Georgia Bulldogs

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96

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As we stroll into the dog days of summer, many of us die hard Dawgs look to the upcoming football season while reminiscing about the great run that Georgia has been on. And it has been unquestionably the greatest run in University of Georgia History.

Yes, Wally Butts had some of those great early teams. The Rose Bowl win 9-0 over UCLA and national championship in 1942 was one for the ages.

It would be another 40-some-odd years before Vince, Herschel, Buck, Lindsey and the boys took UGA to the mountain top with the great run beginning with the 1980 national championship win over Notre Dame. Throw in the great games that year with South Carolina and above all Florida and it was a year like no other.

Fast forward to 2015 and enter one Mr. Kirby Smart. Since then, Georgia has been arguably the best college football team in the country.

Into this growing dynasty walks one Jack Podlesny in 2018. And he literally walks in as a walk on.

Coming from Glynn Academy, Jack Podlesny was a known commodity. He had hit 9 out of 10 field goals and 49-51 PATs. He was an all-region soccer player and had great technique. He had offers from Michigan, Georgia Tech and others but chose instead to walk on at the University of Georgia.

Georgia at the time was having a bromance with Rodrigo Blankenship. He was Georgia’s kicker and one of the most popular players on the team, and around the nation. It was hard not to love “Hot Rod” and those horn-rimmed glasses, but his time ran out at Georgia. It was time to find another kicker.

Enter Jack Podlesny. The young kicker redshirted and learned in 2018, backed up Blankenship in 2019, and then the next year won the starting job in preseason and responded by going 13-16 on field goals and nailing all 38 extra points.

It earned him a spot as a Lou Groza Award semifinalist. Who can forget the Peach Bowl and young Jack walking on the field to try a 53-yard game winning field goal with SEVEN seconds left on the clock. The ball is snapped, put down and the national announcer goes……  THERE IT IS…………………. GOT IT!!!!  Jack was 3-3 on Field goals in the game and named the Offensive Player of the Game.

Podlesny would go on to be one of the greatest kickers in University of Georgia history. Kevin Butler, Rex Robinson, Blair Walsh, Billy Bennett, Rodrigo Blankenship…. All great players. And yet none have the trophy case that Jack Podlesny has. Two national championship rings,  SEC special teams player of the year 2022, first team All SEC 2022, etc etc etc.

By the end of the 2022 season “Hot Pod” would go on to set numerous records including most points scored in a season at UGA. He would light it up for 151 points in 2022 and have the second most points 137 in 2021. He stands second in career field goal percentage to his mentor Blankenship at 82.47 for “Rod” and 82.43 for “Pod”.

While Jack is now with the Green Bay Packers, he recently received another honor that I’m sure he will cherish. UGA Sports just started counting down to the 2024 season by naming the greatest players in Georgia football history by descending numbers worn 99 to 0.

With number 96 worn by Jack Podlesny. A scrawny kid from St Simons, GA who grew up playing youth soccer on Jekyll then football at Glynn Academy.

The best football player in University of Georgia History to wear Number 96.

 

Smart Move

By: Jeb Watkins

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is now the highest paid coach in college football.

Coach Smart’s new deal keeps him in Athens for the next 10 years and he is set to collect 130 million dollars along the way.

He becomes the first college coach ever to make 13 million per year. It’s safe to say Kirby has secured the bag.

So, what does this contract mean for the UGA faithful? Well.. it means no worries for the rest of your days.. ha.

But no, seriously, this deal means another decade of bragging rights, stability, and dominance.

It also means more of Kirby’s fiery half time speeches that will have you ready to run through a brick wall and who doesn’t want to see more of his signature sideline celebrations, am I right?

He is a proven leader and a master motivator. Dawg fans should be ecstatic about locking down the greatest coach in UGA history and the greatest active coach in college football right now.

There’s no doubt Kirby is at the top of his game and is showing no signs of slowing down. When Smart became the new head coach back in 2016, feelings were mixed about moving on from former head coach Mark Richt. Georgia was handing the reins to someone with no head coaching experience.

And to be fair, Smart did have some growing pains early on and got outcoached more than few times his first couple of seasons.

Eventually those mixed feelings would go away after trusting the process paid off. Fans watched as Smart turned the UGA football program into a perennial powerhouse, silencing all the doubters and exceeding all expectations.

