ATHENS — Georgia football is four years removed from its magical run at the College Football Playoff national championship.
The Bulldogs’ roster and staff have largely been overhauled, but as former UGA assistant and current South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer reminded, the formula for another title run could be the same.
“From 2016 to 2017, there was a lot of things, (but) a lot of it was the leadership,” Beamer told DawgNation, sharing insights from his two years on Kirby Smart’s staff. “We didn’t have a bad team in 2016, we didn’t have bad kids.
“But it seemed like when we came back in January 2017, it was just a different mentality.”
Smart says each year the Bulldogs have leadership, but has it come from the right players at the right times?
Beamer shared how it was some of Georgia’s best players leading the way and holding teammates accountable before the 2017 season.
“Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter and Devin Bellamy, those guys said ‘You know what it? It’s going to be different this year,’ “ Beamer recalled. “And the way they held each other accountable and had those other guys follow them, it was a testament to their leadership.
“ And then, obviously Jake Fromm coming and playing like he did, throughout the season, as well.”
Teams are always at their best when their best players are also the best leaders and are willing to be vocal with teammates and hold them accountable.
Quarterback JT Daniels has emerged as an obvious leader and has been rallying the receivers to watch film with him in the offseason, leading to immense expectations for George Pickens and the receivers room.
The competition is running hot in the running backs room and on the offensive line, where some former 5-stars are living up to their billing, while others have yet to prove their worth.
While Daniels leads the backfield and receivers, Jamaree Salyer has been the man looked to on the offensive line.
Defensively the most obvious candidates for leadership at each level are Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean and Lewis Cine.
Dean and Cine are not the most vocal by nature, but the relative inexperience of the players around them in the linebacking and defensive backs room demands they provide strong direction and leadership in the offseason.
One of the UGA football sayings is, “It takes what it takes,” and the 2020 season proved that the Bulldogs did not have the leadership that it took to navigate a championship season.