Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 91 Days to Go

God Is a Bulldog
By: Lewis Grizzard

Jacksonville, Fla. - Dorsey Hill, the world's biggest Bulldog fan, left here Sunday afternoon, bound for Auburn, Alabama, where Georgia's undefeated football team next appears.

“I don't think you can get from Jacksonville to Auburn,”I had said to him.

“You can change buses in Waycross and Columbus,” Dorsey answered.

“You aren't going home first?”

“Home?” He screamed back. “I haven't worked since Texas A&M, and I haven't slept since Clemson. You expect me to go back home when we play Auburn in only six more days?”

I lost my head, I suppose.

A lot of people lost their heads here Saturday afternoon. Georgia played Florida. Georgia won the game, 26-21. It's a lot more complicated than that, however.

Georgia came into the game ranked second in the nation. To continue to compete for its first Big Banana ever, the national championship, Georgia had to continue its winning streak. Florida ( “bunch of swamp lizards and beach bums,” according to Dorsey Hill), wanted to step on Georgia's dream.

Dorsey arrived here Thursday afternoon with thousands of others who made the early departure south from various points in Georgia. Many of those individuals were as drunk as five eyed owls by the time they reached the Florida line.

As local wit Rex Edmondson says, the Georgia-Florida game is the “annual celebration of the repeal of prohibition.”

Dorsey waited until Friday to get into his serious pre-game drinking, however.

“I stopped at the New Perry Hotel Thursday for lunch and filled up on collards,” he said. “It's hard to drink on a belly full of collards.”


Now that I have had time to digest all that did eventually happen in college football Saturday, I think I can say without fear of charges of blasphemy that the whole thing was a religious experience. “Deacon Dan” Magill, the “Baptist Bulldog,” read a prayer to the Georgia faithful in which he beseeched the Almighty to help the Bulldogs “smite the Florida Philistines.”

Then there was the game itself. Georgia behind 21-20, ninety-three yards away, time running out.

“We need a miracle!” screamed Dorsey Hill, now fortified with more than collards.

Georgia got its miracle. Buck Belue to Lindsay Scott, for ninety-three yards and the winning touchdown with only seconds remaining. If that wasn't enough, there was the astounding news from Atlanta. Georgia Tech had tied No.1 Notre Dame. Surely, Georgia will be ranked first in America when the ratings are released.

“A tie was a gift from Heaven,” said Dorsey. “Notre Dame gets knocked out of number one but Tech doesn't get a win. God is a Bulldog.”


I must make one confession here. I did it, and I must suffer the consequences.

I gave up at Jacksonville Saturday afternoon. Florida had the ball. Florida had the lead. There was only three minutes to play. I left the stadium. I was in the street when the miracle came.

“You are a gutless disgrace,” Dorsey Hill said to me later.

He detailed my punishment: “We're going to a tattoo parlor in this very town tonight,” he began. “And you're going to have '26' tattooed on one of your cheeks in red. And you're going to have '21' tattooed in black on the other cheek. I don't want you to forget what you did.”Link

I won't, but which cheeks is between me and the tattooist.

- This story comes from Grizzard's 1981 book, Don't Sit Under the Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me. You can buy this book here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 92 Days to Go

Who was Steadman Sanford?

All Georgia fans know that Sanford Stadium is the home of the Georgia Bulldogs and has been since 1929. But you know who the man is that the stadium was named for? Steadman Vincent Sanford is one of the best known educators in Georgia history. He was born in Covington in 1871 and completed his Bachelor’s degree in English from Mercer University in 1890. For the next 13 years, he would become a predominant educator in Marietta, serving as the principal of Marietta High School and as the superintendent of Marietta Public Schools. In 1903, he came to the University where he would teach English and journalism.

In 1921, Sanford founded the Grady School of Journalism, serving as the department head until 1926. He then became President of the Franklin College and the dean of students. And in 1932, he was eventually named President of the University of Georgia. During this time, he was also very active in the develop of the university’s athletics department. He became faculty chairman of athletics in 1907 and held that position until he became President. He was the founding president of the Southern Conference in 1921. His most memorable contribution was to move athletic completion from Herty Field to the valley between North and South Campus. He helped lead the fundraising effort which lead to the completion of the new football stadium, which was named in his honor.

In 1935, he was promoted to the position of chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He remained active in education over the next decade, securing support from President Franklin Roosevelt for building programs as part of the New Deal. Sanford passed away in 1945 and is buried in Marietta, Georgia.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 93 Days to Go

Homecoming History

This fall, Georgia will celebrate homecoming by welcoming the New Mexico State Aggies to Athens on November 5th. Traditionally, the Dawgs have taken care of their homecoming opponent easily. Last fall was no exception, as the Dawgs shutout the Vanderbilt Commodores 43-0. Aaron Murray threw for 287 yards and hooked up with AJ Green and Kris Durham on touchdown passes. It was a banner day for the Georgia defense, holding the Commodores to 140 yards and forcing 2 turnovers.

