Despite missteps, Isaiah Crowell on pace to run down 1,000 yards

When Isaiah Crowell has stayed on the field, he has proven extremely effective. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

When Isaiah Crowell has stayed on the field, he has proven extremely effective. He has 821 yards rushing despite missing five quarters of play for disciplinary reasons. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — There has been a lot to complain about in Isaiah Crowell’s first season with the Bulldogs. The freshman tailback has been suspended twice for disciplinary reasons, has had some fumbling issues and has frustrated many with his inability to remain in games. But as Georgia prepares to face Kentucky in a game that could clinch the SEC East on Saturday, it is evident that Crowell is also pretty darn good at what he does on the football field.

Crowell (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) is on pace to become the Bulldogs’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Knowshon Moreno had, 1,400 yards in 2008. With 821 yards rushing, he has already surpassed Washaun Ealey’s production from a year ago (811). He is  currently third in the SEC with an average of 91.2 yards per contest.

Getting to the 1,000-yard mark is something Crowell is determined to do.

“I want to get over 1,000 pretty bad,” said Crowell, who would be the only Bulldog other than Herschel Walker to do it as a true freshman. “My goal was to be a freshman All-American. I don’t know if that’s going to happen or whatever, but I definitely want to get a thousand. That was my goal at the beginning of the season and I want to be able to reach my goal.”

If the Bulldogs can keep him on the field, it’s likely Crowell will do that and then some. He’ll have four more chances to do so if Georgia can get past Kentucky this Saturday. If he averages 71 yards rushing in those games, he’ll move past Frank Sinkwich (1,103 yards in 1941) into Georgia’s top 10 for rushing yards in a season. An average of 145 yards moves him past Moreno (1,400, ‘08) into the top five of all time.

To run down any such marks, Crowell must prove more resilient than he has been the last half of the season. After recording 104 yards on 22 carries against Mississippi State on Oct. 1, Crowell has averaged 58 yards on 15 carries in the three games he played before Auburn last week. He had 17 carries in the second half alone and finished with 132 yards on 24 attempts as Georgia salted away victory last Saturday.

But once again, Crowell spent a significant period of time on the sideline when he got dinged up in the first half against Auburn. He hobbled out of the game at the 5:30 mark of the first quarter and didn’t play the rest of the half. Coach Mark Richt said this week Crowell is dealing with a minor knee injury.

Crowell’s penchant for coming out of games has called into question his durability and toughness. So far this season he has dealt with rib, wrist, elbow, thigh, knee and ankle injuries. None of them have been serious enough to keep him out of practices or games, however.

“I have always stayed pretty healthy,” said Crowell, who came to Georgia as the No. 1-rated running back prospect in America. “I’ve had, you know, small stuff, but it wasn’t back-to-back like this. … Something hurts all the time, but I’m getting used to it. It’s mostly aches and bruises.”

Crowell said Georgia’s coaches give him the option of removing himself from games, which he has done quite often. “I just wave and make sure Coach McClendon sees me,” he said.

“If I’m gassed or I’m hurt I want to come out because I want to be able to give 100 percent for my team,” Crowell explained. “If I’m not able to do my best I’d rather somebody else come in and do their best. When I get ready and think I can do my best then I’ll go back.”

Nonetheless, Crowell insisted he’s in good shape and that conditioning is not an issue. At this point in the season, he said he feels stronger than he has all year.

“I think I’m good and conditioned,” he said. “Doing it the whole season has helped me a lot. In practice they make me stay in a lot and do multiple plays and I think that has helped.”

Crowell’s 24 carries against Auburn were his most since getting 30 against Ole Miss on Spet. 24.

“It’s all about preparation during the week,” he said. “Me and Carlton did a lot during that week we were out and I think we both did well. I think my legs were fresh. You just have to be prepared to work during the week so I can be ready for the game.”

Of course, Crowell would be closer to 1,000 if not past it already had he not missed five quarters of play for disciplinary reasons. The suspensions coupled with Georgia’s SEC championship pursuits seem to have reinvigorated Crowell.

“Our team worked hard for this,” he said. “There were a lot of negative things people were saying at the beginning of the season. I think we got through it, we ignored the noise and, you know, just kept pushing and fighting and kept working hard. Now that people are saying positive things we’ve still got to ignore the noise. When we were doing bad everybody was on our back about that, now they’re on our back about doing good. That’s just how people are. So you have to ignore it and keep working hard.”

