As always I thoroughly enjoyed this post by Garbin, which takes us all the way back to Goff's last season and one that was as injury riddled as any I can ever remember. Hard not to agree with one of his commenters that 1995 was Goff's best season coaching. Unsurprisingly, it was also Hines Ward's most impressive as a player.
When "news" broke the other night that Ward would be a contestant on the next season of that dancing show Mrs. Bernie likes so much, I joked that Coach Goff approved. Because in that one season Ward did just about everything but drive the bus to Clemson (and it is rumored he may have even done that).
But back to Garbin's post, it sets up pretty well for this upcoming season. I certainly don't hope to see any more injuries of any significance or large number, but like Goff sixteen years ago, Richt is shouldered with the responsibility of improving the team's record. And the expectation is that it should come regardless of who's on crutches.
Luckily the schedule sets up a little better for Coach Richt than it did for Goff, who helped his team limp to an impressive 6-6 record despite half of them being hobbled. I remember being at that 1995 Peach Bowl with my future Wahoo in-laws and thinking we had finally broken free of our bad luck when Jason Ferguson scooped up a Virginia fumble and scored a tying TD with about a minute left. The GA Dome was practically swaying as we all roared for the ensuing kickoff. I'll never forget the audible shift in cheers as we watched them run the kickoff back for the winning TD.
It was a kick in the gut, but it was a fitting end to that season. Not one that the Dawgs deserved though. Let's hope we can keep 2011 off of the crutches.