Bennett is doomed if he doesn’t like football.
Both his daddy and I are fanatics when it comes to pigskin. When we first started dating, we had a trip planned to the beach over Labor Day weekend. Our first order of business? Drive down a day early to ensure we could catch the first Thursday night game of the season. Second? Find a sports bar that played said game…which coincidentally was a matchup between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the North Carolina State Wolfpack. It was a largely uneventful game and we cared nothing of the outcome…although selfishly I wanted to see Spurrier lose to a subpar opponent. He didn’t. Gamecocks squeaked by with a 7-3 win.
If you couldn’t guess who my team is by my hatred of the ole’ ball coach…it is the University of Georgia. A team that prides itself on…pride. We really have nothing to back up our fervor for our university’s football team but a few trips to the SEC championship. Our last SEC championship victory was in 2005, when my brother married his beautiful wife. I realize I stand in the minority of Georgia fans when I admit that I was excited to see the addition of Todd Grantham in 2010 as our defensive coordinator as he presented the fire that Mark Richt seems to lack. I seriously held my own celebratory dance when Richt got fired up enough to challenge the officials last season in our loss against Auburn (still can’t believe we lost).
Still, I got even more excited to see Grantham go. It is time for a new era at the University of Georgia. It is time for Jeremy Pruitt.
Perhaps my favorite quote from our new defensive leader followed our spring game:
“We had 50 guys out there on defense that were all trying to do the same stuff…I didn’t see anybody particularly that just stuck out and deserved an award. It’s kind of like, nowadays everybody’s playing t-ball and everybody gets a trophy. But that’s part of the tradition here and there’s nothing wrong with it…it’s not a big deal really.”
Unfortunately, this has become all too normal at the University of Georgia. We have recruited top ten recruiting classes every year since Richt’s tenure as head football coach. We have more starting players in the NFL than any other team…yet, we have not even made an appearance at a national championship and only graced three BCS bowls.
I love Mark Richt more than the next guy. I am not calling for his head. He does more with our players than make them into players. He builds character and equips these young guys to lead by example. Save the remarks about our players being a bunch of thugs. Each team has their share of problems. It seems other teams have no problem picking up the guys that are dismissed from our starting squad…
Still, I do have an inherent problem with awarding mediocrity as Pruitt does. I loved what he had to say about handing out awards.
“I didn’t want to give any awards, but that’s what they’ve been doing here at Georgia so that’s what we did…to me, those are spring awards. Those two guys may end up being starters, leaders or whatever, or they may not play. It’ll be up to them between now and fall camp.”
Cue the title of this post, “our players got a Pruitt.” They cannot rest on their shiny performance in a spring scrimmage. They must stay hungry and work harder than their teammates to be able to play.
In my estimation, hunger makes a champion. If we don’t stay hungry, we’ll always be satiated to be ok…and we will continue to rest on just being ok…making a bowl…hitting 500. Isn’t that what millenials are criticized for? Being entitled despite being exceptional has never gotten any one of us very far.
Pruitt has proven himself at the big dance and I cannot wait to see him groom our players into champions. I’ve never been more excited for a year of football…and this includes 2008…curse that Sports Illustrated cover!