ATHENS, Ga. -- The moment Isaiah Crowell made his entrance to Sanford Stadium on Saturday, he was immediately swamped by autograph-seekers and fans asking for pictures.
It was a fitting scene, even though Crowell wasn’t going to play a second in Georgia’s spring football game.
There was little drama in the game, as so many position battles and other issues are in a holding pattern. That’s thanks to the impending arrival of an elite recruiting class, headlined by Crowell, as well as a few others who attended Saturday’s G-Day.
Even head coach Mark Richt spent much of the postgame press conference discussing the future, rather than the players who had just completed an 18-11 win for the Black team over the Red.
“The guys that are here currently realize there’s a pack of Dogs coming to try to get playing time and try to win jobs,” Richt said. “So I think that’s going to really ignite and excite our program.”
There was another reason that G-Day lacked the pizzazz of previous ones in Athens: Nearly one-fourth of the team’s scholarship players (13 out of 60) missed the game with injuries, including cornerback Brandon Boykin, tailback Washaun Ealey and safety Bacarri Rambo.
The remaining players put on a low-scoring affair that had a few, thought not many, flashes of potential:
Branden Smith, a starting cornerback, showed his wares on offense. Smith had a 28-yard touchdown catch-and-run, and looked good in three other offensive touches.
Nose tackle Kwame Geathers wrapped up a successful spring with two big tackles behind the line.
Starting quarterback Aaron Murray looked like he did for most of last year, completing 12-of-17 passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
But on the whole, the Georgia football program ended the spring as it began: Anticipating the arrival of the consensus top-10 class.
“I don’t think this group is coming in thinking, ‘I’m gonna wait my turn.’ They’re gonna respect the veterans ahead of them, and know they’ve gotta learn what to do and know they’ve gotta win the job. But they want to come in and play,” Richt said. “So with that kind of an attitude and that kind of a talent base it can’t help but make everyone compete just a little bit harder.”
Richt added he thought a lot of veterans would be preparing harder now, knowing competition is on the way.
One of those might have been Geathers.
The rising sophomore was thought to just be competing to back up John Jenkins, the highly-touted nose tackle who signed in February. But Geathers played so well that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is contemplating using Geathers and Jenkins together.