Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail. …
Andrew Wagner writes: Hey Bill, Have you heard anything regarding football uniforms for this fall? Georgia was supposed to have true, shiny silver pants last year but production got delayed a season. The current ones are OK, though they can appear dingy and beige when worn. It’s also time to do a true blackout again. Our colors are red and black, not red and silver (though silver goes great!). Forget the superstition of losing to Alabama and the Florida game (black helmets would have always looked terrible); we’ve had some great moments against Auburn and the Sugar Bowl wearing black. My ideal would bring back the silver britches full-time and wear a black jersey in the same style with a red collar and white numbers once or twice a year. The program has danced around the idea for so long but avoids it. The students want it — memorial blackouts for Uga, senior night blackouts, rivalry blackouts, etc. Even the recent Kentucky basketball game was an officially announced blackout and the Dawgs wore white. I like Richt’s idea of wearing black but planning it much in advance so it lessens the hype. Plus, Sanford in black looks fantastic!
The saga of the shiny silver britches, like the ones the Dawgs wore back early in the Richt era, seems to be never-ending. For several years now, fans have been asking why Georgia is wearing flat gray Nike pants instead of silver pants that have some sheen, like several pro teams wear. The culprit, apparently, is the lighter fabric the pants are made of. Still, in April 2013, athletic director Greg McGarity said, “As new technology comes up, as new fabric becomes available, you’ll see that morph into maybe more (like) our silver britches. You know, kind of like the [Dallas] Cowboys wear? That’s the kind of silver you’d like to get, which is kind of like what we used to have, which had kind of a shine to them. It just depends on how fast they can get that material. That’d be the goal, to get it back to the silver britches. … And Nike’s one of the few that can do that, because they’ve got some of it in the NFL now.” Then, last March, McGarity said in an online chat that Georgia was “working with our partners at Nike to create a more ‘silver’ silver for the Dawgs’ silver britches.” But last May, when I checked with Senior Associate Athletic Director Claude Felton, he said: “Uniform design and production is quite a lengthy process these days but the new ‘silver’ should be good to go for the 2015 season.” So, this week I asked Felton for an update. The news is … hopeful. Said Claude: “We won’t get the game pants for this year until June or July; however, we are hopeful they will be closer to the original silver britches.”
As for getting black jerseys back into the mix, as I’ve said before, I’m all for it, but not for hyped-up Blackouts in big games. I’d rather see them either designated for the final SEC home game of the season, no matter who the opponent is, or worn whenever Auburn plays in Athens.
Terry March writes: Bill, there was some discussion in your blog a couple of weeks back about whether the coaches will allow Nick Chubb and the other running backs to be tackled to the ground during spring practice. Has anyone asked Coach Richt about that?
At his recent spring football press preview, Mark Richt had this to say: “We will scrimmage. We’ll have three scrimmage opportunities and I don’t know if we’ll tackle to the ground on those other days, maybe a little bit here and there. We think that you can teach blocking and tackling without going to the ground all the time or cutting your teammates below the waist on certain blocks. We want to be wise but we do want to be physical and see who can be physical and who can play the game. That’s why you have those scrimmage opportunities, to make it as close to a game as possible and see how those guys respond to that.”
So that sounds like, yes, there’ll be days when they just “thud” rather than tackle, but there also will be some full tackling. I’d say that’s a reasonable mix.
Beach Dawg writes: Bill, as always appreciate your insight. I understand the rationale for not naming a starting QB after spring practice but does that not present a potential problem for summer workouts? For the [Aaron] Murray years and last summer with [Hutson] Mason, it has always been clear as to who the offensive leader was during the critical summer drills. We all know that having more than one person in charge is a committee and leadership by committee has greater potential for discord and inefficiency. Do you see this as a concern? And, how do you think the coaches will be able to mitigate the potential problems?
