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Georgia junior DL Jalen Carter had a big day against Tennessee. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)

How Georgia football became the toughest team in college football: ‘It’s not built for everybody’

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How Georgia football became the toughest team in College football

ATHENS — Georgia wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint knows how Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker felt at the end of Saturday’s 27-13 win. The Tennessee quarterback remained on the ground after being thrown down by Georgia linebacker Rian Davis, the final time he was slammed into the Sanford Stadium turf on the wet afternoon.

Hooker lay sprawled out on his hands and knees, head hung as he tried to find the ability to overcome the physical pounding accrued over the course of four quarters.

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was sacked 6.0 times on Saturday.
Screenshot, Dawgnation

For Rosemy-Jacksaint, he found that moment early on in his time at Georgia. As a freshman, he recalls going over the middle of the field to catch a pass during practice. As he was running a deep over route, he failed to see safety Richard LeCounte.

Bang. The senior safety put the young wide receiver on the ground, unofficially welcoming him to Georgia football.

“It’s every single day,” Rosemy-Jacksaint said. “That’s something we have to embrace because that’s how we play our game of football. It’s physical here at Georgia. If you don’t like it, you can’t be here at Georgia. If you’re not willing to put your hands on somebody then this isn’t for you. You’re not supposed to be here.”

Rosemy-Jacksaint is able to look back and laugh about that moment now. His time at Georgia hasn’t just made him physically tougher, but mentally as well. It’s both of those aspects working in tandem that best explain why Georgia continues to dominate college football

Kirby Smart hasn’t built the best offensive team or most-talented team this season. But it’s hard not to look at what has happened with this Georgia program over the past two seasons and not marvel at just how much more physical Georgia seems than the competition.

Plenty of 5-star prospects check the talent and character boxes that Smart desires as a coach. Once on campus, that is where Georgia goes to work on strengthening its players’ mental toughness.

Consider the development of Kelee Ringo. He was the highest-rated signee in Georgia’s 2020 signing class. He has every single tool an NFL decision-maker drools over for a cornerback.

Related: Kelee Ringo turns back Tennessee with textbook coverage, interception in end zone

Yet prior to the game against Tennessee, audio from Georgia’s practice leaked on social media. In it, you could hear Smart cursing like a Martin Scorsese movie and calling out Ringo. It was tough coaching to be sure, something that not everyone might respond to.

“I wouldn’t say it bothers me too much but I felt like my freshman year, I didn’t play the entire season, so I’ve seen a lot of it just being on the sideline throughout practices and learning how to react from it,” Ringo said. “I definitely asked a lot of players how they reached from it because obviously when you’re really fatigued on the field, you just messed up a few plays or you gave up a few balls and Coach Smart is on you on something that you didn’t do right, it can mess with your mental.

“So trying to stay strong mentally and just realizing that he’s only trying to help you with the message that he’s giving.”

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