July 20, 2011

SEC Notes: Lattimore offers Crowell advice

HOOVER, Ala. - Isaiah Crowell has yet to put on a Georgia uniform, but already the incoming freshman is being counted on by some to be a savior for the Bulldogs at running back.

Fair, or unfair, that's the reality.

It's one South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore has experienced first-hand.

Like Crowell at Carver, Lattimore was a five-star performer after a storybook prep career at Byrnes High leading to a boatload of expectations from Gamecock fans.

To his credit, Lattimore delivered, rushing 249 times for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns.

During Wednesday's opening session of SEC Media Days, Lattimore was asked what advice he would give Georgia's five-star performer.

"I would just tell him to be himself," Lattimore said. "If he will continue to be himself, like he was all through high school, then he will be successful with what he's doing."

Lattimore said he actually knows Crowell quite well and will be keeping tabs on the Bulldog freshman this year.

"Oh yeah, definitely," Lattimore said when asked if he was familiar with the Bulldog freshman. "I've seen him play in high school, I've watched his highlights and he was the No. 1 running back. He's going to be great. He's probably going to be the man at Georgia. He's going to be good."

Lattimore added that as a freshman he never felt the pressure to live up to his high school reputation and suggested that Crowell do the same.

"Not really," said Lattimore when asked if he felt pressure. "I did at one time but I stayed myself and stayed grounded. I was fine."

Dawgs to don Nike "Combat jerseys

Georgia was tabbed to be one of nine schools in college football to wear the Nike Pro Combat jerseys for the Bulldogs opener against Boise State.

The Broncos will also wear the special uniforms.

"Nike takes pride in giving athletes an advantage by providing them with cutting edge innovation. The Nike Pro Combat system of dress uniform delivers unparalleled on-field performance benefits while inspiring the team through each uniform's unique design," said Todd Van Horne, Nike's Creative Director for Football said in a statement. "It is a privilege to collaborate with the coaches and student-athletes to develop a look that's truly distinctive to each university and their teams."

Brantley thriving under Weis

Florida quarterback John Brantley said he's having no trouble picking up the pro-style system being implemented by new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

"It's awesome," he said. "You grow up watching a team like the New England Patriots and see the offense he runs; you just don't expect to have him as a coach. It's an honor to play for him.
"Just in the last six months, I've been learning just as much as I can and I can't wait for August until we pick back up."

Gator coach Will Muschamp said he has no doubt that Brantley - who last year threw for 2,706 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first season as starter - could do even better this fall.

"I think what we're doing now scheme-wise fits him a little bit more from a skill-set standpoint," Muschamp said. "I'm really pleased with his progress."

Spurrier defends patience with Garcia

Quarterback Stephen Garcia's off-the-field issues at South Carolina have been well documented.

Wednesday, Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier explained why he's been so patient.

"I guess we don't want to kick him out for stupidity and there are some reasons that he's probably done some things," Spurrier said. "Basically we do believe that he's a good kid, a good person. He's already graduated. With the latest incident, we told him he could go play somewhere else if he wanted to, but he wants to stay here."

Spurrier said Garcia will have to beat out Connor Shaw if he wants to be South Carolina's starter in the opener against East Carolina.

"He's really made some lifestyle changes to stay here," Spurrier said. "Hopefully, he will keep it up. We just felt like he was worth giving another opportunity to sort of change his life-style, and thus far he's done it."

Petrino not claiming 11 win

Despite the fact Ohio State vacated its win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said he won't be adding it to his team's win ledger for last year.

"It's a 10-win season; we were 10-3," he said. "We had every chance in the world to win that game," Petrino said. "We got beat on the field. We had a very, very good season. I don't know a lot about giving up wins, what that means. But it has zero effect on our football team and how we go forward, how we approach our business."

This and that

Georgia coach Mark Richt takes his turn in front of the podium during Thursday's Day 2 of SEC Media Days. Quarterback Aaron Murray, center Ben Jones and cornerback Brandon Boykin will join Richt in Hoover. … SEC officials distributed over 20,000 pounds of media guides to attending reporters. ... Georgia Week 3 game against Coastal Carolina will be shown on pay per view, the school announced Wednesday.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]