Andrews' Goal: Help Bulldogs Finish the Drill
Aug. 27, 2014
By Anne Noland
On a cold Friday night in November of 2010, there was one player who wouldn’t leave the field. The game had finished hours before. The stands were empty and the lights were off. Most of the team had already gone home. But David Andrews needed some time to himself.
Andrews, the center for Wesleyan School in Norcoss, Ga., had just played his last high school football game. As he stood on the dark field that night, he thought about the last four years. He thought about all the playoff games and the state championship he had won. He thought about his coaches and teammates and the memories they had together. That place, that football field, was home.
“I knew leaving high school football was going to be tough, leaving all the guys I grew up with,” Andrews says. “I went to a small high school and all we had was us.”
Now, four years later, Andrews (Johns Creek, Ga.) is beginning his last year as the starting center at Georgia, the place he dreamed about and the place he loves. This is home now. Though he has hardly skipped a beat with his high school teammates, he can’t imagine life without the men that also wear the red and black on Saturdays.
“You get real close with these guys,” he says. “You live with them. You do everything with them. I’m going to miss that.”
Andrews is not dwelling on the fact that this is his last season playing for the No.12- ranked Bulldogs, but he is pausing enough to take it all in. Playing football at Georgia was always his dream. He never imagined playing anywhere else. But he also never imagined it would be this good.
“I couldn’t imagine that I’d get to play with the best running back in college football and the best defensive player in college football,” he says. “I’ve played with a lot of special people. I’ve played with and gone against many that are in the NFL right now. As a kid, you dream about playing, but you don’t realize some of the opportunities and blessings you will receive being here, being in this place.”
Those blessings are not something Andrews takes lightly. When other athletes are looking to see what they can get from the university, Andrews is looking to see how he can give back. His solution? Playing his heart out.
“I love this place, I love this university,” he says. “It’s been good to me. I hope I can give back to it by going out and playing as hard as I can.”
For Andrews, playing hard does not necessarily look like explosive plays or making the highlight reel. Rather, his focus is on doing the little things well. The team decided against a catchy motto for this season, and that, in part, is due to Andrews’ leadership.
“A motto isn’t going to help us win in the fourth quarter,” he says. “Let’s do what we do, and do it well. You know what our motto is? Just win. Go out there and take care of business every day. The rest will take care of itself.”
Or as some say it, finish the drill. That’s been the theme song of Georgia football throughout the Mark Richt era. To Andrews, finish the drill means finish what you came here to do. That is his focus each day, each practice, each game of this season.
Offensive line coach Will Friend sees that every day and believes that is one of Andrews' greatest attributes.
"David is a good leader and a tough kid," Friend says. "He's what you want as far as a player doing things the right way. He works hard to get better every day. He's been a good player for us for three years and has steadily gotten better. He got better this spring. This fall camp, he's better than he was a year ago. He's constantly improving because he works every day to get better."
Right now, finish the drill means taking care of No. 16 Clemson on Saturday. Andrews has not forgotten last season’s 38-35 loss, the roar of the crowd or the mistakes he and the team made. But he is ready to take care of the small things. Doing that, he says, will take care of the big thing – winning.
“I’ve never had this big of a home opener in my career,” Andrews says. “They had a great atmosphere last year [at Clemson], and that was tough to operate in at times. I know our fan base can do the same thing. I will never forget what happened at the South Carolina and LSU games last year because of the energy and what the fans provided. That’s what makes it fun. I’m just ready to get out there in front of the fans and see what they can do.”
Sometime on Saturday – between the bus ride to the stadium (listening to his favorite country music), getting taped in the locker room, walking the field, warming up with the team and running into Sanford Stadium in front of nearly 93,000 fans – Andrews will pause for a moment. He won’t let himself get distracted from the task at hand. But he will take a moment to soak it all in.
“It’s crazy to think that’s all coming to an end, slowly but surely,” he says. “If people don’t remember me, that’s fine. In a year from now, there’s going to be someone that’s just as good as me or better. But for the people that do know me, I hope that they remember me as someone who loved this university and played hard every day. I hope they remember that I gave it all I had.”
Anne Noland is a senior from Marietta, Ga., who is majoring in public relations. She is in her fourth year as a student assistant with the UGA Sports Communications office. She also was a classmate of David Andrews in the Wesleyan School's Class of 2011.
"Coming Attractions" is a weekly feature published on georgiadogs.com spotlighting a UGA student-athlete who will be competing in a key home event during the upcoming weekend.
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