It ain’t easy being the next Herschel.

Artie Lynch reminds us why some of the fan reaction to Isaiah Crowell’s freshman season might have been a wee bit over the top, and not in a good way.

“The person I’ve been most impressed with and the person and everyone who I think has been wrongly scrutinized the whole year was Isaiah. You ask these high expectations out of a kid who’s 18 years old, it’s such a different game than high school. Let’s face it, he had instant success and people were so demanding of his savior, this idea of `Oh, the next Herschel.’ That’s just unfairly suited to him…

“You can just tell in the summer workouts. When you get to college, everything changes—academically, workouts and the season. I don’t think he ever had to go to workouts demanding two hours a day. It’s different for everybody. Everybody just used him as prime example just because of the fact he was Isaiah and he was this highly-touted guy, this and that. There were other guys who had the same problems he did, they just might have been redshirting or they might not have been playing or had as big an impact on the team. I think for him just to see him with Coach T working out in the sprints and the mat drills and lifting, you can see he wants to get better and he’s finally getting it. Coach Richt always says `The Georgia Way. The Georgia Way. The Georgia Way,’ which in reality is the right way. He’s understanding how to do it at a speed where he’s comfortable with it…”

No, it wasn’t a storybook season.  The mid-year bust took care of that.  But here’s a kid who, despite missing two games, finished sixth in the conference in rushing (the next closest freshman finished eighteenth), rushed for over 100 yards in conference play four times (same as Michael Dyer) and carried the ball 52 times in back to back games against the Mississippi schools.  He didn’t exactly suck, in other words.  But he did get booed in the SECCG because he couldn’t stay in the game and contribute.

Why?  Largely because, I think, many of us lost sight of where he came from and how big a jump it can be for an 18-year old to go from being the man in high school to being an SEC target week in and week out.  No question he was immature in his approach to the game last year – and he paid a price for it.  But it’s hard to see how that justified some of what’s been lobbed at him by the Georgia fan base.

That puppy only gets you so far, dude.

Here’s to a happier 2012, for everyone concerned.

About these ads

64 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

64 responses to “It ain’t easy being the next Herschel.

  1. Anon

    If you boo your own player, an 18 yr old freshman at that, you’re an a$$hole. Plain and simple.

    I don’t care how much you donate, how long you’ve had tickets, if your dad played for Vince… none of it. A$$hole.

  2. TennesseeDawg

    With Marshall and Gurley, the talent at RB has been seriously upgraded. Hopefully Crowell will continue to improve and push himself to be even better.

  3. He got hurt and could never get healthy after that. When he got in trouble in addition to all of the other scholarship running backs, he put himself behind the eight ball. He probably should have not played in the championship game with as hurt as he appeared to be. I hope Artie is right about Isaiah because he I the best answer as an every down back right now.

  4. Bob

    I agree about booing, not only a freshman, but any Georgia player. If you feel like booing an Atlanta Falcon, that is fine. But someone playing Between the Hedges is BS.

    Having said that, I remember the incident very well. And what I remember is that as Crowell came off the field, Malcom came on the field. At least most of the folks in my immediate area were screaming Boo for Malcom. That may not have been the case elsewhere and I am sure that on TV it sounded bad, but I suspect there might have been a mixture of boos that night.

    • Anon

      Come on, man. No one yells a player’s nickname as he comes on to the field to replace another at his position.

    • DawgPhan

      I forgot about that one….

      or maybe they were screaming boooo-urns.

      The most likely scenario is most of the people in your section were assholes that night.

  5. Crowell’s biggest problem last year was the absence of any help. If the running game had not been 110% predicated on him being in there and making plays, then I think the opinion of his year would have been drastically different. It is unfair for Isaiah to shoulder the consequences of player misdeeds that occurred before he even got there (Ealey/King). Gurley and Marshall, as well as a spring to get healthy and up to speed, will be significant in his progress (I hope).

  6. Jeff Sanchez

    Seriously, the “next Herschel” thing attributed to Georgia fans has become a meme of its own.

    Everyone *says* we say the new RB is the “next Herschel”

    Has anyone actually heard a Georgia fan say this?

