David Pollack remembered his favorite part of having ESPN’s College GameDay return to Georgia while sitting in his own house. He sat with his wife and kids on a Thursday evening and thought “What am I doing? I have work tomorrow.”
Nothing sweeter than home for the former Georgia linebacker who appeared on the show from his alma mater Saturday for the first time since 2013. No airports. A short drive to the set. A chance to sleep in his own bed.
“He said it changed the dynamic of the whole season,” GameDay host Rece Davis said. “It’s a home game for him.”
Pollack returns to a place where he remains a beloved figure. He holds the Georgia record for sacks with 36 from 2001-04. Pollack received first-team All-American honors from 2002-04. He apparently still has strength to pull the College GameDay bus with Bulldog conditioning coaches.
Before taking the microphone for Saturday’s show ahead of Georgia’s 23-17 win over Notre Dame, Pollack took time to reflect on his past and the future of the Bulldogs’ football program.
“It’s cool to see the campus, it has changed a lot because I’m old now,” Pollack said. “It’s cool to see the tradition, and I don’t get to go to games anymore. I’m always somewhere else, so it’s good to be home.”
Here’s a question-and-answer style transcript from Pollack’s meeting with reporters on Sept. 20.
Challenges for Georgia pass rushers vs. mobile quarterbacks (i.e. Ian Book, Kellen Mond, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa)…
It sucks. When you’re a pass rusher, your No. 1 goal is to get by the tackle. Those tackles aren’t small. You want to run around them and not through them. You try to get around the edge and bend, but it’s hard to do that (with a mobile quarterback). He steps up in the pocket and there’s nobody there. I try to keep him in the cage, keep the hamster on the wheel and not let him out. You try to push the tackle back into him, without trying for sacks all of the time.
As a pass rusher, I want my sacks. I want the numbers, not just trying to get pressures. That will be a huge deal. Last year against Jalen Hurts and Alabama, Georgia stunk at it. So, they’ll have to be better.
On Nolan Smith…
Nolan Smith is a freak. You watch No. 4, and you’re going to see all you can see. He’s one of my favorite players I’ve studied on tape. You talk about a true freshman, and you can tell he’s going to be ugly. He’s got a motor, and you can tell he loves the game. You watch him run over offensive tackles, and you can tell he’s an adult. He can sit at the big boy table. I’d play with that dude anytime.
He’ll be an All-American outside linebacker. He’s that kind of good for Georgia.
On the 2019 edition of Georgia vs. 2017…
The 2019 team is more talented than the 2017 team. That’s fact and not even debatable. In 2017, Kirby had players who were really smart, in the right position and weren’t necessarily athletic freaks. Now, it’s really fun to have both. He has a combination across the board. They’re deep at every spot.
There’s competition at every spot, and that’s the biggest thing. When you go to practice and you’re the guy with nobody to push you, then you don’t work as hard. When you have somebody breathing down your neck to take your job, then you work harder. They’re one of the most-talented teams in the country.
On wide receivers…
Somebody has to step up and be that guy. I’ll be interested to see if it’s Pickens, or maybe even Blaylock. Somebody needs to get on the same page with Fromm to where you’ve got back-shoulder fades and things. If you’re going to point to a weakness or question mark with Georgia, it’s the wide receivers. Everything else is solid.
On the current position of Georgia football…
I’ve been telling a lot of Georgia fans “You’re living in the days where it’s going to be the best in Georgia football history.” It’s a good time. If you need to buy stock in a team, Georgia is a good one to pick.
Kirby has put himself in a position to lead a national championship-caliber team. They’re a team that’ll keep showing up in the playoffs, and it’s a big brand that people are excited about around the country.