Thursday, October 25, 2012

Repost: 50 days...into the season

Last homework assignment for the week. This one is from the summer of 2011. I think it both fits the feelings around the Dawg Nation today and preps well for Jacksonville. GATA.

Whether you like Coach Richt, dislike him or are somehow just plain have to give him credit for making some changes the last couple years. Did he wait too long to turn the program around? We're soon to find out. 50 days until toe meets leather in the Dome. 57 until we all meet at Sanford for an early season must win against the Gamecocks.

But today I want to look well ahead of that to 50 days into the season. While Richt is a popular topic of discussion and print, my feelings on him are easily summed up: I like him, I want him around a long time, but it's program first and coach somewhere after that. On this special occasion with just 50 days left before kickoff we need to explore something deeper. We need to get our minds right for the entire season, not just the first game of the season.

Ironically for me, that starts with one game. 50 days into the schedule we'll be gearing up for the biggest game of every season. Jacksonville. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Georgia - Florida. Battle on the St. John's. Don't think of this season in terms of a number that would make it successful in your opinion. And don't worry about whether our coach will be on the sidelines next year. Richt's the coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. Once toe meets leather it doesn't go beyond that.

Would a 10 win season thrill me to no end? Well, can a black knight score 10 measly points and beat you? I'd love a 10 win season. But I want something more than that. I want once again to cheer for a team that has toughness. Not just at the opening kick and not just on one side of the ball. I want a team that's man enough to stare their arch nemesis in the eye and hunker down one more time despite how much it hurts, how exhausted they are or what the score is.

WLOCP. A one game barometer. A 60 minute reading of the pulse of the program. Beating Boise would be sexy. But proving we can beat the team that's flat out owned us the last two decades is Jennifer Aniston wearing nothing but a Scott Woerner jersey hot! There's no comparison. 

Even beating Carolina as the proposed pre-season front runner of the SEC East would be great and would go a long way towards paving the way to Atlanta. But the road to the GA Dome in December goes through Jacksonville in late October. Always has. The difference between beating chickens and beating gators is like the difference between leasing and owning a car. One's cool. The other is something to build on.

And brothers, sisters...we need hammer and nails, not spackle and a coat of paint. We've been shoveling our own grave for too long. So with 50 days until the season Reader, I'm not gonna ask if you're ready for football. I'm not gonna talk about how cool it would be to beat the Broncos and spoil their season right out of the gates. That's not my mindset. For 21 years we've watched one single game swing in one direction. If the 2011 season is to be considered a success there will be shouts aplenty of Go Dawgs!! from those escalators leaving AllTel stadium October 29th. The drives and flights back to all destinations red and black on the 30th will be peaceful and not tormented like so many of the last 21 times we've left Jacksonville.

We'll know then that our Dawgs are not only ready to start a fight, but also ready to finish it. We won't need a funny looking uniform to pump us up before kickoff. We'll see our Dawgs in their usual road gear and the fervor will come naturally. We won't even need unsportsmanlike flags littering an endzone to punch the opponent in the face. We'll do that because that is what our UGA forebears have done for generations. The WLOCP is our game. We own it and it's been taken from us because we've gotten lazy and proficient at coming up with excuses. It's time to reclaim the GA/fla game, and it's gonna take our full concentration. A complete, concentrated effort. Fan, coach...player. Our voice, their guidance and a Dawgs' heart.

So my question is simple this morning. With 50 days until the season, are you ready for 50 days into it?

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