ATHENS — As one of his team’s stars and most experienced players Malcolm Mitchell fielded a lot of questions this week about two Georgia-Alabama games: One he was intimately involved in, and one that happened three years before he got to Georgia.
The first is obvious: Georgia’s loss in the 2012 SEC championship, when a would-be winning touchdown pass to Mitchell was tipped at the line. Asked about that for what seemed the millionth time, Mitchell reiterated that he didn’t think about it much because it was so long ago.
The second game was even longer ago – the infamous, at least on Georgia’s campus, “Blackout” game from 2008. And it wasn’t just the media bringing it up.
“One of the young guys (on the team) said: ‘Hey you think we’re gonna wear the black jerseys?’” Mitchell recalled this week. “I said: ‘Did you hear about the last game?’”
It was a nice light moment. But it also raised the question: Is Mitchell sick of talking about past games that Georgia lost? Does Georgia need to win some of these games to stop it, or are people ignoring some they have won? (Beating South Carolina and LSU in 2013, for instance, two games Mitchell missed because of injury, or the 2012 win over Florida, when Mitchell had the game-clinching touchdown.)
“In terms of competing, wins always make you forget losses,” Mitchell said. “So the more you win, the more you forget about losing. That’s just the way the game goes.”
So how does he think his team will handle this moment?
“It’s exciting. It’s exciting. I’d be being dishonest if I told you it wasn’t,” Mitchell said. “It’s something that I definitely look forward to. That atmosphere will be electrifying. That’ll probably be one of the best feelings we’ve had as a team together. And I’m pretty sure individually it’ll be one of the outstanding feelings anyone’s had. Just being on the field with that many people cheering you on.”
But Mitchell is a veteran of many big games. What about some of the 22 true scholarship freshmen that have played for Georgia this year? Or other players who have been around but never for a game this big?
“It’ll be something different” Mitchell said. “For some guys, that much attention makes them play better. For some it kind of makes them kind of shy away until the snap of the ball. For others, it’s time to compete. It depends on how they respond to that much attention.”