ATHENS - This time last year, Georgia was on the way to an NCAA tournament bid. This year the Bulldogs are tied for last in the SEC.
Head coach Mark Fox, fresh off getting ejected at the end of a loss at Tennessee, spoke at length to reporters about how he and the team are reacting to the dismal season.
I'll write more about this later, but here are the highlights:
- At one point he was asked how he copes with the struggles of the season.
"We move on very quickly. I'm a terrible loser. And I'll always be a terrible loser. And that will never change. And I want every guy on my team to be the same way," Fox said. "But I also understand that this group has so much to understand and experience. And it's a process and we're going through it."
- Fox invoked legendary UCLA coach John Wooden when speaking about the approach to every game, with his team sitting at 1-7 in the SEC.
"Our approach to this team is the same as really any team. Our focus is on getting better, and keeping both feet in today," Fox said. "If you'll keep both feet in today then tomorrow usually takes care of itself. That's what coach Wooden said years ago and it's so true. Last year when we were in the tournament hunt it was no different. Year one when we were just getting started it was no different. After four championships in a row at Nevada it was no different, it was single focus on getting better every day."
- Several times it was broached whether this was similar to the 2009-10 season, Fox's first year, when the team finished 14-17 overall, and 5-11 in the SEC.
But Fox didn't agree with the comparison.
"This year's different from the first year," he said. "The first year we had some older guys. Physically more mature, a train wreck in many ways off the floor. This team is just immature physically. We're just not there physically. But in many other areas we're way ahead."
This year isn't more difficult than his first year, Fox was asked? Back then, it was pointed out, the team was more competitive than expected.
"You know I really felt like my first year, I felt like we'd be better than anybody thought we would," he said. "This team, when those guys left early I mean we were just physically immature, we don't have proven pieces. I knew going in we would have some challenges and in many ways we had to start over.
"It's not more difficult in that way. And I haven't written the season off yet either. We've still got some games to play."