Dawg Bites: Belk Bowl, keeping Bobo and Bulldog stocking stuffers

Will the team be in the right frame of mind to take on Louisville? (Ted Mayer / UGA)
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Will the team be in the right frame of mind to take on Louisville? (Ted Mayer / UGA)
Will the team be in the right frame of mind to take on Louisville? (Ted Mayer / UGA)

Will the team be in the right frame of mind to take on Louisville? (Ted Mayer / UGA)

A holiday assortment for you …

Get over it if you think Mark Richt is going to use the Belk Bowl game against Louisville as a chance to give next year’s rising starters some early work. Georgia has, as athletic director Greg McGarity noted recently, lost three of its past four bowl outings. They don’t want to lose this one, especially to a team featuring the Dawgs’ former defensive coordinator.

Richt made the mind-set pretty clear at Wednesday’s media day. Asked about using the bowl game to prepare for next year, he said: “We’re not thinking about next year. We’re thinking about playing Louisville. They have our respect as far as the type of team they have and the season that they’ve had, and that’s our full focus is trying to win a ballgame.”

And on whether Brice Ramsey will get any snaps in the bowl game: “I don’t know. We haven’t got that far yet. … Those are kind of decisions you make closer to the game.”

And for those who worry that, coming off the dispiriting loss to Tech, the players won’t be fired up for a trip to Charlotte, wide receiver Chris Conley said about facing Todd Grantham’s defense: “It will be a fun game. Obviously emotions will be high.”

Added QB Hutson Mason: “I think everyone has moved on from the Georgia Tech game. There’s a lot to play for in this Louisville game, like a 10-win season. Not a lot of Georgia teams in history have done that. 10 wins is something to be proud of, although it’s not what we wanted to accomplish. I’m a black and white guy and we didn’t get the job done this year with what we wanted to do in winning the SEC Championship. This is where we’re at so let’s go 10-3 and not 9-4 and let’s finish the season off right.”

They’re talking the right talk, at least. We’ll see Dec. 30 whether Georgia hits the field fired up and ready to play.

DISAPPOINTED FROM THE TOP DOWN

If you haven’t yet checked out Mark Bradley’s conversation with McGarity, you can do so here.

One thing worth noting: UGA fans weren’t the only ones who felt the Bulldogs failed to show up in Jacksonville and take the Gators seriously. Said McGarity: “That particular game was very disappointing. I don’t think there was anyone in our building or [among] our fans pleased with our effort and our performance. I really think we underestimated Florida’s ability to perform.”

Amid the AD’s generally vague and carefully phrased answers, that one stood out as showing he’s still that passionate Georgia fan who grew up in Athens.

ON MIKE BOBO

What's best for Mike Bobo might not be best for UGA. (Philip Williams / UGA)

What’s best for Mike Bobo might not be best for UGA. (Philip Williams / UGA)

I’m of two minds on UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo being in contention for the head coaching job at Colorado State.

On the one hand, unlike the vocal minority that blames Bobo for every Georgia loss, I recognize that he’s been the key architect behind one of the nation’s most productive, highest-scoring offenses in recent seasons. And there’ve been quite a few games when the defense wasn’t up to snuff, that Georgia would have lost without Bobo at the helm.

He’s also been one of the Dawgs’ most important recruiters.

But, by current college football standards, Bobo is woefully underpaid, lagging behind even the brand-new, less-experienced other coordinator in his own program.

I also recognize that he would one day like to be a head coach and I suspect he wouldn’t mind at all succeeding Richt at Georgia.

Along those lines, if he really wants to replace Richt as head coach, it might actually be a good move to take the Colorado State job, if it’s offered. UGA might be more inclined to give its top job to a former staffer with head coaching experience rather than simply promote an assistant.

Still, when I look at what his loss could mean to the Georgia program in the next couple of seasons, I’m hoping Bobo doesn’t get or take the CSU job, but instead uses it to wrangle a better deal out of tightfisted Butts-Mehre.

MAKING A TRIP TO CHARLOTTE SWEETER

One sign tickets for the Belk Bowl probably aren’t flying out the door of the UGA ticket office: It was announced this week that Hartman Fund donors who buy bowl tickets will receive bonus points to their cumulative priority.

When purchased by a donor to the Hartman Fund, bonus points will be applied to their lifetime score at a rate equal to the purchase price of tickets (minus processing fee). For example, if a Bulldog Club member purchases four lower level tickets at $85 each, they receive 340 points. All Hartman Fund donors who have previously ordered Belk Bowl tickets will receive this special one-time credit toward their cumulative Hartman Fund priority point total.

And if you’re not currently a Hartman Fund donor but want to become one, you also can take advantage of this offer and receive the bonus credits when you make your donation.

Gotta move those tickets!

IMAGES OF ATHENS

A former Athens landmark pictured in Patrick Garbin's book.

A former Athens landmark pictured in Patrick Garbin’s book.

Before one of this season’s Bulldog home games, I spent some time chatting with the guy who runs the church lot where I park, and we ended up discussing Athens, and why so many folks who go to UGA choose to stay there or eventually return.

There are a lot of factors in that, including the combination of top-notch arts and music scene with small-town charm.

A recently published photo book, “Images of Modern America: Athens” (Arcadia, $22.99), captures some of Athens’ offbeat charm that hasn’t always shown up on past volumes that focused primarily on columned mansions and UGA buildings. One of the reasons for that probably is that the man who put the book together, Patrick Garbin, is (like me) an Athens native.

