Just days away from his Georgia debut, tailback Isaiah Crowell’s teammates weren’t exactly lowering the bar of great expectations surrounding the much-hyped freshman from Columbus on Tuesday.
"He’s every bit as advertised," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "The kid every day in practice has turned people’s heads in practice. He’s a tremendously talented running back. He’ll show everyone this year. He’s going to make some plays that people’s jaws are going to hit the ground like, ‘Wow, that kid just made that move.’ "
Crowell will play his first game for 19th-ranked Georgia on Saturday night against No. 5 Boise State in the Georgia Dome.
"I’ve been really happy with him," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "I think he’s going to be a great player here. Is it going to happen game one? I don’t know, but I think he’s going to be a great player. Just let the guy play football and let’s see how he develops."
Said tight end Orson Charles: "Something always great is happening the way he just runs the ball … and he’s only a freshman. Just imagine two or three years down the road what he can do."
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Crowell has been the No. 2 tailback for most of preseason behind Richard Samuel, but Samuel has been slowed by a quadriceps injury. He practiced in a regular jersey on Tuesday, but Bobo said did "just a little," which could change the pecking order.
"It’ll just depend on what Richard can do here in the next couple of days," coach Mark Richt said at his weekly news conference. "I’d say if Richard doesn’t practice in the next day or two, it might be that Isaiah gets the chance to be the starter."
If Samuel can go, Richt envisions the two tailbacks splitting time.
"Most everybody in college and pro football would much prefer having two guys that could get it done," Richt said. "I think that Richard’s style and Isaiah’s style contrast enough to where that would be really good for us, too."
Added receiver Tavarres King: "It’s good to have two guys back there that are completely different — a thunder and lightning type of deal."
True freshmen on depth chart
Georgia’s depth chart for the Boise State game showed 10 true freshmen listed.
That’s not including outside linebacker Ray Drew, who Richt said "is going to play."
Among those listed were second-teamers Amarlo Herrera at inside linebacker, David Andrews and on the offensive line, and of course, Crowell at tailback.
Malcolm Mitchell is expected to offer playmaking ability at wideout.
"Malcolm Mitchell has made some plays for us," Richt said. "He’ll play. Will he do something spectacular this week? I don’t know, but he’s a young guy that’s done well. Damian Swann has got an awful lot of practice time, especially the last few days with Branden Smith (sidelined)."
Cornerback Damian Swann and outside linebacker Ramik Wilson are also expected to play and safety Corey Moore could, too.
"There’s a few guys that are going to get to play some snaps on offense and defense, and then a lot of guys will play some special teams," Richt said.
Secondary comings and goings
Another day, another question to Richt on whether any more suspensions will be announced before the game.
Safety Bacarri Rambo’s status remains unclear.
"Nothing to report on that," Richt said. "Nothing to report — at this point anyway."
Rambo is listed as second team on the depth chart and got first-team snaps in the secondary early in practice Tuesday along with Shawn Williams, Brandon Boykin and Sanders Commings, who was in a non-contact jersey for an undisclosed injury.
Smith did not practice while recovering from his foot injury, but Richt said he expected him to go today.
"We think Branden will be fine," he said.
This and that
Backup nose guard John Jenkins drew praise from defensive coordinator Todd Grantham after Tuesday’s practice in shoulder pads and shorts. "John had his best practice today," Grantham said. "I thought he was really dominant out there." … Richt on the second year of the 3-4 defense: "There’s no doubt in my mind that we are better than we were a year ago. But we’re also playing one of the most prolific offenses in college football game one, so we”l see how that translates." … Legendary Georgia running back Herschel Walker will deliver a game ball before Saturday’s game. Boise State will be represented by three-time All-WAC defensive end Ryan Winterswyk, now a member of the Atlanta Falcons. … 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jake Scott will be honored before Georgia’s Nov. 12 home game against Auburn. … Drew separated his shoulder on a scooter accident earlier this month, but said once the scooter is fixed he plans to ride it again because he needs it to get around campus on time. "That’s the plan," he said.