Dawg fans let us count our blessings. To start, 6 sec east division crowns and undefeated in regular season conference play for the past three seasons. Talk about bragging rights against your rivals.

Smart has dominated the SEC east and even with the new Pod system in place I don’t see that changing.. Top 5 recruiting classes and numerous NFL draft picks every year. Two SEC championships and most importantly back-to-back National Titles, which ended the 40-year natty drought.

That’s all just within his first 10 years, given another decade smart could very well build a dynasty of his own to rival former boss Nick Saban.

Considering that Saban is the only coach to beat Smart in the past 3 seasons, who’s going to stop Kirby and the Dawgs now?

So, looking ahead what does this contract extension mean for the football program going forward? Simply put. More of the same. More 5-stars, more SEC blowout wins, more playoff games, and more National Titles.

Also, the new 12 team playoff format rolls out in the 2024 season with the Bulldogs returning 16 starters on top of all the talent buried in the depth chart.

I think Kirby and his Dawgs should be the favorites to win it all. But favorites or not, you can bet Coach Smart will have his dawgs prepared and hungry for a championship when the time comes.

Reckless Driving

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The off-season for two consecutive seasons has been filled with much of the same that everyone around the country in today’s college football.

Transfer portal additions/subtractions, NIL meetings, spring football, but one thing that has been more prevalent than any team across the college football landscape in the public eye has been the off-field issues and more specifically run-ins with law enforcement on traffic related issues at the University of Georgia.

Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart has been under scrutiny especially the last two years because dozens of citations and arrests due to speeding, reckless driving, DUI, and other serious traffic offenses.

The latest of these came in late March when star transfer running back Trevor Etienne was arrested on four misdemeanor charges including DUI and reckless driving.

Etienne transferred to Athens after spending two seasons at SEC rival Florida. In his two campaigns with the Gators, Etienne rushed for 1,472 yards and scored 15 total touchdowns and was expected to be a key piece along with quarterback Graham Mertz before Etienne entered the transfer portal.

The addition of Etienne to the running back room for the Bulldogs made perfect sense after Georgia lost their top two rushers from a year ago as Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton take their talents to the NFL.

According to the UGA Athletic Department policy, Etienne will at minimum miss 10% of the 2024 season (equates to at least one game), if found guilty of the DUI charge.

Etienne was also charged with speeding and reckless driving for traveling between 80 to 90-mph in a 50-mph zone while also crossing the double yellow line to pass cars on two occasions.

Head Coach Kirby Smart has only commented that the team and athletic department will let the legal actions run its course before officially announcing if there will be or the length of the suspension of Etienne.

While Georgia has been hammered by the media and outside noise, most don’t focus on the steps that Athletic Director Josh Brooks and others in the athletic department have done to help aid the situation.

In an interview with ESPN, Sophomore offensive lineman Earnest Greene III said there have been numerous programs put into place ranging from conversations with local police officers, AD Josh Brooks, and Head Coach Kirby Smart about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Greene also said, “it’s on us” and went on to say that Smart has stressed the importance of the players taking ownership of the team and policing themselves.

Like most situations in college sports nowadays, there seems to be two drastically different sides, then the truth falls somewhere in the middle.

On one side, it seems like there is an inordinate number of arrests for speeding, DUI, and other serious traffic violations within the Georgia Football program.

On the other hand, there is only so much Josh Brooks and Kirby Smart can do to control 18–25-year-olds, also the Athens local law enforcement has earned the reputation of being somewhat stricter than most college towns.

Again, my two cents, I think it falls in the middle. Is there an issue for Georgia Football with the behaviors of SOME student-athletes? Sure, I don’t know that anyone would dispute that.

But I also think it easily gets overblown for a couple of reasons. Yes, there have been somewhere between 14-18 players involved in an incident like this, but I don’t think it’s unique to Georgia.

The Bulldogs are just the ones that are 1. Published about, and 2. Talked about because of the rise of Georgia Football.

So, and this coming from someone that’s not a die-hard Georgia fan, sure there is an issue that needs to be addressed and is being addressed by the athletic department and Georgia Football, but it also gets blown out of proportion due to a number of factors around Athens.

Plenty Of Bite

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The expectations are through the roof.

