A Bulldog family’s favorite time of year begins

My daughter snapped this shot of A.J. Green at last year's Countdown to Kickoff after quite a lengthy wait in line. (Photo by Olivia King)

My daughter snapped this shot of A.J. Green at last year's Countdown to Kickoff after quite a lengthy wait in line. (Photo by Olivia King)

Can you feel it?

Today marks the unofficial start of the Georgia Bulldogs football season as the Stinchcombe brothers and David Greene put on the Countdown to Kickoff fan day at the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens.

Unfortunately, I can’t be there today, but if you are in the vicinity this afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m., I encourage you to swing by. Tickets cost $25 and benefit a group of children’s charities, and it’s generally a fun day (even with the occasional thunderstorm). You can meet and get autographs from the current players (if last year is anything to go by, the line for A.J. Green will be WAY long) as well as Dogs from the past, and the Redcoats and cheerleaders and Hairy Dawg are on hand. Lots of activities for the kids, too.

Next up will be all the coverage from SEC Media Days and then the Dogs open preseason practice on July 31 and we can keep our fingers crossed that nobody tears anything and we don’t end up with half the team limping around with strained hamstrings.

For me personally, the preseason excitement really starts to build in mid-August when I spend a few vacation days at the family homeplace in Athens and my daughter and I make our annual trek to the UGA Bookstore so she can stock up on school supplies and posters and we can get some new Dawgwear for the whole family.  That always ends up costing a bundle, but school is usually in session by then and the hustle and bustle of Tate Plaza is a great way to fall in love with the school all over again.

As most of you know, I grew up in Athens and still spend a lot of time there. But there’s something different about that August visit. The sorority rushees are all looking pretty in their sundresses and various student groups have tables set up advocating this and that, and you can spot the freshmen by the sort of dazed look they have.

I remember standing on Sanford Bridge looking into the empty stadium with my then junior high age son and asking him, “Can you see yourself here?” His excited “yeah!” wasn’t really a surprise, of course, since he’d been following the Dogs since he was a preschooler. But I got a kick out of it. He went on to earn two degrees from UGA and is living in D.C. now. But he’s already planning his trip to Colorado to see Georgia play and which games he’ll be flying home to attend in Athens.

Hopefully, my daughter also will wind up at UGA in a couple of years. I have a hard time imagining it any other way, what with the track record of both her parents, her uncles and her brother.

For us, the University of Georgia and following the Dawgs is a family thing. Always has been and always will be.

Go Dogs!

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73 comments Add your comment

BigDawg

July 17th, 2010
11:01 am

It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldawg!!

merbertmoover

July 17th, 2010
11:11 am

like, that article was so sweet Bill….

AJC Reader

July 17th, 2010
11:13 am

What a boring way to start the day. Not a single UGA player was arrested or was found wearing red panties.

But the weekend isn’t over…

No wonder

July 17th, 2010
11:19 am

Poor AJC reader. Guess yellow panties are not so great, huh?

Destin Dawg

July 17th, 2010
11:30 am

Especially this year… New Improved UGA coaching crew.. Grantham, Belin and Lagatos.. new intensity especially on defense.. great kickers…..fundamentals…we’ll win the field position stats.. fewer turnovers…. renewed improved recruiting in State players.. Techies will show no class as usual.. their (lack ) recruits show it so far…. Go Dawgs !!

BugKiller

July 17th, 2010
11:51 am

Bill,

Just remember: Dawgs don’t let Dawgs go to NATS.

Otherwise known as Nerd U.

Otherwise known as Bug Land.

Otherwise known as the Georgia Institute of Terrorism (Where we teach Al Qaida Cell Members Nuclear Physics!).

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

Bill,

WOO-HOO!! It must be parole season in Athens. There is a bumber crop up for parole this year too!!

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:24 pm

parole season is here!! parole season is here!! parole season is here!!

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:25 pm

thUGA inmates get paroled!! woo-hoo!!

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:25 pm

thUGA in da house

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:26 pm

it’s great to be a thUGA bulldog!

AltamahaDawg

July 17th, 2010
12:27 pm

“school is in session……and great time to fall in love all over again”. we hear ya. wink.

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:28 pm

sic ‘em thUGA, sic ‘em

thUGA

July 17th, 2010
12:29 pm

remember folks, thUGA players don’t misbehave, they just live in a fish bowl that’s all!!

Paul in RDU

July 17th, 2010
12:45 pm

What the heck is AJ doing wearing a Phillies hat? Doesn’t he know this is Braves’ country?
It could have been worse – it could have been a Mets hat

SSIgator

July 17th, 2010
12:48 pm

Do the players for UGA get two for ones all night long at the bars in Athens?

Will

July 17th, 2010
1:05 pm

“Next Year” is finally here!! No excuses, no defense. If UGA cannot win 10-11 games this year, when can they?

MUCH easier schedule.

MUCH better defensive coaching staff.

Ten of 11 starters back on offense and boat loads of Top Ten recruits everywhere.

