3 things: New Georgia football building could provide title boost
ATHENS — The most important Georgia football steps of the 2021 offseason are taking place within the indoor facility and the weight room right now.
The Bulldogs, coming off their fourth-straight Top 10 season, are building the sort of chemistry and cohesiveness that can only be achieved through the manufactured adversity of the difficult offseason workouts.
But in 2021, just like 2017, the UGA football program figure to be getting an offseason boost via facilities’ facelift.
New athletic director Josh Brooks told the facilities committee at its quarterly meeting on Monday the $80 million football building is on track. Some 75 percent of the 165,000 square-foot project will be complete and ready for use within a week of the April 17 G-Day Game.
The coaches and players are sure to get a lift from the new 22,000 square-foot weight room, as well as the new nutrition center, locker rooms, sports medicine areas and coaches’ offices.
Who doesn’t like going to work in state-of-the-art new offices?
The entire project, which includes Phase ll of adjoining Butts Mere-Heritage Hall and the indoor football facility to the new football building, along with the addition of a dining and more meeting areas, is scheduled to be complete by January of 2022.
Here are three things to keep in mind with the addition of the new $80 million building:
1. Back to the future
Four years ago, the Bulldogs moved into the so-called “House of Payne.”
Photo courtesy UGA sports.
The $30 million indoor football facility, named after Billy and Porter Payne, took Georgia off the list of the four remaining SEC programs that did not have a 100-yard indoor facility. Florida, Mississippi State and Missouri were the other programs on that list.
Then, like now, Georgia had championship talent on its roster along with several players capable of leading.
It’s impossible to measure the effect the new facility had on the players, but it certainly was nothing but a positive.
It’s fair to say 2021 presents a similar scenario, with UGA featuring a loaded roster that will soon get a boost from its move into the $80 million facility.
2. Up to par
As much as Georgia football has to offer, from its recent run of SEC title game appearance and production of NFL talent, the facilities had been a bit of a lead boot relative to other programs.
According to the 247Sports updated list of top football facilities as of Jan. 31 2020, UGA ranked 18th in the nation and 8th in the SEC.
The new football building will move the Bulldogs into the Top 10, at the very least, and add one more reason for recruits to take a second look at Georgia.
Worth noting: Florida has an $85 million football building underway, and Auburn just approved a $90 million-plus football facility.
Dawgs moving into state-of-the-art $80M facility after G-Day.
War Eagle board just approved $91.9M (!!!!) Football Performance Center.
The CFB arms race, man!
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) February 10, 2021
The facilities arms race is never over, and there’s always room for improvement in recruiting. The past three seasons have proven the importance of quality depth at each position.
Depth is even more of a factor with more talented players likely to turn pro earlier and liberal transfer rules in place. Examples of such are that Georgia lost nine scholarship players out of its secondary since the end of the 2019 season, four to transfers. Last year, UGA had five underclassmen drafted in the first five rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
3. Benefits & solution
One of the biggest benefits Clemson got out of the addition of its state-of-the-art building in 2017 was the added time the players spent in their football building. More specifically, time spent together, building friendships and enhancing team chemistry.
It figures to be the same at Georgia, where the players will be more apt to spend time together in their new, convenient and comfortable digs.
Brooks has noted the timing of the move into the facility coincides well with the end of spring football, but also, with a better understanding of how to manage amid these Covid-19 times.
Relief from some social restrictions is anticipated with vaccinations on the way, making for a happier and healthier offseason in 2021 with the walls of the Bulldogs’ $80 million football building.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) January 20, 2021