As the NFL teams take their pick of the best of the nation’s college football players again, Dogs fans’ thoughts naturally turn to a year ago and UGA’s $41 million man, Matthew Stafford, going first in the draft.
Yes, a year ago the considered opinion of the NFL brain trust was that Mark Richt’s program had produced the nation’s best quarterback, which pleased most fans in red and black. And yet Stafford doesn’t seem to hold much of a special place in the hearts of a lot of folks in the Bulldog Nation.
My son was commenting the other night on the frequency with which you see Georgia fans taking shots at Stafford, who clearly isn’t viewed with anything like the affection folks have for SEC championship winners David Greene and D.J. Shockley or even earlier quarterbacks like Eric Zeier who, like Stafford, failed to bring a conference title to Athens.
Maybe, he suggested, some Georgia fans see Stafford as getting more out of UGA than UGA got out of him. Oh, they’ll cheer for him to do well in the NFL, but he’s not beloved as you might expect a No. 1 draft pick to be.
I’ve said it here before: Stafford and Knowshon Moreno probably were the most talented quarterback-tailback tandem UGA has ever had, but I’m not sure they’ll ever enter the pantheon of Bulldog immortals because they left school early without achieving what the Bulldog Nation expected of them.
So how do you feel about Stafford a year later? If he becomes a big success in the NFL (which might require getting traded), do you think that will add some glow to his UGA legacy?
SEEING RED, BLACK AND WHITE …
Talking to the Lake Country Bulldog Club this week, Richt was asked about the possibility of another Blackout and Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald reports he first took an applause poll of the fans in attendance (more seemed against a Blackout) and then said, “What I’m thinking is if the seniors really want one, we might do it, but they’re going to have to earn maybe making it to Atlanta or beyond to get a Blackout,” Richt said.
Which sounds like an entirely reasonable response, the key being if they earn it.
But Richt went beyond that and raised the possibility of black jerseys (or, gulp, helmets) just becoming another rotating part of the Dogs’ uniform wardrobe, much like black uniforms have for other UGA teams, including basketball.
“What I’m thinking about doing, and it won’t happen this year,” Richt said, is “it wouldn’t be a bad idea if we have red, black, white jerseys and maybe a red helmet or maybe another color helmet, I don’t know, black helmet. And then just say this is part of what we do and then maybe make them match. Not to save them for any one special game. … I think just winning games is the most important thing.”
Well, he’s right about the winning, but I think perhaps he’s on to something with demystifying the black jersey by taking it out of the “special” category. And after all those years of watching that clip of Herschel run over Bill Bates, I’m sure I’m not the only fan who’d get a kick out of seeing the red britches again. (Though definitely not with red jerseys and helmets.)
I also liked the black britches a few years back with white jerseys and red helmets, but not with red jerseys. And the black helmet? I’m not so sure about the black helmet, which I doubt would have won over many fans even if the Dogs had somehow managed to upset the Gators last year while wearing it.
What do you think? Would you favor the Dogs mixing it up a bit in their uniforms, or would you prefer to stick with the tried and true standard uniform of red helmets, silver britches, red tops at home and white jerseys on the road?
TALK ABOUT BAD TIMING …
Two thoughts on Trent Dittmer’s arrest this week in Athens for public intoxication:
First, if you consider the home page of a newspaper’s Web site to be the digital equivalent of the printed paper’s front page, it’s amazing to me that anything to do with a walk-on backup punter who’s never likely to grace the field in a game could be considered front page news, even an arrest.
And second, we all know that college students are prone to do stupid things from time to time, especially related to drinking. But how clueless does a young man have to be to go out and get drunk, get in an altercation and get arrested the same week one of his team’s quaterbacks has been publicly humiliated and kicked off the team for an alcohol-related incident?
Sounds like it’s time for one of those team meetings.