“… there’s a lot there left to play for.”

From Chip Towers, this is a pretty good summary of how COVID has affected the Georgia program.  The starting point is the number of kids expected to opt-out of the postseason.

All five players who opted out Friday have accepted invitations to the Senior Bowl, which is a showcase game for seniors who are expected to be drafted. Rice is a finalist for the 2020 Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker. Cleveland and LeCounte are All-SEC players. McKitty is a graduate transfer from FSU who started five games this season. Daniel is a part-time starter who battled injuries this season.

It’s hard to blame some of Georgia’s veterans for wanting to move on. Dating to this summer, four times they saw their game schedule changed, including once the day before they were supposed to play Vanderbilt the first time Dec 5. In the meantime, they have been subjected to nasal-swab COVID-19 tests three times a week for 13 consecutive weeks now. That’s not including the personal sacrifices each players was asked to make.

We tend not to think about those personal sacrifices, but they were significant.

Georgia is one of only four SEC teams that did not encounter significant personnel losses because of COVID-19 in its football program (Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina were the others). The Bulldogs were able to do that because of strict adherence to institutionally installed health-and-safety protocols an almost militant social-distancing. Position groups that had too many players to sit six feet apart in UGA’s designated meeting rooms would instead meet in the Payne Indoor Center or spread out in the weight room, outside or other expansive areas around the football complex. The Bulldogs were encouraged to remain in campus quarters as much as possible. All team-personnel movements were traced via Kinnexon technology and cleaning crews were also close behind with a rigorous disinfectant regimen.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s internal player leadership group – which included many of these same seniors and underclassmen — reportedly was fierce about enforcing safe behaviors outside of team activities. Hanging out at parties and in bars was strictly forbidden.

To say it fell short of a typical college experience would be a gross understatement.

A lot was asked of these seniors and in the end they didn’t even get the modest recognition a senior day would have provided.  If some of them decide they’d like the holidays for themselves, I can’t fault them for that.  They’ve already given plenty at the office.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

22 responses to ““… there’s a lot there left to play for.”

  1. debbybalcer

    I agree with you. They are DGDs and deserve our support.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Ran A

    And were rewarded by a Vandy team, who clearly didn’t install the same protocols or adhere to them or both, that couldn’t make the trip to Athens, costing them their Senior Day.

    This may go down as UGA’S most unappreciated group…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      What really sucks about the Vanderbilt Covid issue is that they have a doctor at the medical school that is world-renowned epidemiologist who is frequently on the news talking about how to do deal with it. Damn, Derek, couldn’t you pick up the phone and talk to your own faculty?

      Like

      • Down Island Way

        Who woulda’ thunk, an institution with a HUGE medical/staff facility near/on campus would have had the more stringent protocol with regards to covid-19…here’s to sticking the anchor where the sun don’t shine in 2021…

        Like

      • fisheriesdawg

        That would be an excellent point if the reason Vandy didn’t play was COVID outbreaks. It wasn’t. They didn’t play because a bunch of their players decided to quit when their season became a circus while they continued to get their asses kicked. COVID just allowed them to duck yet another bad loss after they fired their coach. They simply didn’t want to play Georgia. And that’s why they’ll always be Vandy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 69Dawg

    Their sacrifice was above the normal player experience. DGDs all best wishes to them all.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. RangerRuss

    The UGA Senior Bulldogs have my thanks and best wishes for a long and prosperous career.
    Go Dawgs!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Russ

    Amen brother! I hope they show up at the Peachtree Bowl so their family and the few fans can properly recognize their efforts (even if they’re not playing the game).

    UGA did a great job this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mg4life0331

    Adherence to the rules is an achievement for the excellent leadership off the field. Kudos to those guys in the locker room.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. While I will miss getting to see them dressed in the Red and Black one more time, it is certainly understandable that these players are ready to put COVID restrictions behind them and enjoy some sort of normal holiday season. I just hope that we get to properly thank them at some point for their contributions.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ben

    My hope is that it takes a few years for Kirby and Co to work out their frustrations on Vanderbilt for allowing this to happen.

    Like

  9. Kirby said, “There was a lot left to play for” before Candy opted out. There’s literally nothing for the seniors to play for now. Top 5 finishes mean absolutely nothing. Winning the Peach Bowl means absolutely nothing.

    The sport created this with the advent of the playoff and the deemphasis of the regional nature of the sport.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. coastaldawg

    As much as I love watching the Dawgs, I would be okay if the whole team voted to opt out of the bowl game. By that, I mean The Team – the players – not the asshats at BM.

    They have been through a lot to keep going for another 3 weeks of quarantine, multiple testing and not being able to spend time with friends and family to prep for a game with no tradition “bowl game experience” and their families not being able to watch so the league that couldn’t find a way to get them a senior day can make more money to afford $20 million buyouts is okay with me.

    I hope they play, and play well, but I can live with it this year.

    Liked by 1 person