The Georgia Bulldogs finished (13-1) but came up short last season in their quest to become the first three-peat national champion in modern-day history.

A 63-3 Orange Bowl win over FSU showed the nation that Georgia was good enough to accomplish the 3-peat but the system in place did not allow it.

Now, we go to a 12-team playoff in 2024, and after 8 straight top three recruiting classes Georgia is poised to be in the mix for another run at a national championship.

The Bulldogs have been known for defense during this run the program has been on, but what goes unnoticed is how productive and explosive the UGA offense has been over the past two seasons.

It all starts at the QB position for UGA. ESPN has named Carson Beck as the best returning QB in the country for this fall.

Beck passed for 3,941 yards in 2023 and had a 72.4% completion percentage with 24 TD passes. Beck is a Heisman Trophy contender going into the 2024 season and if he can lead UGA back into the college football playoffs he may just bring the Heisman to UGA for the first time since 1982 when you know who won it.

He patiently waited his turn in Athens in an era of ‘I want to play now or transfer’. That mentality won over the UGA locker room last fall, and now the decision to return for 2024 has Beck leading a team that many will predict to win a national championship.

At running back UGA has a loaded room. Trevor Etienne comes in from Florida and the expectations are high for the junior with plenty of SEC game experience.

Roderick Robinson returns, and Branson Robinson is recovering from a knee injury.

Nate Frazier leads a trio of incoming first-year students that will re-stock the running back room.

At wide receiver Dillon Bell, Rara Thomas and Dominic Lovett will lead a deep room that still includes Arian Smith and some highly touted transfer portal additions.

This is a deep group that will give Beck plenty of options in the passing game. Georgia offense put up prolific numbers in 2023, and 2024 should be no different.

At Tight End Oscar Delp takes over for the legend of Brock Bowers in Athens. Delp is productive but has huge shoes to fill. He will be the next great UGA tight end.

The offensive line is a place UGA has recruited very well and will reload.

Former Camden County Wildcat Micah Morris will compete for a starting position in the spring and summer, and the UGA coaches are extremely high on former Brunswick High Pirate Jamal Meriweather, who bulked up thirty-five pounds during his redshirt season last fall.

Jared Wilson has all conference potential at center, Earnest Greene is a budding superstar at left tackle.

For all the hype Kirby Smart gets for recruiting defensive stars he also has developed a roster of studs on the offensive side of the ball.

Nobody manages a roster better than Kirby Smart, and now with the retirement of Nick Saban the best coach in the country resides in Athens, Georgia.

Repeat after me Kirby Smart is the best college football coach in the country, and he will have an offense in 2024 that will prove it. He might just maybe have his first Heisman Trophy winner as a head coach.

The Portal

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As the Bulldawg nation slides into 2024 there is so much to look forward to.

The past few years have firmly stationed Kirby Smart as one of the best college football coaches in the country. Probably THE BEST with the recent retirement of the GOAT, Nick Saban from Alabama.

And while Kirby prefers to build his Dawgs through the traditional means of recruitment of the best high school players throughout the country, he is also dealing with the here and now, and that means NIL and the Portal.

The Dawgs have used the Portal in the past to great success.

Players such as Derion Kendrick, Lawrence Cager, Tre McKitty, J.T. Daniels, Tykee Smith, Dominic Lovett, and Ra Ra Thomas all found their way to Athens through the Portal.

In 2024 the Bulldogs will welcome several pieces to the puzzle in Trevor Etienne the great RB from the lousy stinking Gators, Colbie Young a 6’5” WR from Miami, and Xzavier McLeod a highly recruited 325 lb defensive lineman from the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Add in London Humphreys, a speedy WR from Vanderbilt, who reminds me of our own great Ladd McConkey, and Jake Pope a former 4-star DB from Alabama and the Dawgs got just what they needed.

And while the portal giveth………. The portal also taketh away. If you put all the former Georgia players who have left the program in the Kirby era on one team, that team would compete for a national championship. Think I’m kidding?  Check out this list.

