Saturday is senior day in Athens. This realization led me to think about the group of seniors who'll take the field this weekend for the final time in Sanford Stadium. Some of them were a part of the first Bulldog recruiting classes subjected to my overly thorough TMI recruiting pieces. Some of them have had the misfortune of being interviewed by me for this site (I once asked Cordy Glenn, in all seriousness, how many buffalo wings he thought he could eat in one sitting if he really put his mind to it. He said he wasn't sure, but I still suspect he didn't want his answer to get back to the nutrition staff.) They've all, too one degree or another, left their mark in Athens.
I hope that two years from now my Georgia Bulldogs, led by senior quarterback and Heisman front runner Aaron Murray, are coming off a resounding defeat of Auburn and preparing to play Georgia Tech with their national title hopes still alive. If that happens, we'll look back and say that guys like Brandon Boykin, Aron White, Drew Butler, Deangelo Tyson, Justin Anderson, Bruce Figgins, Ben Jones, Israel Troupe and Blair Walsh played a big part in turning things around and getting us to that point. They rallied around their embattled head coach. They took coaching from a wild-eyed defensive coordinator and his team of new assistants, who changed almost everything they had been doing and promised that it would work. They were there in the mornings to lead their teammates through a retooled conditioning program that many fans seriously doubted, administered by a guy who some said was too out-of-touch to possibly orchestrate a world-class training regimen.
It's great when younger players step up to be leaders. With seniors it's absolutely mandatory. I'll miss seeing Ben Jones walking around the Sanford Stadium turf barefoot. Seeing Brandon Boykin jump over mid-sized SUV's with minimal effort. Aron White conducting the Red Coats after a win. Deangelo Tyson leaving it all on the field. To say nothing of several guys who don't see the field regularly, nor hear their names on television, but have busted their butts in the program to make it better, and to make themselves better.
It's obviously way too early to be taking any sort of victory laps. There's still a lot of football to be played in 2011. But you've been a peach of a class, guys. And on Saturday we're raising a glass to you. Personally, I'll be raising a Peach Tea : It's made by mixing 2 oz. Amaretto, 1 and 1/2 oz. bourbon, 3 oz. ginger ale, and 1 and 1/2 oz. peach nectar over ice. Nobody on or off the bus. Let's turn this puppy toward the Georgia Dome. Until later . . .