ATHENS — Amarius Mims said what most every dialed in Georgia football fan is thinking: His time is now.
“I feel like I have to do what I’m capable of doing,” Mims said after practice on Thursday. “Now, the time has come, it’s my time. I feel like they are depending on me, and I feel like I can do it.”
Mims, a hulking 6-foot-7, 330-pound offensive tackle, will be one of the key players if the Bulldogs’ offensive line is to be as dominant and physical as many expect.
“We’ve been on a tight schedule this spring, said Mims, a former 5-star prospect and likely future first-round NFL Draft pick, “but everybody is on the right track, so things have been going good.”
Mims is yet another example of Georgia’s ability to develop premium talent.
The Bulldogs’ renowned offensive line did not miss a beat when he stepped into the starting lineup in the college football playoffs against Ohio State and TCU after team captain Warren McClendon suffered a knee injury in the SEC title game against LSU.
Mims smiled when asked if there were pre-game butterflies before facing the Buckeyes.
“You’d be surprised, it wasn’t really me being nervous,” Mims said behind a confident smile. “It was more of like me knowing what I have to do, and now I have to go execute.”
Mims shared how he has grown in so many ways beyond football in his first two years in the program, developing into a more mature young man and promising team leader.
“Last year I grew more mentally,” said Mims, who took a break last spring to visit Florida State.
“You can look at me and tell I’m a pretty physical guy, but football is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, and I had to grow more mentally than physically.”
The results have been impressive since Mims re-committed to Coach Kirby Smart and his teammates after that short trip to Tallahassee.
“I was young and made an immature move,” Mims said after the title game at SoFi. “But it’s all working out, and I love these guys.
“They didn’t have to welcome me back like they did, but my teammates did — they welcomed me back with open arms and said they understood.”
Mims has also taken to coach Stacy Searels hard-nosed O-Line coaching and followed the guidance of team leaders.
“Coach Searels has meant a lot, (with) me and him sitting down and having one on one talks,” Mims said, sharing how he has had to learn to let go of mistakes and move on quickly from them.
“I can go talk to him about anything, on the field or off the field.”
Mims’ trust and respect for his teammates is obvious, as he credits them for helping him improve as a player.
“The relationship I have with Broderick (Jones), and of course Jamari (Salyer) and Warren, watching them and them teaching me the things I learned enabled me to grow in a lot of areas on and off the field,” Mims said.
“Without Warren I wouldn’t be where I am,” he explained. “So when he was out, he wasn’t really out … he was beside me, watching film, (and) on the field and tell me what I did wrong, and telling me how I could get better, so that helped me a lot.”
Mims’ desire for success has never been stronger with another championship season in sight, and his life-long dream perhaps only a year away.
“My ‘why’ is the people back home and my family,” Mims said, explaining the motivation that drives him every day. “I told my mom when I was 7 years old that I was gonna get her house.
“That’s why I wake up every morning and do what I do.”
Smart has his players share their “why” with one another at well-documented “skull” sessions that have helped the team grow closer together and understand one another.
Mims said understanding the “why” is a critical factor in having success in the Georgia football program.
“If you don’t have a ‘why’ you cannot play at the University of Georgia, I’m just being honest with you,” Mims said. “It’s a hard university to play at, and Coach Smart holds up high standards. So I feel like if you don’t have a why, you’ll break very easily.”
Mims not only has a “why,” he also knows in his heart his “where” and on Thursday he publicly shared his “when.”
The current players who have spoken with the media this spring:
• Carson Beck
• Brock Vandagriff
• Ladd McConkey
• Amarius Mims
• Kendall Milton
• Sedrick Van Pran
• Brock Bowers
• Tate Ratledge
• Arian Smith
• Javon Bullard
• Tykee Smith
• Zion Logue
• Kamari Lassiter
• Smael Mondon
• Nazir Stackhouse