ATHENS — Isaiah Crowell is learning lessons right and left these days, sometimes the hard way.
Take Tuesday, for instance.
Tuesdays of game weeks are always extremely busy. Georgia holds its weekly press conference, which brings dozens of media members into town, all needing content in advance of that week’s game. The Bulldogs, of course, open the season Saturday against Boise State. Crowell, a freshman phenom who will play a significant role in the game, is the subject of much interest. So everybody wants to talk to him.
Crowell was instructed to be available for interviews after practice on Tuesday. But instead of showing up for 10 minutes as instructed, Crowell blew them off.
This did not sit well with Georgia.
So UGA sports communication personnel tracked down Crowell, reportedly at an academic tutorial appointment, and brought him back to Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall afterward. It was after 10 p.m. when he finally showed up. He was greeted by seven reporters who had waited around to hear from him (another four or five bailed out). I was among the reporters who stayed.
To Crowell’s credit, he was polite and accommodating when he finally arrived. He was also contrite when asked about making the adjustment to big-time college football, which comes with all kinds responsibilities and demands beyond gaining yardage and holding onto the football.
“It has been overwhelming,” said Crowell, who attended classes all morning Tuesday, had meetings and practices in the afternoon, then tutoring in the evening. “In high school, if you didn’t do something, there wasn’t too much going to be said about it. If you didn’t go to treatment, nobody cared. Sometimes I didn’t even go to class. Nobody really said anything about it. But here, any time you’re one minute late, somebody will know about it. Time management has been the toughest thing for me.”
Crowell is still working on that. Saturday we’ll find out how that football part is going. By all accounts, it’s going well.
“He’s every bit as good as advertised,” quarterback Aaron Murray said Tuesday. “The kid has turned people’s heads every day in practice. He’s a tremendously talented running back. He’ll show everyone this year. He’s going to make some plays that people’s jaws are going to hit the ground like, ‘Wow, that kid just made that move.’ ”
Said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo: “I’ve been really happy with him. I think he’s going to be a great player here. Is it going to happen game one? I don’t know, but I think he’s going to be a great player. Just let the guy play football and let’s see how he develops.”