Since the Bulldogs’ 19-13 win over Georgia Tech on Nov. 27, David Pollack has — take a deep breath now — become engaged in addition to winning a host of awards for his performance this season.
Pollack won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman, won the (Chuck) Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player, won the (Ronnie) Lott Trophy as the nation’s top defensive impact player, was named the SEC defensive player of the year for the second time by The Associated Press and named a first-team All-American by nearly every organization that selects such a team.
“My engagement was the most special,” he said.
Pollack and Lindsey Hopkins, his girlfriend of more than four years, were engaged on Dec. 7 and will be married May 21.
“I knew she was going to say yes,” he said. “That makes it a lot easier.”
He proposed to her while in Houston, where he also received the Lombardi Award in his second season as a finalist.
“I wanted to win the Lombardi the most coming into the season,” he said. “You don’t want to be a two-time loser.”
In one week, Pollack attended awards ceremonies in Charlotte, N.C., Houston and San Francisco, and he managed to stay in shape while doing it. He's actually lost five pounds since the last game, he said.
Coach Mark Richt said he ran into Pollack in a hotel fitness room in Houston.
“When I got in there, Pollack had already been in there on that treadmill an hour or so,” Richt said. “He’s been very disciplined.”
STRONG FINISH: o Richt is eager for tailback Danny Ware to play in the Outback Bowl despite a broken right hand and not just because the Bulldogs may need him to win. Ware needs a positive finish to the season to boost him into next year, Richt said.
“I'd like to get Danny going again,” he said. “I’d like to get him in there and have him have some success.”
Ware opened the season as Georgia’s starting tailback but lost that job to Thomas Brown due to injuries and turnover issues. He has played in nine games this year and rushed for 631 yards. Ware will play with a cast on his right hand and the coaches will work with him in the bowl practices on carrying the bowl in his left hand.
“He just needs to play again,” Richt said. “It hasn’t been an easy year for him.”
Ware has been involved in inside 11-on-11 drills in workouts and been impressive.
“He hasn’t put the ball on the ground. He even caught a ball or two,” Richt said.
GRADUATION: David Greene, Arnold Harrison, Jake Honeycutt, Jake Hooten, Jeremy Thomas, Will Thompson, Evan Wells and Tommy Wilson, missed the first of Saturday's two workouts to participate in commencement ceremonies on campus.
The morning session featured a full-pads workout while the team dressed in helmets and sweats in the afternoon. Both practices lasted about 90 minutes.
“I thought we looked very rusty this morning, but the effort was pretty good,” Richt said. “A few guys were probably feeling a little sorry for themselves. But this afternoon was better. I like our setup with two pretty short practices.”
The two-a-days continue today.
KEY ADDITION: Linebacker Tony Taylor, a former starter who was forced to sit out this season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the spring game, has been practicing for more than a month, and his work with the scout team earned him the team’s co-scout team player of the year honors.
“The moment he got on our scout team, that whole group perked up,” Richt said. “I’m really proud of that decision (to work with the scout team).”
STILL SMILING: - You probably aren’t going to here anyone in Athens complaining about being passed over this season by the Capital One Bowl. That game, which gets the first SEC choice after the BCS selections, took LSU even though the Tigers had the same number of wins as Georgia, and lost to the Bulldogs 45-16 earlier in the season.
Richt still remembers last season, when the Capital One Bowl took a Georgia team that was coming off a big loss to LSU in the SEC Championship Game.
“I was just very thankful of how they handled us last year so I have no complaints about how they handled this year,” he said. “Plus, we’re excited about going to Tampa.”
The Capital One Bowl payout is almost $2.5 million more than the Outback Bowl payout of approximately $2.75 million, but individual schools only get a percentage of the bowl payouts anyway so the Capital One Bowl decision didn’t cost the Bulldogs much money.