ATHENS — Richard LeCounte shared that the Georgia football team’s mindset is one of resiliency.
It’s in line with what UGA fans wants to hear in the wake of season that ended with two losses and a bumpy offseason.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that could stop us as a team,” LeCounte told the WSB GameDay camera. “Because there’s power in the numbers, so if we come together as one team, we’re as strong as any force ever.”
“We took those lessons and we’re ready to play ball now!”
Are you ready for some football? UGA-style?
Sounds like @LilEasy_35 & the @UGAAthletics are!
More on the Bulldogs Saturdays at 10am on @WSBbulldogs on @wsbtv. pic.twitter.com/5VfQFhm1PB
— Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) June 27, 2019
Georgia will enter the 2019 season ranked among national championship contenders, a popular pick at No. 3 between last year’s CFP title combatants, Alabama and Clemson.
The Bulldogs’ quest for a second straight CFP appearance fell short after a 35-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. It was a contest they led by 14 points in the third quarter and didn’t trail in until the Tide scored the winning touchdown with 1:04 left.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm was unable to answer on the final drive, and after a controversial CFP selection process, the Bulldogs were relegated to the Sugar Bowl.
Texas, playing in its first bowl game outside the Lone Star State in eight years and searching for a 10th win, appeared to be the more motivated team in a 28-21 victory.
The Georgia locker room had its challenges that Saturday night in New Orleans, Justin Fields and Luke Ford suited up even as they knew they were going to transfer, and first-round NFL pick Deandre Baker sitting out to protect his draft status.
LeCounte, who struggled to bring down the Longhorns’ bigger, stronger backs and receivers, said the team has moved on.
“I don’t think we should harp on any of the losses behind us,” LeCounte said. “Those are definitely lessons more than losses. But we took the lessons, and we’re ready to play ball now.”
LeCounte took personal inventory himself, bulking up his upper body this offseason to become a more efficient open-field tackler.
“I just wanted to keep on a little bulk and be a little more physical at the point of attack in tackling,” LeCounte said. “I’m going back to my fundamentals on basic tackling. I’m just trying to be able to help the team and that’s the main reason I did.
“I definitely feel better and more confident in my strength. That was the problem I had last year.”
The work is expected to lead to immediate dividends, as the Phil Steele preseason magazine rated LeCounte as the top NFL draft eligible free safety in college football.
LeCounte, meanwhile, sounds more impressed with Georgia’s celebrated offensive line than himself.
“They’re the biggest line I’ve ever seen, man,” LeCounte said. “It’s scary when you see all five of those guys covering down on the ball at you at one time.
“Those guys can play ball, Coach (Sam) Pittman has a great group over there. Big Andrew (Thomas), Big Solomon (Kindley), they lead those boys in the right direction, and there’s going to be a lot of good ball being played over there.”
“They’re the biggest line I’ve ever seen man!”
The @FootballUGA line is NO JOKE…just ask @LilEasy_35 who has to face those guys in practice.
More on the Bulldogs Saturdays at 10am on @WSBbulldogs on @wsbtv. pic.twitter.com/g1TmSuSNlC
— Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) June 28, 2019