The 2009 game against Georgia Tech marked the beginning of a new era for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Not because we beat Tech in Bobby Dodd stadium.
Not because we beat Georgia Tech.
Not because we will be the best football team in Georgia for the next twelve months.
And not because we put an end to Tech’s one game win streak when we have been listening for the past twelve months how 2008 was the beginning of years of Georgia Tech dominance over the Bulldawgs.
On Nov. 28, Georgia Tech learned that a focused, talented team CAN beat its "unbeatable" triple option.
Josh Nesbitt had his worst game all year. And it wasn't because he didn't want the win. It wasn’t because he was looking past UGA and at the ACC championship. Jonathan Dwyer was virtually a non-factor. It was not because he played poorly or because he didn't REALLY want this game.
This game meant every bit as much to the Yellow Jackets as winning the ACC championship. The Tech fans and players wanted desparately to prove that last year's win was more than an aberation. They wanted to back up their claims for the past 12 months that 2008 was the beginning of years of Tech domination over a Bulldog team that had become mediocre and irrelevant.
The reason Nesbitt, Dwyer, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had their worst game was that we saw the UGA run defense play to their potential - which is something we have seen very little of all year. The UGA defense shut down the legendary TO. Even our secondary stepped up and played enough pass defense to keep the Georgia Tech air game a non-factor.
And from the opening series, we saw the return of the offensive style that defines Georgia football. We saw an offensive line that dominated the opposing defensive line. We saw fullbacks open holes and tailbacks that ran, at will, for over three hundred yards. We saw clock control and we saw dominance in every aspect of the game.
We saw an offense that just plain wore down the opposing defense. We saw attitude and confidence.
That's Georgia football!
But the Techies will blame their loss on Nesbitt being out for one series. They will no doubt blame bad officiating, UGA cheating, or Tech players having the Swine flu. We may even see them blaming the loss on George Bush. They will also ignore the fact that UGA was without its biggest play maker (AJ Green) the entire game.
There is no doubt that UGA wanted this game badly. But more than that, they wanted to prove to the college football world that this team and these players are better than what everyone has been seeing all year.
The truth is, Tech did not have an "off game" last night. The truth is, UGA finally played the game we in the Bulldog nation have known all along that they were capable of.
But this game means so much more to the UGA program than a Georgia Tech win.
There has been a change in the attitude of the Dawgs since the Tennessee loss. The Dawgs have been slowly pulling it all back together since the losses to Florida and Tennessee. They looked really good against Auburn. But then they choked in the Kentucky game.
So what’s been changing?
There has been a noticeable change in the intensity of Coach Richt that has not been there for a couple of years. This change was not the result of a concern in job security. He knows his job will be safe for years, even if Tech had been able to win two, three, or four in a row.
This was the intensity of a proud and talented coach who knew that HE had been letting his team down and knew that it was up to HIM to turn his team around.
We don’t know what changes have been happening behind the scenes, in the locker rooms, on the practice fields and in the coach’s meetings over the last several weeks. But I am completely convinced that what we saw last night was the culmination of just one month of Coach Richt re-taking control of this team and making the changes needed for his team to start winning again.
I believe that what we saw was Coach Richt climbing down into the trenches and taking control of the Offense, the Defense, the play calling and the attitude of this team. I believe that this is the Coach Richt we will be seeing for many seasons to come from here on. He saw that he had lost control of his team this season. He will not let that happen again.
The result was seen against G Tech.
Talented players on both sides of the ball, made plays, played their assignments, and played with heart filled intensity. That is what this team has needed all year. It’s had the talent. It needed coaching, discipline and attitude.
With the re-emergence of the old Mark Richt, and the phenomenal young talent this team has now and will have for years to come, I predict that Georgia will see many 10 and 11 win seasons and SEC championship games and wins.
UGA will see its next National Championship within the next 3-4 years.
I'm a never-die Bulldog fan. I was a hopeful, optimistic fan before the Tech game. But I was a mid-1990's kind of fan. After the Tech game and seeing again that this program has the talent and is re-structuring - enough to beat a 10-1, #7 ranked team - I have that fist pumping pride back - that "Herschel Walker/Glory Days" kind of Bulldog pride.
Right now I see a bright future for this great team.
And it feels DAMN good to be a Bulldog!!