As we move closer to the start of the UGA football season against Boise St., I suspect many of us are pondering how many wins Georgia will tally by the end of the 2011 football campaign. Many Bulldog fans are prognosticating various win/loss records, carefully evaluating each opponent. This year, as much as any I can remember, perhaps should be judged by a different metric than wins and losses. There is simply no way that a simple accounting of games won or loss can represent the full measure of whether there is true accomplishment and growth in the University of Georgia football team.
I despise the ‘wait until next year’ philosophy (and boy oh boy, is there ever a fan base more likely to repeat ‘wait until next year’ than South Carolina fans? What a bunch of relentless optimists). The facts are this: UGA has a ridiculously talented young football team, with the emphasis here on ‘young’. Skill-positions are represented by freshmen and sophomores and Georgia’s toughest two games of the year figure to be their first two.
No matter what happens in week one and week two (Boise State, South Carolina), great patience may be required (and I realize the collective patience of Bulldog Nation has worn thin). Still, this year would be an excellent year to evaluate this team on the things that in recent years have gone missing: Leadership…effort…conditioning…passion…gang tackling…winning the fourth quarter. An athlete cannot be faulted for inexperience and lack of talent (although this team is surely not short of talent). An athlete can and should be faulted for lack of effort.
In addition, if one were to evaluate Mark Richt’s future at UGA, judging his (perhaps) final year based upon mistakes made by a freshman may not fair or accurate. I would evaluate Mark Richt at the end of the day with one simple metric: Do his teams come prepared to play SEC football?
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