ATLANTA — Channing Tindall has a championship on his mind for his time at UGA.
That came to his mind after the tough SEC championship game loss to Alabama. Tindall already knows he made the right choice to come to Georgia as the No. 3 overall player from South Carolina in 2018.
“I have never regretted my decision on coming to Georgia,” Tindall said from the Bulldog locker room. “I love every guy in here. Just being with the team and coach [Kirby] Smart and coach [Glenn] Schumman. Coach Schumann, I think, is one of the better defensive coaches ever.”
“I’ll never want to take that [choice] back. I’m glad I came to Georgia and we are going to win the national championship next year.”
When he met the media for the first time after the tough SEC title game loss, he thought of several things.
The game plan. His freshman year now mostly in the rearview. His “Welcome to the SEC” moment.
But mostly, his heart was on the present.
“This was the toughest loss I have gone through,” he said. “But really what is on my mind right now is I’m really feeling for the seniors. Natrez [Patrick], JT [Juwan Taylor] and I really learned a lot from them. I’m really feeling for those boys right now. I know how much this meant to all of us. I know that this is their last year and I wanted them to go out with a bang.”
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound defender has a view of what the future holds for the program.
“It is going to be really bright I can tell you that,” Tindall said. “As you can see now, we were the underdogs coming into this game. We showed the world we are still able to ball [with them] and we are just going to keep getting better and better. You’ll see in the future.”
Channing Tindall on his adjustment to Georgia
Tindall watched Alabama beat Georgia earlier this year for the national championship. When he did, he wanted to be a part of the team that rematched with the Tide and created a different outcome.
He has now experienced the “hard works” that are necessary during the off-season now. Tindall said the Bulldogs played
“I know what it takes to get here now and know what it takes to get better,” he said.
The talented freshman pointed to his first day of fall camp. Was it eye-opening?
More like paralyzing.
“I’m going to tell you what,” Tindall said as he began his thought. “The first day of fall camp. That’s when I knew I was at the University of Georgia. The first day of fall camp we had like 15, 16 periods [of practice] and I think I was at the 15th period. I caught a full-body cramp. Barely could breathe. Justing sitting there and soaking [in the tub] for like an hour in there. I was like ‘Ok, now its time to get serious. You are in college. This is your freshman year.'”
He remembers an early special teams rep in the second game of the year against South Carolina. He was on the kickoff return team and he met his match.
Maybe it was his overmatch.
That was T.J. Brunson. Brunson was an old rival at Richland Northeast. Those two locked up last when Tindall when a sophomore at Spring Valley High in Columbia.
“I remember we used to tussle and everything,” Tindall said of their high school days. “I used to be able to handle him a little bit. Now, when we got to the first play of the game. He hit me and I was like ‘Whoa snap’ and it just hit me then. This is the right deal. You need to get in the weight room and start doing better.”
Tindall said that coach Smart’s felt for the Georgia seniors in his message to the team afterward.
“That’s what he was really feeling after the game and it is what I am feeling right now, too,” Tindall said. ”
He said his team “played their butts off” against Alabama holding that offense down more than any other team in college football has this year.
There was no doubt in his mind that the Bulldogs were one of the four best teams in the nation this fall.
“We did everything the coaches wanted us to do,” Tindall said. “We were physical. Everything. It was just at the end of the play we just couldn’t finish.”