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Friday, October 3, 2008

Salute to the Fans

I came across this story yesterday about Tennessee's fans, which I thought tied perfectly with something Mark Richt was talking about after Thursday's practice.

Richt was talking about several Quarterback Club meetings he attended on Monday, and he said that, despite the defeat against Alabama, people almost unanimously were upbeat. That led him to talking about the crowd last Saturday that stayed until the bitter end, despite the early 31-0 hole for Georgia.

"I'll say this about the Georgia fans in general they're pretty awesome," Richt said. "They were awesome that game. Dawg walk, pregame, the whole 31-0, come back in the third quarter and everybody's still there cheering us on. We go 17 points in a row and they got juiced. The majority of them didn't leave until that last on-side kick. They hung in there. That student section and everybody around the band, it was packed still."

With a bevy of recruits on hand for the game, Richt said there was no doubt Georgia's crowd made a significant difference in bringing talent to Athens down the road.

"It's very meaningful," he said. "That South Carolina game my first season when we lost, there were some mean things said coming off that field, and our recruits were down right in that area where the players come off the field, and there were some comments made. I literally had a mom say, 'Why would I want my son to play at Georgia if their own fans are going to dog you out?' And I remember addressing our fan base way back when. I said, 'You know what? I know we didn't do very good, everybody's unhappy with that, but if you're truly a Bulldog and you want to win in the future, you need to love up these guys and let the recruits know that they're welcome here. And ever since then, I've never once had an issue where I was embarrassed. I've only been proud of how our crowd reacts. That's huge."

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