SEC Media Days: UGA Bulldogs Edition

The UGA Bulldogs begin their football season with a top-10 matchup with the Oregon Ducks.
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ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) –Reigning College Football National Champs, the Georgia Bulldogs, took the stage at SEC Media Days at The College Football Hall of Fame to speak on their upcoming season.

With success comes doubt. Especially since it took UGA over 40 years to win a national championship. So now, the question is how long and realistic is it for UGA to sustain this sort of success?

“We started this thing off last year with the quote: Success comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. Well, we embraced that last year. Guess what? That doesn’t change,” said UGA football head coach Kirby Smart. “For our team, it’s embedded in what we do. We didn’t build this program on hoping for one-year-wonders or hoping for one opportunity. We built the program to be sustained. You sustain it by what you do every single day. This program was built to be here for a long time.”

If the Bulldogs repeat or win another national title in the next few years, don’t be surprised. Coach Smart is trying to build a dynasty.

Stetson Bennett, also known as the mailman, was a big part of last year’s success. He returns for a fifth year, and hoping to increase his draft stock. Bennett says he’s excited about getting to play with a teammate he knows very well, his younger brother.

“That’s probably the coolest thing for me that came out of COVID-19, if you can say that. We were always super tight, but I was five years older than him. We were never able to get on the team together. Being able to have that opportunity, it’s special. We are both super lucky. I know my mom is a big fan of it happening. Hopefully the stars align, and we can throw a pass to each other, but for right now, we are good just being on the same team,” said Bennett.

The Bulldogs had a record 15 players drafted in April. Seven were on the offensive side of the ball, and eight from the defensive side.

With many new faces on defense this year, returning linebacker Nolan Smith shares his thoughts on what it’ll take to achieve last season’s success.

“The buy-in is key. Once you have a bunch of guys that buy-in and start pulling the rope in the same direction – as we say metaphorically – you get a lot of guys that want to pull that rope in that same direction. You get guys telling people, ‘Hey man, that’s not right. This is the way to do things. This is the way we do things at Georgia,'” said Smith.

The buy-in is critical, especially in the first game of the 2022 season as the Bulldogs open up against the Oregon Ducks at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The game is a top-10 matchup, as the pre-season ranking have the Bulldogs at #3 and the Ducks at #9.

The Ducks are led Dan Lanning, last year’s defensive coordinator at UGA. Here’s what Kirby had to say about facing a familiar face.

“The Chick-Fil-A kickoff game for us, I get to open against Oregon, go against a longtime friend, a guy that meant so much in our program in Dan Lanning. We open against Oregon right here in Atlanta. We’re excited for that opportunity. We get a chance to represent the SEC right off the jump. Our players are excited about that, and so am I,” said Smart.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is slated for September 3 at 3:30 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta with a sold-out crowd.

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