LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: The long wait has finally come to an end…

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: The long wait has finally come to an end…

Vance Leavy
Vance Leavy

The long wait has finally come to an end, let the 2017 football season commence with Bulldog Nation totality…

After another long, hot Georgia summer it is so pleasing to have finally arrived at this wonderful annual spot on the calendar. Yes, I’m talking about when all the overwhelming speculation finally ceases and we get to see what our Georgia football team is all about in 2017.
I always remind friends and associates that the final weeks of waiting for football are the worst. It’s hot as Hades and it seems everyone is easily and overly agitated; myself included, just ask Cheri. Then toe meets leather, and the small annoyances go back to being as they should be … minuscule.
Thankfully, this late August was blessed with a wonderful occurrence. Yes, just when you thought you had endured all the 2017 total solar eclipse hoopla, we at Bulldawg Illustrated pile on one last time by including it as our cover.
However, it’s the message on our cover that I hope everyone in the Bulldog Nation embraces. By now thanks to the August 21 eclipse, most folks know that in astronomy totality is the moment of total obscuration of the sun and moon during an eclipse. However, totality also means wholeness and completeness.
For our proud University, uniting in totality means getting behind the efforts of anything and everything involving Georgia. Naturally, for so many of us that starts with football. My hope is that we as fans rally behind our boys in red and black this season no matter what. That means being able to handle the inevitable growing pains of a still relatively, young football team. I realize that we live in a “what have you done for me lately society,” but I think patience is the watchword for Kirby Smart and his crew this season.
Under Kirby’s guidance, our football program continues to shine on the recruiting front. The old saying … “it’s not about the Xs and Os, it about the Jimmies and Joes” continues to ring true in college football. When your 85-man roster is filled with nothing but studs is the moment when that depth on Saturdays is able to show its might.
Rest assured, Kirby has our program well on its way to reaching that level.
For the 2017 season, I’m hopeful to see a football team full of discipline because I know Kirby will accept nothing less. At the first scrimmage of Fall Camp, Jacob Eason struck pay dirt early on a long pass to receiver Javon Wims. Unfortunately, in his excitement, Wims crossed the goal line with a nicely executed front somersault. And then the penalty flags came a flying, which was followed by a red hot Kirby Smart.
Unfortunately for Wims, the majority of his remaining scrimmage was spent running up and down the steps of Sanford Stadium. After the practice, Kirby spoke about the incident to the few hundred folks from the Magill Society who had been invited to watch the scrimmage (see fan photos from the event on page 40). He let everyone in the group know that players putting themselves above the team will not be tolerated in the Georgia football program. However, he also stressed that getting complete buy in from all of his players is a work in progress.
Now, I’m sure Kirby’s message to the team after the scrimmage was a whole lot saltier than his G-rated speech to the Magill Society donors. I, for one, absolutely love seeing Kirby’s commitment to doing every little detail the right way. Inevitably, it will lead to great things for our football program.
On Saturday night, we finally get to see all of the improvements made by Kirby, his staff and most importantly his team. They too must all be united in totality because you can bet the Appalachian State Mountaineers are coming to Sanford Stadium to show they have no problem staying on the field with the “big boys.”
Without question, it’s going to be a hard fought game, but I have full faith that our team is ready for the challenge. Like Kirby and company, we at Bulldawg Illustrated have spent all of August strengthening our product. In this issue, you will find a plethora of game nuggets to get you ready for kickoff at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. And on the social front, Cheri and crew have supplied you with stellar interviews and features about successful Georgia grads.
Also, as we embark on our 15th football season of producing BI, we remain steadfast in capturing tons and tons of photos of Georgia backers. What a pleasure and honor it has and continues to be to bring this publication to our readers. This, of course, is made possible by all of our advertisers through the years. A huge thanks to all of you.
Finally, getting back to the 2017 solar eclipse, there is no denying the magnitude that the momentous occurrence provided to so many people that witnessed totality. Each week, during the football season, I do a podcast with UGA alumna and CBS 46 meteorologist, Ella Dorsey. Ella was lucky enough to cover the eclipse at Sanford Stadium for her television station. When talking about the eclipse that she witnessed with almost 30,000 people in our beloved stadium, Ella passionately exclaimed …

“I cried … it was magical … I was overwhelmed … what an amazing experience.”

My hope for all of us in the Bulldog Nation is the 2017 season ends with similar sentiments. See you in Sanford on Saturday … Go Dawgs!


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