Florida has a coach that could crack any moment. Auburn will be awful. UT will be an afterthought and USC will always be USC.
The best tech team of this century could not beat the worst UGA team of this century IN tech’s OWN BALLYARD last year, they sure won’t win this year in Athens. Only Arkansas is a legit threat but we have them in Athens.

Make your plans for a BCS bowl and you might even should start looking for accomondations at the Championship site.

No excuses!!!!

jimmymack

July 17th, 2010
1:21 pm

will i hope you correct in your predictions

Bulldog59

July 17th, 2010
1:21 pm

Destin Dawg, that’s the spirit. Agreed, lots to look forward too…..

Might as well get used to spelling his name correctly, ’cause we’ll hear it a lot (in a good way) in years to come….. it’s Lakatos.

Bamafan

July 17th, 2010
1:47 pm

There are two big fish in the same pond as the dawgs and beating No 2 is big but beating the biggest
fIsh Bama in Atlanta NO WAY JOSE!!

Bulldog59

July 17th, 2010
1:51 pm

Bamafan, it’s a 3 step process, win your division, win the SEC, and win your bowl. Those are the 3 things we (and all teams) control going into the season. UGA have to focus on step 1 obviously, as does Bama.

We’ll have 2 weeks to trash talk about step 2, but first we both have to make it that far.

Donnie Darko

July 17th, 2010
3:05 pm

BugKiller

July 17th, 2010
3:34 pm

Why do Bugs keep on talking about our football players getting MISDEMEANORS???

THEIR SCHOOL HARBORED AND GAVE COMFORT AND AID TO A MEMBER OF AL QAIDA, OUR COUNTRY’S SWORN ENEMY AND AN ORGANIZATION WHO HAS MURDERED THOUSANDS!

THEIR SCHOOL TAUGHT NUCLEAR PHYSICS TO A MAN WHO WANTS TO KILL EVERY AMERICAN HE CAN, WHO WANTS TO DESTROY OUR FREEDOM AND OUR WAY OF LIFE!

And these Nerds are talking misdemeanors?

MISDEMEANORS???

Buzz29

July 17th, 2010
3:43 pm

Bill,

Are you more worried about “half the team limping with strained hamstrings” or half the team stumplin around downtown athens?

AltamahaDawg

July 17th, 2010
3:47 pm

Makes you so mad you are shaking?

Buzz29

July 17th, 2010
4:03 pm

Bugkiller,

The student you are referencing, in all CAPS none the less, was actually an international spy whose mission was to warn other’s of drunken “dawgs”(sic) riding mopeds with no license.

He was on the cusp of breaking a scandal when he was arrested and falsely charged. Athens police at their finest.

The world may never know what the scandal was but rumor has it that it involved animal cruelty (painting a dog) or a top ranked UGA offical that had a hankering for used young ladies panties.

It’s a shame that kid was framed.

Tom

July 17th, 2010
4:11 pm

Why doesn’t Tim Tucker simply change his blog name to “Comments are closed”?

Dawg House

July 17th, 2010
4:22 pm

It really must suck hating and envying a rival school’s football program more than loving your own.

For that reason alone, it is GREAT to be a Georgia Bulldawg!!

Buzz29

July 17th, 2010
4:23 pm

Tom,

His wife would be upset. Not because ‘comments are closed’ is a silly name but rather because when they got married he took her last name, Tucker.

But Bill King has balls. His name used to be Shelley Stankey but he was such a big fan of Richard Nixon and Elvis that he changed his name to honor them. True story.

Rogeriter

July 17th, 2010
5:19 pm

I just read where eleven Notre Dame players were arrested for underage drinking. This goes to prove that Georgia, Tech, Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, etc are not bad schools and don’t have bad coaches. It, however, does show that eighteen year olds, no matter what school they are at, still don’t use good judgement and do stupid things. Get off of the coaches backs. The only way to prevent this type of thing would be to keep them locked up!
And before you get your ass on your head, I’ll guarantee 99% 0f you got drunk when you were under aged. You just didn’t get caught!

Dawg House

July 17th, 2010
5:32 pm

If 11, or even 1 GT player was arrested for drinking related charges, I guarantee you the Tech morons would be on these blogs defending and justifying it. Notice how quiet they for a few weeks ago when one of there DEs was arrested and kicked off the team for beating the crap out of his girlfriend.

Goes to show the maturity level of Tech “fans”. So full of hate and envy toward UGA that it’s border line obsession. I feel sorry for them.

GO DAWGS!!!! 50 Days!!!

Buzz29

July 17th, 2010
5:56 pm

Dog House,

The key words you used “kicked off the team”. He wasn’t only suspened for the first game of the year like some other un-named program.

I’ll be the first to admit that I drank a little while under the age of 21. The difference between me and these athletes, other than coordination and athletic ability, is that they are offered an opportunity to graduate college debt free.

How many scholars can claim that? People that are researching cures for cancer, alternative fuel, the list goes on. These are the people that deserve free education but fans like me pay to see kids play stick and ball sports so schools put the money in the kids that make them money.

