Editor’s Note: Please welcome University of Georgia Senior midfielder and Team President, Conner Reed to MCLA Fan. He will be writing about the Bulldogs throughout the 2014 season as they compete in the SELC D1 and make a run for the National Tournament. See all of Conner’s exploits on the season here.
It was a long hiatus, through a hot summer and a cold winter, but we’re back. The Dawgs are ready to ride again, and it couldn’t feel better.
As I thought back on our fall season, I tried to think about what would be considered a theme. Something that really defined the first semester. And what I kept coming back to was how much things had changed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: of course there’s change, it’s a whole new team. But this fall was different.
You would think that a team would have the least amount of turmoil after a conference championship, but August saw the team welcoming a new coach, more alumni involvement, and new ways of dealing with administrative duties. Billy O’Haire came in and from day one it has been high paced and incredibly intense. After three years under one system, this was a shock to my system to say the least – but a good shock. Our alumni association became much more involved, including the first ever alumni tailgate bringing former players from the 70s all the way to recent grads that I played with.
Our executive system also became more efficient and structured, making our lives much easier. We were even able to hold a couple of clinics around the Atlanta area to help grow the game. Change was all around, but it was good change.
How Georgia Sees Fall Ball
But let’s be honest, it’s life in the SEC and the fall is all about football season. This year in Athens was one of the most fun we’ve seen in a while. We beat South Carolina for the first time in my four years, and in dramatic fashion. College Gameday came to town for our last minute win between the hedges against the LSU Tigers. If Gameday has never come to your campus, you’re missing out. The buzz around town is one of the most electric things I’ve felt in my life.
And of course there was the annual Georgia/Florida weekend at St. Simons Island and Jacksonville. Sure, the season didn’t turn out how we wanted, but there were some exciting moments that none of us will ever forget.
This is what winning sounds like. Way to go, Dogs! #LSWho
Why do I mention this? Because fall ball in the SELC is mixed in with some of the best football you’ll ever see in your life. We had our fun, and worked hard too. During bye weeks, we scrimmaged Clemson and Emmanuel College. The game against Clemson was as heated as any spring game, due to the fantastic rivalry we’ve developed with them.
While we came up short, we learned a lot about the direction of our program (ya know, from all those changes I mentioned earlier?). Coach Grubb will have a good squad out there this spring, there’s no doubt. Second year program Emmanuel tested us, but we came out victorious with some valuable field time for our rookies.
Now, as the calendar turns to 2014, it’s time to look forward. Boston College comes to the Classic City on February 1st in what is sure to be an incredible early season matchup.
It’s clear that there is a giant bullseye on our backs’ this season, but the goal remains the same: defend our SELC title, then head to Orange County and make some noise at the national tournament.