Freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell could start and potentially get the most carries in the season opener Saturday in the Georgia Dome against Boise State.
With the running back position short on depth, both have a strong chance of happening.
The possibility of the young tailback playing such a vital role in his first game and on such a large stage has created an introduction as hyped and anticipated as any player in the Mark Richt Era.
“I’m just trying to be humble,” Crowell said.
Georgia fans have seen this before. Crowell isn’t the first five-star running back from Columbus to appear at Georgia and set forth a great deal of expectations.
Jasper Sanks came to Athens in 1998 as the assumed next great Bulldogs tailback. Injuries, fumbles and dismissal his senior year marked a career deemed as a bust.
Sanks has repeatedly reached out to Crowell in an attempt to help the young back avoid the pitfalls the buildup and publicity can create.
“We talk all the time,” Crowell said. “Really he tells me to keep my head on straight. He’s telling me that he messed up and tells me certain things not to do and things that I should do and (to) work hard when I got up here.”
Crowell broke many Carver High rushing records previously held by Sanks. The comparisons to this point are easy to make—both starred in high school and were coveted recruits who ended up at Georgia. But fans hope the similarities end there.
“Well, I think a lot of people want to see Isaiah succeed—people that know him, people that don’t know him,” coach Mark Richt said.
Richt dismissed Sanks from the team in 2001 for a violation of team rules, but still speaks highly of the former player.
“Jasper Sanks is from the (Columbus) area and being highly recruited he has a certain experience that could teach a young guy,” Richt said. “Jasper reaching out to Isaiah is a good thing.”
Just in case
Backup quarterback Hutson Mason finds himself in a bit of jam—the coaches have praised him this fall camp for his play, but he’s behind All-SEC pick Aaron Murray on the depth chart.
“It’s really been the same ever since I’ve been here, just waiting on an opportunity really,” Mason said.
The Marietta native is in the same sophomore class as Murray, making the opportunity for playing time an unknown at this time.
“It’s a difficult situation because you have to be ready at all times,” he said. “I think if Murray has a good year he could possibly have a lot of options. He could go pro. He could come back. I don’t know. That’s not on my mind right. I’ve always said I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds it. We’ll see.”
For now, Mason is making the best of his situation.
“I think Huston is ready to play,” Richt said. “He’s had a great camp. I don’t think the offense would change much with Hutson. He’s done a great job. I’ve really got a lot of confidence in him.”
This and that
Offensive tackle Austin Long said he lost over 20 pounds during his bout with mononucleosis earlier this preseason. He’s gaining the weight back, currently at 305 pounds, and expects “to be at 315 in a couple weeks.” … Outside linebacker T.J. Stripling is nearing 100 percent in his recovery from a ruptured patella tendon suffered last season, and said he didn’t experience any setbacks in fall camp. He expects to play Saturday and says he’s “just getting back into the grove of things.”