 

QBs……………………  Justin Fields, JT Daniels, Brock Vandagriff

 

RBs……………………. Sevaughn Clark

 

WRs and TEs………. Demetris Robertson, Arik Gilbert, Dom Blaylock, AD Mitchell, Luke Ford, Matt Landers, Jermaine Burton, Justin Robinson. Brett Seither, Mekhi Mews

 

O-line………………….. Clay Webb, Cade Mays, Jacob Hood, Joshua Miller, Aliou Bah, Austin Blaske

 

D-line………………….. Bear Alexander, Marvin Jones Jr., Jonathan Jefferson, Brenton Cox, Jermaine Johnson, Bill Norton

 

LBs…………………….. Trezmen Marshall, C. J. Madden, Darris Smith, Xavian Sorey, Jamon Dumas-Johnson,

 

DBs…………………….. Latavious Brini, Jalen Kimber, Ameer Speed, Major Burns, Otis Reese, Jaheim Singletary, A.J. Harris, Nyland Green

 

Heck let’s just throw in a kicker also………… Jared Zirkel

And I won’t even get into the coaches! Fran Brown, Dan Lanning etc etc.

It’s amazing how much talent has gone in and out of Athens in the last few years.

While some will pine for the good old days when high school recruiting was the end all be all, the NIL and portal are here to stay. It will always be fluctuating as players seek greener pastures for numerous reasons whether it be money, playing time, coaching changes, grades, etc etc.

Georgia will win some and lose some just like the Caleb Downs sweepstakes. But through it all, Kirby and the Dawgs will continue their recent run of success.

Why will the Dawgs continue to win? Because they are being built to last. Look at that list above. It’s incredible the amount of talent that has left Athens.

But the kicker is that the Dawgs will bring in the #1 ranked recruiting class in the nation again this year. And with Nick cooling his jets at his new multimillion dollar pad in Florida, the one guy that could recruit with Kirby is now sipping a pina colada.

Its next man up in Athens and the next man might be better than the one he is replacing.

Yes, the Portal and NIL will continue to affect college football in ways we haven’t seen before. The combination of recruiting number one and the portal use as needed is what will keep the Dawgs on top………… You don’t believe me………just watch!

 

Not A Big Deal?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The University of Georgia is on the verge of losing a five-star quarterback, who is the biggest name in his recruiting class. And the reaction from the program  is … meh?

Maybe Dylan Raiola bailing on Georgia will prove laughable. Maybe Raiola will end up being a great quarterback who dearly costs the Bulldogs. Maybe this will become part of a problem with the would-be dynasty Georgia program.  As they begin to lose power on and then off the field after coming up short of the top 4.

Right now, it seems like a bigger recruiting story than it is a Georgia story.

Of course, Georgia wants to keep Raiola. That’s why Kirby Smart, Mike Bobo and this staff pursued him so heavily in the first place, even when they already had and liked another quarterback in the same class. That’s why as of this writing the staff is still working to keep him with the knowledge that Raiola will be visiting Nebraska, per sources close to the program.,

With signing day next week, this does not bode well. Losing any big-time prospect, especially a quarterback, would sting.

On the other hand, it’s hard to think of this as a major, program-changing event .Not when Georgia just won two national championships with a former walk-on at QB1. Not when the same program just had another unbeaten regular season with a former four-star, who ranked No. 250 overall in 2020.

Georgia is a program that keeps trying to score an elite quarterback recruit, and after they wind up with an underdog from the scrap pile, they win games anyway.

Enough about the high school to college jump- In the past two years, Georgia has had eight players go in the first round of the NFL Draft. Zero were quarterbacks.

With 25 players drafted overall, Bennett is the only quarterback: taken in the fourth round. For UGA, the quarterback position is critical, but it’s not the position the Bulldogs revolve around.

With that being said, Beck returning for 2024 would be paramount. Looking at the way Beck played this year and the way Bennett played before Beck, after they developed they utilized the talent beaming around them.

One might argue — because some are — that Raiola, or a great quarterback prospect like him, could take the offense to another level. Like, say, top five nationally in passing offense?

Well, don’t worry, that was Georgia this year. Or top 10 in scoring and total offense? Well, that was Georgia in each of their past three years without their fancy five-star quarterback.

If Georgia can do all that with Bennett and Beck, it can do it with Ryan Puglisi, another quarterback commit in the 2024 class.

Puglisi is a four-star from Connecticut, committed to Georgia in October 2022. When Georgia pursued and landed Raiola eight months later, many speculated Puglisi’s decommitment would follow.

