Crowell learning the offense

semerson@macon.comAugust 23, 2011 

ATHENS -- Isaiah Crowell could remember the coach’s last name: Buckner. But that was it. Asked for the first name of the man who moved him from safety to running back, Crowell couldn’t recall.

That’s understandable. Crowell was only six years old.

It was on a little league team in Columbus called the Eastway Cherokees.

“I started out playing defense. I played safety,” Crowell said. “And then I moved in the middle of the season, my first year, I moved to running back.”

According to Crowell, he has started on every team since then. That streak may end on Sept. 3, assuming Richard Samuel’s left quad is healthy. But Crowell is almost certain to get a lot of carries.

“The first game is really like a reality check to me, to see how I’m gonna do for the rest of the season,” said Crowell, the team’s most high-profile recruit. “I think I’m ready, but I won’t see till game time.”

Crowell’s running ability has lived up to the hype, according to reports from practice.

“He’s confident. He’s making some unbelievable cuts,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “Catching the ball very nicely. So I’m excited to see what he can do that first game.”

So the key may be how Crowell picks up the offense, especially pass blocking. He said he feels fairly confident in that, but head coach Mark Richt said there was still plenty to determine on that front.

“He just hasn’t experienced enough of the situations that are gonna come down the pipe,” Richt said. “Has he had a chance to see every blitz versus every protection that he needs to know and understand. And the answer is no, he’s not. ... The good news is he’s picking up things quickly and doesn’t shy away from any kind of contact in pass protection. He knows the importance of it, and that’s a good thing.”

Figgins hurt

Another Columbus product, fullback Bruce Figgins, joined the injured list on Tuesday. The fifth-year senior has what Richt called a pulled muscle, possibly a hamstring.

“We don’t think it’s real serious,” Richt said.

Figgins has been getting the first-team snaps at fullback, but he is expected to share time with sophomore Zander Ogletree.

More injury updates

Freshman receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to practice after missing several days with a pulled leg muscle.

Junior tailback Carlton Thomas’ ankle has been bothering him, so the team had him sit out Tuesday. Thomas is suspended for the opener.

Early simulation

Georgia will hold its third scrimmage Wednesday, but it will be more ramped up than the previous two. Richt called it a “practice game,” with the players now split into scout team and first- and second-teamers. The scout-teamers will mimic Boise State.

“It’s an important day,” Richt said.

Murray said he and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo began discussing the gameplan for the opener Tuesday.

“We’ve been studying Boise all summer long,” Murray said. “We feel like we’ve got a pretty good grasp on them with what we need to do, with receivers and tight ends. They know what they’re doing with their routes.”

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