UGA’s Lynch says criticism of Isaiah Crowell ‘unfair, disrespectful’

ATHENS – OK, just got through with the first round of interviews this morning. The beat corps so far has had interview sessions with WR Malcolm Mitchell, TB Richard Samuel and TE Arthur Lynch.

Lynch had the most noteworthy things to say so far, chiefly because he is close to freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell and was willing to comment on him extensively and candidly.

What started the whole thread was Lynch simply offered that Crowell is one of the players that has impressed him the most during off-season workouts. He said the enigmatic freshman has been “leading his group” during mat drills and weightlifting sessions and said he expects “incredible things” out of Crowell this coming fall.

Lynch, it should be noted, is Crowell’s “Big Brother” within head coach Mark Richt’s “Brother’s Keeper” team concept. That is, all underclassmen are assigned a “big brother” among the upper classmen. So Lynch talks and meets with Crowell regularly and knows him better than a lot of players on the team.

Before we get into that, it should be noted that Lynch, a redshirt sophomore from Dartmouth, Mass., is the projected starter at tight end and is looking forward to becoming a major, every-down contributor for the Bulldogs this season.

For now, here’s what Lynch had to say about Crowell, then I’ll come back with a sort of roundup of the news and notes produced from all of today’s interviews. . . .

“The person I’ve been most impressed with — and the person who I think has been wrongly scrutinized the whole year — was Isaiah,” Lynch said. “You ask these high expectations out of a kid who’s 18 years old, it’s such a different game than high school. Let’s face it, he had instant success and people were so demanding of him to be the savior, this idea of `Oh, the next Herschel.’ That was just unfairly [placed on] him. . . .

“I’ve seen him mature from the day he got here and we had to drag him to workouts to now where he’s the leader of his group during workouts. I’ve talked to him a bit. We have a ‘Brother’s Keeper’ thing and he’s my little brother. I just talked to him, not even about football, but just about regular stuff. He’s really just a quiet, humble kid. He’ll never talk bad about this or that. He just kind of likes to be chill, be low key. . . .

“He’s a kid that I think will make a lot of noise this year if he keeps doing what he’s doing. I’m extremely proud of the way he’s handled the pressure last season and now this preseason moving up to spring and eventually the fall.

“I don’t think he ever had to go to workouts demanding two hours a day. It’s different for everybody. Everybody just used him as prime example just because of the fact he was Isaiah and he was this highly-touted guy and all that. There were other guys who had the same problems he did, they just might have been redshirting or they might not have been playing or had as big an impact on the team. I think just to see him with Coach T working out in the sprints and the mat drills and lifting, you can see he wants to get better and he’s finally getting it. Coach Richt always says `The Georgia Way. The Georgia Way. The Georgia Way,’ which in reality is the right way. He’s understanding how to do it at a speed where he’s comfortable with it.”

Interesting comments from Lynch here on the criticism Crowell endured over not being able to play hurt last season. . . .

“An ankle, as a running back? I don’t play running back so if I had a high-ankle sprain I think I could get through it because I don’t have to make the same amount of cuts he does. But when you play against LSU, let’s face it, they played in the national championship game, and in the SEC championship game they boo him? I thought that was, one, disrespectful, and two, I don’t think anyboidy understood the pain he was going through.

“Richard [Samuel] had a high-ankle sprain and needed surgery. He couldn’t even play. I thinkn that’s the thing, it could have been a little bit worse and Isaiah would have needed surgery, I’m just saying as an example. But you never heard them taking shots at anybody else because of injuries and that’s because of the expectations that were placed on his shoulders.

“As a junior or a senior, maybe he should grind through it. But I thought he grinded through it enough. He sat one game and then he tried to play in that SEC Championship Game when we needed him. You could tell in practice he was hurting. It wasn’t like he was going to cop out in the game because he couldn’t reach the level of success he had in prior games. I thought he was legitimately hurt and fought through it more than anyone could expect. I was proud of him for just going out there and having some carries.”

And finally, Lynch on Crowell’s disposition . . .

“I think he’s a kid who loves football to death, but if he wasn’t a football player he wouldn’t mind that much. When he’s on the field, he’s a competitor and he gets after it, but then when he’s off, he hangs out with Quintavius [Harrow], Q, that’s his high school buddy. He grew up with him, and he’s just fine. All he wants to do is succeed for him and his family back home and obviously for his teammates. He’s realizing how he can do it. He’ll be incredible.”

