From the Field: It Wasn’t Just Another SEC Game

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From the Field: It Wasn’t Just Another SEC Game

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CMR not happy with the scoreboard.
CMR not happy with the scoreboard
Photo: Rob Saye/Bulldawg Illustrated
[su_spacer size=”20″] When one covers a team, there is always the danger of becoming too familiar, of overlooking signs of trouble or just believing the hype. Last week is a prime example.

[su_spacer size=”40″] “It is just another SEC” game was the mantra intoned by players and coaches selected to meet with media. However, At the first media access (Tuesday) it was evident immediately that Coach Richt and his assistants were not treating the Alabam game as “just another SEC game.” I asked another beat writer, Patrick Garbin (Dawg Time Magazine writer and BI Podcast contributor) if he noticed the difference as we walked back to Butts-Mehre fro the turf practice fields. After his affirmative response I noted, “That may not be a good thing.” One can not have it both ways. Rhetoric must match action.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Frankly, I let the contradiction mentioned above fade as the week progressed and the chorus of “just another SEC game” took root in my consciousness. I believed that the team was calmly focused and ready to step to the challenge. Then the pre-game happened.
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Fist raised in pregame taunt of Alabama
Fist raised in pregame taunt of Alabama
Photo: Greg Poole/Bulldawg Illustrated
[su_spacer size=”40″] At the end of their pre-game warm-ups, the team gathered near mid-field for the pump-up ritual, but this one took on a dangerous twist. As I stood along the 50-yard line photographing them, the Dawgs were getting each other stoked for the impending kick-off to We Ready blasting over the sound system. As the music got the Dawgs pumped, many Georgia players turned toward the Alabama squad behind me. Gesturing toward the Tide (photo above) and singing the ‘we ready’ chorus, the team was not confident and focused but full of fake juice that belied the premise of “just another SEC game.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Regardless of the reason(s), Alabama beat Georgia. However, the game does not eliminate this team. Someone will represent the SEC East in the league championship game, and UGA can be there by learning from Saturday’s mistakes, maturing as a team and winning the rest of its league games. Maybe there will be another shot at Alabama.
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  • The running backs played well. Nick Chubb got his record 100-yard game (20 carries for 146 yards and 1 touchdown), so there is that to celebrate. Incidently, I saw Chubb giving another of his motivational talks in the huddle at the beginning of the second half.
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  • Despite Coach Pruitt’s declaration that the effort was there, I thought the team looked dispirited after they Alabama jumped out big in the second quarter. I heard the word “quit” from several observers on the sideline.
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  • Most of the writers that I talked with along the sideline assumed that Lambert was hurt when Ramsey started the second half. Of course, Coach Richt later explained that the staff was “looking for a spark” on a night when there was no dry kindling.
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  • Trent Thompson, freshman defensive lineman, got the first start of his career. He did not record a solo tackle but had four assists.
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[su_spacer size=”40″] Make sure to check out Bulldawg Illustrated’s latest print edition: Don’t Jump Ship, digital issue available for free online click HERE.
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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.