On the evening of December 31, 2010, as I walked out of the Liberty Bowl, it began to rain. I sought shelter under a tent to wait out the sudden downpour and thought about the game I had just seen the Dawgs lose to the University of Central Florida Knights. And I wondered how in the world we ever got to where we were.
“There’s reasons why we ended up the way we did,” Richt said. “We’ve got to make changes. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the future. When you start saying ‘change,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean personnel… It’s more of how we go about our business. We’re going to improve. We’re going to get Georgia where it belongs.”
I was worried. I knew what was coming and I dreaded it. And it was as if the weather was playing along, crying for me and them Dawgs. No, actually, after the way we played that game in the Liberty Bowl, we didn’t deserve any sympathy. And Coach Richt was right. Things had to change.
“I don’t know if you’d call that the straw that broke the camel’s back or that last spark that lit the fire that got things moving around here,” tight end Aron White said. “It was definitely time for a change. … It definitely got us going. It definitely lit a fire under us and got us to working and pushing.”
And now look at us. A year later and a completely different team from the one that limped out of Memphis and back home to Athens. As I think back on that night a year ago and I remember that hard rain that fell after the game, I’ve come to realize that it was a cleansing rain. And I’m glad Memphis and the Liberty Bowl happened. Because it precipitated a change within the program that we all love. A change that we can now be proud of.
Happy New Year, folks. Let’s keep this thing rolling and start off 2012 undefeated.