Ten@10: Richt says Isaiah Crowell must master pass protection to be ‘full-time back’

Isaiah Crowell will have to do more than run the ball well to play extensively as a freshman, coach Mark Richt said. (Photo by The Ledger-Enquirer reprinted with permission)

Isaiah Crowell will have to do more than run the ball well to play extensively as a freshman, coach Mark Richt said. (Photo by The Ledger-Enquirer reprinted with permission)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt, speaking at a UGA Alumni Association event in Gainesville on Tuesday, reiterated that true freshman Isaiah Crowell will likely be a big part of the Bulldogs’ running game this season. But he also cautioned that Crowell will have to compete with Caleb King and the other tailbacks and that his ability to master pass protection would dictate how much he’s able to play.

“Backs have responsibility to protect on certain blitzes,” Richt said. “If one guy doesn’t know how to do it, he’s a liability at that moment. Can you turn and hand the guy the ball or toss it to him on a sweep or throw him a screen? You can do all those things and he doesn’t have to block anybody. But to constantly pull him in and out of the game every time you’re going to throw the ball with a six- or seven-man protection, you have to give the defense some credit, too. They’re going to know what’s going on or have a pretty good understanding. And when a rookie back is in the game, they’re going to test that. They’re going to bring pressure and see if they’ can pick it up.

“He has to learn that if he wants to be a full-time back. He’s got to.”

That said, Richt said that he’s confident in Crowell’s ability to run the football effectively at the SEC level. “That’s why we recruited him.”

2. Blocking in general is now of paramount concern after this week’s news that A.J. Harmon is leaving the program for “personal reasons.” The 6-foot-5, 320-pound junior was competing for the starting job at right tackle during spring practice. His departure leaves the Bulldogs perilously thin on the offensive front. They presently have only eight returning linemen heading into the summer and three of those aren’t healthy at the moment — Brent Benedict (knee), Austin Long (back/pectoral muscle) and Dallas Lee (respiratory problems).

Nor surprisingly, Richt said that offensive line will once again be a recruiting priority in 2012. The Bulldogs are already bringing in five linemen in this year’s class, six if you include long snapper Nathan Theus. Richt said they’d probably sign at least that many this year.

“I’d imagine we’ll sign at least five or six,” Richt said.

Georgia currently has extended offers to seven prospects, including five-star tackles John Theus of Jacksonville, Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens and D.J. Humphries of Charlotte. More than likely they’ll have to bring in at least one or two junior college linemen as they are slated to have no senior linemen for 2012.

3. Georgia’s 9-4 win over Kennesaw State in baseball Tuesday night was just what the doctor ordered. The Diamond Dogs (27-26) led 9-0 through six innings in that game and were able to play for once without angst.

Now their entire season is on the line in a humongous, mega-colossal, three-game series against Vanderbilt, which starts Thursday night. The Commodores (42-8) are ranked No. 1 in at least one of the many college baseball polls and Georgia could only enhance its increasingly shaky NCAA resume by winning the series or, better yet, pulling off an unlikely sweep.

“We’ve got a shot and we’ve got to do something special this weekend,” coach David Perno told reporters after the Kennesaw game. “We needed a win tonight and we got it, although Kennesaw helped us a bit. It’s been a while since someone played poorly against us.”

On his postgame radio show, Perno urged Georgia fans to come out strong in support of the team Thursday night. The game is being televised by ESPNU as its SEC Game of the Week. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

4. Georgia coach Mark Fox and his staff entertained basketball prospect Ryan Harrow in Athens on Tuesday. Harrow, a 6-1 point guard from Marietta, is seeking a transfer from N.C. State after playing at the ACC school as a freshman. He was spotted having lunch with Fox at a Longhorn’s restaurant Tuesday afternoon. Fox canceled a scheduled speaking engagement in Gainesville Tuesday evening to remain in Athens with Harrow and his mother. Assistant coach Kwanza Johnson filled in for Fox at the UGA Alumni Day function at the Gainesville Civic Center.

Harrow is taking a barnstorm tour of visits this week. He has already been to Kentucky, Louisville and Texas in addition to UGA and will visit St. John’s later this week before making a decision. Harrow averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists off the bench for the Wolfpack last season. He decided to leave after coach Sidney Lowe was fired a replaced by former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried. He will have to sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules. Harrow averaged 31 points per game as a senior at Walton High.

