While it’s completely acceptable to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to the Georgia Bulldogs—coming into a season where many guys remain question marks, others are returning from injury, and the familiar No. 11 is no longer taking snaps under center—that in no way means none of us are paying attention to what’s being said behind, and in front of, the cameras.
Even if we’ve heard a lot of it before, we’re still going to be mindful of the mood and the overall message coming out of Butts-Mehre. So far, most of it has been good…if you negate the 30-day period where it seemed like the sky was falling. And the reason for all that goodwill is an overall change in the atmosphere of the locker room and within the staff. Whatever tension was there before—due to player division, coaches egos, or just bad luck—appears to be lightening now that the guys running the show all, for lack of a better term, like each other.
Such things are bound to rub off on players, too. And, according to cornerback Sheldon Dawson, that’s one of the reasons he feels this year will be different.
“We’re looking good. One thing about Coach Pruitt, we don’t talk like we’re going to be this and we’re going to be that. We don’t talk at all,” he said. “When the first game comes, we’ll be ready to show. But right now, I don’t think anybody really understands how hard we’re working.”
Although Dawson knows the proof will have to come once the season begins, he feels the entire team is off to a good start.
“There’s an extra bond that we’ve got because we’re so much closer than we’ve ever been. Guys are with each other every day of the weekend, we enjoy each other,” he said. “We’ve got a bond to play for the guy next to us. The direction that Coach (Mike) Bobo, Coach (Mark) Richt and Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt have us going, it’s going to awaken the Dawg Nation.” (Anthony Dasher, Rivals)
Again, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard tale of guys getting along well, playing for each other, and being more focused, but it is the first time in a good while that we’ve heard about a group of coaches who actually get along as well as this bunch of guys do; and there’s a lot to be said about wanting to do well for the guy coaching next to you…especially when you know he’s going to do the same.
I’m still waiting to see if the talk is more than just “talk”, but I can’t say I’m not more than a little excited with what I’ve seen/heard thus far.