  7. Truck

    Crowell was the dominant player on a dominant Carver team, and therefore rarely played four quarters in high school. A year in our S&C program should work wonders for his durability. He has the gift of being a patient runner, rare for a freshman. In my opinion, he has the most natural talent of any UGA back since Garrison Hearst. Although somewhat disappointed at times last year I will continue to support him, since he is a DAWG and therefore one of my boys.

  8. JaxDawg

    Yes, an offseason of S&C combined with an exceptional diet should yield serious results, assuming he puts in the work (which he appears to be doing).

    I do wish he would cut the hair though.

  9. Ginny

    I would say Crowell was being just as unfairly compared to Marcus Lattimore, Trent Richardson, Michael Dyer, etc.

  10. charlottedawg

    The only thing i hold against Crowell is the moment in the SECCG when he was mouthing off to an LSU player, draws a 15 yd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, in a blowout at that point, in doing so negates a 1st down, then when Richt’s talking to him no doubt telling him to cut that sh!t out, he turns his back on his head coach and walks away. I hope Isaiah got his ass rightfully chewed out by every coach and player for that, that’s a complete show of disrespect. As far as calling him soft I am truly amazed at the idiot fans who can’t recognize that they have zero knowledge of how much physical pain or injury the kid was or was not feeling over the course of the season, then want to comment on a situation they literally know nothing about and don’t even get me started on what kind of a lowlife boos his own team/players. Lastly, I hope Marshall & Gurley are the best thing to happen to UGA RBs INCLUDING Crowell over the next 3 years. Crowell’s still the best RB we have & could be the best since Herschel

    • Cojones

      Agree, Charlotte. Right down the line. It was the disrespect he showed Richt and kept blabbing at the bench with the camera on him. That was a national platform and a Freshman putting out negative vibes on the sideline calls for discipline in my book. That type of attitude infects a team faster than the positive vibes and can lead to others not caring how they represent the Team in public with a national spotlight shining on them. The replays show it over and over. I feel he owes an apology to the Team and the staff for that attitude displayed at that time. I for one, thought it would carry over into his academic work and we would hear negative reports from that area. So far I’m completely wrong and thankful MY negative vibes were wrong.

    • Scott

      Wow, the revisionist history continues. I can’t believe all of the Crowell-apologists on this board. You know when you find yourself repeated having to defend a guy, maybe there is something to it.

      Reality check: Crowell is a punk with a bad attitude, just like he was in h.s. He can’t be counted on, and I’d be shocked if he ever amounted to anything at UGA. His minor “injuries” ,”softness” and disciplinary issues that took him out of games is really just another way of stating that Crowell is a selfish player and not a team player. I do not want him on our team.

      Crowell is taking away valuable practice snaps during from the real team players who will have to step up and carry us when Crowell takes himself out by the second quarter. If Crowell announced he was leaving the team tonight, I would open up a bottle of champagne.

      Did he even have 300 total yards the last 8 or 9 games?

  11. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    Aside from the booing and expectations, these were the money quotes for me …

    ““I’ve seen him mature from the day he got here and we had to drag him to workouts to now, where he’s the leader of his group during workouts,” – A Lynch

    “He was working hard, he was running hard [during mat drills],” Murray said. “If he got sent back, he hustled back out of line and did it again. I definitely think he’s matured over the past season.” – A Murrary

    In his short career, Murrary has mastered the art of QB speak, which is basically speak no evil of any player, coach or fan. Which is why the above statement says so much because he’s not exactly calling him out but it deffinentely a back handed compliment.

  12. 81Dog

    IC was an 18 year old kid last year. It doesnt excuse his mistakes, but most of us werent finished products at 18, either, and we werent under the microscope of the entire UGA fan base every time we messed up. He had some ups, he had some downs, but if the lesson he’s taken away from last year is “I need to get serious and work harder,” good for him, and good for us.

    I love that Artie Lynch is willing to go out of his way to speak up for IC. It seems sincere, as opposed to Artie taking the company line. It doesnt mean Artie’s right, or that the IC issues are now all resolved and closed, but it’s a good step in the right direction. IC may have been a little soft and/or immature, but he wasnt beating women, selling drugs, or taking money from agents. Give the kid a little room to grow up before writing him off as a bust. Considering our OL problems last year, and the complete lack of depth at RB, neither of which were iC’s fault, I thought he did a decent job overall for a freshman. Here’s to a better 2012 for all of us.