Should Harrow choose Georgia his timing would be ideal. The Bulldogs will lose starting guards Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware to graduation after this season.

The Bulldogs are still actively recruiting at least two players in Harrow and Rockdale County’s Kevin Ware, a former Tennessee signee.

“The way our sport goes, you never know what you’re going to need in the spring,” Johnson said. “You may plan two classes out, but it never works out exactly how you think it’s going to. This is probably a little bit late to still be recruiting. But at the same time we had a unique situation with both Jeremy [Price] and Chris [Barnes] graduating and Trey [Thompkins] and Travis [Leslie] leaving for the NBA.”

5. One player that could help Fox’s Hounds immediately is Nick Marshall. A football signee out of Wilcox County, Richt said Tuesday the plan is still to allow the 6-foot-2 Marshall to play both football and basketball at Georgia. But, he added, that comes with conditions.

“When it’s a two-sport athlete, he has to be doing well academically,” Richt said. “We’ll have to help him through it. We’ll have to help him manage his time. Charlie Ward did it when I was at Florida State. But he redshirted that first year before he started playing basketball. It’s not easy, but it can be done.”

Marshall averaged 28 points per game as guard at Wilcox County. He was an all-state quarterback in high school but is expected to start off at defensive back for the Bulldogs.

6. Richt was asked again by a Gainesville reporter about the testy exchange he had with fan at a Bulldog Club stop in Macon last month. The man was critical of the Bulldogs’ offensive philosophies and assistant coaches and the normally-reserved and always-chaste Richt surprised a lot of people after he shot back, “I know what the hell I’m doing, OK.”

“It’s been publicized that I got on a guy about what he was asking, but even then we hugged at the end and it was fine,” Richt said Tuesday. “He just wanted to give his opinion and I wanted to let him know I was there. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, but that’s really the only time it has gotten a little testy. I appreciated the guy’s passion for his team and the program. I just wanted to let him know I’ve been doing it a long time and still know what I’m doing.”

Richt told the reporter he continues to be well received on his weekly jaunts across the state to speak.

“Everybody’s excited,” said Richt, who will be in Dalton on Thursday and Albany next week. “They’re excited about the football team and they want to hear about the recruiting class. It’s been very good.

7. I also ran into football signee Sterling Bailey and his parents at the Gainesville function. Bailey, an outside linebacker from East Hall, is way ahead of schedule in rehabilitating his right shoulder, which he had surgically repaired earlier this year. Bailey was also recently recognized with for a Senior Leadership Award at his high school graduation.

8. I’ve been kind of slow to get on this story but the Bulldogs have a chance to pull off a pretty magical two-for-one recruiting coup here in the late spring. Grayson linebacker/running back Denzel Nkemdiche ended up meeting freshman eligibility requirements recently. That means he will be able to sign with a school in 2011 instead attending junior college, as was originally planned.

What makes that significant is Nkemdiche’s “little brother,” rising junior Robert Nkemdiche, is the state’s No. 1-rated prospect for 2013 and has said in no uncertain terms he plans to attend the same school as his older brother. Denzel confirmed to me in an email that he visited Ole Miss on Tuesday and plans to check out Georgia this weekend and will likely sign with one of the two.

I’m supposed to talk to Denzel later today so I hope to file a full report soon thereafter. Meanwhile, let me add that, as a color commentator for WSB-TV’s Friday Sports Zone Game of the Week last fall, I got to see Denzel play live and on videotape and he is legitimate FBS prospect in his own right. But, playing last year as a sophomore in the state’s highest football classification, Robert is one of the most dominant defensive linemen I’ve seen in a long time.

9. For the second consecutive year, Georgia’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams were recognized by the NCAA for being in the top 10 percent nationally in the multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) of all programs in their sport. The NCAA annually honors programs which rank among the nation’s top-10 percent covering their latest multiyear APR, which covers a four-year span. The men’s golf program earned a perfect 1000 for the years 2006-07 through 2009-10, while the women’s basketball program scored 995.

