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