  13. HVL Dawg

    The real hero in this story. Artie Lynch. May have saved an important player for us.

    DGD! Woff, woof, woof!

  14. Go Dawgs!

    My only problems with Crowell is the fact that he had suspensions, and that the suspensions were most likely for weed, and the rumors of dedication problems. As for the weed, I’m for legalization, I know many college students do it, I get it. But the fact is, it’s illegal, and someone in that position has to know better even if he is just a college freshman.

    Herschel was special because very few human beings had his skill set and his ability to apply that skill set early on. Not being Herschel is no crime in my book. In fact, I’ll love Isaiah Crowell even if he doesn’t end up becoming the next Musa Smith. But I’ll admit to frustration when I hear rumors about his dedication. However, he WAS just a freshman. He’s been taught some valuable lessons and if he learns them, my goodness. He’s going to be a force in college football, I don’t think there’s any doubt. Now that he’s got two studs behind him on the depth chart as well as the guys we’ve already got, I expect to see a motivated Isaiah Crowell in 2012, and I think this will all be a distant memory. Go back and read Tony Barnhart’s book “Always a Bulldog”. Many of our greatest players through Georgia’s football history nearly quit, did quit, or quit multiple times before they blossomed. Problems making the college jump aren’t exactly rare. Crowell did it while finishing 6th in the Southeastern Conference in rushing, despite missing two games and parts of others.

    Go, Isaiah!

    • HahiraDawg

      good post

    • However, he WAS just a freshman. He’s been taught some valuable lessons and if he learns them, my goodness.

      I think this is one of the reasons why I’m so hesitant to really throw some jabs at the kid. Do I wish he would have been as successful as Lattimore/Dyer last year? Absolutely. However, I consider myself a pretty smart guy and was regularly at the top of my classes back home in high school. My first semester at UGA, I decided to take on some pretty advanced classes and partied a bit and didn’t put in my best effort. Subsequently, I nearly lost HOPE my freshman year. I get my shit together starting with my second semester and never looked back. Being immature and not as committed as you should be to your craft is not mutually exclusive to college athletes. My indescretions and near failure never made it to the front page of ESPN.com or the AJC. I guess I just empathize pretty heavily with Crowell so I’m willing to give him a pass for all the shenanigans during his first year away from home.

    • Cojones

      Good, lovin’ Bulldog post. That goes for 81Dog also.

  15. Irishdawg

    Crowell WAS immature last year, both on and off the field. But I’m hearing that his attitude has changed, and that he’s working his ass off in the weight room now. That’s great news. I want every kid that comes to Georgia to be a success, whether it’s on the field or that he graduates and does something with himself. So I’m hoping Crowell and Marshall absolutely crush defenses next year.

    (And I’m with the majority here on another subject; you don’t boo college kids, asshole)

  16. Scorpio Jones, III

    Again, if IC was still just the 18-year-old kid he was, he mighta done better with James Brown, Nat Hudson, Winford Hood, Joe Happe and Jimmy Harper….not Herschel, but better.

    Waiting for the next Herschel is like hoping for the next Bob Dylan…ain’t likely to happen.

  17. Scorpio Jones, III

    It is interesting nobody seems to boo the recruiting services that ignored IC’s school size and physical maturity when they were calling him the Next Herschel.

  18. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Everybody get off the kid’s back and give him a chance. He’ll be fine.

  19. simpl_matter

    Have to relay a story from the Outback Bowl. We got lucky with tickets and were sitting only a few rows back from the Georgia sideline, Crowell and all the running-backs were sitting less than 15 yards from us. Towards the end of the second quarter, when it was clear he was done for the day, this 50ish year old guy a few rows back from us screams, “Hey Crowell, pull your panties up and get back in the game!” I know Crowell heard it.

    Lynch hits it on the head, this type of behavior is shameful & disrespectful.

