"You just go, ‘Wheew,'" Hawkins said. "It's like jumping into a pool of sharks."
Hawkins, as true a believer in mind over matter as exists in major college football coaching, said a good start can vault a unit or even a team into a special season.
"You definitely start getting some confidence, and you really start getting some swagger," he said. "So much of success has to do with what your mind is saying."
BACK IN THE MIX: Sophomore linebacker Dannell Ellerbe expects to be the backup weakside linebacker behind Tony Taylor when he returns from a three-game suspension Saturday. Based on the Bulldogs' early practices this week, Ellerbe thinks he'll be in the game "more than I thought."
"It feels like I've sat out a whole season," Ellerbe said. "I hate it I couldn't be a part of the shutouts, but hopefully we'll have some more."
POLLACK UPDATE: Richt spoke to former Bulldog David Pollack on Monday, he said. Pollack broke his neck Sunday playing for the Cincinnati Bengals but has complete feeling and movement throughout his body. He will miss the rest of this season but could return to professional football.
"He's in great spirits," Richt said. "His main thing was just being thankful for the ability to move all his limbs. He knew it could have been a lot worse, and he also wanted to tell the team that he was real excited about how they were playing."