I'm typically not one of those people who writes the "if I were the coach, this is what I'd say to the team" kinds of articles. However, today, I got a small epiphany as I was winding down my workday. When that happens, it works as an "Inception" type of scenario that doesn't leave me alone until I get it down on paper.
So, if this is not your thing, I apologize in advance. It's long as well, so it begins after the jump.
Mark Richt walks into the circle of the team gathered around him. He begins speaking in the typical measured tone we've all come to know:
"Gentlemen, how do you begin a day like today and say it's just another game? That it's just another Saturday? You can't. The lights are brighter today. The focus is more on this game than any of the other games you've played in all season. But who are they focusing on? Are they talking about you? Or are they talking about them and what THEY are playing for?
The men on TV have said that it's understandable if you guys on our offensive line can't block their guys. They said that it's understandable if Aaron Murray throws an interception or five, or that our running backs, whomever they may be, can't hold on to the ball. It's totally understandable IN THEIR EYES if Spencer Ware runs over you, Alec, or Mike or Christian, or Armarlo. Boykin, they understand if you can't cover Russell Shepard. Don't worry, John or Kwame, if Jordan Jefferson breaks containment and runs for a first down. He's fast and athletic. They say that it's understandable if we all fail today because we're supposed to.
You know what I understand? I understand that you can't spell "analyst" without the first four letters. That's what I understand. I understand that the men who own big buildings with expensive light bills and no windows out in Nevada haven't seen what I've seen in you. We'll lose by two touchdowns? WHO SAID WE WERE SUPPOSED TO LOSE?
There's been a lot of talk this year. At the beginning, all of it seemed to be bad. My job, your skill, our resolve. But we didn't listen. Conventional wisdom said that I was going to be job searching at the end of this season. It said we were going to be a program that needed to rebuild from the ground up. BUT WE ARE NOT CONVENTIONAL. We are not a conventional wisdom team. We are a conventional winning team. Period.
We've talked about buses. The energy bus to be exact. We've asked you all season who's on that bus, and we told you that if you were on it, we'd know where we'd be come December. Guess what? You were on it. The Seniors, the Juniors, all the way down to the guys who never stepped a foot on campus until this year. You were on the bus and it got us where we wanted to go.
However, now that we're where we wanted to be at the beginning of the season, are you satisfied? Is that it? We're in Atlanta and you're happy? We've done what we needed to do and now it's time to stop? Or is this something more? Did being on the bus get us to our destination or did it just drive us to the first stop? How long do you want this journey to be? Does it end tomorrow, or does it keep going until say it's over?
Gentlemen, I'm proud of you. Not only am I proud of you, but I believe in you. I believe this team, this group, can go anywhere they want to go if they so choose.
There is a bus outside. You can pick and choose where it needs to go. It's gassed up, the tires are full of air, and the oil was changed yesterday. We all know you were on because of where you are now. If you're pleased with that, fine. But if you want more, I have only one question for you before you take that field today:
Until next time kids.
Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).