Reba

July 17th, 2010
6:27 pm

“Linebacker Rennie Curran, the Brookwood High and University of Georgia product, has signed a four-year deal with the Tennessee Titans.”

Will babydaddy Curran use some of this money to spport his illegitimate baby?

Buzz29

July 17th, 2010
6:48 pm

Can you at least feed him, Flagboy?
I left his cage at your dad’s house. Tell him I said hey and I’ll bring his red panties back after the parade.

Big L

July 17th, 2010
6:54 pm

Reba, I don’t think a sports blog is a good place to say stuff like that. A lie like that could taint a guy.

Flagboy....

July 17th, 2010
7:01 pm

Enter your comments here

Buckhead Bulldog

July 17th, 2010
7:36 pm

Gotta love the wonderful parade on Milledge, Bill!

Crazy Hoops

July 17th, 2010
8:12 pm

Rogeriter: Good point. They are also weren’t on athletic scholarships so their names didn’t get released to the media to be published.

Pastor Edge

July 17th, 2010
9:16 pm

could we focus on sports on the blog? PLEASE!
GO DAWGS!

Dagny

July 17th, 2010
9:37 pm

It’s kind of sad to see all the Dawg fans getting so excited this year (just like the year before, the year before that, etc.). How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the seven or eight wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 10-2 or even 11-1 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 10 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 25, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent.

It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans, like Miami and Ole Miss fans, need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Bulldog Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many
blue chip high school plays go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance. 

Now go pick up your unemployment check.

BS Patrol

July 17th, 2010
10:57 pm

Rogeriter & Crazy Hoops,
Those were two of the most incoherant & asine posts I have ever seen, & I’ve seen a lot. On ga’s behalf, I don’t think you guys have set foot in a college classroom much less ga’s.

BS Patrol

July 17th, 2010
11:00 pm

“asinine”

Dawgs Run This State!

July 17th, 2010
11:05 pm

It was great to see all of the UGA players/former players spending their Saturday afternoon with kids and helping out some great charities. I know my children enjoyed it!

MIKE T

July 17th, 2010
11:13 pm

Dagny
Your an idiot. All you’ve spouted is an opinion that nobody gives a damn about.
If your sorry ass team has a blog somewhere go to it and leave this one.
You can now go back to hunting your next meal out of the dumpster.

Dawg in Iraq

July 17th, 2010
11:59 pm

Dagny, What’s the point, what should we do, not get behind our team? Why not get you a team to pull for? You’re secretly jealous.

12-2

July 18th, 2010
1:27 am

AltamahaDawg

July 17th, 2010 12:16 pm

“Not so sure what excuses would be required when your predicting a 12-2 ,beating UF, winning the East season, eh Disney Dawg.”

“Except for the excuse that Coach Richt has for firing Coach Bobo this year, as you claim will happen. After going 12-2 and winning the east.”

So, what do you think our record will be ? Not 12-2 ?

We only play 1 ranked team, # 5 Florida – which we lose quite very obviously. We also lose to Alabama in The SEC Championship Game.

Ben

July 18th, 2010
3:12 am

These Tech fan comments are sad and uninspired. You really want to get into a morality contest? Laughable. Just worry about your own house. That goes for Dawg fans taking cheap shots as well. Good article Bill. This is about the time of year I start go turn my focus on the upcoming season. Looking forward to seeing folks I haven’t seen since last Fall.

Truth

July 18th, 2010
3:31 am

Who cares? UGA needs to at least win their own division before putting on any sort of grandstand or touting any other sort of BS. Pre-season rankings from year to year don’t mean a hill of beans when you cannot even win your own little division.

Seriously, how dumb are these uga fans to shell out $25 in this economy for this????

12-2

July 18th, 2010
6:05 am

The SEC east certainly have not been good teams for the 5th year in a row. There is a good team in it, # 5 in the nation Florida. That is it. That is all there has been since after the 2005 season. This is 2010. This is our year. There is no reason we cannobe be 12-2 this season with 10 returning starters on offense, the best defense we have fielded in 3 decades and our best special teams, ever.

After this season, we lose 15 seniors and 4-5 juniors – all starters. So, 2010 is our season; 2011 promises to be more of what we have had to put up with over the last 4 years of 38-14, 3rd in The SEC east at but 10-1-, 4th in The SEC at 20-12, 5th best SEC Coach at his current school beating ranked teams according to Chris Low last week, 3rd in Fulmer Cup Standings for most arrests / suspensions of our football program including assaulting little girls several times this year resulting in both of them being kicked off the team and including DUI which is NOT kids drinking and this 3rd place Fulmer Cup for Georgia Bulldogs is starting 2006 through today, this season we are # 1 in Fulmer Cup Standings, 1-3 vs 4 horrible vols’ teams the last 4 years, 1-3 vs Florida beat their lone worse team of the last 5 years, 21 fumbles every year Average of the last 4 years and 14 interceptions the last 4 years Average, along with for good measure to prove our dedication and discipline averaging # 96 NCAA in Penalties the last 4 years too.

Calhoundawg

July 18th, 2010
9:16 am

I can feel it, Bill.