Erk Russell, funny, folksy and famous former defensive coordinator for Vince Dooley, used to tell Georgia players, “there ain’t nothing like being a Bulldog on a Saturday night — after winning a football game!” Boy, Erk’s words sure hold true during this spring of promise in Athens.
Kirby Smart’s third Georgia football team concluded spring practice with the annual G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium on Saturday. For what it’s worth, the Black team, with freshman Justin Fields playing most of the snaps at quarterback, beat the Red team of starting QB Jake Fromm 21-13. Although the winning squad reportedly earned a steak dinner, with the vanquished relegated to beans and wieners, Bulldogs everywhere should eat heartily after seeing the results.
The entire program won the day.
There is simply not a hotter college football program right now than Georgia. Last seen losing to Alabama on the last play of the national championship game, ESPN recognizing the momentum and excitement in Athens has not waned, provided a two-hour commercial showcasing Smart and the Dawgs.
Not coincidentally, the Alabama spring game preceded the G-Day game. Georgia provided the better look on television.
More than 82,000 fans showed up at perhaps the prettiest stadium in the nation. That’s nearly 10,000 more than Alabama drew and around 4,000 less than Nebraska and new coach Scott Frost lured to Lincoln. Recruits attended G-Day in droves. Recent team stars and soon-to-be-millionaires like Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Roquan Smith soaked in the sideline scenes days before the NFL Draft.
There ain’t nothing like being a Bulldog right now Erk.
All the accolades and slick marketing aside, football remains the focus. Here are a few observations as we begin the long wait for the 2018 season.
The offense returns depth at line and receiver. The receiving rotation offers a range of options, from shifty, explosive, and experienced guys like Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman to bigger, physical players in Jeremiah Holloman and Riley Ridley.
The offensive line loses Isaiah Wynn, but otherwise looks bigger and more physical. True freshmen Trey Hill and Cade Mays looked ready to help this season.
The quarterback position is thin with only Jake Fromm and Justin Fields on scholarship, but figures to be fine.
Fromm needs to eliminate sloppy throws under pressure (it had to hurt Dawg fans seeing ESPN show Fromm bounce the pass off a Bama helmet in the third quarter of the championship game – the resulting interception turned the momentum of a game Georgia had dominated to that point).
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