I hate that we lost that game to South Carolina. I hate that Coach Mark Richt has to endure more ugly rhetoric having just missed on a huge win that would have placated the masses for the time being. I hate that Christian Robinson injured his foot and will miss 2 or 3 games. I hated the way that game felt like so many of our recent games in Jacksonville where we shoot our feet off over and over coupled with some rotten luck. I pray that we have now gotten that out of our system so we won't witness it all over again on October 29th.
Now let me tell you what I loved...
- The effort from everyone on Saturday was tremendous. From my point of view, the Dawgs played their asses off and gave one of the best efforts I have seen for 4 quarters in a long time. Sadly, we outplayed SC but our mistakes killed us. Even so, the team showed that their is much fight in them and there are some very good things coming our way this season. I am not expecting us to run the table, but we will be capable of beating any team left on our schedule and I expect us to capture some memorable wins over some, if not all, of our hated rivals - UT, UF, AU and GT. I am thankful that we have a little relief in the level of competition the next two weeks and hopefully we will improve steadily before Miss State rolls into Athens.
- The fans. Sanford Stadium was loud and raucous, as it should be. No surprise there. But, after the game when the players were heading off the field, tens of thousands of fans remained to clap our guys off the field. It was classy and impressive and I am proud of our fans that showed such enthusiastic support in recognition of the maximum effort from our players.
- Isaiah Crowell and Malcolm Mitchell are two special offensive talents and we need to keep getting them the football.
- Bruce Figgins catching the ball from the fullback position is a thing of beauty and we need more of that as well. I love that the stadium echoes the name "Bruuuuuuuce" every time he makes a big play. I hope we get to do that a lot down the stretch.
- Brandon Boykin is explosive. We already knew that. But this year, he just seems more Champ Bailey-Deoin Sanders-Devin Hester explosive. It isn't a matter of if, it is when he is going to take another kickoff back for a TD. Maybe get a pick 6 or another offensive TD. Every time he gets his hands on the ball, he is a threat.
- And the number one thing I loved about Saturday... the way the players rallied around their coach and left everything on the field in an effort to get a crucial victory. They played with intensity and a sense of urgency that we never saw last year (a little against Tennessee). They will need to continue to give that level of effort and if they do, good things will come. Just how good remains to be seen. But one thing is always true, you won't get extraordinary results without extraordinary effort.
Go Dawgs! GATA!