All-time, the Dawgs sport a 70-17-2 record on Homecoming. Vanderbilt has been Georgia’s most common homecoming opponent, serving that role 22 times. Georgia has won 19 of those games. The Dawgs have won their last two homecoming games by shutout, as they also shutout Tennessee Tech 38-0 in 2009. Mark Richt has a 9-1 record in homecoming games and the Dawgs have not lost on homecoming since 2006.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 94 Days to Go

Profile: Mike Bobo

Mike Bobo began down the path that has lead him to the position of offensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs as a star quarterback at Thomasville High School. The 1993 Georgia Player of the Year passed for over 5,000 yards and 42 touchdowns before committing to The University of Georgia as part of the class of 1994.

During his Georgia playing career, Bobo would become one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Georgia history. The team captain of the 1997 team, Bobo threw for 6,334 yards and 38 touchdowns. He holds the Georgia single season record for completion percentage (65% in 1997) and is third all-time in career passing yards and career total offense. He best performances came against Georgia Tech in 1997, when he completed 30 of 39 passes for 415 yards and 4 touchdowns and in the 1998 Outback Bowl, where he completed 26 of 28 passes for 267 yards in a 33-6 victory over Wisconsin.

Following his playing career, Bobo became a graduate assistant in 1998 and 1999 with Dawgs before becoming quarterbacks coach at Jacksonville State in 2000. When Mark Richt became head coach in 2011, Bobo returned home and joined Richt’s staff as QB coach. After helping develop David Greene and DJ Shockley, Bobo was promoted to offensive coordinator following the season closing victories over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in 2006.

After guiding Matt Stafford to become the #1 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, Bobo has continued to work on developing fine SEC quarterbacks. Aaron Murray completed one of the most successful seasons a freshman has ever had at Georgia and will most likely be an All-SEC player this fall. Bobo has also become an integral part of the recruitment team at Georgia, winning high praise for his work done this past off-season in landing many of the players from south Georgia as part of the Dream Team.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 95 Days to Go

Learn the lyrics: “Hail to Georgia”

Every Dawg fan is familiar with the song, “Hail to Georgia”. Written in 1931 by Gaines Waller, it can be heard played by the Redcoat Band following extra points and during the Dawg walk. And while every Georgia fan knows the music, many people have no idea what the lyrics are to the song. The song goes like this:

Hail to Georgia down in Dixie!
A college honor’d, fair, and true;
The Red and Black is her standard, proudly it waves,
Streaming today and the ages through.
She’s the fairest in the Southland
We’ll pledge our love to her for aye;
To that college dear we’ll ring a cheer,
All hail to dear old UGA!

Hail, our Varsity of Georgia!
Thy sons will e’er thy glory sing;
To thee we’ll ever be faithful, loyal and true;
Ever and aye will thy praises ring.
Grand old times of ours at Georgia
The happiest days they’ll be alway;
Alma Mater, fair beyond compare,
All hail to dear old UGA!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 96 Days to Go

The Best Kicking Duo in America

One thing that remained constant in the ten years Mark Richt has been coach in Athens in solid performances in the kicking game. Even the worst kicker of the Richt era, Andy Bailey, was on the All-SEC Freshman team before losing his job to Brandon Coutu. This fall will be the senior season for two of the finest kickers in Georgia history, Blair Walsh.

Blair Walsh

Many people questioned the decision to offer Blair Walsh a scholarship when he came to Georgia. Georgia’s two All-SEC performers at kicker during Richt’s tenure were both walk-ons and the previous scholarship kicker (Andy Bailey) lost his job after one season. But Walsh quickly proved he was worth the scholarship, earning Freshman All-SEC marks in 2008. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the best kicker in the country. And in 2010, he was named first team All-SEC, making 20 of 23 field goals and leading the SEC in touchbacks.

Drew Butler

Like Walsh, there were questions about whether a punter deserved a scholarship offer even if he was the son of a Georgia legend. Butler became the starting punter in 2009 and had a banner year. He earned First Team All-American honors, lead the country in punting by over two yards, and won the Ray Guy award. In 2010, he was once again a finalist for the award. He is the most successful punter in Georgia history.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 97 Days to Go

Georgia Rivals: Tennessee

All-Time Series Record: 17-21-2

Last Ten Years: 6-4

Last Year: Georgia 41, Tennessee 14

Memorable Game: 2001 – Georgia 26, Tennessee 24

Mark Richt’s first game against Tennessee remains one of the greatest victories in Georgia history. When Tennessee took the lead on a screen pass late in the 4th, all hope looked lost for Georgia. But freshman quarterback David Greene led the Dawgs quickly down the field and found Verron Haynes for the game winning touchdown:

2011 Preview – October 8 in Knoxville

Georgia and Tennessee’s 2010 seasons were very similar in the results on the field. Both teams finished with 6-7 records after failing to win their bowl games at the end of the season. Freshman quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray appear to be budding superstars in the SEC. This year’s contest will be critical for the Bulldogs if they hope to remain competitive in the SEC East. Georgia crushed the Vols at home in 2010, payback for the beat down the Dawgs got in Knoxville in 2009. Since 2005, the closest game between these two has been 12 points.