If Crowell can stay the course, major accomplishments could await.

554 comments Add your comment

Spaceman Spiff

November 17th, 2011
9:26 am

If I were of the sort, then I would yell out first! But I won’t. All I will say is Go Dawgs and beat the ‘cats!

Spaceman Spiff

November 17th, 2011
9:28 am

Honestly, I just don’t see him staying for four years. I would be surprised if he even makes it to three. I believe he has a ton of talent, but he still has to prove that his heart belongs to UGA.

Gdawg

November 17th, 2011
9:29 am

Gdawg

November 17th, 2011
9:29 am

maybe next time!

Dawg4

November 17th, 2011
9:30 am

Thomas showed Crowell he had some competition on Saturday. It seemed Crowell really started running when he returned to the game after Thomas had that good drive when he ran so well.

Psych Dawg

November 17th, 2011
9:31 am

this is really encouraging to hear him talk so positively about the Dawgs. Can’t wait to beat Kentucky this weekend!

Logan Walker

November 17th, 2011
9:39 am

We need Marshall to come to Georgia. Its obviously that Crowell is talented, but its also obvious that he is not an every-down back. We need another highly talented RB to join this team and provide a viable option of fresh legs. Lets face it, if Crowell and Carlton Thomas are that effect spelling each other, imagine the duo of Crowell and Marshall….

Eaassyy

November 17th, 2011
9:44 am

I agree. We need a big 235 lb back that can pound it up the middle but also has lateral speed.

OkieDawg

November 17th, 2011
9:44 am

Crowell does not seem to be an every down back nor does he want to be. This should be a good sign for Keith Marshall. If he comes to UGA/Tailback U, he will get plenty of carries. An SEC team needs more than one TB and having to great TB’s like Crowell and Marshall would make quite a tandem. It’s all good if you are a Bulldawg these days.

Joey

November 17th, 2011
9:49 am

Nice read, Chip.

Marshall would make Crowell better. Nothing makes an athlete better himself, like competition.

Go Dawgs!

1eyedJack

November 17th, 2011
9:50 am

Crow el’, put on your Superman cape.

reasonable dawg

November 17th, 2011
9:50 am

Crowell has so much potential! I wish he had as much heart and toughness as Aaron Murray. I don’t think that even the haters can fault AM for toughness.

ARdawg

November 17th, 2011
9:50 am

Yeah, I wish I was sold on Crowell but I ain’t. So much talent but the desire is highly suspect.

Gary

November 17th, 2011
9:50 am

Its a shame when you see the flashes of brilliance that Crowell isn’t as tough as some of our favorite backs of the past. Remember Knowhon? No matter how hard you hit him, he bounced right back up and was ready to go again. Boy I miss seeing that. Remember Hershel, he would carry it 30 or 40 times a game and be ready for more. My favorite Hershel quote, “the ball ain’t heavy!”

RedandBlackDawg

November 17th, 2011
9:53 am

The kid is young and you can tell he is growing up slowly but surely, and becoming a real team player. He is finally starting to realize he will have to play with those little dinks sometimes and just tighten up his chin straps and ignore little aches and pains. Take an example from the big uglies that played the game. They are hitting the opposing player each and every play. They never get used as a decoy, to throw off the other sides players. IF UGA can get Marshall in the stable to go along with Crowell, I think the offense will have a great capability to score a lot of points and keep a lot of defensive coaches awake at nights before a game against UGA. Even, if UGA misses out on Marshall, I think we will recruit another pretty good back and if we can keep them healthy, we do have some back ups as well. We do have a couple of OL recruits but I hope we can pick up a few more this year. I think a CB or two would be nice also, but over all UGA is not in too bad a shape overall for next year.
We have the All SEC QB already and he has really started to put it together this year, so there is still more upside to come. We have some of the future stars at WR in the SEC, and we are a tough bunch on the DL.
We seem to have suddenly learned how to call an offensive game and the kids are able to follow that plan and score. We have probably one of the top two defensive coaches in the SEC, if not the NCAA and we are only in our second year of the 3-4 setup.
Best of all this year, is we are hearing with just a few exceptions, a lot of other teams saying they will need a good recruiting year and then they will be back on top and powerful again. UGA is in the position where they can now say, that they already have the men, they just need to get more experience and they are improving every game. When was the last time UGA could actually say that? The future is very bright for these young kids UGA has and next year, while these other teams are looking to improve each game, they will be forced to play a battle tested, extremely skilled and still hungry UGA team.

