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INDIANAPOLIS — We have all been in that situation before, wondering why we spend so much time on our cell phone, messing around with apps and social media. The thought finally hit Georgia QB Stetson Bennett over the summer, as he was preparing for the upcoming season. Maybe it was time to put away the smart phone, and go down a different route, along with the older crowd.
No. 1 Alabama (13-1) plays No. 3 Georgia (13-1) on Monday night at 8 eastern on ESPN. Georgia is a 2.5-point favorite on FanDuel.
The preparation it takes to be a starting quarterback in the SEC is very time consuming, with most of any downtime spent going over game film or spending long nights memorizing the tendencies of opponents. So, there are certain things that could take your attention away from the task at hand, one of them being social media or the addicting games on your smartphone. So, when Stetson Bennett found himself needing to put his total focus on his classwork and the upcoming season, he decided to go “old school” or the Andrew Luck route.
After years of thinking about it, he walked into a store this past July and decided to make the change.
“No, so they actually still sell them at Verizon stores. Apparently a lot of old people still use them. I guess in June or July, I went – I had a bunch of school coming up the next semester, I had football, I was, like, I spend, whatever, an hour on my smartphone a day doing what? Doing nothing, nothing that’s going to help me. I don’t even remember what I did.
“I’ve thought about it before. I’ve thought about it for years,” Bennett added. “And I was like, well, I’ve got all this stuff to do, all this important stuff. Let’s try not to let anything get in the way of that focus and just go get a flip phone.”
This was strictly about not wasting any time, which has paid off this season for the quarterback. No, he’s not saying the switch to a flip phone has brought out the best in his game, but he does say it has helped him in a small way with time management. Now, as we all know with our phones, there are some things we seem to can’t live without, but for Stetson, he seems to have adapted to the change, for now.
“I still have a laptop and a tablet for e-mail and anything important like that that I can use. And I will just use my cell phone for texting and calls. One pain in the butt is I have to carry a Notepad to write down stuff because I used my notes app a lot back in the day a lot. But strictly to help me out with time management and wasting time.”
There’s also this strong minded demeanor from Bennett, where a lot of things seem to slide right off his back and not affect his mindset. The hateful comments he was hearing after the SEC Championship game didn’t bother him, though there were times he wanted to let tell people to kick rocks. But he also understands he’s the starting quarterback at Georgia and the comments come with the job, no matter how frustrated he gets at times.
“I don’t know, there’s a lot of things that go unsaid from that frustration. I’m not really allowed to say it. But that’s what, it’s the nature of the beast. You’re the hero or the zero. I’m glad it was me instead of anybody else because I can handle it because I can just shut it off and tell people to go blah, blah.”
The one thing that keeps Stetson grounded during these crazy times is his family that supports him. There were times where he was wavering on staying at Georgia, after being passed over for other guys in the past, but if it weren’t for the support and advice from his family, who knows if Georgia would be in this spot today.
“I owe everything to them for, first of all, for raising me in a good Christian house, teaching me right from wrong, which helped me through the past, whatever, not leaving and all that stuff, all that hoopla. But I mean they supported me from the walk-on process saying, go, we’ll help you out. And they’re here now. They’re supporting me now.”
He’s also not the only athlete in his family, with his brothers and little sister playing sports and traveling. But, his parents are always at his games, even with the hectic life they lead of also running a business, while raising the family. So, if there is one thing that inspires Bennett, it would have to be his family.
“They never complain about it. All while they’re running businesses. So it’s impressive. And it inspires me – I don’t want to sound cliché and cheesy – but it does, it inspires me, if they can do all that and be successful, then what’s a little bit of football?”
You don’t have to remind Bennett about what’s awaiting him on Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, he knows. A quarterback who has caught the attention of the college football world, not for just being at Georgia, but for the way he carries himself on a daily basis, will have the opportunity to make history against Alabama. He’s come a long way from running the scout team at 17 years old, to now being a starting quarterback in the National Championship.
But Bennett is just thankful for the opportunity to play quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs.
“To have the opportunity to be the starting quarterback here, first of all, I’m lucky and extremely blessed, but it’s also exciting. Like I said before the Michigan game, you want these games, or you come to Georgia because you want these type of games.”
I imagine he’ll be getting a lot of text messages of support over the next two days on that flip phone he carries around, which suits the blue collar quarterback just fine, as he prepares for the biggest game of his life.