ATHENS -- To say that Georgias offense has moved on without Isaiah Crowell is an understatement.
The battle at tailback will still be a crowded one, with Ken Malcome, Keith Marshall and Richard Samuel leading the pack when Georgia opens preseason practice Aug. 1.
Im not going into what happened with Isaiah, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Friday in a session with reporters at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. We wish him the best.
But the departure of the tailback, arrested and dismissed two weeks ago, adds to the annual preseason speculation.
I do think weve got enough guys to go out and be successful offensively, Bobo said. Thats what practice is for, thats what camp is for. Thats going to be the main focus, trying to figure out who we are, whats our best personnel group, what gives us the best chance to be effective offensively.
The offense enters the preseason with momentum, as well as question marks.
There is momentum at receiver, even with wideout Malcolm Mitchell only getting part-time snaps as he works on the defensive side, as well.
Bobo offered a mini-grunt at the prospect of Mitchell being only a part-timer on offense.
One of our running backs is gone, and Granthams trying to steal one of our receivers, Bobo said of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. There are some parts that weve got to replace offensively.
He thinks the wideout unit still offers plenty of weapons, including some players perhaps overlooked, like Tavarres King and Marlon Brown.
Brown had a good camp a year ago but was hobbled by a high ankle sprain. King led Georgia with 47 catches for 705 yards.
I believe Tavarres is a top-level receiver in this league, Bobo said. I think Tavarres has to become more consistent to be what we think he is and what he wants to be, a top performer in this league.
Consistency is the key with him.
Quarterback Aaron Murray will have plenty of targets with those two, as well as Mitchell, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Rantavious Wooten and redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley.
Some pressure, Bobo said, will be on redshirt freshman Jay Rome to contribute immediately at tight end.
As is often the case, the offensive line is a question mark. Georgia lost starters Ben Jones, Cordy Glenn and Justin Anderson to graduation, and it is already a young unit.
Bobo does like what he has seen.
I learned that theyll fight you, he said of the returning linemen. We did not start off spring particularly well, which always happens in spring ball ... when youre going against a very good defense.
It was tough sledding for them, but they kept fighting and I thought they got better throughout the 15 days of practice and didnt quit.
If youve got (linemen) thatll fight and scratch and claw, youve got a chance to be pretty good.
Murray is attending the Manning Passing Academy in southern Louisiana this weekend, along with the nations top quarterbacks, and Bobo is anxious to see what Murray learned from the camp, as well as from the past two seasons.
Sometimes we were scared to make a play because we didnt want to turn it over; we had way too many sacks, Bobo said of Murrays improvement a year ago. In this league, theres going to be tight coverage, youve got to cut the ball loose.
And I think he did that this past year, and you saw the improvement in the touchdown passes.
Bobo hopes for a hint more aggressiveness.
Youve got to have the poise to cut it loose and have confidence, he said. You never want the guy to play scared.
Bobo didnt sound worried about the Crowell-free backfield. Malcome likely will enter August as the No. 1 tailback, but Samuel will be right alongside, having been moved from fullback.
I think Ken grew up a lot last year, said Bobo, who is also clearly happy with the transition of fullback Merritt Hall from defense. I think he got his attitude right about what he had to do. When that attitude got right, his play started to improve.
Richards going to do whats best for the football team. I know after the spring game, he was running the ball and had some success, hes like, Dont forget about me at tailback.
Crowells arrest and dismissal two weeks ago assured that wouldnt happen.
I think if he stays healthy, he can be productive for us, Bobo said of Samuel. Hes a senior, and he knows were counting on him.