222 comments Add your comment

Tarlie Chrippi

March 1st, 2012
1:14 pm

Good read. Get off the kid’s back!

beanster

March 1st, 2012
1:14 pm

Glad to hear positive talk about IC. Can’t wait to see it on the field.

GATA

Tarlie Chrippi

March 1st, 2012
1:15 pm

and….GO DAWGS!

wheresmycrackpipe?

March 1st, 2012
1:16 pm

.

March 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

Great story and sounds like the light has come on for Isaiah.

DCJohn

March 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

Honestly, the best part of this article was knowing that Isaiah has someone with his head on straight to help him out.

Brunker

March 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

Crowell looked good in certain games for stretches. On the downside, he seemed to be lacking in mental toughness or physical conditioning as the season went along, went out of games with a lot less than ankle injuries, even ESPN noted that. I don’t think we would have gone out and got 2 more running backs if Richt was 100% sold on Crowell. If people were booing Crowell, that’s uncalled for, Lynch is right about that.

Thenumber34

March 1st, 2012
1:19 pm

Proud of you Isaiah! Keep it up, and disregard the nay-sayers.

zulucanibal

March 1st, 2012
1:20 pm

great article

Jwall

March 1st, 2012
1:21 pm

finally someone telling dumb a$$ UGA fans to shut up and support the team they supposedly love!! GO DAWGS

tidog

March 1st, 2012
1:22 pm

Wow someone speaking with sanity on behalf of Isaiah. Way to go Mr. Lynch a mature response about Mr. Crowell.

DownSouthDirtyDawg

March 1st, 2012
1:25 pm

Lynch, great job for standing behind your teammate even when he made some mistakes. We, as fans, can’t forget that these guys are 18-22 yrs old, not exactly kids but lets allow them to make mistakes and mature and learn from them. I thought it was classless and tasteless to boo the young man in SEC champ game too. Crowell, keep striving to do the right thing and continue to work you ass off on the field and in the classroom. Good luck, young man and GO DAWGS!

Crown

March 1st, 2012
1:25 pm

I still think that fans were trying to mimic LSUs “Blue” call in the stadium for their RB, on the Boos that is. Crowell came off the field hurt but Ken Malcome was coming on the field and had been having success in the games prior. I don’t think the majority of the fanbase was booing IC.

Hines Ward

March 1st, 2012
1:25 pm

Judging by the criticism of Isaiah from Dawg fans, I would never know this kid was SEC Freshman of the Year.

UGASlobberknocker

March 1st, 2012
1:27 pm

It makes me feel good about our program when we have leaders like Lynch. Good for him and his comments. Crowell was good last yr..can be better..I am looking forward toi seeing his improvement.

DogGoneItMan

March 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

Proud of Lynch and Crowell. That is the type of attitude and support a great team needs.

Jawja

March 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

My first thought when I saw this headline was, “Who in the world is Lynch?” Time for YOU to GATA big boy.

You don’t boo your own players.
You don’t walk out of rival games early.
Go Dawgs!
Sky is the limit!!!

McDawg

March 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

sing it loud sing it proud

Big Old Dawg

March 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

Crowell needs someone else to do his talking…..oh boy…..

Brunker

March 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

Thought Isaiah had some good games, particularly South Carolina and Florida, which are our biggest 2 games of the year really. Got to give him props for showing up big when we need him the most.

tidog

March 1st, 2012
1:29 pm

Good point Hines Ward, now only if the Falcons will bring you back home.

Crown

March 1st, 2012
1:31 pm

I think Crowell was truly hurt and had a right to be on the sidelines late in the year; however, he came off the field often throughout the year, whether it was a minor injury or jus a little tired. As a diehard Dawg I think thats the area I want to see improved. He needs to have the stamina of an every-down back, along with the desire and will to succeed and fight through some pain out there on the field

Jawja

March 1st, 2012
1:32 pm

Who is Aaron Murray’s big brother?

Enough of the pick 6s.

Hopefully we run the ball 40 times a game this season and let our dominate D take over.

LCDawg

March 1st, 2012
1:32 pm

Sounds like Isaiah has the right Big Brother looking out for him. Let’s not forget these guys are 18 years old folks. I went to UGA and graduated and put very simply I don’t know how these football players make it through 4-5 years of this type of daily grind. It’s a helluva commitment and less than 1% play professionally.

