A Glimpse of Greatness

I don’t know if y’all have checked out Eric Zeier’s blog, but I think it’s pretty awesome. I like hearing from the perspective of someone who’s been out there and I also likes that he’s a realist with a side of optimism, which is super refreshing after hearing lots of ‘BobosucksCoxsucksMartinezsucksThisseasonsucks.’

And it even brings a tear to my eye.

God, I love this team.

So here’s his blog from last week against S. Carolina.

EricZeier

All together now…WHEW! After four exhilarating, or should I say excruciating hours, the entire Bulldog Nation could finally exhale and celebrate in victorious joy as our Dawgs found a way to finish the drill against a Gamecock team that simply would not go away. The victory may not have been a thing of beauty: two fumbles, a pick six, a snap over the head of our punter resulting in a safety and a flurry of penalties that ushered in thoughts of last year; but it was a victory nonetheless, and in that, we can all find joy.

To put this in perspective for all you golfers out there, let me tell you a story. I have been an avid golfer since I was about 10 years old. Over that time, I have hit a few shots that were majestic, that came off the club face exactly as I had planned. But over that timeframe I have had one hole-in-one. When I tell the story, I typically choose to leave out many of the boring details and simply get to the point: I was on a par three, took out my eight iron, striped the shot, and then went to pick it up out of the hole. In reality, the details of the event were not quite as simple. The day was a cold one, roughly 35 degrees outside, cold enough that any shot not hit flush would sting your hands for the next five or six shots. I stepped up on the tee box that day and struggled with which club to hit, then chose the 8 iron because it was so cold I needed something extra just to reach the green. I had so many clothes on that making a full swing was nearly impossible, so I took the club back to about 9 o’clock, started my downswing, and then hit a shot so thin every bit of feeling in my hands immediately left my body. The sting of the impact made me drop the club immediately as the ball took off towards the green no more than 10 feet off the ground.

My playing partners were bent over in laughter as I was complaining about why on earth we had decided to play golf on a day that they would consider calling off a football game. I made my way to the green and couldn’t find my ball, so I began the search behind the green in hopes of finding it, primarily so I would not have to go back to the box to re-tee it. After 4 minutes of searching, I finally gave up and began the humiliating trek back to the tee box and just happened to walk by the cup. You guessed it, as I was walking past the hole I happened to look down and there was my ball…smiling back up at me. My first hole-in-one!

It was not a thing of beauty, but in the end, they do not draw pictures on the scorecard, nor do they draw pictures on wins and losses when the season is done. Our victory over South Carolina was not exactly how we would have drawn it up, but it is a win nonetheless, and it is a win that helped answer some questions about what type of character this team has, and what kind of identity it may fully develop.

The fumbles, the pick, the safety, the penalties…each was met with answers from this team that you would not expect. They responded above and beyond expectations. Brandon Boykin returned kickoffs as if he were running on air; Branden Smith blazed his way into the end zone off of a reverse that made everyone think we were at a track meet and not a football game; A.J. Green took flight to make the impossible catch look ordinary (TWICE!); Richard Samuel was running through, over and around tacklers every time he touched the football; and Joe Cox, amid the rumors, speculation and expectations that come with being a quarterback at a major college, calmly dismissed all of the talk and played his game. Save the pick six, Joe played in a fashion that can take this team to victory week in and week out, and the beauty of it is he will only get better. The answers did not stop on the offensive side of the ball.

Defensively, we applied pressure to Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia all night long, this after one year of constant question of whether or not we have the talent to do so. The answer is yes, we have the talent to do so and it is deep. Willie Martinez shuffled defensive linemen in and out of the ballgame faster than our spotters could keep up with, and each performed well consistently in the face of the Gamecocks QB. In the end, the final magical play came from the always-consistent Rennie Curran, knocking down a final Garcia pass to preserve the victory. Was it pretty? Not all of the time. But in the end it was a thing of beauty.

Last week I wrote about finding your identity, and that it can happen in one game or one play. We will know for sure if this Bulldog team found their identity last Saturday several weeks from now, but I feel quite certain that we caught a very good glimpse of what it will be. It is a team that will fight through adversity, it is a team that will believe in itself, it is a team than can be explosive on every play, it is a team that will finish the drill. The mistakes will start to disappear as inexperience is replaced with time on the field. Saturday was the first successful step in a very long journey and the road will be difficult, but I for one like the picture that was painted on Saturday Night! Go Dawgs!

(By the way, I don’t have permission to do this, but eh. Hopefully UGA won’t kill me and kick me out. I would like to walk under the Arch at some point!)

(But you can check out his blog for yourself at georgiadogs.com and you should. And hopefully he’ll have good things to say after we travel to Arkansas this week!)

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