One thing I will say, though, is that I can’t imagine a more delicious irony if it turns out that Smart holding his team’s practice in the very same indoor practice facility over which Jeremy Pruitt publicly shamed Greg McGarity contributes to a Georgia victory.
Daily Archives: January 7, 2018
Finally, an unequivocal bulletin board statement.
Alabama freshman receiver Jerry Jeudy was trolling the Bulldogs defense during media day on Saturday. 11Alive asked about going up against the Bulldogs secondary, and Jeudy responded with a dig:
“They’ve got some great, talented DBs, but none that can hold us,” he told 11Alive’s Alex Glaze.
Kind of an interesting statement for a player on a team with one receiver in the conference’s top fifty to make, but what do I know?
If you don’t read anything else before Monday night’s game (including this blog), make sure you take the time to enjoy this fantastic piece in The Bitter Southerner about the game, told from the perspectives of the mayor of Phenix City, Alabama, a former Tide player, and Dale Williams, who played on Georgia’s last team to win the national title and is now a businessman in Columbus.
This will give you chills:
“Erk had a vision for Georgia Southern, but always had Georgia in his heart,” Williams said. “We emulated Erk. Dooley was a great businessman. But everybody looked at Erk as the coach. And I’m going to say this, if I don’t say anything else: Georgia would have won at least three or four more national championships if Erk Russell was head coach [after Dooley]. I’ll go to my grave with that.”
Come Monday night, all Williams will look for just one more. It’s all his former teammates have been talking about.
“I just got off the phone with Frank Ros [linebacker and team captain], and I not too long ago talked with Matt Simon [a running back on that team]. We’re all saying the same thing: It’s our time,” Williams said. “Kirby’s been there at Alabama. He knew what he wanted to do when he got to Georgia from Day One. He has a coaching staff that makes a difference, and the kids believe in him. That’s huge. When you’ve got the players believing in you, you can get some stuff done. It’s going to be a great game, and we’re going to get it done.”
It’s a shame they can’t build a sideline big enough to house every former player who wants it like that.
I tell you what — if this team really is quickly past the hangover stage from the Rose Bowl, that may be Kirby Smart’s most impressive coaching feat of the entire season.
Jay Rome and Arthur Lynch suffered through the trauma of Georgia’s loss to Alabama in the 2012 SECCG. Their thoughts on that and how it connects to tomorrow night’s meeting verge on the poetic.
“There’s nothing bittersweet about it,” Lynch said. “I just want the people who were a part of that 2012 team and felt that pain to have a little bit of redemption. We may not have had a hand in this game, but we had a hand in shaping the history of UGA football. No matter if we win or lose this game on Monday, 2012 will always be seen as a year we didn’t quite, we gave it everything we had.”
Rome says he’s “super ecstatic” for this year’s players, who have a chance to finish what Rome and his teammates felt they should have five years ago.
“I can’t lie, I’ve thought about it a lot,” Rome said. “I felt like the football gods took one from us.”
In the end, perhaps it’s the only appropriate way it could finish. The Georgia Dome in Atlanta may be gone, but it’s the same opponent, minus one of its key coaches.
“It’s a perfect exorcism: This is the first year the Dome is not there, we go back for the first time since 2012, and now it’s the championship, and it takes a former Georgia Bulldog to be the head coach to kill this curse,” Lynch said. “It could be romanticized in southern football lore.”
Redemption’s been the theme common to Georgia’s last two wins — the team made amends in the SECCG for laying its only egg of the year and Sony Michel overcame the
only biggest fumble of his career by scoring the winning touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Can the team draw on that three times in a row en route to winning its first national title in 37 years?
If so, Lynch really may be on to something there.