young QB, trying to find an every down back, questionable receivers). Auburn will have some big questions as well (new QB, loss of Dyer, receivers, defense with new coordinator). SC’s season will depend on how C. Shaw handles adversity, and who will step up at WR and take the pressure off of a recovering Lattimore. I don’t know much about Mizzou, and I know the game will be huge but I think we’ll be ready. The reason TN and Vandy don’t concern me is because they are home games. TN will be better but I don’t think they’ll be strong enough defensively to stop Georgia.

The only thing I”m saying is GA doesn’t have nearly as many question marks as the teams on the schedule. These guys have all played together for at least a full year, there have been no coaching changes, everyone is seemingly getting stronger and faster with Coach T. Couple that with the fact that the whole D came back because they sensed something special, and I’d say the Dawgs are pretty hungry.

gt4ever

March 2nd, 2012
1:10 pm

University of Hypocrites …… The football team runs rampant and does most anything…. One soccer player steals some hash browns and she goes to jail…. What a FREAKING joke UGA has become!

Doggie

March 2nd, 2012
1:11 pm

O Lord! Next thing you know tech fans will be coming on here under cover talking about how tech is going to whip Ga this year..

Greg

March 2nd, 2012
1:11 pm

I want a more physical presence on offense. I want a more physical running game. Ground n Pound until the defense breaks into submission. We need some mean guys on our O-line to get the job done. A defense WILL get fed up with trying to tackle Crowell, Gurley, and Marshall all game long and they WILL crumble. Get physical and mean with them! It’s our only option!

We weren’t MEAN ENOUGH against LSU. Get MEANNNNN!

Greg

March 2nd, 2012
1:14 pm

Look Mizzou WILL NOT BEAT GEORGIA. Their O-line isn’t strong enough. If Auburn, Florida, LSU couldn’t get Jarvis Jones and crew under control then you know Mizzou won’t be able to. Georgia is hungry. The defense is hungry and wants a title, and on offense we just need to protect the ball. Ball security, and ball control will win us a title. No more airing it out. POUND THEM Sumbutches!

Greg

March 2nd, 2012
1:17 pm

Those guys didn’t come back one more season to let their dreams slip away…they came back for a reason. John Jenkins, Rambo, Washington, Jarvis, Geathers, Commings, Smith, etc..they ALL came back for ONE reason only…to win a title. Whether that be an SEC or National remains to be seen. But these boys are hungry and focused. Just work hard! Harder than the opponent!

DIT

March 2nd, 2012
1:19 pm

@Taco Meat

Trust me brother I hope you’re right!