The Ole Miss grades had been announced. Those who made the Victors Club, the ultimate in internal recognition, were identified. Praise for yesterdays achievement, however, is always tempered with the reminder that past success will never guarantee a celebratory encore the following Saturday.
This week, there wont be much need for motivation. Tennessee in Knoxville! The players know what is at stake; they will rise to the occasion emotionally. Preparation will be intense, brisk and lively. The Dawgs will be prepared to lay it all on the line as we await providences verdict on whether or not the Bulldogs have the wherewithall to defeat Tennessee in Knoxville four times in a row.
There is a sidelight to Monday practices that the most devoted Bulldog fans are not exposed to. Monday is family night with the team.
While the serious preparation takes place on the practice field with Mark Richts seventh team which is seeking upstart status aspiring to shed the shackles of immaturity and inexperience there were games underway with the coaches kids.
The boys, who outnumber the girls two-to-one, engaged in their own game of football. Anya Richt is playing basketball without a goal, but is not the least bit concerned about that. Anna Courson has organized an unfamiliar game on the handball courts with Taylor and Savannah Searels. Their squeals of laughter confirm it is fun, nonetheless.
There are four sons of coaches Zac Jancek, John Courson, Mark Johnson and Will Martinez who are active with the Bulldog team. You see them serving as managers and water boys during the home games. At timeouts, they sprint out with water bottles to refresh the game officials. They are on call on the sideline for any assignment.
In the locker room before the team takes the field, you usually find them huddled in a corner, intently observing whichever game is in progress on TV graphic evidence that they are into this game their fathers teach.
They take losing hard. After all, this is their fathers livelihood. One who takes it the hard-est is Mark Richts son, David. After the South Carolina game, there was a poignant scene with tears streaming down Davids cheeks while he was being consoled by his father. After the father-coach explained that the Dawgs would live to fight another day, tears gave way to soft smiles.
The underpinning of the Richt program is family. A family bus was organized for Alabama and there will be one for Tennessee. Nobody stands by their man more than the Georgia coaching wives.
At nightfall, everybody was recharged by supper and the interacting with the players. The wives and kids headed to their respective addresses for homework and a good nights sleep.
Meanwhile back at the office, it was a familiar routine with the coaches who are burning the midnight oil this week in preparation for Tennessee. Some nights they wont turn in before 3 a.m.
The Georgia staff is a study in commitment, and they get a mental lift for their demanding schedule with their Monday night suppers. Family night helps bring reward on Saturday