You’ll know Garbin from his numerous volumes about UGA football history and his About Them Dawgs! blog, but he focused instead on the city that is home to the university in his latest book. Among the shots you’ll find in Garbin’s book are scenes from the Great Streak of 1974, a shot from a 1980 Greek social and pictures from campus protests. There’s even some football in there!

If you’re looking for a gift or stocking stuffer for a UGA grad or Athens native, this would be a good choice. You can order the book here.

Bulldog booster James Brown on campus, from Athens photo book.

Bulldog booster James Brown on campus, from Athens photo book.

Patrick grew up on the east side of Athens and graduated from UGA in 1998 with a BBA degree in finance, and he and his wife and two children now live in Athens’ bedroom community, Oconee County.

I chatted with him about the book and our mutual hometown …

One thing that I particularly liked was that you didn’t limit this book to just old houses and historic sites. Tell me about the process of procuring these photos and how they were provided.

Gathering the photos was probably the most difficult aspect of the book project, especially considering I did not first obtain 160-plus random photos and then conduct my research and writing, but vice versa — I essentially knew what photos I wanted to include, and then sought out each individually.

I was fortunate enough to make an agreement with UGA’s Pandora — the school’s yearbook — which has annually included a section on the city of Athens for the last several decades. Without the yearbook’s assistance, Athens-related photos from 30 years ago and before, especially those in color, would have been very difficult to come by. I also worked with three reputable photographers from the area, each of whom supplied multiple images. Finally, there were 14 or 15 other photo sources who each contributed one to three images.

Any interesting stories behind any of the photos?

Overall, the most interesting aspect of many of the photos collectively is their depiction of how much Athens has changed over the last half-century — a change that was much greater than I realized prior to starting the project. In the book, I go as far as declaring no college town in America has likely changed as much as Athens since the early 1960s.

A late 1960s Athens protest, as pictured in Garbin's book.

A late 1960s Athens protest, as pictured in Garbin’s book.

In the late 1950s, Athens was considered a place with the attitudes and policies of a small country town. However, in just a short period of time, the town experienced a sudden and drastic transformation caused by the integration of schools, the variety of protests — from civil rights and those against the Vietnam War to women’s equality and rights for homosexuals — and Clarke County becoming “wet,” allowing alcohol to be served by the drink. These changes laid the foundation for a thriving music and art scene, and a restaurant and watering hole-filled downtown that had consisted of mostly retail stores for decades.

My goal for the project was to assemble a thorough enough collection of photos to where, if an individual rather knowledgeable on the history of the city was to read my book, they’d be hard-pressed to name a notable Athens-related event, person or place of the last 50 years not pictured, or at least mentioned. So far, I’ve reached that goal with most everyone who has read it.

What’s your favorite shot?

It’s a tie between three images I inconspicuously inserted: each of my children pictured with Athens landmarks, and my father — a professor at UGA for 40 years — photographed teaching a class. And, of course, I didn’t forget my lovely wife in the project; the book is dedicated to her.

Was there anything you wanted to have a picture of but weren’t able to get one?

There were several great photos taken of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes integrating the University of Georgia in 1961. Although I was able to obtain a profile photo of Hunter from the Pandora and another of the two together more than 30 years afterward, I unfortunately couldn’t locate one of the more recognizable images of their integration and gain permission for its usage before my deadline.

Might we see a sequel?

If the publisher — Arcadia Publishing in Charleston — asked me to write a sequel, time permitting, it would certainly be my pleasure; this project was perhaps my favorite of the seven books I’ve authored thus far. My editor at Arcadia did mention to me that an “Images of” book project on UGA football might be in their near future.

1980 DVD STILL AVAILABLE

DVD is still available.

DVD is still available.

Another recommended holiday gift for a fan of the Red and Black is the “1980 Dawgs” video about UGA’s most recent national championship season.

Mike Moss, one of the producers of the DVD, told me they’ve heard “over and over again” how someone gave “1980 Dawgs” to their father, uncle or brother, and the film brought them to tears.

Moss said that the clips from that season that make up the film did the same thing to him when filmmaker Lenny Daniel, a friend, first sent them to him to see if he’d like to invest in the project.

“At first I thought, ‘What more can I learn from 1980?’ I was there. I’ve heard the stories over and over forever. I don’t think I’ll be interested in investing into this project.”

But, he said, “after watching it, it hits some kind of deep chord. The players are all grown men now. Fathers, some are grandfathers. To hear the story from them as adults — the teamwork, dedication, funny moments, love for each other, love for the support of fans. It just hits life truth on so many levels.

“It reminds me of what it takes to be champions. Not just in football, but in life. It also is so heartwarming to go back and re-remember things from that time, but looking through the glasses of life experience since them. The film is rich with those kinds of moments.”

If you or the Bulldog you love don’t already have a copy of this disc, now is the perfect time to fix that. You can order the DVD here.

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Email junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

Junkyard Blawg mugBill King is an Athens native and a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. A lifelong Bulldogs fan, he sold programs at Sanford Stadium as a teen and has been a football season ticket holder since leaving school. He has worked at the AJC since college and spent 10 years as the Constitution’s rock music critic before moving into copy editing on the old afternoon Journal. In addition to blogging, he’s now a story editor.


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