Georgia Bulldog head coaches Mark Richt and Mark Fox greeted fans in the Good Life City Monday night.
Hundreds of UGA alumni and fans turned out to hear the coaches speak at the Albany stop of the UGA Days tour.
Both coaches say it's just about building and maintaining support from the Dawg fan base.
"Excitement is on the way. I mean we open up at home with Clemson, an open date, then we head to South Carolina," Richt says about the 2014 season. "So it'll probably be two top ten, top 15 teams to start the season. We're going to find out a lot about ourselves real early."
"We felt like last year, our crowds were improved. Our student support was better. Our team was better," Fox says of the growing support for the Dawgs basketball team. "We go into this season with a lot of pieces coming back. So we feel like we've got a lot of people on our side, pulling for us, and we'll have to use that momentum to our advantage."
The stop comes just two days after a pair of former Dawg stars joined the NFL fraternity.
QB Aaron Murray and TE Arthur Lynch were each selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft Saturday. Murray is headed to the Kansas City Chiefs, while Lynch will suit up for the Miami Dolphins.
Richt believes they will both be successful.
"First of all, they're great people. Whoever gets to coach them is going to love them. They're going to be on time. They're going to be prepared. They're going to do their best," Richt says of his former players. "I think they'll be able to compete extremely well, and I think whoever gets them is going to be glad they got them."
The Dawgs are no strangers to south Georgia talent, and added two more to their roster in 2014, signing Brooks County star Malkom Parrish and Lowndes OL Dyshon Sims.
The Dawgs' head coach says the south Georgia products will be able to come in and compete immediately.
"We don't want to put a cap on what a young man can come in and do for us," he says. "Those two in particular are two very talented guys."
After a season in which they finished tied for second in the SEC, Fox says his program is headed in the right direction.
He says they must continue to improve though.
"We can't sit back and rest on the fact that we have returning players, which is far greater than any season we've had before," Fox says. "We still have to do the work, and take the great amount of production we have returning and make it better."
The Dawgs' won one game in the NIT over Vermont before falling to Louisiana Tech at home. But that was much more than eas expected by many out of a very young squad.
Fox believes that experience can help propel the Bulldogs forward.
"Teams have to learn how to win and to be experienced in many different situations," he says. "It's like anything. The first time around, it's hard. But as you learn to have success and do something over and over again, you develop confidence."
Two players UGA will rely on in 2014-15 are junior guards Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines. Fox says the Dawgs' improvement will go as they go.
"We need them to be the experienced backcourt, not just the talented backcourt," he says. "We need them to play like upperclassmen."
Fox's trip to south Georgia isn't over. He'll be joined by Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo at the UGA Day stop in Tifton on Wednesday.
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