Two weeks from this moment we’ll be getting game week underway, and preparing for your Georgia Bulldogs to renew hostilities with that hated rival, the Vanderbilt Commodores.
But you’ve got a lot to do between now and then. Work projects. Home repairs that can’t wait until mid-January. Talking to your family and friends who won’t show up to your tailgate. So here, in brief, are the things you need to know before you resume pre-kickoff preparations.
Sad news arrived from Pittsburgh yesterday with the unexpected passing of Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. Long time UGA fans will remember Drake as the wide receivers coach in Athens from 1992 to 1996 under Ray Goff. While at UGA he coached some of the best wideouts to wear the Red and Black, including Andre Hastings, Brice Hunter, and Hines Ward. Our thoughts go out to Coach Drake’s family and friends in their time of grief.
Words can’t describe the devastating loss of Coach Darryl Drake today. At Georgia, Coach Drake was my mentor and father figure. My thoughts and prayers go out to momma Sheila and the girls. RIP, Coach. You will be missed by many.— Hines Ward (@mvp86hinesward) August 11, 2019
In other disappointing NFL news, it appears that former Dawg and current Tennessee Titan D’Andre Walker will miss his rookie season due to an undisclosed injury. Walker was set to see action in a role similar to the one he played as a sophomore and junior in Athens, rushing the passer from the edge and generally causing havoc. Here’s hoping the Titans stick with him, and that he’s able to return and live out his NFL dream.
The news from the pros this weekend wasn’t all bad. Mecole Hardman did Mecole Hardman things for the Chiefs in their exhibition opener.
That won’t be the last time the Laser Gun from Elberton (okay, still working on the nickname...) runs past erstwhile professional athletes like they’re standing still.
Back on the college gridiron, George Pickens’ circus grab during Saturday’s scrimmage remains the talk of Bulldog Nation.
Here’s the GIF in case it’s pulled. pic.twitter.com/qgNE3fsiL9— Parrish Walton (@ParrishWalton) August 11, 2019
It’s a fine display of athleticism. And as we talked about last week, Pickens has all the tools to be something special. But I’d advise we pump the brakes just a little before anointing him the next A.J. Green. There’s a lot of offensive nuance to learn, and a lot of downfield blocking to do, before he’s giving Hall of Fame speeches.
In bean counting news, Marc Weiszer has a good reminder that all ‘Dawgs are created equal, but some are now created more equal than others. Let’s be honest, the really big donors to Georgia athletics have always gotten perks that Joe Hartmanfunder just wasn’t going to get. But there’s real antipathy among some fans to how the Magill Society is being pushed, and moreso to some of the benefits accruing to its members. In particular, the stepped up points for ticket priority discussed in Marc’s piece have drawn withering criticism from longtime season ticket holders I’ve spoken with who just can’t commit to the cash required to join the elite giving unit.
Also (and this is a purely personal critique) I tend to think that Coach Dan Magill, the man who helped set up Bulldog Clubs across the southeast and democratized Georgia Bulldog fandom as much as anyone in the twentieth century, probably wouldn’t have done it this way. Sure, the price of admission to college football’s elite stratosphere keeps going up. Somebody’s gotta pay those bills if you and I aren’t.
But there’s a real difference between giving high dollar donors a chance to watch warmups rank-and-file supporters would never be invited to anyhow and prioritizing their giving in a way that very much shuts out other, longtime donors from access to away game and conference title game tickets. A fundraising strategy that prioritizes quick dollars over cultivating longstanding relationships risks losing both at some point. And that could be disastrous in the long run.
We’ll be back later with a look ahead to an upcoming UGA opponent and another deep dive into a Bulldog position group. Until then....