As part of his promotional tour in support of the Countdown to Kickoff UGA Fan event, Matt Stinchcomb spent a few minutes talking with the Georgia Sports Blog about this important fund raiser/event, his time at Georgia and the upcoming season. The interview is below.
PWD: So looking back to your career? What were your favorite games as a Dawg?
Matt Sinchcomb (MS): As a freshman (1995), Kanon Parkman's helicopter, knuckleball game winner versus Georgia Tech sticks out. The Texas Tech win in 1996 where Bobo drove us the length of the field for the win at the end, and the four overtime game in Auburn were big. In 1997, it was great to finally break the drought against the Gators...at least temporarily, and the LSU game in 1998 was the defining game for that season. Plus, I had always wanted to play a game at night in Baton Rouge.
PWD: What was your favorite stadium to play in?
MS: Outside of Sanford Stadium (obviously), Death Valley in Baton Rouge is one of the greatest places to play college football. The fans, the ambiance and the noise are incredible. Coming out of high school, I knew that was a place I wanted to say I played. I also enjoyed playing at Auburn.
PWD: What was the worst or toughest place to play?
MS: Tennessee is a really tough place to play as an opponent. I think fans in general don't realize the impact they have on the game, but the fans in Knoxville know their role. Everything at Neyland is enclosed, and you feel like you're inside a tin can. The crowd noise is like standing next to the starting line at a drag race...for four hours. It's painfully, oppressively loud. The only place I played as loud as Neyland Stadium was the Metrodome in Minnesota, and that place has a roof to keep the sound in.
PWD: What's the best motivational ploy that you've seen?
MS: Before the Texas Tech game in 1996, the team was reeling. We opened the season by losing to Southern Miss and South Carolina, and we were on our third coach in a year (including Glen Mason). The team was extremely tense prior to that game. So Donnan comes into the team meeting (PWD Note: Friday night or Saturday morning. My notes aren't clear) with a Yo-Yo. He starts telling us that we're going to shock the world, and he's doing these weird yo-yo tricks while he's talking. I have no idea if anyone heard a word of what he said because we were so distracted by the yo-yo, but it worked. He immediately diffused the tension in the room with that weird yo-yo stunt. Separately, the steamroller before the Mississippi State game was pretty cool as well.
PWD: What did you think about some of Richt's motivational ploys last year?
MS: Coach Richt did a masterful job of motivating that team. Guys get numb to the same motivational approaches. They get tired of constant cheer leading. They get tired of constant beat downs, and they get tired of the rah-rah stuff. Teams and coaches can get into a rut with the same approach, so you have to mix it up. It was very impressive.
PWD: What are your thoughts on Coach Searels on the Oline?
MS: My judgment of him is based on the lines that he's put together everywhere he's been. LSU is still reaping the benefits of his work. They'll have the best offensive line in the SEC if not the entire nation this year.
Last year, Georgia had the youngest, lightest and most inexperienced line in the country. Yet, they gave up the fewest hurries and second fewest sacks in the SEC. That's an unbelievable coaching job. Knowshon is a great runner, and I don't want to take anything away from him. But that offensive line really came along last year and helped the running game. A lot of that credit lies at the feet of the coach.
PWD: Well...back to the charity event. Why did you and your brother Jon create this event?
MS: We both have a heart for children, and we wanted to give back in some way. While supporting worthy charities, fans can get to know the current team as well as Georgia legends of the past. Jon and I are also able to unite with old teammates. It's a win for everyone. (PWD Note: Organizations like Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Transplant Foundation, Children's Tumor Foundation and others benefit from this event.)
PWD: How are the fundraising efforts coming so far?
MS: We've raised close to $250,000 over the past two years, and we sold out both the prior events. That speaks to the strength of the Georgia fan base and program, and it speaks to the hearts of our people. Kids are the universal demographic. You either have kids or you were a kid. No one wants to see kids struggle.
PWD: What's unique about this event?
MS: It's limited to 1,500 attendees so it's a more intimate way to interact with current and former players. We'll have everything there except the opposing team including the cheerleaders, band, and current team.
PWD: What are you up to these days?
MS: In the offseason, the bulk of my time is spent with non-profit organizations such as children's healthcare philanthropies. Jon and I have our own foundation that we run. We work to make sure that the charities we feel are important get the resources they need to be successful.
During football season, I run my mouth on radio and TV for 680theFan and CSS. I'm basically doing what everyone else is doing sitting on a bar stool eating chicken wings. The only difference is that there's a mic and a camera in the room with me. It's not a bad deal.
PWD -- If you get a chance check out the Countdown to Kickoff Event on July 19th. There's also a Golf Event and Awards Party on the 18th. It's a great way to meet the teams of today and yesterday while getting autographs and photos.