While this offseason has already been intense for the Dawgs coming off a championship run, losing a majority of defensive starters to the NFL, and being berated by the media about being complacent, they hadn’t even begun the most demanding part of their offseason, Fall Camp. That is until opening day yesterday. Starting Thursday, the team was allowed to begin practice in pads making way for more game-realistic practice and in turn offering more insight to coaches on the progression of their players.
In explaining the importance of Fall Camp, Coach Smart said, “…they have no responsibilities other than football…it’s kind of when the mental and physical toughness starts to take place for your roster and your team. So there’s no way to really build for it, other than to do it.” Smart added that his players need to “lock into what you got to do and lock out everything outside of it and the noise,” so now is the time for the team to gel and better understand their approach to the game. The freshmen are suiting up for the first time and the third and fourth years are transitioning from learners to teachers assuming leadership on the team. With the pads on, the team has the opportunity to walk the walk and finally gel into the unit they’ve been aspiring to be.
Just a couple weeks ago, Georgia sent team representatives to the SEC Media Days where they could speak about said unit. All they could talk about was the fact that 2022 was a new season. That 2021 is behind them. And that this was a new team with the same mission: to compete for a National Championship.
With Fall Camp underway and less than a month until the season opener, it won’t be long until we’re able to see whether or not this team has what it takes to climb the mountaintop a second time.