Beautiful weather and Georgia’s beautifully executed football game combined to give fans a wonderful welcome home to Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon.
There are no secrets to be uncovered after an all-around dominating performance. Georgia took the coaches’ message about UAB to heart. Everyone from Kirby Smart to each player we talked to in the run-up to the game kept reminding us that UAB could win the game. The team grasped Kirby’s message. Georgia put the full weight of its talent in the face of the Dragons, and the fire-breathers were themselves set alight.
These Dawgs listen. Kirby Smart and his staff worked all week to head off the kind of overconfident, lackluster performance that often plagues teams that have not wholly bought into the messages of the staff.
There is no such thing as a perfectly executed game, and although the final score may indicate otherwise, this one was far from flawless. Many players saw the field as the game wore on, and, as one might expect, players with less experience made more mistakes. Those warning about UAB being a good team were right on target, but a good team will not hang with this bunch of Bulldogs when they walk out of the dressing room ready to play. Yesterday was a perfect example of the power and talent that Kirby and Company can employ. It was also a testament to the staff’s success in keeping the team grounded and focused on What’s Important Now (WIN).
Let’s give UAB some credit. Although UGA could gash the Blazers consistently with explosive plays, UAB played tough defense against the run and tried to disrupt Georgia’s offense with stunts and blitzes. The final score showed what happens when a well-coached, good team catches a national championship contender on a fully focused afternoon.
To me, that focus is the story of the game. Georgia has more talented players than UAB. Kirby is in the conversation of many, if not most, nationally prominent recruits – UAB, not so much. Focus, or simply being mentally ready to exert the power of talent by eliminating distractions, stops upset bids cold.
Georgia stoned UAB. It was a beat down rather than an upset because this team believes in itself. They showed it in Charlotte and opened with it in Athens, but another challenge awaits. South Carolina will roll into Athens with a new coach and active memories of a rainy night in Georgia just a couple of years ago.