"You can just see he's picking it up at a very healthy pace," Richt said Friday night after a two-hour workout. "I like to see that. And you can tell he enjoys football."
That's a good sign for a team that needs Crowell to be the same difference-maker he was at Carver High School in Columbus.
Well, it seems Isaiah Crowell is good. That's the word after Friday's practice, which provided the first chance to speak with players and Coach Mark Richt since work in fall camp kicked off.
Good. Legit. Awesome - whatever you want to call it - Isaiah is something the Bulldogs haven't had in the backfield for two seasons.
Richt says running backs coach Bryan McClendon doesn't have to follow Isaiah around, telling which way to cut or where to run on every single play.
That's encouraging. And good to hear after all this buildup and anticipation. Again, it's only been two practices and shoulder pads won't come out until Saturday. But still… every step of the way matters. And so far, Crowell is right on point. - Fletcher A. Page
"You can just see he¹s got a lot of really natural running skills," Richt said. "He's got great change of direction and balance and catches the ball extremely well. Just very sudden for a pretty big kid." Richt said Crowell likes practicing and learning.
"Coach (Bryan) McClendon is coaching him just like everybody else, but you don't see Bryan having to follow him around on every single play just to get him lined up and whisper in his ear what the play is," Richt said. "You can at least get the play run and he¹s letting him practice. He¹s getting most of it right. That's a good sign. And it's early. It's day two of installation, but there's still a lot of information that him and the rest of the guys are trying to process."
Redshirt freshman tailback Ken Malcome offered his take on the other freshman at the position: "He did pretty well the first two practices running and cutting. I think he's legit."
Turene "doubtful" to join team
The one freshman signee still hoping to join the team looks like he probably won't.
Linebacker Kent Turene from Lauderdale Lakes, FL, is waiting to be certified by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
"As of right now I'd put a doubtful on it, though, if that helps, on him making it with us this season," Richt said.
Turene did not report along with the rest of Georgia¹s highly rated recruiting class.
"The frustrating part is that he¹s not here with us now," Richt said. "He wants to be. He's done everything that he could possibly do to be here, but things don't always roll as fast as you want and you don¹t always get the answer you want. I'm just frustrated for him"
Smith No. 1 in practice
Cornerback Branden Smith has worn jersey No. 1 since middle school. Smith wears the number for the Bulldogs. Crowell is wearing the number, too. They both can't be on the field at the same time.
"He plays offense and I play defense," Smith said. "We're all good about it."
If coaches want to use both on offense," Smith said, "I'll have to get another number."
Richt said Smith had "at least" five interceptions in competitive drills Friday.
"He put on a show today," he said. "Maybe a couple of them just came down to him, but most of them he went and got or snatched away from somebody."
Kasyn Olivadotti, the 4-year-old daughter of inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, has returned home from an Atlanta hospital while she fights leukemia. She is still undergoing chemotherapy.
"She's been able to ride a bike a little bit," Richt said. "She's just able to be a little girl right now."
This and that
Outside linebacker T.J. Stripling, coming back from a torn patellar tendon on his right knee, said he "still feels the injury a little bit," while practicing, "but it's something I've got to push through." Stripling said he's 85 percent now and expects to practice without limitations when the team goes to full pads on Monday. Said Richt: "We hope that he moves into the 90-95 range here by the time we get started because we'd really love to get him out there on the field."
Cornelius Washington did not practice Friday due to a hamstring injury sustained Friday. That gave even more practice work at weakside linebacker to freshman Ray Drew. "He's getting a lot of reps, I know that," Richt said. "When you watch just a bit of pass rush, you see some very good skills."
Nose guard John Jenkins made it through the entire practice. He left Thursday's session because of heat exhaustion.