Tag:Isaih Crowell
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:30 am

Georgia taking the 'Energy Bus' to Atlanta?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Gene Chizik drew a little bit of attention earlier this year -- most of it of the "wait, what did he say?" variety -- by referring to Auburn's need to ward off "energy vampires."

As it turns out, the concept of enthusiasm-sapping children-of-the-night was borrowed from the book "The Energy Bus," by Jon Gordon, which has recently become a favorite of football coaches far and wide. But even Chizik can't match the devotion to Gordon's philosophy being shown by Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs this preseason.

As reported by the Athens Banner-Herald, that devotion includes an "Energy Vampires" board in the locker room, on which wayward Bulldogs have their picture posted "with horns and fangs added"; "No Complaining" bracelets worn by both team members and staff, Richt included (freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell was even spotted with one in his hair); and a one-on-one conversation between Richt and Gordon in which the author advised Richt -- probably wisely -- to have the Bulldogs read "just one" book in his series, rather than all four.

But for all Richt's commitment, does it necessarily mean the players have bought in? From this description, it sounds like they have:
Receiver Marlon Brown wore a “Get On The Bus” T-shirt last week that on the back had an illustration of a bus with Richt driving it to the Georgia Dome, a place the Bulldogs hope to reach for the Southeastern Conference championship game for the first time since 2005.
So at least the Dawgs appear to be taking Richt's call-to-positivity seriously. Of course, how much that buying-in will be worth on the field is open to debate -- we'd guess Richt would trade it in a heartbeat for a healthy offensive line -- but after two seasons of listless play that at times made it seem like someone was sucking the energy out of the Georgia sideline, it sure can't hurt.

Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 8:07 pm

Richt: Samuel enters fall camp as No. 1 RB

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Asked about five-star Georgia running back recruit Isaiah Crowell on Signing Day, Mark Richt said he "wouldn't be shocked to see him running that rock in the dome against Boise State on the opening play." But even after losing top two rushers Washaun Ealey and Caleb King during the offseason, Richt declined to name Crowell the Bulldog starter Thursday at SEC Media Days and seemed to be making a concerted effort to keep a lid on the Crowell hype.

How concerted? Away from the main Media Days podium, Richt told Dawgs247 reporter Gentry Estes that entering fall camp, the Bulldogs' No. 1 tailback would be positional journeyman Richard Samuel:
“If anybody needed to be soothed a little bit, that will do it,” Richt said of Samuel. “He’s very mature physically, and he’s a mature man in the way he goes about his business. He has two years of experience within our system to know what to do.
“He’ll be in that meeting room, and he’ll be a great example of how to prepare and how to play the position.”

While we certainly don't doubt that Samuel (pictured) will indeed be "a great example of how to prepare," we won't blame Bulldog fans if they're less-than-soothed about Samuel's chances of being as great on the field as he is in that meeting room. Samuel spent all of 2010 and this year's spring camp at linebacker after two mildly productive years at tailback in '08 and '09. If he really is the Bulldogs' best option for "running that rock," it seems unlikely the Georgia ground game will have the teeth necessary to get them back to Atlanta.

Which is why Richt's putting Samuel in the preseason top slot is most likely his way of shielding Crowell from the pressure of statements like, well, his own on Signing Day. When asked directly about Crowell Thursday, Richt sang something of a different tune:

“We don’t expect Isaiah to save the program,” Richt said. “We don’t expect Isaiah to put the team on his back. We expect Isaiah to learn what to do and to do things the Georgia way and to try to do anything he can to help the team win as a freshman. We’ll see how far that goes.
“I’ve got a sense of anticipation. I’m curious to see what’s going to happen when we put the pads on for the first time and go live and just see what he does, see how he handles getting hit real hard, see how he handles the speed of the Southeastern Conference. … We won’t treat him whole lot different than any other player who is talented but we’re wanting to make sure he has success.”

Of course, Richt's elevation of Samuel may not be motivation for Crowell alone; redshirt freshman Ken Malcome remains in the mix, and Carlton Thomas is expected to return following his suspension for the Boise game. 

But despite Richt's assurances, he does need someone to put the rushing attack on his back (if not the entire team), and Crowell remains the most likely candidate to do that. Samuel may start the fall at No. 1, but we not only won't be shocked if Crowell takes the opening handoff against Boise; we'll be shocked if he doesn't.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com