Crowell Continues to "Make Plays"

ATHENS – The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game became a top-20 matchup on Saturday when Georgia was ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press preseason poll and Boise State was slotted at No. 5.

The Broncos will be the highest-ranked season-opening opponent for Georgia since 1965 when an unranked Bulldogs team upset No. 5 Alabama 18-17 in Vince Dooley's second season.

"The first game is going to be a real icebreaker," defensive end DeAngelo Tyson said about the Sept. 3 pairing in the Georgia Dome. "We've got to go out in midseason form and play to the best of our ability."

Georgia has been pointing all offseason for the chance to go up against a highly-ranked Boise State team to gain back some respect after a 6-7 record last year.

"Good. I'm very excited," wide receiver Tavarres King said of Boise State's ranking. "They're a great team. They should be 5 if not even higher than that."

Georgia is the only team in the AP ranking that is coming off a losing season.

Asked if he felt like he had a top-20 team, Georgia coach Mark Richt said: "We are now."

The Bulldogs were ranked by the media three spots ahead of where the coaches ranked them in the USA Today coaches' poll earlier this month.

This is Georgia's highest AP ranking since it was No. 18 on Sept. 27, 2009 following a 20-17 home win over Arizona State.

"It's the beginning of the season," King said. "None of that matters. All that matters is where you are at the end. Hopefully we can truck our way on up."

Oklahoma is No. 1 followed by No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU.

There are a record eight SEC teams in the poll.

South Carolina is No. 12, Arkansas is No. 15, Mississippi State is No. 20, Florida is No. 22 and Auburn is No. 23.

Crowell impresses

Heralded freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell returned fully from his groin injury during Saturday's full-pads practice and impressed.

"Isaiah actually went live today, which was good," Richt said. "He made some plays. He made a couple of great runs and a great catch and run after the catch for a touchdown."

Richt said that Crowell's injury wasn't "a true pull, it was just a muscle fatigue issue."

It was a non-issue Saturday.

"Sometimes once you get warmed up, hot day, a little adrenaline flowing," Richt said. "We had a great competitive day and he wanted to be a part of it. His adrenaline, I think, took over and he competed extremely well."

Said King: "IC—Isaiah Crowell—came in and was just making plays. He was just balling. I was excited about that."

Georgia's other top tailback, junior Richard Samuel, still hasn't returned from his quadriceps injury.

"I would like to think early next week, but I wouldn't just sit there and say it's a certainty," Richt said. "He does say he's getting better daily. He does feel better, but any kind of quick burst right now, he would be cautious."

Richt hoping for quick Jenkins return Nose guard Kwame Geathers returned from his undisclosed injury, but his backup John Jenkins remains out with what Georgia called a mild hamstring pull. Richt usually says a hamstring injury will keep a player out 7 to 10 days. So what about Jenkins? "I don't know. I hope not," he said. "Sometimes the bigger men that play in a smaller space you get back a little quicker." With Geathers back, Tyson returned to end after working at his old position of nose on Friday. This and that Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who is pushing to get into the top three of the receiver rotation, missed practice after being injured on Friday.

"I think it's a muscle in one of his legs," Richt said. "I'm not sure which muscle or which leg. It was either a fatigue cramp or a slight pull I'm pretty sure." …Outside linebacker Ray Drew could be out another week still with his separated shoulder from his scooter accident. Richt said the injury sustained a week ago was supposed to keep him out initially "a week or two." Richt hopes inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera (shoulder contusion) can get some work next week.

Sanders Commings was lined up with the starting secondary at corner on Saturday and Bacarri Rambo was at safety. Commings has worked safety during the past week. …The team is off today and returns to practice Monday. It will focus more on scout team work for Boise. "It just changes your whole mentality because you start looking at schemes a little bit more," Robinson said. "It's not just trying to beat the offense so you don't have to run more sprints. It's trying to get prepared so you can beat the team you're about to play."


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