Jawja

March 1st, 2012
1:35 pm

DA “fans” always seem to forget that Isaiah was a FRESHMAN.

A year in the college weightroom does WONDERS for your conditioning!!! Lay off the kid.

McDawg

March 1st, 2012
1:36 pm

its always a great idea to have a running back go at it half-speed

HighHopes

March 1st, 2012
1:37 pm

Most of the fan base disapproval of IC was an echo/amplification of the same disappointment from the coaching staff, IMHO. I think that there would have been significantly less criticism from the blogs had we heard from the coaches, “Isaiah is a really tough kid, and playing through a lot of pain just to help the team.” There was very little support from the coaching staff concerning his actions, both on and off the field. That has to add a small degree of credibility to IC’s character LAST season.

That being said, great to hear about his progress this winter/spring! We are all pulling for this kid to be something special, as we hope of all UGA players.

OldDawg

March 1st, 2012
1:38 pm

Keep him off the dope Lynchie…

7576DAWG

March 1st, 2012
1:41 pm

90% of the fan’s understood that he was just a Freshman that had a ton of maturing and conditioning to do before he would be ready to play an entire season in the SEC. When Lattimore of South Carolina went down it told everybody just how tough the running back position is, in the SEC. Lattimore was one of the toughest and conditioned running back’s I have seen in a long time and he didn’t last two complete season’s.
The majority of the criticism about Isaiah came from the loud 10% that didn’t have the maturity themselves , had never play football and don’t have a clue to the demand’s, or they just were not patient with an 18 year old kid. He did bring some of that on himself because of report’s that he would just miss schedule workout’s or he would just quit in practice because it was too hard but by the mid season it was obvious Isaiah was starting to realize what amount of effort it was going to take.
When Georgia signed Marshall ,who came in early and Gurly that helped Isaiah the most because he know’s both are great running back’s and if he expects to be in the mix in 2012 he need’s to be mentally and physically ready. In college it is amazing the difference in a student’s maturity from his first year to his second to his senior year. Isaiah is a great running back . Anybody that can gain 850 yard’s behind Georgia’s offensive line last year has my praise. I look forward to seeing a great group of running back’s this year.

Taco Meat

March 1st, 2012
1:42 pm

Good read. I agree, I wish people would shut up about IC already. The kid will be fine.

Truth

March 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

I love Isaiah !!!! Touch downs and yards on deck baby!!!!!

Big Wally Butts

March 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

I side with the crowd that says they were calling Malcome “Boo” rather than booing Crowell. He’ll get better this year both due to conditioning and additional support from other RBs coming in. Let’s face it, he was our best RB last year in terms of production. When he was healthy, he was good enough to be called SEC Freshman of the Year. So, let’s give him some support this year and knock off the crap.

Nothing Could Be Finer

March 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

7576DAWG

March 1st, 2012
1:41 pm
Anybody that can gain 850 yard’s behind Georgia’s offensive line last year has my praise.
——————————————————
Well, that O-line ain’t getting any better in 2012. Will likely be worse.

Not looking good for Crowell.

BG

March 1st, 2012
1:48 pm

Crowell is a hell of a player. GO DAWGS!!

bitter dawgs fan

March 1st, 2012
1:49 pm

after spring training, crowell will be on the practice squad. gurly and marshal and boo malcom

will be carring the rock——————-this time next year crowface will be playing for jacksonville st.

—————–his new best friend will be “eally”———sorry tigers dont loose there STRIPS

Big Wally Butts

March 1st, 2012
1:50 pm

The O line will be fine. At least we got some guys who are tackles rather than having to play 5 guards. The will improve over the season. Still wish we had Chester, though.