“This is a very special achievement for these two programs and we salute their outstanding efforts,” said Ted White, UGA’s director of student-athlete academic services. “Our coaches and student-athletes value the hard work and dedication it takes to excel, both in the classroom and in their sports.”

10. THIS & THAT: Hope you saw my report on Georgia letterman Jake Scott (1966-68) receiving his long past due selection into the College Football Hall of Fame. . . . It’s a huge week for Georgia’s spring sports teams as the men’s and women’s tennis teams land in Palo Alto, Calif., for the NCAA Championships, No. 1-ranked Marta Silva Zamora competes in the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas; the men’s golf team tries to advance out of a west regional in Colorado, and the No. 6 seeded Lady Bulldogs’ softball team plays host for the NCAA Athens Regional, which will include FSU, Georgia State and UAB.

509 comments Add your comment

Dublin Mike

May 18th, 2011
10:08 am

I hope he can come in and pick up the blocking schemes quick. We need some kind of energy injected into the running game.

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
10:14 am

Of the class coming in, I’m struggling to see anyone who can help immediately on the OL except maybe Dantzler.

andrews 6′2″ 275
Dantzler 6′7″ 315
DeBell 6′7″ 265
Long 6′3″ 293
Theus 6′3″ 255
Ward 6′7″ 270

Bruce Figgins? Garrison Smith?

1eyedJack

May 18th, 2011
10:22 am

The loss of Ealey means additional reps for Crowell. Get him ready to go McLendon.

The loss of Ealey and Harmon means two additional scholarships (recruiting “opportunity”) to find two additional linemen. Go get ‘em Friend.

Pray for no major injuries along the O-line.

Better Dawgs!

May 18th, 2011
10:22 am

We have some pretty good blocking tide ends to help a thin line. Should be ok. Murray has wheels too. That will help. Our starting 5 oline are solid, we just need a few back ups that can fill in.

WinderDawg

May 18th, 2011
10:24 am

Not sure Herschel could have played for Mark Richt…..You think Lattimore blocked or carried the ball…pretty sure he carried the ball

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 18th, 2011
10:24 am

Dantzler comes from a Run-Oriented offense in N.GA. He may need that first year to pick up pass blocking schemes effectively.

Same As It Ever Was

May 18th, 2011
10:26 am

APR Rates are a really bad joke. For TEd White to hold the APR up as some great accomplish means that either Ted is stupid beyond words, or he knows he is a really bad liar.

The very fact that UGA’s APR is 2nd in the SEC, behind only Vandy,
is proof on ANY scale that UGA’s academics are a total joke.
Seriously. UGA, 2nd behind Vandy ???? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

What UGAs #2 APR ranking really means is how badly the academic requirements
have been dumd-downed to keep players eligibile.

Its why UGA invented the toilet-paper majors like “Housing”
of which over 50% of the football team is enrolled in.

But hey, if UGA wants to show pride in perpetuating a scam, then so be it.

But hey, at UGA, its the same as it ever was.

JB

May 18th, 2011
10:27 am

Lex, We’ll have to play 2 or 3 of these guys in spot situations. Got to. Crowell learning to block will narrow the play book early IMO, but I’ve watched Crowell on youtube. This crap from haters about him being average is bull. The guy is a load and a stud.

bruce mac

May 18th, 2011
10:28 am

Yea, we might as well cancel the season. Its over. We won’t win a game. Just thought I would get it out there before all the Yech fans have a chance.

Latest Bama News 5/18/2011

May 18th, 2011
10:30 am

Joey

May 18th, 2011
10:31 am

We all better hope for some good luck in the injuries dept when fall practice begins. OL injuries derailed an infinitely more talented ‘08 team.

bruce mac

May 18th, 2011
10:32 am

Same, your’e an idiot with a Red and Black obsession. It obviously hurts badly to lose to the Dawgs on a regular basis and know that even the acedemics are better at UGA than the waste of good real estate known as “The Institute”.

chiefdawg

May 18th, 2011
10:32 am

Mark Richt and UGA are in trouble. Another year of mediocrity is on the horizon. Bad recruiting and a failure to oversign has kill the program.

JB

May 18th, 2011
10:34 am

Chiefdawg…………we just demoted you to Injun.

