Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 28 Days to Go

28: Bill Hartman, Fullback/ Linebacker/ Punter #25 (1935 – 1937)

During the second half of the 1940’s, the University of Georgia would only have one player named to the All-American after having 4 players named during the first part of the decade. That player, Bill Hartman, is often remembered as one of the most underrated players in Southern college football history. Hartman was born in Thomaston and played football as a youth in nearby by Madison. Hartman became a fixture for the Georgia football team beginning in 1935 for Harry Mehre.

Hartman was a versatile player for Georgia during his three years on varsity, playing fullback, linebackers, and punter for the Dawgs. During his senior season in 1937, he even filled in at quarterback against Tulane when injuries forced the Georgia starter out of the game. The Georgia offense struggled that day, but found a way to win 7-6 thanks in large part to a 44 yard punt by Hartman in the first quarter. The kick went out of bounds at the 2, forcing Tulane to start deep in its own territory and decided to punt on first down (a common practice at the time). Georgia’s Vassa Cate returned the punt for a touchdown, Georgia’s only score, and the Dawgs won. Here is a look at Hartman’s career at Georgia:

Later in the season, the Bulldogs were able to tie a heavily favored Georgia Tech team 6-6, after Hartman returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Following the season, Hartman was named an All-American at the fullback position. He played two seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and returned to Georgia as an assistance coach in 1939. He coached the secondary for Wally Butts until 1956. In 1974, Hartman returned to the Georgia coaching staff as the kicking coach for Vince Dooley. He was the first kicking coach in Georgia history and it had an immediate impact on the position. Georgia has enjoyed one of the best kicking traditions in the country, with names including Kevin Butler, Rex Robinson, John Kasay, Billy Bennett, and now Blair Walsh. Hartman was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984, and the UGA Circle of Honor in 1999.

Here’s another funny story about how Bill Hartman nearly fell on Uga:

Friday, August 6, 2010

ESPN Highlights 3-D and Hatin' Gators

Despite the fact that the words "Florida" and "Awesome" would never be in the same sentence coming out of mouth of a real Georgia fan, the new commercial from ESPN including Hairy Dawg is still hilarious. Only if a negative connotation were attached to it, such as "Isn't it awesome how much Florida sucks at life," would this be truly realistic.

Mad props to Hairy Dawg for representin' and slamming that remote to the ground and not taking that shit. That is more than appropriate behavior, it is downright respectful! He could have easily punch the dude in the face or knocked over the TV as he marched out of that living room.

If you haven't watched ESPN in the last several weeks (I wouldn't blame you considering FAVREGATE 2010: WHAT WILL HE DO!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! dominating their coverage), here's the commerical:

The Countdown 2010: 29 Days to Go

29: Freddie Gilbert, Defensive Tackle #90 (1980 – 1983)

After playing both offense and defense during his high school days in Griffin, Freddie Gilbert only wanted to play on the defensive line after coming to Georgia in 1980. Despite his size (only 185 pounds), he earned a starting position as a freshman that fall. Georgia would be on its way to a national championship, but without a key play by Gilbert, they may have never made it.

Georgia was undefeated and looking to wrap up a perfect SEC season with a victory over the Tigers. Auburn came out wearing orange jerseys and was able to keep up with the top ranked Bulldogs until the second half. Instead of Herschel Walker, it was another freshman making a big play that day for the Dawgs:

Georgia would go onto win the game, 31-21. For the season, Freddie Gilbert had two sacks and returned to Athens to help Georgia defend its national championship the next fall.

For his sophomore season, Gilbert increased his weight from 185 to 215, but was able to keep his speed. He became a force on the Georgia line, constantly putting pressure on the opponent’s quarterback. He increased his sack total to 6 and Georgia won its second consecutive SEC Championship. 1982 would see Gilbert once again increase his sack total but also become one of the leading tacklers on the team. In addition to 7 sacks he also had 77 tackles and was named to the first team All-SEC. After the departure of Herschel Walker, Georgia failed to win the SEC for the first time in three years in 1983, but Freddie Gilbert still lead a Georgia squad that was able to defeat Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Gilbert was named the permanent captain and led the team in sacks with 11. He also finished third on the team in tackles with 100 for the season and was once again named to the All-SEC team. Following the season, he was named an All-American at defensive tackle.

During his four-year career as a starter for Georgia, Gilbert racked up 26 career sacks and 233 career tackles. He followed in Herschel Walker’s footsteps by playing in the USFL following college. He eventually played in the NFL and ended his career with the Denver Broncos.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 30 Days to Go

30: Ivy “Chick” Shiver, End, and Tom Nash, End #79 (1925 – 1927)

In the modern era of Georgia football, we have seen a number of great receiving duos including Massaquoi and Green. But in the early days of Georgia football, when guys who played the position of end were the ones catching passes, Tom Nash and Chick Shiver were the first great receiving duo. Playing under Coach George Woodruff, the duo would lead the Bulldogs squad that would be known as the “Dream and Wonder Team”.