  20. Macallanlover

    I agree very much with the tone of the comments above, booing and criticizing a player for not playing when hurt is totally unacceptable. And there was no question the media and recruiting services allowed many to place unrealistic expectations for a freshman player, especially behind a poor performing OL.

    I do think the problems associated with a poor attitude, the drug issue, and walking away from the HC after making a bonehead penalty are legit reasons for fan anger. You don’t have to gain a thousand yards a year, or play injured to gain the respect of fans, but at age 18 or 19, it is fair to expect an athlete to show respect to the other players and staff. There were issues, and those cannot be overlooked. If IC has outgrown that period and learned his lesson, I look forward to having him contribute to our future success and wish him the best. I don’t think the fans who over reacted to his problems ever wanted him to fail, but he did bring much of this on himself. It was he who withdrew to the bench and acted uninterested in what was happening on the field. The game and team are always bigger than one player’s disappointment so I am pleased the players are getting behind him and trying to lift him to the place he needs to be. Very encouraging.

  21. collegeparkdawg

    I told off the couple behind me at the Dome in the Conference game when they insulted him. Kid definitely had ankle injuries. I look for him to have a banner year if he has healed. I think it’s the fans who are immature for berating a 18 year old kid. Thinking about bringing big UGA loves Crowell sign if I make it to the spring game. Deserves to know that the majority are pulling for him. I also think lots of frustration had nothing to do with him but with disappointments with previous years (no longer there) backs.

  22. Skeptic Dawg

    I find it funny to hear everyone in Hi-C’s corner now. The kid was suspended twice during his 1st season on campus. There were multiple reports regarding his poor attitude towards his teammates and his coaches. And there were many that expected him to leave the program by now. So you have an injury prone, weed smoking, pompous, selfish, disrespectful 18 year old that we all want to be our stud RB. All due to the fact that he was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school. Makes perfect sense to me. Go Dawgs!

    • There were multiple reports regarding his poor attitude towards his teammates and his coaches.

      Hmm… that explains the hostility they all have towards him, I guess.

      • Skeptic Dawg

        No, his teammates have all boarded the Good Ship Lollipop as per CMR. I will take the “Wait and See” approach regarding Hi-C. Pretty quotes are cheerful and rosey in March, but what happens when Hi-C gets popped by a member of the scout team again this summer?

        • You’re saying Richt’s ordered them to speak in support? LMAO.

          • Skeptic Dawg

            I would not be surprised. This is just another step along the No Energy Vampire Bus. Nor would it shock me if Hi-C has made some type of improvement. Now, will he lay down the pipe AND mature AND put forth a solid work ethic AND stop pouting when he gets popped in practice AND be a back capable of running the ball deep into a game? That seems like a tall order.

            • To repeat the Senator, LMAO.

              You’re willing to believe that Mark Richt, at the risk of causing a mutiny among the entire rest of the team and potentially have them tune him out by showing the most extreme case of individual favorism during his entire tenure as head coach in Athens, literally told the entire team that they were required to stand in front of the media and speak in support about one individual player?

              Shoot me an email sometime. I’ve got some beachfront property in Kansas to sell you.

            • This is the same team that complained about and saw its coaches remove several players described as cancers, no?

              You’re making my head spin, brother.

    • dvan

      exactly, the dude made it as hard as possible to root for. there have been hundreds of dawgs with far less talent but made up for it with a good attitude, hard work, good behavior and became fan favorites. let’s face it, a little personality, maybe a smile here or there, would have gone a loooong way towards calming the fans last year. IC just kept digging and digging his hole.

  23. I wanna Red Cup

    I’ll say it again. Go back and watch the Fla game again. The guy was pretty special when healthy. Booing your own COLLEGE player under any circumstance is disgraceful.

    • Debby Balcer

      Amen! You are not a fan when you boo your team’s players.

    • Cojones

      I don’t think the complaints are a vote for booing. I hear complainers about his attitude also complaining about booing.

      • Scott

        I would never boo one of our players at a game, but that doesn’t mean I have to kiss his butt on this board.

  24. Bryant Denny

    Maybe it was Richt who set the unreasonable expectations. After all, he was willing to break an NCAA rule to get him via the missing tailback formation. :)