Showing up means more than just showing up.

Jason Butt’s analysis of Georgia’s outside linebackers position post-spring made me think, not about that group per se, but about something suggested in the header: “Carter, Bellamy ready for one final run”.  Namely, if you’re part of that group of seniors who decided to pass on the NFL for another season in Athens, how exactly is that mindset going to translate into on-the-field results?

Last December’s buy-in was a huge shot in the arm in terms of player confidence in Kirby Smart, and as the linked piece shows (re Robert Beal:  “He walks into a great situation by being able to learn under Carter and Bellamy for a season while growing into his own as a college football player.”), it’s tremendous for team depth and player development.  But I’m asking about something more specific.  How will coming back affect the way Carter and Bellamy perform in their last season?  And, assuming that’s positive for the two, will that rub off on their teammates?

What I’m getting at here is based on a reflection of last season’s start.  The Dawgs came out in the opener and put a decent North Carolina team to bed.  Whatever momentum they garnered from the win was quickly spent in the game two struggle with Nicholls, though, where it was apparent that the team had mentally checked out before the opening kickoff.  They never really seemed to get their mojo back, either, as the season progressed.

Does having this core group of returning seniors — all starters, all respected — bring some extra focus to 2017?  Unlike last season, the early marquee game isn’t the opener, but you still have to be concerned about the mindset of the staff and players in the first few games.  Take Appy State for granted by looking forward too far towards Notre Dame could be disastrous.  Even if Georgia starts out 2-0, how do the players handle early success going from there?

It seems to me that, for all our talk about scheduling, team depth and in game coaching decisions, there’s something mental/emotional about the program that has to change for the better if Georgia football is going to take a step to the next plateau.  Is this the year the mindset changes in a positive way, and does it last?


Filed under Georgia Football

25 responses to “Showing up means more than just showing up.

  1. Uglydawg

    Looking ahead to ND scares the crap out of me. Appalachian State will be pumped to the max and the Dawgs had better realize they must play them with all their heart.


    • Mayor

      ^^This. Appy State has a history of upsetting big name teams who overlook them. Playing this game out of the box and the week before ND has “trap game” written all over it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Macallanlover

        Playing it first means there is no trap about it. They cannot slip up on us, and they are known to be a worthy opponent so they won’t surprise anyone. If it get beat, it is because we played sorry football. Dawgs win! Relax, there are other games to worry about in May.


  2. Atticus

    Kirby is either the right coach (and Cheney) and it will show immediately based on the below:

    2nd year in the system, playbook, expectations for performance
    The same coaching staff for year 2
    Not starting a true freshmen
    A healthier Chubb and both he and Sony returning
    Bellamy and Carter returning is huge
    The roster is much more talented and deeper, lost nothing outside of IMac, 1 NFL player but gained a whole year’s experience with the other 3 classes as well as adding a very talented class especially the OL and
    Isaiah Wilson the best OL we’ve ever signed
    Added depth should make special teams better
    Defense is loaded

    It either shows in the first 6 games and then they blow the doors off the program or……

    Cheney aint the guy, Eason aint the guy and now Kirby has a mess on his hands and questions if he is the guy, has to replace Cheney, may lose Pittman, loses a recruiting year and starts to work against a divided fan base.

    The time is now. BY FAR the most talented team in the East, its not even close. They aren’t quite at Bama’s roster level yet but still more than any team in the East. It now comes down to coaching.The time is now.


    • Highlands Dawg

      Nailed it! To will big special teams need to be … oh yea … “special.” Also, Kirby needs to have a sense of urgency in a controlled way. Dooley knew how to push those buttons.


    • doofusdawg

      Exactly. And I think it’s different on both sides of the ball. Defense is all about swagger and aggressiveness. Let the kids play… Kirby.

      Offense is all about Cheney. Pass to open up the run, attack the entire field and please use a little misdirection to help your quarterback.

      And we should know by the end of the first half of App State if we have a chance to go 11-1 or if we are looking at another 8-4 season.


    • Atticus

      A true freshmen QB


    • Gaskilldawg

      Winford Hood was the Parade lineman of the year in the 1980 class. Just as big a deal signing as Wilson is.


  3. Macallanlover

    I do think the players who were draft eligible, and came back, will be a force that lifts UGA, especially Carter and Bellamy. They are back primarily for their own economic gain, not proclaiming it is to win any specific title, but I feel them playing with high motivation will rub off on others and allow us to achieve more success. Allowing us to intertwine new talent like Beale into game situations will certainly pay dividends, not just from his game experience, but from his seeing that all-out effort pays with cash from the NFL when that time comes for him.

    No question our eyes will be on ND, to some extent, during that Appy week but I don’t worry that we overlook the Mountaineers because it is an opener. You just cannot help but get your juices flowing after an 8 month absence from live action. Players will be ready to take the field and hit someone besides their teammates. We will beat Appalachian State, and will not be as dramatic as the Vols did it last season.


    • Atticus



    • Uglydawg

      I agree with the “It’s the first game” reasoning, but it’s the first game for Appalachian too, and they will be on fire to beat Georgia. Just a couple of mistakes or bad breaks could really hurt us. This is where Kirby needs to show his leadership.
      It usually takes a game or two for a team to start hitting on all cylinders, but somehow Saban always has ‘Bama performing at mid season form from the very first snap of the season. This is what I want to see from CKS. It’s very far from what we saw last year, therefore I’m nervous. I certainly value Mac’s, Atticus’, Highlands’ and doofus’ opinions on this, but Munson and Vince taught me “Handwringing 101”


  4. dawgman3000

    I think changing the mentality of the team and also learning from the near miss of Nichols game from a coaching standpoint is critical this season. It seemed as if it was not only the players that thought that they had arrived into the elite status after the win over UNC, but I think the coaching staff might have bought into it a little as well. Hopefully the players and the COACHES realize that no opponent on the schedule can be overlooked.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    there’s something mental/emotional about the program that has to change for the better if Georgia football is going to take a step to the next plateau

    Exactly. We sometimes play with emotion, and our heads in the game. But weldon’t do it consistently. And we don’t do it at all when we play UF.


    • Timphd

      For years I’ve felt the missing ingredient for the Dawgs was the will to win. Not that they didn’t want to win. But everyone wants to win. It’s the teams that both expect to win and refuse to lose that dominate. It is a mindset that can separate equally talented teams. UGA is rarely the least talented team on the field but recently has not seemed to have that drive that makes great teams. I hope Kirby can instill that will and attitude this season, because it sure wasn’t there last year, with the possible exception of Auburn.


  6. btw (the other one)

    Handling success. Something we never seemed to do….


  7. Jack Klompus

    They need to play the Nichols St game and the Appy St/TN game in the round all year summer in the weight room and locker room. Remind those boys of what happens when you lose focus and what App St is capable of.


  8. Russ

    Kirby definitely has a different demeanor than the previous administration. Translating that to the field is a big challenge. If he does it, we could be in for something special.


  9. southernlawyer11

    We had that nasty will-to-win from 02′-05′. There were a few glimpses in 05′ of things that were to come (Darren McFadden and Steve Slaton running all over us) but for the most part I entered every game expecting us to win.

    For a while now, I enter bigger games hoping to not get our doors blown off out of the gate, and then maybe, we’ll have a chance to win it in the end. For the little games, it’s praying we don’t screw up.


  10. Don in Mar-a-Lago

    “Is this the year the mindset changes in a positive way, and does it last?”

    As I see it, yes.