Dbalcer

March 1st, 2012
1:50 pm

I do believe the crowds were yelling for Boo I heard it around me not booing Isaiah but I can understand how it is perceived that way since it was reported as booing of Isaiah. People need to support the players and let them know we have their backs. I am glad he has a “big brother” to speak up for him. GO DAWGS!!!

oakisland

March 1st, 2012
1:51 pm

Isaiah, go out and give em hell. All true Dawg fans are behind you and can’t wait for you to have a great and healthy 2012 season. Show em how good you really are. God Bless

Eisendawg

March 1st, 2012
1:54 pm

I can appreciate Lynch supporting his teammate, but keep in mind the recent history with our RB’s. Before we even got started last year, we had one starter to flunk out, and the other run off. The next thing we hear is Crowell, Malcome, and Thomas are suspended for drug issues. Now I ask, doesn’t that behavior seem a little disrespectful also. I think all of that stuff, coupled with him seeming to have to come out of the game so often, frustrated fans to the point that they probably didn’t understand that it is very hard to play that position when you are hurt. Hopefully, IC learned alot from last year, and I can easily envision him not only the starter, but also our top back this year. I am thilled that we finally have a couple of other backs that are capable of running up the middle, since that is obviously where we are going to run it.

Wolfman

March 1st, 2012
1:55 pm

If you don’t want to put pressure on a guy, then don’t have a “missing man” formation with him as the missing man when you recruit him! How hypocritical…….

Frank Lane

March 1st, 2012
1:55 pm

good read. Maybe Crowell is surprise all this year. Hope so.

AthensDawg

March 1st, 2012
1:57 pm

Next year will be the deciding factor on how I view Crowell. Lets face it, he really didn’t come up big enough for us in key situations. The last big game he had was Auburn. And he looked absolutely pitiful vs Michigan State. Kieth Marshall will either make him better or Crowell will lose has job to Marshall. Next year we have a lot of RBs and he very well could lose his job if he is not careful. Go Dawgs!!!!

jonkdawg

March 1st, 2012
1:57 pm

And I know Isiah Crowell my boy, you will be starting tail back yeah?…we are gonna put Keith in there 1-2 punches! there is not doubt that samuel will be full back..that works out pretty well there. Go Dawgs! Last, stop barking at the boy he will be fine.

GTBob

March 1st, 2012
1:58 pm

The guy frequently took himself out of games, was suspended for disciplinary reasons, was suspended again for doing drugs, and had more penalty yards then rushing yards in the SEC championship. Gee, I wonder why anybody criticized him. The fact that he was a freshman is overblown. Most 18 year olds handle themselves better then he does.

Nothing Could Be Finer

March 1st, 2012
2:04 pm

GTBob

March 1st, 2012
1:58 pm
The guy frequently took himself out of games, was suspended for disciplinary reasons, was suspended again for doing drugs, and had more penalty yards then rushing yards in the SEC championship. Gee, I wonder why anybody criticized him. The fact that he was a freshman is overblown. Most 18 year olds handle themselves better then he does.

——————————
Agreed. Most dogs fans were labeling him as the next Lattimore, but his attitude and work ethic pale in comparison.

bitter dawgs fan

March 1st, 2012
2:07 pm

EVERYBODY forgets about BOO MALCOM, TODD GURLY, and KEITH MARSHALL

———————–?????????????????????crow——who???????????????????

7576DAWG

March 1st, 2012
2:09 pm

SEC Freshman player of the year. Enough said There wasn’t near the criticism going on that AJC wants to indicate. The coaches attitude and criticism was what fueled most of the problem, even they forgot they were dealing with an 18 year old kid. Isaiah needed to toughen up mentally a little without developing an attitude and I think he did just fine. He need’s to realize that it only get’s harder if he wants to play Pro ball. I think he will will completely shut up the loud 10% that were doing all the criticism last year. I am glad to know that he is not just going to hand the tailback position to Marshall , even though it is my opinion that we needed a minimum of two great tailback’s if not three. All will get plenty of carry’s in 2012.

dawgfan

March 1st, 2012
2:09 pm

A Tech fan popping off about the SEC Championship. Now THAT’S comedy folks. Let us know when your dump program can win a freaking bowl game clown and then we’ll talk.

Thanks.

flo-ri-duh

March 1st, 2012
2:10 pm

Most of the Crowell criticism actually comes from anti-Dawgs, such as Tech, Bama, Florida. etc. disguised as Dawg fans. I appreciate Crowell’s effort while injured. It will take a couple of years, but this OL will be good. They need experience. Lynch was the #2 TE in the country behind Orson Charles. He is a true 3 down TE. Good size, very powerful, excellent blocker & can catch the ball – if they ever decide to throw it to him.

Big Wally Butts

March 1st, 2012
2:10 pm

Wow, all of you fans of other teams come on a blog about an UGA player just to rag on him. How mature is that?

Don’t you have any blogs of your own?