Originally posted at BullDawg Illustrated
Sometimes I can be a little slow on the uptake. While I wait for you to stop laughing...I was on vacation with family in the Outer Banks couple weeks ago and noticed (finally) that the baggers at the grocery stores there don’t ask if you’d prefer paper or plastic. There’s only one option, paper sack. Well, unless you have enough kids to carry $200 worth of bread, lunchmeat, steamed shrimp, and beer.
Excuse me, but what the hell are you typing about Bernie?
Glad you asked.
I have nothing against Mark Richt and what he did for this program. Seriously, if you know me you certainly understand I’m a big fan of the guy and recognize that he unquestionably took our beloved tackle football team to a level that I both enjoyed and used to indoctrinate my kids into the culture of being a Georgia Bulldog. As the clock drained on Historic Mark Richt Field last November, I thought he’d saved his job.
I was wrong. And I’m okay with that. It all worked out. All parties involved seem to be better for it in the end. Georgia’s former biggest rock star got a new gig as the head coach at his alma mater. Georgia’s newest rock star got a new gig as a head coach at his alma mater. As they say, win, win.
But for us, we were in a plastic baggie world. The last few months, as we watched the transition into the Smart Era, it has become clear that it has a new, harder, leaner and hopefully meaner feeling to it. Things are all business, keenly focused on one goal - beating the man in front of you. It’s an old school mentality; a paper sack mindset.
Yes, it’s a difficult concept for us old farts to get a hold of when we have to embrace things like elevated energy in recruiting, non-stop promotions of the brand, something called snapchat, and seeing our coach use local helicopters like air-ubers between high schools. But this is what the new hard-nosed age of college football is. Teams that would like to win hope the ball bounces their way. They hope that this season the plastic bag isn’t over-taxed, that the roster holds up. Meanwhile teams that intend to win are chomping at the bit to force the issue. They tote their weight using paper sacks because that’s how you win in the fourth quarter. That’s how you lean on SEC defensive lines with the game in the balance. That’s how you stock the pantry in September and especially November.
Yes, I have trouble following recruiting the way Smart rolls. It reminds me of having to read The Canterbury Tales. I understood generally what was going on but I was dog-paddling along the surface in the middle of a tempest that could easily swallow me whole. But I do understand old school football. I do understand that in the Southern landscape you have to be bigger and stronger to get to Atlanta. I know that you have to run the damn ball as if your life depends on it to survive trips to places like the Columbias and Opelika. And I damn sure know that you have to have the bigger set of stones when you roll up to EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
So yes, I look back fondly on the era that has closed. But I’ve thrown those plastic baggies in the recycling bin. I’m ready to use tight ends for more than scholarship slots. I’m ready for sound game-planning. I’m ready to close the state’s borders and give Malzahn, Muschamp, Saban, Butch, McIlwain, Jimbo and even ol’ Dabo a one finger salute. I’m ready to turn the tide of the St. Johns for a long, Dooley-like stretch. I’m ready for UNC!
But I even more eager to see what Kirby Smart can build for the long haul. Because that’s why they make paper sacks.
So grab some more beer and eggs and beef jerky and some steaks. It’s been a long off season and I’m sure we’re all hungry. As hungry as Uga V on a November afternoon back in 1996.
Go Dawgs y’all!