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As 2020 season come to an end, take the time to thank Georgia football
The final game of the 2020 college football season will be played on Monday night as Alabama takes on Ohio State in the national championship game.
The 2020 season was far from perfect for the sport as a whole and Georgia was no exception to some speed bumps along the way. Georgia’s senior day got cancelled twice due to issues with Vanderbilt. Georgia coach Kirby Smart also acknowledged multiple times over the final weeks of the season that COVID-19 impacted the team more and more, though never publicly revealing which players had it.
Related: Georgia on ‘pins and needles’ over Covid-19 tests leading into Peach Bowl
That’s before even getting into the on-field struggles Georgia had this past season. The quarterback situation for the first six games of the season. The defensive play against Alabama and Florida. The offensive line performance against Mississippi State and Cincinnati.
None of it was perfect, but through it all, Georgia players and coaches gave us a 10-game 2020 season. The idea of that being the case back in July and August seemed far-fetched. Especially when the Big Ten and PAC-12 pulled the plug on their seasons.
For Georgia to have pulled this off, the person who perhaps deserves the most credit isn’t a player of head coach Kirby Smart. It’s actually Ron Courson.
Courson serves as the Senior Associate Athletic Director of Sports Medicine for Georgia. He played an incredibly important role in shaping not just Georgia’s handling of COVID-19, but at the SEC level as well.
“I don’t think we would have made it through COVID-19 had we not had Ron Courson,” Georgia President Jere Morehead said last week. “He was so valuable to not only us, but the SEC. The Commissioner had Ron working on their medical task force, making the decisions necessary to play football this fall and knew that in him we had the very best anywhere.”
Smart thanked Courson for the job he had done for Georgia throughout the season. More so than JT Daniels or Azeez Ojulari, Courson did more for Georgia this season than anyone as he ensured that there would be a season worth celebrating.
The players also deserve massive amounts of credit for taking the proper measures to ensure they’d be able to play every week. Say what you want about on-field performance this season, but the weekly sacrifices made by the members of the Georgia football team should not go unnoticed.
“I’m really proud of these guys, how hard they fought,” Smart said. “I don’t think anybody really truly understands, not just Georgia, but how hard it was on entire college football to be persistent, to go this long, practice this long.
“My hat goes off to the guys in the room.”
Smart himself also deserves some credit for he helped the Georgia football program navigate the 2020 season. He never once tried to downplay the seriousness of what was happening or demand that Sanford Stadium be filled with fans after a loss. Unlike the two coaches in Monday’s game, he also did not have to miss a game due to COVID-19.
Smart built a culture that helped make getting through this season a possibility. Players spoke often about how they put it upon themselves to make sure everyone was following proper protocols. That type of discipline and focus comes from the head coach.
Hopefully, things begin to improve in the coming months when it comes to the pandemic and the 2021 season has a chance of looking like a more normal one.
One where fans will be able to pack Sanford Stadium. Or travel to road games. A season that doesn’t involve waiting on Thursday test results, or learning on Friday at noon that Saturday’s game has been cancelled.
Given Georgia’s championship standards, the 2020 season was a disappointment. The Bulldogs suffered double-digit losses to Florida and Alabama. It was the first time since the 2016 season that Georgia did win the SEC East.
Related: 2020 was not a successful year for Georgia football, but that doesn’t make it a failure
But the Bulldogs did seem to find a potent passing game once Daniels was inserted into the starting lineup. With Daniels and a number of weapons coming back for 2021, Georgia seems to be well-positioned to be one of the elite teams in 2021.
We’ll get a great first look at what Georgia can do on Sept. 4 when the Bulldogs take on Clemson in what should be one of the most-hyped games of the offseason. The game is something to really look forward to through the early parts of 2021.