Mark Richt’s offseason mantra this year, that the star of the team is the team, has gotten a lot of discussion in recent months. We’ve heard how last year the Dogs bought into their preseason ranking too much and some players tended to expect stars Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno to pull off a miracle when things got tough.
To put that mind-set aside, Richt has stressed time and again that the 2009 team has no stars, despite the fact that it’s not true. A.J. Green is already a big-time star. Rennie Curran is the SEC’s best returning tackler. And some of the players returning from injuries, including Jeff Owens and Trinton Sturdivant, have star potential.
In any other season, the Athens Banner-Herald pointed out, some of these players’ faces would have adorned the UGA football media guide the same way other SEC schools promote their stars. Instead, Georgia went with mascot Uga VII and a mass of unidentified players on its media guide cover — the first time since 1992 that individual players haven’t been featured.
Perhaps as a result of this no-star approach, Green and Curran have been overshadowed by other schools’ players on some of the preseason All-SEC lists.
I understand what Richt is trying to accomplish with this no-star approach. But there’s something to be said, too, for striking a little fear in your opponents’ hearts. And letting some of your best players develop a bit of a swagger.
Plus, I’m not sure anyone, on the team or off, really believes all Dogs are created equal or that you can win in the SEC without stars.
Does this the-team-is-the-star business strike you as just a bit disingenuous? More spin than reality? A mind trick to distract the Dogs from the fact they’re missing the bulk of their scoring production from last season? A way to sidestep the blame for a poor job of preparing the team mentally last year?
Or is keeping the focus on the team as a whole how it should be in any season? Sort of a blue-collar, Junkyard Dogs mentality?
What do you think?