August 12, 2011

Crowell focused on team

Freshman Isaiah Crowell met with the Georgia media for the first time Friday, touching on a wide range of subjects following the Bulldogs' morning full-pad workout at the team's Woodruff Practice Facility.

First and foremost was his health.

Crowell appeared gimpy during warm-up drills, an injury head coach Mark Richt would later describe as a sore groin.

The injury kept the Columbus native from participating in the team's morning session, but during his interview, he brushed it off as being no big deal.

"I'm healthy, I'm all right," Crowell said smiling.

Richt didn't seem that concerned, either.

"You're engaged in practice several days in a row and sometimes you wake up in the morning and just can't go full speed, so that's what happened with him," Richt said. "We shut him down for today. We'll keep it day by day and see how it feels from here."

Crowell hopes to be back on the field Saturday.

By all accounts it's been an impressive first week for the freshman, who during Wednesday's scrimmage led all rushers with 13 carries for 84 yards and a score.

"I really didn't have any goals," Crowell said. "I just wanted to go out and play hard."

Crowell added he's working as hard as he can to get ready for the Sept. 3 season opener against Boise State.

"I'm just trying to learn all the plays and help the team win," he said. "That's the main thing."

Crowell believes progress has been made. That includes his work as a pass-protector.

"I've made a lot of improvement on my protection," he said. "I think I'm really learning what to do on the field."

Crowell maintained his hopes of getting on the field early for the Bulldogs and if the indications are correct, he will certainly be getting that chance.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder is basically sharing the first-team reps with junior Richard Samuel.

"My goal is to try and play early," he said. "All I really want to do is learn what to do and help the team win."

Getting used to his new-found fame is something Crowell admits he's still getting accustomed to.

It began back in January when students started chanting his name at a Bulldog basketball game, and has continued since he arrived on campus in June.

"I think I'm handling it OK," Crowell said. "There really hasn't been much of that of late, but since school is about to start, I guess I could get more of that. But I have been mentioned a lot."

Crowell brushed off the notion that he's expected to be some sort of "savior" for the Bulldog program.

Although he certainly hopes to make an impact like South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore and Auburn's Michael Dyer, he said all the coaches have told him is to simply be his best.

"I don't think about it, because my coaches have told me I'm not the savior," he said. "I'm just coming out here to work hard and help my team."

Crowell admitted he's worked harder at Georgia than he's ever had to in his brief football career.

He hasn't had a choice.

"At Carver, a lot of times I just sat around and did what I wanted to do," he said. "But here, I've been working hard - a lot. That's the biggest thing."

Crowell also wanted to make one thing perfectly clear - there won't be a battle over his No. 1 jersey if the Bulldogs decide that junior Branden Smith will be seeing considerable snaps on the offensive side.

In fact, it's not going to be a problem at all.

"I mean, it's not a big issue to me," he said.

He also dismissed the notion that his early fame will get the better of him.

"My head has always been level," Crowell said. "I'm just ready to play some ball."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.