Chick Shiver grew up in Sylvester where he played fullback before coming to Georgia. Tom Nash also played fullback in high school, but both players had moved to end by their senior year in 1927. Both players were big and strong and considered great weapons for Georgia. In 1927, Georgia would have their first 9 win season, the lone loss being a 12-0 game against Georgia tech to close the season. Nash caught 3 touchdown passes and Shiver caught 2, as the Georgia passing attack racked up over 900 yards. During the 14-10 victory over Yale, Shiver caught a touchdown pass from HF Johnson to give Georgia an early lead. The victory was considered a major upset, as Yale was favored to win by 14 points.

Following the season, both Nash and Shiver were named first team All-southern Conference and first team All-Americans. Tom Nash went onto to play 53 games with the Green Bay Packers and later for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Shiver played baseball professionally, cracking into the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers and later with Cincinnati. Both players would eventually return to Athens as coaches for the Bulldogs and are considered two of the first Southerners to ever garner national attention.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 31 Days to Go

31: Vernon “Catfish” Smith, End #13 (1929 – 1931)

The Georgia Bulldogs have had many great player nicknames during the 120 years they have been playing football. Names like “Red” Maddox and “Chick” Shiver to “Meat Cleaver” Weaver and “Pulpwood” Smith hold a special place in the hearts of Georgia fans. Another player with memorable nickname is Vernon “Catfish” Smith. The story of Smith’s nickname dates back to his high school days in Macon. Vernon won a 25-cent bet with a friend that he would bite the head off a catfish and the name stuck. During his first season with the varsity in 1929, Smith made an immediate impact in one of the most historically significant games in Georgia history.

The University of Georgia opened its new football field, Sanford Stadium, by hosting Yale in the fall of 1929. Georgia celebrated its new field by defeating Yale, 15-0. Vernon “Catfish” Smith, then a sophomore, accounted for all 15 of the Georgia points in the game. He recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown, scored on a touchdown pass, kicked an extra point, and recorded a safety. Here is some great footage from that historic day:

For the season, “Catfish” led Georgia in scoring with 32 points. He was the only Georgia player named to the All-Southern Conference team that year. During his junior season in 1930, Smith was once again named to the all-conference team. He caught 2 touchdown passes and converted 9 extra points.

Senior year for Vernon “Catfish” Smith would be highlighted by his great play against big opponents. When Georgia played Yale again, their coach (Mal Stevens) criticized Smith saying that he had not made a tackle in the two previous games against Yale. This enraged Smith, who promised to make a big hit against Yale’s star back. He kept his promise and made another big defensive play (a 26 yard loss) as Georgia recorded a 26-7 victory. Later in the season against Vanderbilt, a touchdown reception and safety by Smith put up all of Georgia’s points. He added an interception to stop a Vandy drive and Georgia won the contest, 9-0. For the season, he totaled 24 points on 1 touchdown, 16 extra points and a safety. He was named a consensus All-American and was a member of the All-Southern Conference team for the third consecutive season.

During his brilliant career at Georgia, “Catfish” scored 7 touchdowns, converted 34 extra points, and scored 2 safeties. This gave him a career total of 77 points scored. He also played on the basketball and baseball teams during his years in Athens. Smith would later return to Georgia as a coach in both football and baseball. He was inducted into the Georgia sports Hall of Fame in 1966 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 32 Days to Go

32: Herb Maffett, End (1927-1931)

Athens, GA bred and member of the 1926 Toccoa High School state championship football team, Herb Maffett was a raw talent who was on the front line for one of the historic moments in Bulldog lore, and in an era of Georgia football that just preceded the formation of the Southeastern Conference.

Maffett was an iron-man four year starter at end for the Bulldogs, who helped lead the Bulldogs to victory in the 1929 dedication game of Sanford Stadium. In that first game at Sanford Stadium in October 1929, college football powerhouse Yale played their first game in the South, and were upset by Georgia 15-0.

According to Bulldog legend, Maffett was named team captain for the 1930 season after his performance in helping lead Georgia to the victory over Yale. That same season, Maffett was also named an All-American and All-Southern Conference player (at that point, he was just the 6th All-American Georgia had ever had), as the Bulldogs went 7-2-1.

In that 1930 All-American season, the Bulldogs played at the Polo Grounds of New York City against NYU, where Maffett would catch the game winning touchdown (and Bulldog legend Vernon "Catfish" Smith would kick the game winning extra point), as the bulldogs won 7-6 and avenged the previous year's defeat by the Violets (yes, the NYU Violets).

In 1981, Maffett would be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, as well become a part of the Georgia Bulldog Hall of Heroes.