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
10:35 am

same as it ever was,

Give us some proof that we should believe any of your TROLL gibberish or should we just ignore it because all the prrof we need is your blog handle and your inane spew you post daily.

Back in the 80’s UGA was known to let the players slide academically. Those days are gone which is why we are losing people to grades. They have to go to class and they have to pass.

Not everyone is as smart as you obviously are. The rest of us big dummies with our UGA degrees making moeny in the real world bow down to your academic superiority.

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
10:37 am

proof, not prrof for the nerd spellchecker and money not moeny

JB

May 18th, 2011
10:37 am

As far as recruiting goes at Tech, Johnson has been fighting Mars Hill,Valdosta St, Western Carolina etc….now Georgia State in his own back yard giving him fits.

Ca dawg

May 18th, 2011
10:43 am

Yeah, “same as it ever was” is right. I’ve never heard about any “joke majors” at any other SEC schools. What an idiot.

Nick

May 18th, 2011
10:45 am

They presently have only eight returning linemen heading into the summer and three of those aren’t healthy at the moment — Brent Benedict (knee), Austin Long (back/pectoral muscle) and Dillon Lee (respiratory problems).

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

May 18th, 2011
10:45 am

Hasn’t Eck signed former Buldogs who flunked out at Georgia? Of course they have.

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
10:46 am

http://jcfootball.scout.com/a.z?s=87&p=9&c=4&pid=3&yr=2011

*********************************************************

JUCO OL prospects remaining.

Ca dawg

May 18th, 2011
10:47 am

I think we have 9 OL– chip, are you forgetting kolton Houston?

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
10:48 am

No Depth

May 18th, 2011
10:51 am

Just wait til the year after next.

doginlex get a damn job dude

May 18th, 2011
10:56 am

they should pay you by the word, or even better, opinion, you’re a gazillionaire……..

RHALL55

May 18th, 2011
10:56 am

Mail Bag Question: “Why hasn’t UGA offered Soph LB Trey Johnson from Central Gwinette; already, he has offers from AL, AU,Clemson, FSU, Ole Miss, SC, USC, etc; late offers have burned UGA in the past, i.e. Dillon Lee (UGA was too late, way too late!!!)

tide roll

May 18th, 2011
10:56 am

Chip, Dawg fans are now talking about true freshman helping the offensive line situation. Do they realize that Rivals rates this incoming class 9th in the Conference. Not the Country, THE CONFERENCE! Rivals knows what they’re talking about. A reasonable person, when looking at these rankings, would have good reason to question whether these athletes are even SEC caliber. But uga fans, with their continuous “DON”T CONFUSE US WITH FACTS” attitude, refuse to get it.

1eyedJack

May 18th, 2011
11:00 am

tide roll, once again you display your ignorance. Rivals didn’t think much of Kenarious Gates (you should be familiar with him) either and he contributed as a freshman.

sogadog

May 18th, 2011
11:02 am

Speaking of offensive linemen, did y’all see the picture of Arnold Swartzenegger’s mistress? Yikes!

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2011
11:04 am

Gawdalmighty…………..after Richt JUST SAID that he has no problem having freshman RB (and how many more Frosh RB playing in the past 10 yrs does it take to convince you) carrying the ball, somebody still asked why he won’t?

Anybody blind to the idea of a RB having to pick up a blitz has obviously not seen very many football games. I can name 3 or 4 games off the top of my head where that issue either directly lost the game, or substantially put the momentum swinging the wrong way.

Fulmer Cup Champs

May 18th, 2011
11:04 am

tide roll

Don’t you have trees to poison? Perhaps you could spend your time helping your fellow Bammers in cleaning up Tuscaloosa.

Joey

May 18th, 2011
11:07 am

So, tp roll, Scout.com and ESPN both have the Dawgs 2011 class ranked 6th nationally, but they don’t know what they are talking about?

1eyedJack

May 18th, 2011
11:09 am

Arnold could have purchased a better looking crackhead for fornicating purposes.

Chip Towers

May 18th, 2011
11:10 am

tide roll: I don’t think they realized it, but we all knew you’d be here to remind us.

