Dawgs seeking identity, toughness in preseason camp
Georgia says disappointing finishes in ’17, ’18 are behind them
ATHENS, Ga. (WTOC) - The time for talking is over.
That’s the message Kirby Smart delivered as Georgia kicked off preseason camp Friday afternoon in Athens.
There’s been plenty of talk about this team of late, especially on how the last two seasons have ended.
A pair of heartbreaking championship game losses to Alabama and a disappointing Sugar Bowl defeat are the moments that stuck with fans over the offseason.
But they aren’t in the Dawgs’ mind, at least not anymore. Georgia says it’s all about what’s ahead now.
“The past is the past. You know, we’re focused on the future," says junior quarterback Jake Fromm. "Today is about the first day of camp and how we can succeed at that.”
“How we finish is important and we learn from that, but we learn from that in the offseason. You learn from that from the day we get back from those games," Smart says. "We’re always looking forward, and we’re always looking for an opportunity to put ourselves in a good situation to execute. You learn from your mistakes, but we don’t dwell on them.”
Smart’s fourth camp in Athens will be headlined by position battles at wide receiver and on the defensive line. But there is still plenty of talent and experience all over the field for the Bulldog team.
Once again, a championship of the conference and national variety will be expected in Athens and across the Peach State. Georgia enters the next 29 days of practice with that understanding.
“The sky is the limit for us. We can be as good as we want to be," says junior running back D’Andre Swift. "Like I said, we’ve got a great group of guys here, and we’ll find out a lot in camp.”
The Dawgs say that’s what camp is all about: learning and finding an identity. Smart says that will be discovered in the Athens heat over the next month.
“Our team will be defined by how they respond to all these situations. It’s really about who we become in camp," Smart says. "What is our level of toughness? What is our level of effort? What is our level of commitment to all the things we’ve got to be good at?”
“It’s really about coming together and being physically and mentally tough. That’s what we want to be: a tough, physical, disciplined football team,” Fromm says. “This is where you find out the identity of your football team, here at camp.”
Kirby Smart says one thing the Dawgs will have to figure out over the next month: who gets a seat on the bus for the season-opening road game at Vanderbilt. The 2019 season begins August 31.
Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.