GO DAWGS and GATA

old dog

November 17th, 2011
9:53 am

Crowell DEFINITELY is not an every down back! Tons of talent, but not enough heart. Waitin’ for the NFL, but he is gonna be suprised….they pass REAL licks in the NFL! Meanwhile, if we get fortunate enough to go to the SEC Championship game, lets see how long it takes LSU to send him cryin’ to the sidelines. Proud of UGA,; wishin’ the best for Crowell. Just ain’t seen the intangibles all great backs have (nor the guts!)

True Fan

November 17th, 2011
9:53 am

“If I’m gassed or I’m hurt I want to come out because I want to be able to give 100 percent for my team,” Crowell explained. “If I’m not able to do my best I’d rather somebody else come in and do their best. When I get ready and think I can do my best then I’ll go back.”

Those are the words of a true teammate.

Jax Falcon/Dog Fan

November 17th, 2011
9:55 am

Crowell has proven he is an exceptional running back when healthy. Although most of his yards came in the second half of the game Saturday when Auburn had pretty much given up, it was still an impressive total for he and Thomas. We need both of them at or near full strength for the SEC Championship game. If I’m not mistaken, the win over Auburn was our first this year against any team with a winning record. We need the running game to have any chance at all to become this year’s SEC champions. It is encouraging to have both the running game and the passing game doing so well at the same time. With our defense playing at the level it is, we just might have a chance!

Thank God for Reggie Ball

November 17th, 2011
9:55 am

complain all you want folks but he’s better than Ealey or King were

Robinwood

November 17th, 2011
9:56 am

Marshalls pure talent, coupled with a healthy, team-first mentality that is far more in line with RSIV than Crowell, will make this kid a rock star in Athens.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

November 17th, 2011
9:57 am

the best thing that ever happened to Isaiah Crowell was Carlton Thomas

cb

November 17th, 2011
10:01 am

Much like “TEAM”, there is no “I” in Isaiah.. wait.. wut?

Un-Tank

November 17th, 2011
10:02 am

Crowell is plenty tough. It’s been pretty obvious to anyone who’s paid attention during games that he’s taken a beating all year long. Getting dinged up doesn’t make you not tough. Not playing hurt is what makes you not tough and IC has fought through his injuries all season.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

November 17th, 2011
10:02 am

people complain about him coming out of games, but Moreno was the same his sophomore year, Caleb King was our Carlton Thomas that season.

when healthy and not in trouble, he will gladly carry it 25 times a game, we’ve seen it plenty of times

Thank God for Reggie Ball

November 17th, 2011
10:03 am

This is a classic case of trying to find the line between: “injury-plauged”, and “soft”

The Goat

November 17th, 2011
10:03 am

If you go back and watch the highlights of the 2nd half of the Auburn game you can really see Crowell’s skill. He’s a pretty unorthodox runner but his acceleration and stops/cuts are elite even at the college level. I try not to come down on the guy too hard because he’s an 18/19 year old kid and I remember how tough my freshman year was without football.

Keep in mind Knowshon had a redshirt year to practice and come in under the radar. Give Crowell some time–he’ll be fine. And get Keith Marshall splitting carries with him! Georgia will have a mean offense with some of these up and coming linemen and receivers growing up.

Spaceman Spiff

November 17th, 2011
10:04 am

I do want to see him succeed because I think he will be a great asset for the team. I hope I am proven wrong on him, and if I am I will be the first to admit it. We do need Marshall, because I think that if Thomas lit that fire, then how would the competition against Marshall look?

polecat

November 17th, 2011
10:07 am

We have a new joke in our section at UGA games. When someone leaves to go get a coke or hotdog, he pats himself on the head and says “I’m out!” like Crowell does. I went to my first UGA game in 1976 and have never seen a player as talented as Crowell take himself out so much.

Bright Idea

November 17th, 2011
10:10 am

I’m sure Crowell was rarely touched in high school much less hit like he is getting hit now. The ability is there and with maturity and age he should get better. He must become more responsible off the field as well. 10X better than Ealey, 5X better than King.

