Three years ago, A.J. Green arrived at Georgia from South Carolina as a high-profile freshman. Green had to climb up the wide receiver depth chart in his first weeks on campus before making a splash on the college scene.
There aren‚Äôt nearly as many players that highly-rated freshman Isaiah Crowell from Carver High in Columbus will need to pass to become the man at tailback.
Richard Samuel begins preseason practices Thursday as the No. 1 tailback. Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome, who missed about two-thirds of spring practice when he was injured, also is in the mix. Carlton Thomas can practice but is suspended the opener. Brandon Harton is a walk-on that drew praise in the spring.
‚ÄúWas I anxious to see A.J. Green and see what he could do?‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúYeah. I‚Äôm anxious to see this guy also. At receiver you could have a missed assignment and not be nearly as devastating as a tailback missing an assignment when it comes to pass protection or something like that. Or even going the wrong way on a run. When a running back makes a mistake, it‚Äôs not good. When a receiver makes a mistake, you can probably just line up and play another down and not have to punt or turn the ball over.‚Äù
That was the case with Green heading into his breakout game as a freshman in 2008 in a 27-10 win at Arizona State. Green had eight catches for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Before playing Arizona State in 2009, Green admitted that “Last year I couldn’t remember the plays half the time. I couldn’t read coverages. I was just out there running.‚Äù
Georgia could find Crowell in a similar situation, hoping his talent overcomes what he may not know of the playbook as a rookie.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll see where he is,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a buzz out there that our veterans believe that he‚Äôs a very talented guy.‚Äù
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