What are Arkansas State’s strengths? Here’s what UGA’s Kirby Smart is looking at
Graham Coffey has his share of biased fun before each game week. He writes for Dawg Sports, a fan site owned by SB Nation that follows the Georgia football season from afar. Coffey pens a column each weekend that always starts with “Why I hate…,” and throws some shade toward the upcoming opponent.
With Arkansas State coming to town, Coffey couldn’t find a reason for spite. He knew about the passing of Wendy Anderson, like most others following college football, and the end of her fight with breast cancer. The wife of Red Wolves’ head coach Blake Anderson was 49-years-old.
So, Coffey shared why he didn’t hate Arkansas State. He wrote five paragraphs. That’s all it took for people to take notice.
“Our sport can provide distraction and normalcy in times of struggle,” Coffey said. “That’s been a wonderful thing for me at times.”
Anderson took a leave of absence from Arkansas State on August 19. He returned prior to the Red Wolves’ 43-17 win over UNLV on Sept. 7, and surprised his team during pregame preparations in Las Vegas. He was mobbed by his players as they showed gratitude. As Arkansas State plays on a national stage against No. 3 Georgia, there’s a chance for the Bulldog fans to extend the warm feelings.
Coffey never mentioned anything tangible for Saturday’s game, but then chatter built in the comment section. Fans pitched ideas, and Coffey carried that traction into making a graphic. Suddenly, the “#WearPinkForWendy” movement became tangible as of Monday night.
“Scoreboard aside, I felt like it’d be cool to show him there’s people who care and are pulling for him,” Coffey said. “I think anyone can get behind it.”
Georgia football helped share the word Tuesday evening with a tweet, and an official stamp of the “#WearPinkForWendy” expanded Coffey’s original reach even farther. This pink-out is being coordinated with assistance from the Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer, a 501c3 non-profit organization raising money for the St. Mary’s Organization in Athens. It has a pre-planned pink-out for the Oct. 19 game vs. Kentucky, but this occasion called for an addition.
After the organization tweeted about the event, Anderson responded with a message.
“Beyond grateful,” he wrote. “Thank you.”
The Telegraph received a message from Georgia’s administration that it was “planning something” to remember Wendy Anderson, but nothing had been finalized. It’s unclear as to whether another notion of respect is planned internally along with the shared tweet.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart opened his press conference Monday by remembering Anderson. Smart, who cherishes each moment with his family due to a busy schedule, couldn’t fathom what Anderson had to endure with the passing of his wife. Along with the talent on Arkansas State’s roster, Smart echoed his respect for Anderson.
“I was crushed for him, his family, his kids,” Smart said. “I can never imagine what he’s having to go through because that’s really tough. Obviously, he loves family because he made the choice to step away and was able to go be with them and now, he’s come back.”
From a blogger who pens his posts from Colorado, a movement is set to occur within Sanford Stadium. Win or lose, there shouldn’t be much hate from more than 90,000 fans perched in the bleachers Saturday.
“We can use this point of unity to say ‘we care about people, too,’” Coffey said. “That’s why college football is great. In a lot of ways, we’re neighbors with our rivals.”