The first priority for Georgia is holding on to Beck for 2024, then turning the reins over to Gunner Stockton, Puglisi or whoever is added eventually via the portal or recruiting in the always bright future of a championship contending program.

Stockton, the top-50 overall recruit in the 2022 class, the third-string quarterback the past two years, figures to be No. 2 in 2024 and could end up being the next Beck. He could be the quarterback who sticks around, learns, and develops, and leaves with a ring.

Georgia doing that with two consecutive starters at a time when every quarterback seems to be a transfer would be a sentimental nod to a seemingly bygone era of farming championship talent rather than shopping for it.

Raiola is very good. But this flip, if it happens, would hurt Georgia less than it would help Nebraska. In fact, one could argue it would be better for college football (looking at you TV execs).

That doesn’t mean Georgia should just stand aside and let it happen. Smart didn’t get to three national championship games with an “oh well” mentality. The inability to hold on to elite quarterbacks has been frustrating for Georgia fans.

Maybe QB1 still ends up being Raiola, maybe if Georgia can pull off a last-ditch effort to keep him. If not, it’s setting up Puglisi or Stockton to be the next underdog story at quarterback.

Can you understand Georgia’s reaction (or lack of one)? They still have a plan. Bennett, Beck, and Fromm can say with a straight face: Meh, it’s not a big deal.

Almighty Georgia Bulldogs

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The St. Johns River will soon be flooded with fans of orange and blue, and fans of red and black. It’s Florida-Georgia week, one like none other in over 30 years.

The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators will meet at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday and Georgia will come into the game as the two time defending National Champions.

Georgia handled business in their last game when they defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 37-20. They will look to nurse their injured players during their bye week and return with more strength on the roster.

The Gators, on the other hand, overcame a double-digit deficit on the road to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks. They’ll also be taking advantage of the week off.

Despite both teams coming off wins, the Bulldogs still find themselves as massive favorites. Georgia is currently a -23.5 point favorite over the arch-rival Florida Gators.

The Bulldogs, 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC East with a Oct. 28 showdown with Florida approaching, lost their Superman (Brook Bowers) to an ankle injury that required surgery.

Bowers is a junior and will enter the NFL Draft after the season. A high ankle sprain heals by itself with plenty of time before the NFL combine.

Instead, Bowers is getting the tightrope surgery, and right away. That’s a huge sign from him that he wants to play again this season for Georgia.

He doesn’t need to show anything to NFL scouts. But his team is in contention for a national championship, and while it’s easy for outsiders to say “Just opt out, make a business decision,” it’s much harder for someone to abandon his teammates when a ring is on the line.

Bowers has played in every game since he arrived at Georgia. He’s not the sole reason Georgia is 36-1 over that span, but he’s a big reason the offense took off during that time: Defenses had to account for him in coverage, and Bowers is also a good blocker.

The Bulldogs are still loaded with talent. Carson Beck, in his first year as Georgia’s starting quarterback, has the fourth-most passing yards (2,147) in the nation. And barely more than a quarter of those (26.4 percent) have gone to Bowers.

Oscar Delp, who now becomes TE1, is no slouch. He’s Georgia’s fifth-leading receiver and was a top-100 recruit in the 2022 class. His blocking has been rough at times, which is why Lawson Luckie may see a lot of snaps in rotation as TE2.

Georgia’s main emphasis may become “spread-out-and-throw”. Beck likes to sit back in the pocket and find the open receiver, and the pass blocking this year has been good.

Plus, you have Ladd McConkey  being back, Rara Thomas getting more comfortable, and other receivers who can make plays.

Georgia’s running game has also started to get stronger, especially if Kendall Milton can stay healthy. That could also allow Dillon Bell to play more receiver or a hybrid position.

Maybe Georgia doesn’t have the X-factor for its’ offense as long as Bowers is out, but a more traditional receivers-and-tailbacks game can get you through an opponent like Florida.

The Bulldog defense will  keep the Gators in check, maybe along the lines of 14-to-20 points, a Bowers-less offense will take it from there, and the lead will get bigger and bigger.

Georgia 42  Florida 17

Law of Averages

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As I write this, we are getting closer to the 102nd edition of the Georgia/Florida game (101st if you go by Florida’s lackluster standards).