Tales of a Bulldawg in Columbia

As I hinted at in an earlier post, I am enrolling this fall in South Carolina’s School of Law. While I was running around Columbia this week on errands, I went into Publix for groceries, wearing a Butler Bulldogs t-shirt.

Now before I get to the punchline, I actually have a direct connection to Butler, having lived outside of Indianapolis for 7 years while also living 2 doors down from the future head coach of the Butler Bulldogs, Brad Stevens. Plus there’s the whole Hoosiers appeal too.

Brad Stevens, professional baller

Anyways, as I was walking near the produce, a 60-ish Publix employee stocking the shelves stopped and asked me, “Who is Butler?” After explaining that Butler actually went to the NCAA basketball championship game in March before losing, he replied with a big smirk, “Well, South Carolina beat y’all”. It took a second of confusion for me to realize he was hanging his hat on the Diamond ‘Cocks baseball championship and just wanted to make sure I knew about it, sport be damned. I did correct him on his sport confusion, but did not inform him of my UGA connections, as it would have required 10 more minutes and some verbal football sparring over South Carolina’s history of gridiron mediocrity.

By the way, I’m really looking forward to wearing my Larry Munson t-shirt to campus when classes start.

Matt Howard's vicious half-court screen made him immediately first-string on Butler's football team.

Hopefully I will be able to provide a little blogosphere color during the run up to the September 11th UGA-SC game and beyond, from the wilderness of Columbia.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 33 Days to Go

33: Edgar Chandler, Offensive Tackle/Guard #63 (1964 – 1967)

Not many players posses both the physical size and speed to play both linebacker and offensive tackle, but Edgar Chandler was no ordinary player. A three star athlete in high school, Chandler came to Athens from Cedartown, Georgia. His high school coach, Doc Ayers, joined Vince Dooley’s staff at Georgia and Chandler followed.

Chandler would become a three year starter for Dooley as Georgia would compile a 23-9 record during those seasons. He played mostly right tackle and was named to the All-SEC first team in 1966 and 1967. He was named an All-American by the NEA in 1966 and as Georgia finished with a 10-1 record, an SEC Championship, and a Cotton Bowl victory. In his senior year in 1967, Chandler was a unanimous first team All-American. He was invited to three senior all-star games (Liberty Bowl, North South Bowl, and the Hula Bowl.

Chandler is still considered one of the finest offensive linemen in SEC history. He would go on to a career in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills. To better utilize his talents, Chandler switched to linebacker. He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. He also made a funny appearance as an audience member on the Tonight Show on an evening when Don Rickels filled in for Johnny Carson. Check out Chandler in the clip below at the 8:20 mark:

So Take It From BNE...

...and this guy...

Here's to the start of fall practice!

See what you've done, President Adams?!?!

Now we've got our frat boys fitting with their own alumni.

AEPi frat Boys fighting over parking (h/t - Bernie)

What the hell?!? Just let us back on North Campus already.

Myers is going to get destroyed in T-minus 33 days!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 34 Days to Go

34: Jimmy Payne, Defensive Tackle #87 (1978 – 1982)

Jimmy Payne did not travel far when he chose to attend The University of Georgia to play college football. The Athens native was a three-sport star Cedar Shoals High School and decided to stay home and play for the Dawgs, despite a heavy recruiting battle with the Tennessee Volunteers. Jimmy’s father, James, worked for the university but tried to remain neutral throughout the recruiting process. Jimmy would go on to become the first 5-time letterman in Georgia football history.

As a true freshman in 1978, Jimmy saw his first action under the tutelage of Georgia defensive coordinator Erk Russell. He speed and versatility allowed Payne to play both on the line and at linebacker. During an early game in the 1979 season, Payne injured his knee and would have to miss the remainder of the season, the NCAA granted him a medical redshirt, meaning he would still have three years left for the Georgia defense.

With his knee healthy, Payne returned to the line for the 1980 season and became an All-SEC performer. He led the Dawgs with 7 sacks and finished fourth on the team in tackles with 85. He also had an interception during Georgia’s 41-0 victory over Vanderbilt. Georgia won the SEC and the National Championship and Payne returned to anchor the line again in 1981. Payne once again led the dawgs in sacks, this time with 12. He recorded 62 tackles and was named first team All-SEC for the second consecutive season. During Payne’s senior season in 1982, Georgia won their third straight SEC Championship and Payne made the all-SEC squad for the third straight year. To cap his career, he was named first team All-American, a fitting ending to fine career in Athens.

During his five years on the Georgia line, Payne racked up 256 tackles, including 41 for a loss(5th all-time). His 28 career sacks ranks third at Georgia, although sacks were not officially recorded during his freshman year in 1978. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 1983 NFL Draft. Jimmy Payne died in 1998 after a long struggle with cancer.