AltamahaDawg

November 17th, 2011
10:11 am

I very much remember folks calling Knowshon’s heart into question for coming out of games. Which I didnt agree with, either. Crowell average 19 carried per game, (as a true freshman) which is same as Knowshon ever did. 2 less than Richardson, as a reference. That as much as Lattimore carried it last year.(when he was considered a workhorse) So it’s a bit of a reach to say he is not holding up his end of the load. The fact that he has carried it so much with the dings is all the more remarkable if you ask me.
No idea why his desire or willingness is coming into question.

Rolo

November 17th, 2011
10:11 am

I think Crowell suffers from cronic vaginitus.

Brucerugby79

November 17th, 2011
10:12 am

Come on man–give this kid a break-He is about to be the only true FR besides #34 to break a thousand-way to go Isaiah !!! In my opinion Richard Samuel will be a beast next yr-and Carlton is looking better all the time—Keep in mind how Samuel looked in the Florida game–yes I hope we get Marshall but we are loaded!

trupert

November 17th, 2011
10:13 am

Crowell is as immature as he is talented. That’s not a knock on the kid, it’s just how it is.

Crowell will come into next season more mature and ready to be one of the SEC’s premiere backs.

Marshall is taking notice of Crowells accomplishmets, and the more support he sees from the fans the better.

Some Ga fan’s should give the kid a break and just be happy that he’s a dawg.

It’s great to be a Ga bulldog!!!

Buckhead Bulldog

November 17th, 2011
10:16 am

Seems that IC is being noticed by others outside the SEC.

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen by CBS Senior College Football Columnist, Bruce Feldman

http://bruce-feldman.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/31626208/33328036.

6. Isaiah Crowell, Georgia, RB: I was tempted to pick Malcolm Mitchell as the top Dawg freshman, but for as dynamic as he’s been he’s missed a bunch of games with a hamstring injury, while Crowell continues to pile up yards and give QB Aaron Murray a lot of support. Best thing about Crowell’s impact: he’s played in seven SEC games and gone over 100 yards in four of them.

7576DAWG

November 17th, 2011
10:16 am

The SEC is a running Conference that’s why the best running back’s end up in the SEC. How can anyone complain about a FRESHMAN who should get over 1000 yards . Going from high school to college is bad enough but if you chose the SEC you know it is the toughest conference in college football on running back’s . Everybody needs to lighten up on the negative mess about Crowell. Let CMR handle it. Every running back can’t hang with the demands of the SEC , as Ealey found out.
So far I think Crowell has handled himself okay to be a Freshman and seem’s to want to improve and I think he realizes that he has a lot more to do before he will be considered a successful running back in the SEC.

zbulldawg

November 17th, 2011
10:17 am

Good For You Chip !! Good on Will Freind ALSO !! There’s plenty of good to write about ! Hershel was a freak !! The defenses in the SEC in the last few years are lights out ! Big fast & stronger than ever ! Crowell needs a good off season ! BUT for now he needs to learn when to deliver and when not to take a blow ! He’s got good vision , burst and a great case of the wants ! He’s geting humbled some also That’s a good thing !!!!!! I like what Richt said at half time of the FLA. game ! ASKED: WHY isn’t Crowell playing more coach ? Because I love Him !!!!! He said it all ! SICK EM

polecat

November 17th, 2011
10:18 am

I am a big Crowell fan. You have to admit, though, it is really humorous how much he comes out of a game on his own. I’m still very glad he chose to play for UGA.

RiffRaff

November 17th, 2011
10:18 am

IC will only get better. Go Dawgs!

bill arp

November 17th, 2011
10:18 am

He simply hasn’t been hit in his career like he has this season. if, IF, he keeps his head on straight, he could get some Heisman talk in a year or two. But, the off-season sure is a long time to get himself into some trouble.

In other news, I heard that Drew Butler has made some comments to people close to him that he’s had a hard time adjusting to the three blockers right in front of him when he’s kicking. That as he’s kicking the football, he basically still see’s 3 bodies right on him and it’s messing with him…This makes some sense, but, could sound like an excuse too..

BG

November 17th, 2011
10:19 am

Crowell is the man!

