March 20, 2012

Crowell set to turn the corner for UGA



It was a more relaxed-looking Isaiah Crowell who met with the media for the first time this year after Tuesday's first afternoon of spring drills.

At times during his freshman campaign, Crowell would occasionally come across as disinterested and aloof, keeping his answers short and measured.

But this time Crowell appeared more at ease, at times even joking with scribes as they tossed a myriad of questions his way.

"I am more relaxed," Crowell said. "I'm used to being the one that everybody is looking at; I go out there first and I know more. It feels better for me."

Head coach Mark Richt said as much during a recent press session, noting that it appears that the sophomore has started to "turn the corner" after a sometimes difficult first year.

"I think he means that since I've got past my first year," Crowell said. "I know how it is going to be from now on. I know what to expect from every aspect of being at Georgia."

Richt said he continues to have conversations with Crowell to ensure his focus stays positive.

"We talk, although I know Coach (Bryan) McClendon has a lot more father-son talks with him than I do," Richt said. "Isaiah and I have had a few talks - during the season, off-season and I talked to him today a little bit, mostly just encouraging him to understand his position, understand the responsibility of where he is. I think he is trying to get there. I've definitely seen improvement. I think he will tell you he's still got a ways to go but we're pleased with the direction he is moving."

Crowell agrees with that.

"I know there's a lot of improvement I could have made and I tried my best to make it," he said. "I think it went well, and I'm going to keep giving it my all to be 100 percent."

He's also healthy.

Crowell said he's completely pain free for the first time in several months.

With good health comes big plans for the fall.

"My first goal is to be a good teammate and help my team get to the National Championship," he said. "My second goal, I'm going to try and win the Heisman."

For real?

"I think I've got a good shot," he said.

Crowell appears ready to re-stake his claim as Georgia's top back this fall.

During the brief time the media was allowed to watch Tuesday, Crowell was the first running back to practice with the first unit, looking svelte for a player who has gained five pounds in recent months.

"I'm at 220 now," said Crowell. "It (the weight) seems like it's a good deal. The coaches seem to think it's a good thing."

He's certainly ready to put last year behind him.

Although Crowell thought he "did pretty well" dealing with all the early hype, he did concede there was much he still had to learn.

He feels that he has.

"I think I need to be more accountable," he said. "Being there for my teammates, for sure."