ATHENS – At this point, everybody has seen enough of freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell to know he’s a real deal. He comes into the Mississippi State game as the SEC’s fourth-leading rusher at 103 yards per game and is coming off a 30-carry, 147-yard performance at Ole Miss.
What nobody has seen Crowell do yet, however, is rip off a really long run. It was his specialty at Carver-Columbus High, where he had a dozen touchdown runs of over 50 yards his senior year alone.
Crowell has noticed, too, and he’s itching to find some daylight.
“I’ve been trying,” said the 5-foot-11, 215-pound speedster. “I’ve been trying to use my speed to get outside and cut back and just find an opening. It hasn’t been there yet.”
Through four games, Crowell’s longest run from scrimmage has been 29 yards. That came last Saturday against Ole Miss. His longest scoring run was 27 yards against Coastal Carolina and he had a 17-yard TD off a screen pass against South Carolina.
Obviously there is much more speed on the field in college football. But Crowell believes he has the jets take the ball the distance if the opportunity rises.
“I think when I get in the clear I’ll be able to get it to the house,” Crowell said.
Georgia coach Mark Richt agrees. He was in attendance last fall when Crowell broke loose for a 90-yard touchdown run against eventual state champion Buford. Crowell’s “home run ability” was the main reason so many schools wanted to sign him. Richt thinks it’s just a matter of time before he pulls off such a run for the Bulldogs.
“I think he will,” Richt said. “I don’t think there’s been a run where he should’ve gotten much more than he did once he got out in space. I think it’s going to happen in time. There’s going to be some long runs in his career.”
In the meantime, Richt has been impressed with the short to medium runs Crowell has been able to string together.
“The thing I’m noticing about him is people are having a hard time getting clean contact on him,” Richt said. “They’re getting edges of him. He’s is very elusive in space and it’s kind of subtle. The guy looks like he’s right there to hit him pretty solidly, but he does just enough to take his hips away. He gets hit but he keeps on going.
“The backs that can make people miss in a tight space are really very good. That’s one of the things I think Knowshon may have been one of the best I’ve seen as far as being a guy that could make people miss in the box or behind the line of scrimmage. He was just exceptional at that, and Isaiah has some of that.”
Butler up for ‘Academic Heisman’
Georgia senior punter Drew Butler was among three SEC players and 47 nationwide to be nominated for the National Football foundation’s Campbell Award, known as the “Academic Heisman.”
Butler, an All-American who won the Ray Guy Award in 2009, has already graduated with a degree in telecommunications. He currently is enrolled in UGA’s sports management graduate program. He has a 3.62 GPA.
Etc. . . .
Jack Bauerle, who has led Georgia’s women’s swimming and diving program to four national championships and who has served as the head coach at the Olympics, has been chosen as the recipient of the Bill Hartman Award. Bauerle will be recognized at the Georgia-Mississippi State football game on The Hartman Award is the highest honor a former UGA student-athlete can receive from the school. . . . Freshman defensive back Nick Marshall confirmed this week he intends to join the basketball team in January. He was a four-star prospect as a shooting guard at Wilcox County High. . . . Saturday is “Red Ribbon” day for drug awareness at Sanford Stadium.