Georgia made a coaching change to chase championships. Since 2005, the Bulldogs haven’t won a conference title and haven’t won a national title since the 1980 season.
While Kirby Smart was hired to take that next step within Georgia’s program, that hasn’t been a topic of conversation brought up with this team. For now, these players have been told to focus on the present as opposed to the long view.
“Every team in college football wants to win a championship. But winning a championship has never been stressed,” junior cornerback Aaron Davis said. “That’s nothing (Smart’s) ever expressed to us.”
Instead of thinking of the end goal, Georgia has taken a day-to-day approach with its players this spring.
When the new coaching staff came in and started leading offseason workouts, they began using a new phrase — which has prominently been displayed all over Georgia’s social media accounts.
“We have this new motto: Attack the day,” Davis said.
The program’s Twitter account has posted the three-word phrase often, especially when posting pictures of practice or weight-room workouts. Strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair was one of the first to use this phrase in front of the team, which has since been picked up by everyone else.
“All the coaches remind us, especially Coach Sinclair, to attack the day, to get better by the day,” Davis said. “Just do all you can.”
Parker could be full-go in June
Georgia head coach Mark Fox is optimistic that Juwan Parker will start practicing with the basketball program at the beginning of June.
Parker missed the entire 2015-16 schedule due to an Achilles injury that lingered from the previous season. After playing against Armstrong State in Georgia’s preseason exhibition game, Parker experienced too much pain to play further through the injury. His Achilles has been slow to heal, which kept him off of the court the entire year.
Now that Parker has been a year removed from surgery, he has responded better of late.
“Within the last, probably, three weeks he was feeling a little better,” Fox said. “He’s not pain-free yet but is responding better, which according to several medical people, they thought after one year he would start seeing a lot of progress.”
Georgia, which ended the past season 20-14 and with a loss to Saint Mary’s in the second round of the NIT, will ramp up its offseason schedule this summer. The Bulldogs will have a foreign trip in which Parker can get some needed time on the court.
“We’re going to wait to start pushing him until he’s totally right,” Fox said. “Our team will come back for summer school and get pretty aggressive in June. We hope that he’ll have zero limitations by that point. He’s actually shown some good signs.”
Georgia planned to play with a smaller lineup at the start of the year before Parker became a no-go. Parker was slated to be a starter and play a shooting guard/small forward role on offense. Without Parker, Fox was forced to adjust what he planned on during the entire preseason.
As a sophomore during the 2014-15 season, Parker averaged 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. If Parker is healthy and good to go to start next season, he could slide into a two-guard role with J.J. Frazier alongside him at the point.
While Parker hasn’t posted gaudy numbers in his career thus far, Frazier said he’s proven to be a key contributor when able to play.
“I always say he does things that people don’t really understand or see,” Frazier said. “He doesn’t get the love from everyone that he should. But it’s tough missing a full year of basketball and coming back and being the player you can be. If anyone can do it, I believe it’s him.”