By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Vince impresses in spring game
vince in action 2
Vince Vance, No. 72, makes a block for the black team. - photo by By Jimmy Currier
ATHENS — Former Bradwell Institute football standout Vince Vance impressed University of Georgia coaches and fans in the G-Day game on Saturday.
G-Day is the culmination of spring practice, where the first-team offense and second-team defense, dubbed the red team, plays the first-team defense and second-team offense, dubbed the black team.
In short, it is a glorified scrimmage, that had over 20,000 fans between the hedges in Sanford Stadium woofing and cheering while gaining a sneak preview of their beloved Bulldogs.
Vance, a 6-foot-8, 310-pound transfer from Georgia Military College, played through the pain of a recently healed MCL sprain in his left knee for the black team.
“The knee is doing well. It’s aggravated a little bit but I played the whole game,” he said. “I just kept pushing and I can’t let it phase me.”
At the beginning of spring practice, Vance was atop the depth chart at left tackle. However, his knee injury caused him to miss practice, thus moving him down to the second team.
Nevertheless, Georgia head coach Mark Richt knows Vance's potential and expects him to contribute to the team.
“He did miss a lot of work, which is unfortunate, because the only way to get better and really learn is to experience it.” Richt said. “He’s a great looking guy. He has the type of body that you need to play at tackle and he has athletic ability. He will do very well for us.”
Though the black team lost 34-21, Vance said he had fun and learned from the game.
“This is a great feeling. There’s nothing better at least right now for me,” he said. “I know what I have to do to get better. I have to push myself past the pain in my knee. I keep pushing it and I feel fine.”
Vance, who played on the offensive line for two years at GMC, is picking up the blocking assignments well, but said there is more work to do.
“From now until summer practice, the offensive line and I are going to work our butts off to get faster, stronger and quicker to win an SEC championship,” Vance said. “I have to maintain my weight and keep up with everyone’s playing ability.”
Vance said his time at GMC gave him the opportunity to be coached at the collegiate level before being thrown into the fire of a major Division I program.
“It helped me out a lot, especially discipline wise,” he said. “The level of talent is different. In JUCO, we are all D-1 prospects but don’t have the D-1 training. Here, we are all D-1 prospects and have the D-1 training so we have to compete with them on their level. The games are a little bit faster too.”
While at Bradwell, Vance played defensive line. However, BI coach Jim Walsh Jr. constantly told Vance that he would play on the offensive side of the ball in college.
“Vince has always been a big guy and he possessed speed and quickness,” Walsh said. “I always told him he would play offensive line and lo and behold, he goes to college and he plays there.”
Walsh can provide Vance with plenty of insight, because he played the majority of his career on defense until his sophomore year at the University of South Carolina, when he moved to the offensive line.
“By far, playing on the offensive line is the hardest position on the field,” Walsh said. “There is so much mentally going on and you have to carry out the physical assignment. Vince putting himself there is a tribute to his hard work. Playing that position late in your career is tough.”
Walsh is proud of his former player and student.
“He has the opportunity to start at Georgia and obviously he worked real hard to accomplish that goal,” Walsh said. “He’s somebody who can help them, Georgia always has the opportunity to play for an SEC championship. So, I’m happy for Vince.”
Though Walsh is glad Vance is playing football for the Bulldogs, he’s even prouder that Vance is receiving a college education.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to play sports collegiately but the big thing everyone tends to find out is one day it comes to an end and what do you do after that,” Walsh said. “When football ends you have to be prepared for what happens afterwards. Vince getting his education is very important.”
Vance is majoring in communications and his advice to current Bradwell student-athletes is to make good grades and work hard.
“First of all, get your grades,” he said. “Don’t go to JUCO like I did. The JUCO route did something for me but don’t go that route if you don’t have to. Bust your butt. Do whatever it takes to get ahead in whatever sport you play because it pays off when you get here.”
Sign up for our e-newsletters