December 19th, 2011 11:23 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Georgia
Tags: Chip Towers, Georgia, Keith Marshall, UGA
Entering the 2011 season, true freshman running back Isaiah Crowell was probably the most popular man in Georgia. The top tailback prospect had excited fans by picking the homestate Dawgs.
He went on to rush for 847 yards to lead all SEC freshman backs and to finish 5th in the league overall (77.0 ypg).
Despite the on-field success, Crowell was constantly making news away from the field. Injuries were a year-long concern. Two suspensions and a “did not start” in the SEC Championship Game left UGA coaches searching for a new hotshot tailback prospect — whom they found in Keith Marshall — and left fans scratching their heads. (Or venting on messageboards. There was plenty of Crowell-induced venting.)
But in a Q&A with Chip Towers of The AJC, Crowell says it’s time to do some more growing up. Asked what lessons he might have learned during his first year of college ball, Crowell said just what coaches and fans wanted to hear:
“Just follow my teammates and coaches. They’re counting on me to do what I’m supposed to do. … I think I need to be more accountable and handle my responsibilities better.”
So is that just lip service? Let’s hope not.
Stories from behind the scenes at Georgia suggest Crowell is still dealing with maturity issues after having been coddled through much of his pre-college athletic career. He’s hardly the first player to fit that description.
UGA fans will most likely turn their focus to the aforementioned Marshall by next fall, but it would be wrong for anyone — including those of us in the press — to write off Crowell as a headcase at this point.
If nothing else, he’s saying the right things. And that means he’s at least listening to his coaches.
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