ATHENS -- Georgia’s biggest offseason addition on each side of the ball was Isaiah Crowell at tailback and John Jenkins at nose tackle. After four preseason coaches, the Bulldog assistant coaches are giving one praise and the other a push.
Crowell earned high marks from his position coach and coordinator on Sunday. The freshman tailback from Columbus is still running second team, but that basically ensures playing time.
Running backs coach Bryan McClendon said he wants to rotate in at least two tailbacks against Boise State on Sept. 3, and it sounds as if Crowell will be one of them if he picks up the offense.
It appears Crowell has done that so far.
“Not only in this league, but in the NFL or whatever, you’ve got guys that if you can’t trust them out there you’re not gonna put them out there. ... That hasn’t been an issue with Isaiah so far,” McClendon said. “And this is day four of installation, and he hasn’t missed much assignment-wise, and hat’s obviously a pleasure to see.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo also said Crowell was “ahead of the curve” on how he was picking up the system. The one area that Crowell has a ways to go is on pass protection, according to McClendon, who said that was typical of freshmen.
“I mean, that’s just a matter of how quick you can fix it, and how quick they can fix it,” McClendon said. “I think it’s good, now is it SEC caliber right now, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Richard Samuel, a junior who was moved back from defense in July, is getting the first-team carries so far.
Meanwhile, Jenkins still has some work to do to impress his position coach. Kwame Geathers is currently the first-team nose tackle, according to defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
In fact, Garner answered “yeah” when asked if there was a gap between them right now.
It has been assumed that Jenkins, a 350-pound junior college transfer, was signed to start at that nose spot.
“Well you know what happens when you assume,” Garner said with a wide smile. “I can’t say it in the media.”
Garner said Jenkins was still struggling to pick up the speed of practice and schemes. Geathers is a third-year sophomore who had a strong spring. But Garner added that he expects the talented Jenkins to “get it,” and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sees the competition as positive.
“Kwame’s showing his toughness, just like he did in the spring,” Grantham said. “I think he doesn’t want to give the job up, I think there’s a lot of competition there, and I think Big John’s getting acclimated to the pace at which we’re going to do things and the way we’re gonna play. And it’ll be good for the whole team.”