SecGuy

May 18th, 2011
11:11 am

The loss of Harmon is very unfortunate. But at least UGA doesn’t stoop to using the perfectly legal tool of over-signing to manage and hedge against fairly common events such as academic ineligibility, bad-behavior dismissals, etc. To do so would be using a business model to achieve success, and Dawg fans would rather pretend that college football is not a business, but a moral calling. Oh, well. As the team continues to be weakened, Dawg fans can take refuge in their moral superiority. After all, it’s only a game.

chilidawg

May 18th, 2011
11:13 am

Here we go…. “We decided to redshirt Crowell so he would have ample time to learn the blocking schemes.”

Remarkable

May 18th, 2011
11:14 am

Denzel Nkemdiche, hope you’re coming to Athens.

Joey

May 18th, 2011
11:15 am

I’m thinking we should start oversigning . . .

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
11:18 am

doginlex get a damn job dude

May 18th, 2011
10:56 am
they should pay you by the word, or even better, opinion, you’re a gazillionaire……..

*************************************************************

I have a computer and I use it. Just because I don’t work at JiffyLube like you do, don’t be a hater.

Mobile Dawg

May 18th, 2011
11:20 am

What to do? Sitting around fretting and talking sure isn’t among them. This is what CMR has been earning $3 Million a year for. He knows what he’s doing, he told us so. Think I will do as much Snapper fishing and golfing as I can this summer and let him worry about it. Also I have a business of my own to worry about. Have a great day Dawgs….Life goes on….

Z-Dawg

May 18th, 2011
11:22 am

Was Marcus Lattimore THAT dang smart that he was able to come in as a true freshman and pick up all the blocking schemes no problem??? CMON MAN!!! I know blocking is important, but we seem to make it rocket science at UGA!! With the enormous impact Lattimore had, I’m sure he missed a block every now and then. He probably would have been sitting behind Carlton Thomas on our depth chart because we weren’t sure he had picked up all the blocking schemes. PUT THE KID IN THE GAME AND LET HIM RUN THE DANG BALL. PERIOD.

Dawg Gone

May 18th, 2011
11:23 am

If the kid can’t pass block he shouldn’t play but I think if he can prove he can against our DL and linebackers in fall camp he should be good to go. We are going to have to pass a good bit early to allow the OL to jell…you can’t rely on a OL just starting to play together to be dominant run blockers right off the bat vs Boise and USCe in the first two games. So if your back can;t pick up blitzers your QB won’t be able to effectively pass the ball.

Tobias Funke

May 18th, 2011
11:23 am

Sign Denzel IMMEDIATELY!!!

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2011
11:23 am

So there are no guys in the #9 O-line class the conference (which is still pretty high nationally)? What rank exactly does it take? Would you play a Frosh from the 3rd best class? How about 6th? Never the 9th or 10th? Nobody in the #11th rivalstakeyourmoney.com best O-line class in the SEC can even think about contributing to a football team?

Ward and Danzler aren’t even SEC caliber players? Did Alabama know that when they offered to pay for thier education? every one of these guys had multiple offers from plenty of SEC teams.

BTW, I see them at #8, not #9. Does that substansially change everything. Kind of wondering how you compar 6 guys to 4 guys anyway. Not sure thats really an exact science.

Florida only signed 2 guys, which puts them “ranked” lower than UGA. Does that mean the guys they signed must really be bad? Not sure what race they are, before you ask.

how2fish

May 18th, 2011
11:23 am

@Mobile Dawg your 11:20 post was outstanding! Fretting won’t help..however snapper fishing could!

Buckeye

May 18th, 2011
11:27 am

Ah, the thrill of anticipation of the arrival of The Annointed One II. Sends shivers in places unmentionable………

Chill dude

May 18th, 2011
11:29 am

“Same As It Ever Was”, time to pack up and move out of your mom’s basement.

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2011
11:32 am

Not counting all that fretting and talking so far, of cource.

LEFTYLIBERAL

May 18th, 2011
11:32 am

CROWELL’S ego already seems to be outta control…will his head fit inside his helmet

Charlie Hayes

May 18th, 2011
11:34 am

@ DawginLex – Those weights are from Winter prior to NSD. Check out those kids twitter accounts and you will see their updated weights (a few have posted their updated weights). They are all on Coach-T’s program and have packed-on the weight in the form of muscle.