Hey Rookie… You’re no longer the biggest fish in the pond. For the 14 of you that are going through your first week of workouts, you’re realizing you’re just another skilled player on a roster full of skilled players. You’ve got talent, sure. But it’s a big world out there, a fact you’re surely discovering after moving to Athens less than a week ago.
Here are some tips from quarterback Aaron Murray and safety Shawn Williams to help your acclimation process. Both of those guys have been where you’re currently at – and both developed into starters with All-American potential.
I’d listen up if I were you.
What’s the best way to earn respect from the upperclassmen?
AARON MURRAY: “Just show up and work hard and don’t mouth off. We’ve had problems in the past of little freshmen coming in and thinking they’re going to be the starter and not listen to the older guys. At the end of the day we’re here to help them, so if they come in with an open mind and are willing to work and willing to listen to us – because we want to win, and we know that it takes a whole team. It takes seniors, juniors, sophomores. It takes freshmen, redshirt freshmen and everyone to win a championship. We just want to help you, so as long as they come in with the right mindset and are willing to work, work, we’re happy with them.”
SHAWN WILLIAMS: “It’s really just come out and show the team that you’ll work and give the team your full effort. It’s not going to be as big as learning the system now, it’s just going out and being able to play and get better each and every day. Taking a step forward every day and staying consistent.”
Where is a must-stop to get something to eat around town?
AM: “Cali n’ Titos (on Lumpkin Street near Butts-Mehre). That is my spot to go eat. Make sure you get a lot of the pink sauce.”
What is the quickest way to get under a coach’s skin?
SW: “Which one? (Defensive coordinator Todd) Grantham? Not knowing what to do and constantly keep making the same mistakes.”
Recommend a place in Athens every person should visit…
AM: “I would say go through North Campus. I’ve been running around campus a lot, getting some extra conditioning. That was the first time I’ve been through North Campus, about three weeks ago. It was gorgeous, just seeing all the buildings. The law building, business, this building, that building – it’s really impressive. Walking around campus you really don’t get around. You get stuck in Butts-Mehre or going to classes, but just to enjoy the whole campus is pretty special.”
SW: “Church. Yeah, church. I haven’t really found a church in Athens I go to (regularly), but I go to different places with friends.”
Name one upperclassmen a newcomer should model themselves after.
AM: “Chris Burnette. If I had to name one guy, he’s a great guy on and off the field. Very religious kid who works his tail off in the classroom and on the field; does the right stuff off the field. If there’s one kid – I always say to my sister, if you want to date one football player I’ll let you date Chris Burnette.”
SW: “I’ll say Tavarres King. He has tremendous character and great leadership. He just wants the best out of everybody.”
Name one upperclassmen that shouldn’t be a role model, in a funny way.
AM: “I don’t know if this would be good for me to say or not (laughing). I don’t know. We have a lot of goof balls on the team so I don’t know.”
SW: “I can’t really think of anybody right now… Don’t be like John (Jenkins). Don’t suck your thumb. ”
What is the best approach to take for fall camp?
SW: “Just don’t try to survive and just try to get better everyday. It’s going to be tough and nothing is going to be given to you.”
What is the best way to upset the veterans?
SW: “Not coming to workouts, being late – stuff like that that you can really help. You don’t want to have bad character coming in.”
What is the best non-football related advice you can give?
AM: “Work hard in school. Especially me just being able to graduate early and working on my doctorate and masters, that’s huge. Leaving with a degree from Georgia is something special and something that you’ll definitely need when you leave here. As long as you focus on not only football, but also school, you can leave here with both things and say your time here at Georgia was well spent.”
SW: “At the end of the day, you’ve got to be a man. You’ve got to take care of your responsibilities and just have fun and do it the right way.”