Close to kickoff of one of the most anticipated editions of the WLOCP in recent memory, and I’m as jittery as a hyper-caffeinated hummingbird. I’m sure most of my fellow Dawgs are feeling the same way, but not for the same reasons.

I mean, sure, the temporary loss of Brock Bowers has all of us walking on eggshells, but that’s not it. With Oscar Delp Lawson Luckie, and Pearce Spurlin still in the TE room, we’re still above the curve in that position.

Never mind the fact that Georgia’s WR corps is the strongest it’s been in…well, arguably ever. Dominic Lovett, Rara Thomas, and a finally healthy Ladd McConkey are finally coming into their own. In fact, receivers not wearing the #19 for the Dawgs have amassed almost 1800 yards so far this season.

The defense isn’t it, either. Sure, they’re not as legendary as the last two years’ squads, but they’re not Division II scrubs either. In fact, going into the bye week, the 2023 UGA Defense is ranked first in the SEC in:

Scoring

Rushing yards allowed

Passing yards allowed

Total yards allowed

Interceptions

3rd Down conversions

Passes defended

Plays of 20+ yards

The disappointing Vandy game, maybe? Nope, not that either. Let’s be honest. Kirby Smart and company took on that game like a scrimmage. They ran a noticeable number of plays and formations that they’ve been having problems with just to work on them while they could.

And don’t get me started on that field. The fans noticed players slipping all over the place, and the players confirmed it during postgame. The Commode Doors stadium quite aptly lived up to their nickname.

I bemoaned the “sky is falling” mentality of Dawg Nation in cyberspace in my last article. You would think that would be it, but TwitterX seems to have cleared it’s head, and as for Facebook…let’s just say the “Snooze for 30 Days” feature is one of the few things that future lizzid people overlord Mark Zuckerberg has gotten right in the last decade. No, I’m in a good headspace there as well.

What’s got me nervous is two things from what I can tell.

First, Florida is bad. REALLY bad. They lost a spring game to themselves and their head coach was the quickest Gators head coach to reach 8 losses since Jim McElwain. Yet, they continue to win games that they shouldn’t. I was sure Tennessee was finally going to break their losing streak in Gainesville this year, and the Orange & Blue had absolutely NO BUSINESS coming back to beat USC jr like that.

Second, things are just lining up too nicely for Georgia if you look at the numbers. I once again quote the Floridian singer/songwriter Delma Suggs when I say, “when everything’s coming up roses, I get suspicious.”

And as a bonus, there’s the sinking feeling that these are the last few WLOCPs in Jacksonville.

The Jags are going to have a massive stadium overhaul that’s going to take the better part of 2026-2027, and the current GA/FL agreement with the city of Jax runs out in 2025. I know Dawg Nation is pretty bitterly divided about this one , but I fear the game’s days in DUUUVAL are numbered.

Enjoy it while you can, my fellow 912 Dawgs. The end of our halcyon days may be approaching.

Take The Money And Run?

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, I wanted to be writing this article about Brock Bowers and his push to win a Heisman Trophy. The big, fast Georgia Tight End had all the parts in place to be the first true Heisman candidate in decades and the first Tight End to win the award since Leon Hart in 1949.

Brock’s statistics are off the chart. He is the reigning Mackey Award winner and his team is ranked #1 and coming off 2 National Championships. Pretty heady stuff.

Add in that he has been putting up award winning stats since he walked on the field as a freshman and the rising junior was definitely in the mix with all the QBs and RBs.

I mentioned in my last article about Bowers that barring injury, he had a real shot. All that changed in Nashville, Tennessee on October 14th against the Vanderbilt Commodores when that injury happened.

An ankle sprain that required a follow up surgery will sideline the Georgia great for 4 to 8 weeks. That could take Brock out for the remainder of the regular season or maybe the entire year. There is also a possibility that the Bulldog Nation has seen Brock Bowers in Red and Black for the last time.

Georgia will still have one of the best TE groups in the country. Oscar Delp would start for 90 per cent of the teams Georgia play. He will step into the starting position with speed, athletic ability and experience. He is very good. But he aint Brock.

Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie back him up and are solid young pups that are coming on. Some pundits have compared the young Luckie in many ways to Brock.

