Right tackle Josh Davis makes no bones about it.
If not for the constant motivation provided by offensive line coach Stacy Searels, he might well have forgotten all about pushing through two recent shoulder surgeries, much less come into spring as the Bulldogs' starter at right tackle.
"Negative," said Davis when asked if he ever would have made it back without Searels' prodding. "Coach Searels is a great motivator. Sometimes when you don't want to go, he gets you going."
Perhaps Searels had a feeling just how valuable Davis was going to be.
A native of Jayess, Miss., the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Davis underwent surgery on both shoulders shortly after Georgia's win over Michigan State in the 2009 Capital One Bowl, missed all of spring practice and wasn't cleared to get back on the field until the Bulldogs' Week 7 contest at Vanderbilt.
"That was rough. They (team doctors) told me I might be back in six or seven weeks - if I worked really hard," Davis said. "Not that I wasn't willing to work hard, but that got me down for a little while but that's when Coach Searels got in my head and really started to push me. He knew I could do it, but it was all on me."
Slowly but surely, Davis began work himself back into playing shape.
But sitting out wasn't easy.
"That was very frustrating, man. I'd been on the bench before, but I knew I would play," Davis said. "It it sucked being hurt and seeing us lose games. No matter who you are you think that you can make a difference and I felt like I could move a difference."
Turns out Davis did.
In the Bulldogs' first six games, Georgia rushed for just an average of 97.1 yards. In the seven games that passed after Davis was inserted into the lineup as the starting right tackle, the Bulldogs averaged 215.
Although Davis refuses to accept any sort of credit for the sudden turnaround, he admits there was something that seemed to click.
"That was great. When I came in against Vandy we ran the ball well and the next week against Florida we ran the ball well," Davis said. "It was very satisfying. I know everyone was frustrated that we could not run the ball early."
Davis said the line isn't resting on last year's late-season laurels.
Although the Bulldogs return a pair of backs capable of 1,000 yards in Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, Davis said it's still going to be up to the line to make their success possible.
"We still got to block, we still got to protect, no matter who is back there," Davis said. "We're hoping last year was a springboard. But unless we out there and work hard every day, what happened last year is not going to mean a thing."
On the other hand, if the line can block the way Davis feels it can then some of success many are predicting for Ealey and King should in fact become true.
"We don't care who is back there, we've got a job to do," Davis said. "If we do our job it won't matter who is back there, even if it's a peg-leg man. We've got to go out and do it."
Davis also doesn't believe there's any extra pressure to make sure the running game succeeds due to the fact Georgia will be breaking in a new starting quarterback come fall.
Pride, he said, can be an awful big motivator.
"People say we're going to need to do better because we've got a young quarterback, but we want to have a good run game no matter who it is because we've always had a good running game," Davis said. "This line doesn't want to be the line that doesn't uphold that."
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