A lacrosse stick is meant to cradle a lacrosse ball, pick up a lacrosse ball, or shoot a lacrosse ball. And on certain occasions, it is meant to dislodge a lacrosse ball from an opponent’s stick.
The last is the meaning a lacrosse stick has to the Georgia defense.
At the beginning of the spring, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker needed a way to further motivate his players. Enter the lacrosse stick.
Instead of being used for sport, it has become the defensive trophy given to the player who is active in trying to strip the ball out of an offensive player's grasp.
“It’s all about the ball,” Kirby Smart said. “We want the ball, the ball, the ball.”
Lacrosse players use both the shaft and head of their sticks to knock the ball out of another player’s stick to try and give their team possession, which is called checking. These checks are fast and violent and if done correctly will put the ball out of a stick and onto the field.
Over the 15 practices this spring, Smart and Tucker have constantly been in the ears of their defenders to wrap up first, but do whatever they can to knock the ball out second.
“Attack the ball, rip the ball, pull the ball, bat the ball, intercept the ball,” Smart said, “We are going to take a lacrosse stick and whack your arm to try and get the ball out.”
Lorenzo Carter, a junior outside linebacker, said the defense is consciously making an effort to go for the ball when they pursue a runner because they all want to have a chance to take home the lacrosse stick.
“You get the ball, you get the stick; Simple as that,” Carter said with a laugh.
Although Smart admitted he knew very little about the sport of lacrosse, he knows enough to turn a lacrosse stick into meaningful symbol for his defense.
Cornerback Aaron Davis was the recipient of the coveted defensive prize after G-Day when he returned an errant Greyson Lambert pass 98 yards for a pick-six. The play turned out to be the only turnover in the scrimmage.
“We take good pride in the stick,” Davis said.