ATLANTA - Yes, freshman running back Isaiah Crowell made it to Atlanta with the rest of the Bulldogs Friday and appeared ready to go for Saturday's SEC Championship against top-ranked LSU.
Crowell missed last week's game against Georgia Tech with an ankle injury, and earlier this week was the source of much Internet banter regarding an alleged incident on Tuesday, resulting in the Columbus native leaving practice before returning Wednesday in a green jersey.
On Friday afternoon, Crowell was with the rest of his teammates and took part in a walk-through at the Georgia Dome.
Although Crowell appeared healthy, head coach Mark Richt again withheld comment on Crowell, or any of his other running backs when asked who might start Saturday's 4 p.m. game on CBS.
"I'm not telling (laughing). I haven't really talked much about the tailbacks this game. I don't even know why. I just got tired of talking about it," Richt said. "I didn't tell our local media guys, so we'll wait until the game."
Crowell is expected to play, along with junior Carlton Thomas and redshirt freshman Ken Malcome.
Running back Richard Samuel (ankle) and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (ankle) also made the trip, but Richt could not say for sure if they'd play.
"Whether or not they play, I don't know. I think if they do play, they'll be gutting it out," Richt said.
Richt says he'll be back
On Thursday, UGA President Michael Adams said he'd be surprised if Richt were not coaching at Georgia next year.
Friday, Richt said that's good hear.
"Well, I don't know if I'll give the Bobby Bowden answer or not, but what Coach Bowden used to say is as long as I'm healthy, as long as Georgia wants me. That's kind of how I feel today," Richt said. "I don't know. Life can change things. When I came to Georgia, my goal was for Georgia to be the last stop for me. I left a place that was awesome, Florida State and Coach Bowden is one of the most influential men in my life other than my father, and to leave there it had to be a special place, and it had to be a place where I wanted to spend the rest of my career. I didn't want to go somewhere thinking it was a stepping stone to go somewhere else. "
Richt said he's not going anywhere.
" It's too hard emotionally for me to recruit guys and look them in the eye and say I'm going to be your coach and knowing deep down, maybe, if something better comes along I'm leaving. I just
didn't ever want to operate that way," he said. "So Georgia's my home and my family's home."
Richt takes subtle shot at 2007 detractors
Barring something unforeseen, Alabama will get to play for the BCS title despite not having won its conference crown.
While many in the national media now seem to be accepting that as fact, Richt posed a question of his own Friday - why didn't the same hold true for Georgia back in 2007?
"We were fourth, and then two teams ahead of us lost. So we thought maybe we'll move up to the top two and get to play. But everybody had a big uproar about, well, Georgia didn't win their conference championship. They shouldn't play in the game," Richt said. "I didn't agree with that. I still don't agree with that bottom line is if you play a game or have a season or have a system, there are certain rules that you abide by. If the rules say you must be conference champion, then that's the way it is. But if the rules don't say that, I don't think you have to be conference championship to play in that game. I felt that way then, I still feel that way."
Although Richt didn't mention any detractors by name, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, among others, were those who lobbied against the Bulldogs getting the BCS bid.
"If you want to change the rules and everybody understands, that's the rule. But if it's not a rule, why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should be part of the criteria when it's not," Richt said. "I think its fine to have people that don't win the conference play in the game."
This and that
LSU coach Les Miles had some kind words for Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray. "I like to say he's mature beyond his years. He's a guy that makes wise decisions and gets the ball out of his hand. Pulls it down and makes a first down scramble," Miles said. "He's just a very, very heady quarterback."
According to Miles, he never talked to former Georgia quarterback and current Tiger backup Zach Mettenberger once about Saturday's game. " I've not talked to Zach about Georgia. It's not something that I did," Miles said.
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