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Blog: March Football Madness (Pre-Spring UGA Edition)

Who said March has to be all about the bubble teams?

Spring football is getting cranked up around the country, too.

Georgia begins its practices on March 20.

Receiver Malcolm Mitchell and tight end Arthur Lynch are supposed to be available for reporters this morning. Quarterback Aaron Murray and safety Bacarri Rambo will be around starting at 1:30 p.m.

So check back here today for some updates from the players.

Looks like Lynch has hijacked this blog with some very revealing comments on Isaiah Crowell, the much-hyped tailback who had a rocky freshman season.

Lynch was asked about the tailbacks on the team. Here’s what he said about Crowell:

“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.

“I‚Äôve seen him mature from the day he got here and we had to drag him to workouts to now where he‚Äôs the leader of his group during workouts. I‚Äôve talked to him a bit. We have a brother‚Äôs keeper thing and he‚Äôs my little brother. I just talked to him not even about football, but just regular stuff and he‚Äôs really just a quiet, humble kid. He‚Äôll never talk back or this or that. He just kind of likes to be chill, be low key. He‚Äôs a kid that I think will make a lot of noise this year if he keeps doing what he‚Äôs doing. I‚Äôm extremely proud of the way he‚Äôs handled the pressure postseason and now this preseason moving up to spring and eventually the fall.

“You can just tell in the summer workouts. When you get to college, everything changes‚Äîacademically, workouts and the season. I don‚Äôt think he ever had to go to workouts demanding two hours a day. It‚Äôs 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‚Äôs finally getting it. Coach Richt always says `The Georgia Way. The Georgia Way. The Georgia Way,‚Äô which in reality is the right way. He‚Äôs understanding how to do it at a speed where he‚Äôs comfortable with it.

“I think he‚Äôs a kid-he loves football to death, but if he wasn‚Äôt a football player he wouldn‚Äôt mind that much. When he‚Äôs on the field, he‚Äôs a competitor and he gets after it, but then when he‚Äôs off, he hangs off with Quintavius (Harrow)‚ÄîQ‚Äîthat‚Äôs his high school buddy. He grew up with him and he‚Äôs fine. All he wants to do is succeed for his family back home and obviously for his teammates. He‚Äôs realizing how he can do it that will make him comfortable.‚Äù

Mitchell didn’t need any coaxing for him to help out in a depleted secondary at cornerback.

“I’m really excited,” Mitchell said. “It’s something I want to do. Not just something that just popped up. I actually approached them.”

Mitchell said he went to coach Mark Richt’s office in January when school started up again following the Outback Bowl loss.

“He said it wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Mitchell said.

The dismissals of cornerbacks Chris Sanders and Nick Marshall made that idea more of a necessity.

“The incident that happened here when we lost a couple of corners made it more to think about,” Mitchell said.

Alabama recruited him to play cornerback. Georgia gave him the option of playing both.

“When it came down to it, I thought I’d be satisfied with catching touchdowns, but the more I play the game, the more I want to do both,” he said.

Mitchell doesn’t know how many snaps he would get on offense and defense.

“I don’t want to come off the field,” he said. “I will put in the work to make sure I can physically withstand it all. If I get the opportunity, I would definitely take advantage of it.”

The 6-foot-1 Mitchell has put on some weight to get up to 192 pounds and would love to be thought of like another guy who was a threat on offense and defense.

“Of course nobody could be like Champ Bailey,” Mitchell said. “He was a great player here, but I would like the opportunity to try to do a little bit of the things he did.”

Tailback Richard Samuel (who wasn’t on the original player list) spoke about coaches taking a look at him at fullback this spring.

“It’s not going to be a switch or anything,” he said.

He said “if it came about, I wouldn’t mind.”

But he thought that would only happen in certain situations.

“In the power, I doubt that coaches would use me as a lead blocker there,” he said.

He’s open to the idea.

“Wherever they need me,” he said. “We have all these backs now. It depends on the kind of rotation we’re going to have. …I’m not too worried about staying at one position.”

He said “wherever they decide to play me, I’m going to give it my all.”

One area Samuel wants to help is on special teams, where he played his first two seasons.

The 6-foot-2 Samuel said he’s at about 235 pounds now.

How much is the loss in the SEC championship game and the bowl game sticking in the minds of Georgia players?

‚ÄúWe haven‚Äôt really talked about last year at all,” Murray said.

He said he watched game film in January, but then focused on the future and is ‚Äúexcited about the potential.”

Murray said he expects Kenarious Gates, Watts Dantzler and Austin Long to work at left tackle this spring.

“The new guy, big guy (Mark) Beard looks awesome. He‚Äôs been working hard. He‚Äôs a very impressive looking dude.‚Äù

Murray said he thinks Beard, a junior college transfer, will line up at right tackle but could get a look on the left side, too.

–Mat drills are back this winter, which Murray thinks will help Georgia finish games better than it did last season.

“I think that‚Äôs one of the main reasons we brought back mat drills is when you‚Äôre dead tired or things aren‚Äôt going right to be able to suck it up and keep battling,” he said.

Murray called mat drills “one of the most painful hours of your life.”

Rambo, who passed up the chance to enter the NFL draft, said he heard that the conditioning drills might be on the way back before he made his decision to return.

“I‚Äôm kind of used to it,” the fifth-year senior said. “I went through it. I adjusted to it after the second drill. The mat drills bring us together.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer

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