What do you say we move away from this basketball coaching search drama and talk some Georgia football?
We are now five days from the start of spring football practice. Barring any unforeseen player drama that takes place during the ongoing spring break — yes, praying is allowed on these matters — the latest version of the Bulldogs will trot out onto Woodruff Practice Fields to give us a glimpse of what’s to come in 2018.
In the meantime, it’s our last opportunity to talk about what just happened in 2017. The Bulldogs are coming off their best season in 15 years. We’re almost exactly two months removed from the end of that 13-2 season, which saw Georgia suffer an excruciatingly close loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game.
But there was much to celebrate about what many believe to be an extremely special season for the Bulldogs. There was an SEC championship, a national runner-up finish and more exciting moments than one fan base could stand. And there were five players, in particular, who had everything in the world with doing that.
So we’ll be doing just that, celebrating Georgia’s 2017 accomplishments and saying thanks both to the players who created many of those exciting moments and the DawgNation readers who were with them every step of the way. DawgNation Appreciation is Thursday from 6-9 p.m. at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Battery Park in Atlanta.
David Greene, David Pollack, Thomas Davis and Terrence Edwards will forever be remembered for what they did for Georgia in 2002. And 15 years later, the same can be said of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Roquan Smith, Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter. Chubb, Michel and Smith will be signing autographs and taking part in a special DawgNation panel discussion. Bellamy also will be there and will be selling his popular Humble Yourself apparel, and Carter will be signing autographs and talking and taking pictures with fans as well.
It’s funny, Bellamy and Carter weren’t originally on the docket. But seeing the first tweets about the upcoming event, the two senior members of Georgia’s famous Wolf Pack of outside linebackers tweeted sarcastic replies to each other about being the players responsible for the two of the most pivotal defensive plays and not being included. Well, they are now, and rightly so!
A limited number of premium tickets are still available. Doors open at 6 p.m. but you’re encouraged to get there early to queue up in the autograph lines and sign up for giveaways. There will be a cash bar, food will be available and there are all kinds of giveaways, including tickets to Georgia home football games.
I’m just excited about catching up with these beloved Bulldogs one more time and asking them about all those crazy things that happened and the behind-the-scenes details we may have missed to this point. So much happened during that last month, between the SEC Championship Game, the Rose Bowl victory over Oklahoma and that harrowing loss in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Since then, these guys have been busy readying themselves for the NFL draft and their impending professional careers. They’ve only recently come from the NFL combine, and next Wednesday they’ll show off their wares for coaches, scouts and executives at Georgia’s pro day on the UGA campus. So they really haven’t had much of a chance to reflect and reminisce. This will be their best chance for that, and we’re excited to be able to bring it to you.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to hear from these guys about the upcoming season. There is a lot of excitement surrounding the 2018 Bulldogs, and that’s based mostly on what happened in 2017. The Bulldogs return much of the offense but will have to rebuild most of the defense. It’ll be interesting to hear some insights from the core group of leaders that coach Kirby Smart gave so much credit for the magical run that was last season.
Getting back into the playoff is the stated goal of the new group as well. The first steps to that end already have been taken during offseason strength and conditioning, and they’ll get under way in earnest with 15 spring practice dates, starting Tuesday and ending with the G-Day Game on April 21 (4 p.m., ESPN).
There’s still plenty of time to get into all that. But first, let’s say thanks one more time too the greatest group of Bulldogs to come together in awhile. See y’all there.