There were 66,133 people at Sanford Stadium for Saturday’s G-Day game, down from last year’s attendance of 93,000.
As reported in the Athens-Banner Herald, 2016’s record-breaking attendance was credited to the fact it was Kirby Smart’s first G-Day as the University of Georgia’s head football coach and there was a lot of interest in seeing what quarterback all-star Jacob Eason could do.
Although the hype wasn’t as strong this spring, there was still a curiosity to see what new quarterback Jake Fromm would do.
“I’m really excited about our fan base,” Smart said to the paper. “To have 66,000 people makes me proud to be a Bulldog and I’m glad they came out. A lot of our recruits made comments about the attendance and any chance you get to have 66,000 people for a practice, that’s an exciting thing … I want to thank the fans for that.”
Leading up to Saturday’s scrimmage, many fans were anticipating spending the afternoon with plenty of their fellow Bulldog fans.
“I’m thinking probably 65,000, maybe 70,000,” said Shane Pursley, an Athens native now living in Braselton who was relaxing in the shade at The Varsity. “We were supposed to meet a group of friends here but some of them had other things to do. But with the hype of Kirby Smart being here made for a big crowd last year, and this year I don’t think it will be quite as many but I think we’ll still have a good showing.”
For exception of Fromm, some fans did not expect to see much from either the Red or the Black at the scrimmage.
“I hope they’ll show us something,” said Pursley. “I know the competition will be watching as well, so they won’t show too much but I hope we’ll see what the offensive line can do and maybe see what some receivers will do. It would be really nice for them to pass the ball a lot and give the crowd a good time. Just come out and fling the ball and have fun.”
And although expectations for G-Day 2017 weren’t all that high, that’s not the case at all when it comes to the expectations for the 2017 season. For the most part, fans interviewed on Saturday agreed on one concept – 8-5 isn’t going to cut it.
“Anything less than getting to the SEC Championship game this year would be a disappointment,” said Pursley.
Some fans appeared to be a little more patient.
“I’ve learned to temper my expectations because I’ve found that the season is more fun if I’m not riding or dying on every game,” said Smith. “A lot will depend on the quarterback situation. In the past, I didn’t feel like the quarterback competition brought the cream to the top, but this year, I think whoever wins the quarterback position will do the job. I could see nine wins and maybe a trip to the SEC Championship.”
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