Friday, August 12, 2011

Jenkins' attitude contagious

Aside from maybe Isaiah Crowell, the first-year man most expected to contribute this year (at least by the Georgia fan base) would have to be Johnathan Jenkins. Even though Kwame Geathers turned some heads as the big anchor of Georgia's 3-4 defense at nose tackle in the spring, Jenkins was still thought to be the missing piece.

After arriving on campus at nearly 360 lbs, Jenkins has already shed some weight in the Georgia heat, dropping down to a reported 342. Almost as important as the weight he's dropped, though, have been the quips and slogans he's dropped.

The mantra of fall practice, especially from a die-hard fan's perspective, is to not read too much into what you're hearing from coaches and players. 98% of the questions (that's a documented stat, by the way) are loaded, and so we often get canned answers and coach-speak.

Example: How have fall practices been going?

Answer: They've been going great. Everybody has been working hard, and you can tell guys are really dedicated.


But, with Jenkins, you can definitely tell he's answering from a more personal experience.

When he was recruited, you can bet Georgia coaches pitched the absolute need for a gargantuan nose tackle with Jenkins' athleticism. In fact, while they certainly wouldn't have actually promised him the starting job, they most likely came as close to doing so as they ever have with a recruit. Nonetheless, John Jenkins truly understands that he has to prove himself. He doesn't seem to be moping around wondering why he's currently with the second-team defense.

Beyond that, though, is something Dawg fans have to truly love above almost anything else. Jenkins has effused pride in the Georgia "G." He genuinely understands how much the University of Georgia means to hundreds of thousands of people, and he appreciates the history of Georgia football. It's as if he considers it not only an honor to represent Georgia, but also a responsibility.

Remember the old knight in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?" Of course you do. He spoke of how the honor was his to guard the Grail. Well, hopefully Georgia football is a little more fun and exciting than sitting in a dusky room penitently kneeling for a thousand years, but it's as if that's how Jenkins views his "job." I may have derailed a bit there.

At any rate, I say again that talk is talk, so we'll just have to wait and see what kind of impact Jenkins has on the field. But, if his talent in any way equals his attitude, enthusiasm, and outlook, I think it will be a lot of fun watching him play this fall.

Now, enjoy viewing the proper way to address a stare-down...

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