Sunday, August 7, 2011
HOT READS: WARM UPS ARE OVER
HOT READS: WARM UPS ARE OVER
Competition is vital. In the game of football, competition between players is an absolute must. It must be whole hearted and fierce, driven by a burning desire that cannot be doused by the self-doubt of benchwarmer reasoning. After the challenge, what is left is only the very best a group has to offer, but there really are no losers. No. The right to play has been won and as a result, the second option has been proven worthy of the right to join the winner in that great, common challenge that lies ahead.
Coach Richt as made it clear that competition and effort among this year’s DAWGS has not been lacking. The latest word from the practice fields only serves to validate that statement. Offensive line coach Will Friend has already issued a battlefield promotion to freshman David Andrews, moving the first year player up to the back-up role at center. If Andrews continues to progress, this should bode very well for the future.
Competition shows you who your “players” are, regardless of class. One thing that has apparently become abundantly clear over the first few days is there is a lot of athleticism on the practice fields, especially in this freshman class. Secondary coach Scott Lakatos raved about the physical talents of the new defensive backs and it seems the staff intends to find a spot for them saying, “We’ll put them out there and let them play.” This leads me to believe that several of these guys will get every chance to play immediately on special teams and possibly more. I say that’s a good thing.
I’m really feeling the attitude that I hear coming from the coaches too. When asked about his short numbers on the O-line, Friend said “All you need is five, nobody’s fretting.” That’s right. Man ‘em up, coach. Let’s play.
Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham has a singular target for his men: WIN. When asked for five goals for this year’s defensive unit, Grantham only offered one. WIN. Every situation. Every one on one battle. Every drill. WIN. I hear ya, coach! Keep it simple. Grantham went on to say, “If you’re on our team and play defense, you have to know how to compete.”
You have to compete to have any chance to win. Once you’ve won enough battles to earn the right to step out and compete again, on Saturdays between the hedges with that G on the side of your helmet, then you will know that you are ready to take on all comers.
It appears that Kwame Geathers is down for the challenge. Big John Jenkins is on campus and competing hard, but Geathers has met every advance so far. Jenkins will have an impact on the field this year for the DAWGS, but at this point Jenkins is “…a very talented big man that’s very inconsistent,” coach Rodney Garner said. “He’s going to have to improve his fundamentals to play at this level.” Two anchors in the center of a defensive line, rotating to assure that they will always have a little bounce in their step. Yes, please.
Running backs coach Bryan McClendon is making me feel better and better every time I hear him talk about Isaiah Crowell.
“It’s easy for him, but the great thing that you see with him is you see a guy that doesn’t necessarily accept that ‘Hey, I’ve been doing this good so far.’ He’s constantly working, constantly trying to get better so that’s very encouraging.” McClendon continued, “He’s doing a good job of studying. He’s doing a good job of learning it. That stuff comes pretty quick to him. And that happens when you have a guy that, one, wants to be as good as he wants to be; and, two, is serious about football. Football is serious to that kid.”
That is exactly the type of focus and dedication it will take for Crowell to meet his own goals and lift his team to meet the expectations and hopes of the DAWG Nation.
Four practices down and the warm ups are over. It’s time to hook it up and get after somebody. I can’t wait to get the reports from the first practice in full pads and then the first scrimmage later this week. Just like Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo said, “I want to see who will strike somebody, who won’t flinch. That’s the biggest thing.”