Monday, October 4, 2010
I was absolutely thrilled to hear Coach Mark Richt detail the goings-on from Monday’s practice session during his call-in show. CMR had the DAWGS practice in full pads on a game-week Monday for the first time since he has been at Georgia and put the team through a series of man-on-man, hard-nosed and mandatory running game competition drills, ones vs. ones, where WINNING was rewarded. In each instance, the losers of each drill were held after practice to run extra sprints…a lot of them...while the winners watched. According to Richt, practice was "very, very physical". This is outstanding. Several times during the show, Coach Richt addressed the issue of toughness on this Georgia team once saying, “As for toughness, if they don’t have it they sure as heck will at the end of this week.” FYI, the Bulldogs will be in full pads on Tuesday too. Coach Richt is absolutely right here. Just like a blacksmith putting a razor edge on a blade using a hammer and anvil, sometimes there is just no substitute for using brute force to get the job done. Just like that blade, a football player can lose his edge if efforts are not made to insure that he does not. It is inevitable.
Football is a game that is played both ON and WITH an edge. The things that occur on the football field on every play….if you were to do those things on the street, or in your neighborhood, or at work to another person….you would be hauled off to jail for assault. To play great football, a player must run right up against that edge…the edge of sanity, the edge of self-control, the edge of the rules, against the edge of emotion…without going over it. When a player pushes to those edges, he is creating, constantly honing and playing with a certain “edge” that will slice right through adversity, fear and doubt. He is steeling his will and the combination of those things will invariably make that player victorious.
Winning absolutely matters in all instances on a football field. Every snap in a football game is a fight between two men and the ultimate goal is for one man to force the other to quit.…on that play, later in that drive or in the final quarter….forcing him to eventually accept defeat, to accept that he is beaten. A great football player wins his individual battles. A collection of battles won by teammates wins a play. A collection of plays won wins a series. A collection of series won wins the game. Winning has to matter to a player…every drill, every play. This is a mandate that must be hammered home by the coaches at every practice, every day. Coach Richt recognizes that this team has not been strong enough at the point of attack this season, that the mentality that “it’s just one play” and “we’ll get ‘em next time” is killing his season, and he is doing everything that he can do to rectify the situation.
Winning absolutely matters. With moves like this one, Coach Richt is declaring that he recognizes his team’s fundamental weakness and he is taking his team by the throat and demanding that they develop the razor edge that is required to win in the cut-throat world of the Southeastern Conference. Coach Richt and the DAWGS will win again, and it will happen soon. A sustained series of actions such as this one will absolutely produce results. It is unavoidable.