From The Editor: Austin Peay

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From The Editor: Austin Peay

Vance Leavy
Vance Leavy

The 2018 season has finally arrived for the University of Georgia Bulldogs team and look for them to play big, fast and physical.
The wait is over sports fans as the 2018 season for our Georgia Bulldogs has finally arrived. All the speculation over chat rooms and social media of what ifs and who will play unfolds at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday versus the Austin Peay Governors in Sanford Stadium.
Boy, I’m so ready to see the 2018 Dawgs!
As I pondered cover ideas for this issue my train of thought involved coming up with something that personified the team aspect that Kirby Smart and his stellar staff have worked to instill in every player on this 2018 team.
So coming from the newly revamped West End Zone … is a team that’s going to play big, fast and physical. That’s the goal because when it’s accomplished, plenty of victories are sure to follow.
Don’t you know the team is so ready to hit someone from the opposing team after the rigorous last month of Fall Camp? To get a synopsis from all those practices I decided to get our multimedia director, Greg Poole, to send me his vantage point.
Here’s what Greg had to say …
After watching and photographing every press conference and practice that was open to the media, I have one conclusion about this team and its frame of mind – Fall Camp was a business training session extended over several weeks. Kirby Smart’s culture is now firmly in place. Players who did not fully buy-in to the messages and attitudes necessary to compete for playing time are gone. A team has resulted.
The 2018 edition of Georgia Football is a team in the truest sense of the word. The message from every position group and coach is the same. Everyone believes that if they execute their assignments they can beat any team in the country. The tendency of fans may be to dismiss such observations by noting their applicability to any team, but that would be a mistake. These guys have no doubt. False bravado is not what I am talking about either. Rather, a calm certainty pervades the program. Kirby has shown them the promised land and tattooed the roadmap on their psyche.
Are you now just as fired up as I am to see toe meet leather on Saturday?
Sticking to our big, fast, physical theme, I encourage you to read Jeff Dantzler’s column on page 10, where he explores the fact this will be the biggest Georgia team ever assembled. And on page 51, our ace BI intern, Savannah Richardson updates how the 2019 recruiting class is shaping up. And guess what? RareBreed19 is big, fast and physical.
This issue of BI has plenty of other sports offerings that are sure to get you ready for Saturday’s game. Definitely don’t miss JD’s A View From (page 18) with the voice of Austin Peay, Brian Rives. The Governors are definitely a team trending in the right direction under coach Will Healy and their offense is sure to test the Georgia defense. Loran Smith and Hamilton Culpepper also contribute their talents to this issue with warm tributes to Athenian Claude Williams (page 50) and former Georgia great, Andy Johnson (page 52).
On the social side of being a Bulldog, this issue is lights out with a Georgia Girls Q&A with interior designer Maggie Griffin (page 34) and a What’s Cooking feature with chef Sarah Simmons.
Our fan photos in this issue are highlighted by two great occasions with BI’s own Emily and Jeff Dantzler wedding (pages 30, 32) and the Kirby Smart Family Foundation Giving Day (pages 36, 37). There are also even more pages of fan photos in our social section, so enjoy seeing all those Bulldogs.
Speaking of the Kirby Smart Foundation Giving Day, check out these great causes that Kirby and Mary Beth and their family’s foundation is touching through donations to the following organizations:
FCA–UGA Chapter,
Athens, Ga.
Project Safe, Athens, Ga.
Friends with Jesus Ministries, Bainbridge, Ga.
Share the Magic, Atlanta
Boys & Girls Club Athens, Athens, Ga.
YMCA Athens, Athens, Ga.
Navicent Health Foundation, Macon, Ga.
The Cancer Foundation of NE Georgia, Athens, Ga.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta
Interfaith Hospitality Network, Athens, Ga.
Shepherd Center Foundation, Atlanta
Extra Special People,
Athens, Ga.
Camp Sunshine,
Madison, Ga
RISE School, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Salvation Army, Athens, Ga.
Downtown Ministries, Athens, Ga.
The Laymen Brotherhood, Bainbridge, Ga.
Lighthouse Family Retreat, Atlanta
Sunshine on a Ranney Day, Roswell, Ga.
Camp Trach Me Away, Rutledge, Ga.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Atlanta
Camp Kudzu, Atlanta
American Heart Association, Athens, Ga.
Devon Gales Home Foundation,
Baton Rouge, La.
CURE Childhood Cancer, Atlanta
It’s so nice to see our head coach excelling not only on the field, but also off of it. And just a few pages over on page 6, I encourage you to check out the awesome photo of Natrez Patrick and a child at Camp Sunshine (a KSFF recipient). Natrez has had a few hiccups while on the team, but according to Kirby he has done everything that has been asked of him over the last nine or so months. What a great story it would be for him to have a breakout year while giving the Georgia defense some much needed leadership after Roquan Smith’s departure to the NFL.
That will do it for me. Everyone at BI looks forward to seeing you in Athens and on the road as we navigate the 2018 season together. Without a doubt, it’s going to be big, fast and physical … Go Dawgs!!!

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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.