David

November 17th, 2011
10:20 am

Keep in mind that only a year ago he was playing high school ball, taking high school hits from high school defenders. And because his team was usually dominating, he never had to play a full 4 quarter game.
It’s an adjustment. I think hes doing very well. especially considering the pressure that so many put on him.

dawgfan

November 17th, 2011
10:21 am

The complaints about our running backs “taking themselves out of games” are beyond absurd. Almost every college football team rotates running backs. If they don’t they have a serious problem. People who complain about this know absolutely nothing about football and should go root for Tech where they will fit in better. Shut up about it.

Crowell is doing an excellent job. The suspensions are unfortunate but hardly warrant the character assasinations that have come his way. 1,000 yards as a true freshmen in the SEC is a remarkable accomplishment and doesn’t happen based upon talent alone. Crowell needs to stay off the internet blogs, ignore the morons, and keep doing what he’s doing. He will be fine.

Thanks.

Contractor

November 17th, 2011
10:22 am

Well we all know the SEC is a slober knocker of a conference, and you definitely know when you’ve played an SEC team. With the speed, athleticism, size, and number of superb athletes on each team, you are going to get dinged up, and everyone knows this within the conference. Crowell will toughen up and realize this isn’t high school ball, as I’m sure he has already. He’ll eventually get to that level of a Lattimore or Dyer when he realizes the NFL won’t take a sissy or someone that tears like paper. I’m gonna allow him this year, and see what he has to offer next year before I call him soft, but for now I’m gonna use growing pains as his issue. Some learn the hard way.

xJason Marcu$x

November 17th, 2011
10:24 am

For those who want to learn the kind of humor we are taught to appreciate at UGA law (r ape jokes, rants against black people, women, northerners,& red necks) along with my constant journey to stay fit, you can read about all these things here therealjmar . tumblr . com

I rant against my clients and inform the world of just how stupid they all are……..all mixed in with colorful language of course!

ARdawg

November 17th, 2011
10:26 am

“If I’m gassed or I’m hurt I want to come out because I want to be able to give 100 percent for my team,”

I don’t see that as a team statement. More like “I wanna tote the rock when I want to tote it”. I don’t know why the coaches permit the mindset. When Crowell comes out of a game, seems to me he’s showing a hand to the opposing defense. Certainly the run threat isn’t as great.

JB

November 17th, 2011
10:27 am

coach T told a friend of mine at the recruiting BBQ last Saturday before the game that IC will be a different runner next year after he spends the next 9-10 months with me. He was not ready for the hitting in the SEC. He will be next year. coach T said he plans on putting 10-12 pounds on iron on him.

crdawg

November 17th, 2011
10:28 am

Crowell will continue to improve. I have no problem with him taking himself out of a game to get rested so he can bust off some more big runs. We have depth at the position and it’s nice to have a change of pace. However, I am thoroughly unimpressed with Richard Samuel’s talent. I love his heart but he runs like Herman Munster, standing straight up and susceptible to ankle tackles. If he had a lower center of gravity and more cut ability he’d be a player. Unfortunately, he just tries to bust through the line and usually stumbles for a couple of yards. I don’t think he can change his style. I’d like to see Boo Malcombe in the game and yes, Keith Marshall, please come play for the Dawgs. We’ve seen your video and we want you badly.

xJason Marcu$x

November 17th, 2011
10:28 am

I forgot to mention my Mormon boss. We even talk about the women in my office po oping and how much it smells. Did I mention I hate women? Hate is a little strong. I mainly think they are just really stupid.

Go Dawgs!

zbulldawg

November 17th, 2011
10:31 am

BUCKHEAD 7576 Your are true dawg fans ! I’m glad we don’t have to face him for 4 years ! He’s playing for the right coach ! WE ARE WITNESSING SOMETHING GREAT DEVELOPING HERE NOT JUST #1 THE WHOLE TEAM !!!!!! Come RECRUITS LET’S SHOW WHAT THE STATE OF G-E-O-R-G-I-A Can DO !!!!!!!!!!!!! LET’S SHOW THE WHOLE NATION WHAT SOUTHERN FOOTBALL IS ALL ABOUT !!!! SICK EM

Crap

November 17th, 2011
10:32 am

Polecat: If you were at Grant Field, those hotdogs and Cokes would be free.