A Tale of Two Seasons
UGA came into last season ranked #1 in the nation. There was so much potential, so much talent, but so little TEAM. This year has been a complete 180. Georgia has been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season – every play means something. In 4 short weeks we have learned a lot about this 2009 Georgia TEAM.
To start off, last season was looked at by many as a disappointment. I disagree. Yes we had two of the best players in the country, do I even need to name them? However, we had a young offensive line and way too many injuries to contend in the SEC. Most of all, we did not have a TEAM. We had a few athletes that were no doubt talented but we failed to play as a TEAM. As the season went on we realized that the Bulldogs who started so high were destined to fail. This year has been completely different. No lofty expectations from the nation to start off. No one big name to draw the attention. And the biggest most important focus of the offseason: TEAM. The media guide and schedule poster that used to feature a few standout players now had a picture of the TEAM together. When things went wrong in Stillwater, repeatedly players responded with, the TEAM needs to do this, the TEAM needs to do that. What a difference a year makes?
The next Saturday against South Carolina, you saw a new TEAM. A TEAM that played together, fought together and have since won TOGETHER. What does this team have? This team has leaders and fight. The most recognizable leader is our favorite red head, Joe Cox. There is no doubt that Matthew Stafford was an incredible quarterback; he had a strong arm, great vision of the field and great knowledge of the game. However, I do not feel that he had the leadership qualities that Joe Cox has. Cox showed us his spunk first a few years ago against Colorado when he lead the team to a last second win. In the last three games we have seen what makes Joe Cox special. He would be the first to tell you he is not the most talented – he already admitted he has no desire to play in the NFL – but he does have a knack for leadership. He remaind calm, cool, and collected on the field and gets his TEAM to play around him. He is not afraid to call someone out when they need to be, but he is also the first one to celebrate when they do something good. He and the TEAM continue to improve each week.
One thing that Georgia TEAMS in the Mark Richt era have been known for is not quitting. This team has a lot of fight! How easily could the team have rolled over down 17-7 against USC? Would it not have been easy to quit in Arkansas when we got down 21-10? The answer is yes it could have been. This Georgia team would not do that though. They continued to fight and make plays and have found a way to win. That fight is what this team is going to have to keep going all year. There will be games where the other team has more talent – ie Florida – but Georgia will have to rely on the TEAM to pull them through.
I know what people are thinking: isn’t AJ Green that one name that everyone knows? Yes Green is a tremendous athlete that has had a huge impact on the first four games. However, as he said in one post game interview, he does what he does for his TEAM. Look for great things to come from this TEAM as the 2009 season progresses.
Until next time, “You stay classy Classic City”