“Fake Isaiah Crowell” set the online Bulldog nation atwitter when he opened a Twitter account and began sending out gloating messages about Georgia and the Dream Team and money, as in “$$$.”
Only it wasn’t really Isaiah Crowell at all. It was an impostor using his name. The real Crowell — a five-star running back prospect and the most ballyhooed Georgia signee in some time — quickly came out with a statement saying he has never had a Twitter account and, in fact, was also shutting down his Facebook page that very day.
That decision, we learned yesterday, was Crowell’s alone. It was not done at the behest of UGA. During the SEC’s post-spring coaches teleconference, Georgia coach Mark Richt told reporters he does not have an anti-social media policy for his players and, at this juncture at least, does not plan to impose one.
“I know it’s such a big part of social life for these kids,” Richt said. “I’m really not looking to shut it down. They sacrifice enough, you know, the time they put in for school and football and all the things we ask them to do. “If there’s anyway possible to allow the guys who are responsible with it to keep it going, I think that’s great.”
As a modern-day sports reporter (and former recruiting reporter), it’s my duty to follow many of these kids on their Facebook pages and on their Twitter accounts. It’s a great way to get to know them, to keep up with what’s going on in their lives and, quite frankly, to reach them when other means fail.
As a follower, I often see and read things of which I’m certain Richt and his staff might not approve (foul language mostly). But it’s not my job to police these kids and, as a journalist, you’ll find no bigger believer in freedom of speech than me. So rarely, if ever, have I reported anything I’ve seen there.
To be sure, Richt has staff members who monitor these sites as well. And they’ll step in if they see something they don’t like.
“If a guy is irresponsible with it, normally there will be a good warning the first time around,” Richt said. “If they continue to do things on a website that’s not good or healthy, we’ll shut an individual down. But I don’t have anything across-the-board [policy-wise] now.”
Richt’s views on social media were just one of a few topics discussed Wednesday during the teleconference, which included all 12 SEC coaches. Following are some of the other subjects discussed during his short, 10-minute session:
“We got better. I think we practiced with the right amount of of intensity. I think we competed well. Guys were competing for jobs. Guys were competing offense versus defense. I liked what I saw.”
“That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer completely. I know the tackle candidates are Justin Anderson, Austin Long, A.J. Harmon. And Kenarious Gates, I believe, can play tackle for us. Athletically, I think he’s got the size and athleticism to do it. I think a lot depends on who is going to be the starting right tackle. My guess is whoever we think is the third-best tackle will have to cross-train between the left side and the right side . Of those names, somebody is going to end up learning what’s going on on the left side. We do have some freshmen coming in, too, that could end up playing extremely well and throwing their hat in the ring.”
“I’m just thankful to have him. From the minute he got on campus, he’s been preparing to be the starting quarterback at Georgia. He’ll put in extra time in the film room, he’ll work on his fundamentals. He’s the kind of guy that is very results oriented and he’ll do whatever it takes to get prepared, if that means putting in his own time or not. He loves team, he loves football, he loves the camaraderie, he loves to win, he loves to prepare to be great. There’s not one guy on our team right now that wouldn’t look at Aaron and say, ‘this guy is paying the price to have a shot at being Eastern Division champions.’ he’s what you’re looking for in a leader and a player. The whole thing.
“I think he’s much more comfortable with our system overall. He’s learned to stay in the pocket a little bit longer. If something’s about to break he is willing to stand in there and throw it and take the hit. I think because of his anticipation and knowledge of what’s going on, I’ve seen better touch on some of the passes. If you wait to the last second you have to gun it in. If you anticipate it you can put it to a spot a little ahead of time and let the guy run and catch it and it’s a more catchable ball, too. I think he’s improving in that area also.”
“There’s not going to be any comment on this. First of all, it has to do with prospects and all that kind of stuff. But the bottom like is we’re just not going to make any comment on it. Sorry.”
– By Chip Towers, The UGA Blog