Predictably, Goff was fired. When Georgia hired Donnan from Marshall that winter, Ward was the first player to visit the new coach. "He told me he wanted to help the team in any way possible," says Donnan, "and he said he wanted to do it at one position. I told him I had just the position." Donnan's offense uses a T-back, a receiver who sometimes lines up in a slot, sometimes splits wide, sometimes operates out of the backfield. He catches passes and occasionally runs sweeps. The position is perfect for Ward. There is also a package of plays in which Ward plays quarterback. Should Donnan opt to use these, Ward could become the first player in NCAA history to accumulate more than 1,000 regular-season yards in a career in four offensive categories: passing, receiving, rushing and returning kicks.
On the day of his father's first appearance in Athens, Ward walked him to his car. "I know your mother hates me," Hines Sr. said. "I just don't want you to hate me."
"I don't hate you," said the son. "You're my father. But as far as you coming around here, I don't think that's too cool."
On a rainy day this fall, Ward sat in a room overlooking Georgia's practice fields. "Here I was, a little kid, and he didn't keep in touch or help my mom out financially," he said. "But my mom, she never forgot about me." If he plays in the NFL someday, Ward will buy his mother a new car and a new house, and he will take her home to Korea, where she has been just twice in 20 years and where he has never visited. "My mom used to tell me, 'I live every day of my life for you,' " said Ward. "I understand that now. The older I get, the more I understand."