ATHENS — Georgia football is two days from kicking off the voluntary workout sessions (June 8) amid these unprecedented COVID-19 times.
It’s safe to say the players are ready to get back at it. The Bulldogs are hungry to win a fourth-straight SEC East Division crown, another SEC championship and compete in the College Football Playoffs.
It’s fair to say those are the expectations at Georgia.
But before the ball kicks off again this fall, there are still plenty of issues that need to be settled.
It has been a busy week across the nation, beyond the pandemic, as the country comes to grips to societal issues that must be recognized and prioritized.
UGA athletic director Greg McGarity did just that at the board of directors meeting, directing his opening comments toward racial awareness.
“We must come to grips with the social issues that are present, and commit to doing all within our power to be part of the solution that direly needs our focus and attention,” McGarity said in his opening statement at the UGA board of directors meeting on Thursday.
“Racism, hatred and bigotry have no place anywhere, and it continues to be our responsibility to foster an environment of trust, inclusion, understanding and action.”
The University of Georgia followed up with a statement on it’s Twitter account Friday, but also, a video with defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and players off last year’s top-scoring defense.
The “Do You Hear Me” video should be required viewing for all Georgia fans, delivering a message that resonates.
— Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) June 5, 2020
Here are three other highlights from the Friday night show that were discussed:
1. Quarterback room
Georgia’s quarterback room is currently the envy of the nation with the addition of 5-star quarterback transfer JT Daniels.
Tennessee and Michigan, two other high-profile programs with plenty of tradition, fan support and high-dollar coaching to offer, were trying to get Daniels on their respective campuses.
Instead, Daniels elected to jump into a Georgia quarterback derby that already includes Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman, former Ohio State commit and recently cleared D’Wan Mathis, former Florida Mr. Football Carson Beck and redshirt junior Stetson Bennett.
Oh, and the Bulldogs have a commit from 5-star 2021 quarterback Brock Vandagriff.
Newman was recruited to win the job, but if Daniels is granted a waiver for immediate eligibility, he’ll be provided an opportunity to compete.
2. D’Wan Mathis cleared
It’s hard to overlook a 6-foot-6 football player who has run a 10.8-second time in the 100 meters and can throw a football accurately, but to some extent that has happened at UGA.
There are reasons for that. Most recently, because Mathis had emergency brain surgery on May 22, 2019, and many were skeptical he would be cleared after landing in ICU with his skull split open.
Mathis received his final clearance for game action last week, however, and is now very much in the quarterback derby.
Mathis’ father, Terence, is a part of the DawgNation family and interacted with commenters on the Friday Night Mike Show.
3. O-Line talk
The first reaction from some fans when an analyst says something they don’t like is to attempt to discredit the analyst: “What do they know anyway?”
Well, in the case of ESPN’s Cole Cubelic, he knows plenty as a former Auburn offensive lineman and the chairman of the voting committee for the Joe Moore Award, which goes to the top offensive line in college football.
Cubelic ranks the Georgia offensive line No. 4 in the SEC heading into the season, and said it would probably be even lower if Matt Luke wasn’t coaching the unit.
What Cubelic doesn’t and can’t account for are the players who have been in development or were recently added. Players like Xavier Truss, Broderick Jones and Clay Webb could quickly change those ratings should the evolve into the sort of players Kirby Smart believed they could be when he offered them scholarships.