Some going as far as calling him Brock 2.0. Very high praise but they aint Brock.

Add in the upgrades, experience and athleticism of the current Georgia wide receivers and Carson Beck will have plenty of options to throw to. He and the Georgia offense will continue to have success. But he aint got Brock Bowers.

In Georgias first 7 games Brock had 41 receptions for 567 yards and 4 scores for a 13.8 YPC. Add in 6 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Then take into account that in some of those games he rarely played in the second half and you get the picture what Georgia is losing.

The inevitable question is where do we go from here. The best scenario is Brock is back for the playoffs, not missing a beat, helping and leading Georgia to a “3 in 23”.  The other end of that is that he is done as a Dawg.

Brock Bowers was and is still a lock as a first round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Some have listed him as a “generational talent” and expect him to go top 5.

Either way he is looking at a payday for life as a first round NFL pick. With all he has done for the University of Georgia and the Bulldog nation, should he even think about coming back? He will.

He will think long and hard about it and try his best to rehabilitate that ankle. That’s the type of young man he is.

Kirby Smart has long said that Brock Bowers is the hardest working Dawg around. Bowers has a deep love for the school, his teammates, coaches and the Bulldog Nation.

If he can comeback and it makes sense then he will. He has all the support he needs and Kirby will shoot him straight. If he dons the Red and Black again it will be for the right reasons.

I lean toward him not coming back. My heart says yeah he’ll be back but my mind says no.

He has the opportunity to set himself and his family up for life. To jeopardize that and get reinjured would be the worst thing imaginable.

Brock Bowers has done everything he can for his University. He is the best tight end and one of the top 5 players to ever play for the Dawgs. He has done his part. I hope I’m wrong on this, but it may be time for Brock to take the money……and when he can…RUN.

Kirby Hates Florida

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Kirby Smart Hates Florida. He hates them with the fire of a thousand suns.

He gives the media plenty of coach speak about how Florida is another game, and all league games are important. He tells the cameras that he and his staff must prepare the same every week.

He says that great talent exists across college football, and anyone can beat you any day of the week. Despite all of that talk, Kirby Smart lives to beat Florida.

He has made beating the Gators a priority and celebrated the last two victories over Florida with a level of expression that ‘Stern Smart’ rarely shows.

At this point, it’s well known that Smart was a safety at Georgia from 1995-1998. He recorded 13 interceptions for the Bulldogs and was an All-SEC selection his Senior year. Smart’s time wearing silver britches also coincided with some of the worst beatings in the history of the Florida-Georgia rivalry.

Smart’s teams lost to the Gators 52-17 in 1995, 47-7 in 1996 and 38-7 in 1998. Kirby and the Dawgs did get to taste victory in 1997, when they pulled a 37-17 upset over the Gators. It would be Georgia’s only victory out of 14 meetings against the Gators.

Steve Spurrier hated Georgia for beating him in his senior season of 1966 when the Dawgs upset the Gators 27-10. The loss cost UF their first SEC Championship, and Spurrier never forgot. That loss kept him from becoming a champion. Needless to say, Spurrier made beating Georgia a priority throughout his coaching career.

For years UGA had a lovely habit of beating Florida anytime the Gators had a good season, and that ownership created the monster that ended Georgia’s dominance in the rivalry.

Let’s go back to the infamous 1995 game against the Gators. Georgia and Florida played in Sanford Stadium due to the old Gator Bowl being renovated, and prior to the game Steve Spurrier found out that no opponent had ever scored 50 points between the hedges.

With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, and the Gators leading 45-17, Spurrier continued to call passing plays for backup quarterback Eric Kresser.

The Gators ran a flea-flicker, at one point on their final drive and moved the ball down to Georgia’s 10-yard line instead of running out the clock. With 1:10 remaining Kresser threw a touchdown on a slant to Travis McGriff.

I found something fascinating watching the end of that game on YouTube. Do you know who McGriff jogged past right after he caught that final touchdown?

True freshman safety, Kirby Smart.

The Gators ran the score up to embarrass the Dawgs, and that’s when Spurrier passed the flaming torch of revenge to Smart.

A little over 24 years ago, Steve Spurrier created the man who would bring Spurrier-style vitriol and hatred to the Bulldogs’ side of the rivalry.  That man is Kirby Smart.

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