I think the lack of a definite starter at QB who takes it on himself to organize summer drills should be mitigated somewhat by the fact that the coaches now are allowed to be involved in summer workouts. Last year, the NCAA changed its rule to allow coaches to require up to eight hours of mandatory summer workouts each week, including up to two hours of film study. In the past, any organized summer workouts were supposed to be voluntary, and could only be monitored by the strength and conditioning staff. Coaches cannot supervise on-field, football-specific work, such as throwing and catching drills that players essentially run on their own, but filming the drills and then going over them with the players allows considerable input. As for who will actually get the players together for the drills, I’d imagine one or more of the seniors will step up to fill that role.
Mountain Dawg writes: Bill, I saw earlier this week that the artist renderings for the new indoor practice facility show it at six different locations in the vicinity of Butts-Mehre. I know the unofficial word is that they’d like to tear down the Hoke Smith Annex off Lumpkin Street and put it there, next to the practice fields, but it seems like that’s not a foregone conclusion. Do you think one of the other locations would be better?
Even though it would mean tearing up some of the recent improvements to the Woodruff Practice Fields, I think the actual best location for the indoor facility would be replacing one or more of the current fields. It also would probably simplify (and possibly speed up) the process since the athletic association wouldn’t have to acquire the Hoke Smith property from the university and tear down a building. As Chip Towers reported, in addition to the annex site, the 140-yard-long by 80-yards-wide facility could be located where the Bulldogs’ upper grass fields are now, where the lower FieldTurf Fields currently are, between the upper and lower field and at the far corners of the area known as Vince Dooley Athletic Complex. You can see a gallery of the possible locations here. Really, any of the six possible locations would work. I’m just glad they’re not considering putting it where the track and field facility is located.
David writes: Hi Bill, Help me out if you can. Several years ago their was a micro running back at UGA that the AJC did an article on. I can’t remember his name but his story was remarkable. Besides being small in stature to play at the collegiate level he had a very difficult background. No father, homeless and on the streets. He managed by his own fortitude to defeat the odds. He defines the words persistent and dedicated. Even though I can’t remember his name I do remember his journey. He exemplifies the greatness of the University of Georgia and for what we stand. While he may not have ranked up with the likes of Herschel on the field, he was every bit the courageous young man that fought and won many battles. He garners my vote as my favorite Bulldog of all time. He is an inspiration to me and I respect him greatly. He is a hero to me and a true Dawg in every sense.
I believe you’re thinking of Tony Milton, who was Musa Smith’s backup early in the Richt era and who is remembered chiefly for the great 25-yard run he made on a fourth-down toss sweep to clinch the 18-13 win over Tennessee in Sanford Stadium in 2002. Milton, who actually wasn’t that small at 5-feet-10, 207 pounds, first left his Tallahassee, Fla., home at age 9 and mostly lived with friends and relatives but sometimes in a cardboard box. He became a father himself at 17 and, after high school, was for a time living in his car before landing at UGA to play football. Last I heard a few years ago, Milton was giving one of the pro golf circuits a try. Definitely an inspiring story.
Jimmy Tittle writes: Bill, what do you think of the plans to make the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville part of a three- or four-day festival? If that happens, do you think there’s ever a chance of the game shifting to home-and-home so we can see the Dawgs and Gators in Athens?
The festival idea, featuring concerts, fan zones and such, was touted recently by Gator Bowl Sports President and CEO Rick Catlett on a Jacksonville radio station, citing the NFL Experience at the Super Bowl as an example of what he has in mind. Actually, I’d say what they have in mind is separating more UGA and UF fans from the contents of their wallets. The game and its accompanying tailgating is enough of an event already for the fans. Adding some festival of what’s likely to be overpriced attractions to the mix doesn’t sound that appealing. As for the future of the game in Jacksonville, I believe that depends on how much that city is willing to pay to keep it. If the two schools ever conclude they can make more money going home-and-home, the traditional date in Jacksonville might well go the way of a lot of other abandoned college football traditions.
I’ll be off for a couple of days, so there won’t be a weekend edition of the Blawg this week.
In the meantime, if there’s something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or you have a question for the Junkyard Blawg, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg
Bill 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.