If you want something to worry about early in the season, look no further.
Starting center Warren Ericson appears to be out for multiple weeks due to a hand injury.
That’d mean that Sedrick Van Pran-Granger would be the next to step up, a big leap from being used in reserve duty last fall. If Georgia was opening the season against UAB, there’d be less reason to worry. But against Clemson’s defensive line, one of the nation’s best position groups? There’s an absolute reason to worry if Ericson is unable to play.
As you likely know, legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden passed away over the weekend. If you grew up in South Georgia in the 80s and 90s, especially in the central to the southwest part of it, escaping how big Bowden’s shadow was was hardly an easy task. The number of times his teams won didn’t hurt, either. Heck, FSU’s Friday night hotel for a period of time was just across the state line in Thomasville.
Directly, and indirectly, Bowden shaped Georgia’s program. He made programs aspire to have the same success FSU did, and that was part of the attraction when Georgia hired Mark Richt. Richt, however, was hardly the only imprint. Among those on Richt’s first staff was, of course, strength and conditioning coach Dave Van Halanger, aka “Coach Van.”
I’m still convinced that in the 2003 Sugar Bowl, had it been against any other coach on the opposing sideline, Richt would have punched 1-2 scores in late and not used Musa Smith to grind down time off the clock.
Perhaps no story shows how much Richt was shaped by Bowden, on and off the field than that of when Pablo Lopez was tragically killed, and how Bowden turned that into a transformational moment - it’s a story that on occasion Bowden would retell at speaking functions, and one that I was fortunate to hear once.
But it goes back further than that. Kirby Smart was a graduate assistant under Bowden. Wayne McDuffie, who directed Georgia’s “Air Zeier” offense, came to Athens following a one-year stop with the Falcons that was preceded by his time in Tallahassee as an offensive coordinator.
It may have been indirect, but Bowden helped shape Georgia’s program over time.
Ok, so you know we like apparel with UGA stuff on it. And we’re huge fans of the folks at the Shutdown Fullcast and Homefield Apparel. But as great as the merch from Homefield is, one thing’s been woefully absent - items showcasing red and black. This Saturday, the long national nightmare is over.