Legendary Georgia running back Herschel Walker believes this year’s Georgia Bulldogs have what it takes to call themselves national champions come January.
Walker was in Columbus on Wednesday to speak at Up & Motivated, a seminar put together by Columbus Public Works. When asked if his alma mater’s football team has a chance to win it all, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner was confident.
“There’s no doubt,” said Walker, who was a freshman on Georgia’s last national title team. “During the Notre Dame game, I was coming back from Tripler (Army Medical Center in Hawaii). I didn’t go to the game, but I happened to catch a little bit of it on television. I said, ‘That looks like the old Junkyard Dawgs.’ ”
Walker said the Bulldogs’ 20-19 win in South Bend will be pivotal as they try to capture the program’s first national title since 1980. He said Georgia controlled the stadium, which will give the players confidence if they encounter similar situations down the road.
Walker lauded Georgia’s depth at running back, saying the most important factor is that each of the Bulldogs’ backs brings something different to the table. He also complimented true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who has stepped in and helped Georgia start the season 7-0.
“My impression (of Fromm) is he’s a leader, and that’s what you want on a team,” Walker said. “If you’re going to be a championship team, you’ve got to have a leader. He’s a leader. You watch the way he plays, but you also consider that he’s got the pedigree. You watch the things he’s done in the past, and you tell yourself that the guy’s done it before.”
Walker also spotted similarities between this year’s team and the one he played such a big role on 37 years ago.
“I think in 1980, it was an interesting time,” Walker said. “We had a great, great senior class, which this group has, as well. We had a lot of good talent there.”
The Bulldogs have proven themselves capable through seven games, but there is admittedly a long way to go. Walker said the players should have fun playing football, because the tasks become much harder if you’re not enjoying the little things such as practice.
For Walker, his main piece of advice was simple: stick together.
“One thing about it was (the 1980 team) stayed together as a unit,” Walker said. “I think that’s what coach (Kirby) Smart is doing, making those guys play as one. That’s the way Alabama plays. I’m happy to see that because you’re not going to win championships if you don’t play together.”