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Georgia Bulldogs describe a ‘brotherhood’ feel to camp

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (center) seems completely at ease amid a media scrum during UGA Media Day before the opening of preseason camp Friday afternoon in Athens.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (center) seems completely at ease amid a media scrum during UGA Media Day before the opening of preseason camp Friday afternoon in Athens.

The Falcons have gotten a lot of mileage out of the term “brotherhood.” It has been a cornerstone concept for coach Dan Quinn in Flowery Branch. Apparently, that concept is spreading to the football complex that currently houses the Georgia Bulldogs.

That expression was used by more than once Friday to describe the “vibe” emanating from the Bulldogs’ locker room as they prepared for their first workout of preseason camp.

Asked at UGA Media Day what might feel different heading into the third camp of his career, junior quarterback Jake Fromm said, “for me, it seems a lot closer. It really feels like more of a brotherhood.

“Guys are talking, cutting up, there’s different guys,” Fromm continued. “I’m closer to (running back) D’Andre (Swift) than I’ve ever been. Man, I’m excited. I’m getting a really good vibe from the team right now, and I’m ready to go attack the first day of practice.”

Swift talked about feeling a “brotherhood” with his offensive line and the other backs. Linebacker Monty Rice spoke of a closeness between the various defensive groups.

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Quinn’s good friend Kirby Smart no doubt was glad to hear about this bond. The plan of the Bulldogs’ fourth-year coach for the next two weeks that encompass the true “training camp” portion of preseason practice is for it to be as difficult as he and his staff can make it.

Since the conclusion of the 2018 season that ended with back-to-back losses in the SEC Championship game and the Sugar Bowl, the mandate for Georgia has been to “do more.” That will extend to what they try to accomplish on Woodruff Practice Fields.

“Training camp’s a grind, and I think that it’s important that it is,” Smart said. “You create adversity in camp. We practice almost every day. … It’s a grind. You go the point of getting exhausted.”

Smart said players typically go from running 2,000 to 3,000 yards during a typical summer workout to running 5,000 to 6,000 in a camp practice. And many of those eventually will be conducted in full pads.

“We create adversity through how we practice. The heat creates adversity, and our team will be defined by how they respond to all those situations,” Smart said. “(The season) is about who we become in camp.”

Particularly from a conditioning standpoint, much work has been done. Fromm, Swift, Rice and even place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship appeared trimmer than they were last fall.

There’s good reason for that.

“Extra push-ups, pull-ups, whatever you could do more of, that’s what we were doing,” said Rice, fully recovered now from a foot injury that sidelined him the last two games last season. “Conditioning has always been the emphasis since I’ve been here. But I think more guys stayed around to do it, and there’s a lot less guys who are overweight.”

Like most Power 5 teams, the players will spend the next two weeks bunking together in a hotel rather than scattered about in dorm rooms. With classes not scheduled to start for two weeks, there will be daily meetings, playbook reviews and weightlifting in addition to practices.

When fall semester commences Aug. 14, the players will return to their respective domiciles and settle into a four-days-a-week practice regimen.

But the aim for the next fortnight is to become a tighter, closer-knit team. A brotherhood, if you will.

As for that season opener in 30 days against Vanderbilt and the strategic plans that much be laid before then, Georgia will get around to that in due time.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that care about this team and care about this university,” Smart said. “It’s important to them that they have a successful season. They still have to confront and demand excellence from everybody. … The ethos of this team is way more important than what play we call.”