In a short time, the Wynfrey Hotel will be gushing with college football excitement once more.
Murmurs about SEC football heard around every corner. Radio booths decked down a long hallway to begin the coveted talk show. A group of players finding their best dress to strut their style before strapping on the pads.
Welcome to SEC Media Days. Georgia takes the podium after a 11-3 season, a second consecutive conference championship appearance and the expectation of being a title contender for the third consecutive year.
First off the Bulldogs’ plane will be head coach Kirby Smart to begin his fourth season. Behind him will be Georgia’s stars: quarterback Jake Fromm, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas and senior J.R. Reed. Each of these players could be wearing the red-and-black for the last time — Fromm and Thomas are projected first-round NFL draft picks.
Georgia takes the podium at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and the clock will move a notch closer toward the season’s kick-off at Vanderbilt. A few questions loom ahead of football’s unofficial kickoff. Here’s what to know.
How does Georgia handle expectation this time?
The setting — the site of an SEC championship victory and national title defeat, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, standing behind the player’s’ heads on a hotel pool deck — won’t be as perfect as last year, but what stands in front of the players won’t be any different.
Reporters across the southeast will be peppering them with questions about returning to the championship, and each of the players are nearly guaranteed to give some version of, “we aren’t focused on last season.” What follows that, however, will be of intrigue.
Georgia comes off yet another strong season, but one that finished with a similar result as the previous — a loss to Alabama after a victory was once in grasp. Georgia followed it up to end last season with a 28-21 Sugar Bowl loss to Texas that conveyed a deflating mood across the fan base.
Smart uses a motto to fuel an upcoming season at each media days event. Last season, he focused on “pressure is a privilege,” a term coined by former women’s tennis great Billie Jean King. Coming off another rewarding season capped by disappointment, what will Georgia’s approach be?
Where does Jake Fromm’s legacy stand?
Fans offer mixed opinions on how the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback has performed over his first two seasons. Some etch him into the Mount Rushmore of Georgia quarterbacks, while others use the term “game manager” to back his not-so-flashy statistics in a run-first offense.
Fromm built a solid sophomore campaign. His outlier was a 16-for-34 showing with two interceptions in the team’s lone regular-season loss at LSU. He followed it up with one of his strongest showings: 240 yards and three scores in an ever-important win over Florida. Amidst all of the chaos with now-Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Fromm’s final 2018 line included nearly 3,000 yards and an even 30 touchdowns.
Entering his third (and potentially final) season, Fromm’s circumstances are different. He’s the guy, undoubtedly, with the cool personality of Stetson Bennett IV to back him up. There’s a new offensive coordinator calling the shots in James Coley taking the headset.
How does Fromm perform under those changes — with a vastly different receiving corps, no less — and how is his Bulldog legacy written without a title?
How does Georgia address domestic violence issues, receiver group after Jeremiah Holloman’s dismissal?
Aside from a written statement provided to media, Smart will have the first opportunity to address dismissing star wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman from the team on June 21. Holloman allegedly attacked a woman after the 2018 G-Day spring game, according to UGAPD reports.
In the time where education on domestic violence is being implemented in an increasing matter, how does Georgia continue to address it?
Georgia welcomed Brenda Tracy, a rape victim and activist, into its program to speak to players in 2017. It’s an issue that players hear about frequently, but one that the Bulldogs likely issued another reminder about.
In addition, Georgia’s receivers have a new look under position coach Cortez Hankton. All of the younger players could be forced into playing roles after Holloman’s dismissal joins departures of Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and Jayson Stanley. Who do the Bulldogs like to step up before practice begins?
Get ready. Football season is here, and an extensive talk show is revving up to kick it off.