I heard from a couple of fans who were bothered by the way Vince Dooley concluded a phone interview this week on Tim Brando’s nationally syndicated Sporting News Radio show. The former UGA head football coach and athletic director signed off with a low-key “War Eagle.”
On top of Dooley pulling for his son Derek when the Vols played the Dogs (albeit quietly at home, away from prying TV cameras), this latest departure from the true Red and Black path might seem like blasphemy to some. But I have no problem with Vince celebrating his alma mater’s first national championship since 1957 (back when he was on the Tigers’ coaching staff). Besides having coached there before coming to UGA, Dooley played football at Auburn and is a graduate of the former Alabama Polytechnic Institute.
OK, granted, Dooley spent more years as a Dawg than in orange and blue and it’s UGA that put up a statue of him.
But I’m more than willing to concede Dooley an occasional “War Eagle” because when it really mattered, in 1980 when Auburn tried to lure him back, he chose to remain at Georgia.
Meanwhile, Dawgs 247 had an interesting report that current UGA athletic director Greg McGarity had reached out to former Bulldogs quarterback and NFL great Fran Tarkenton, who lambasted Mark Richt and the Georgia football program on Atlanta’s 680 The Fan.
In addition to ripping the conditioning of Georgia’s players, Tarkenton seemed to be incensed by Richt’s recent comments about McGarity freeing him up from administrative duties so he could spend more time studying football. Said the legendary No. 10: “What has he been doing for nine years? I have never heard any college, high school, professional coach [ever say] that I was not able to spend enough time on football. I had other issues. … It sounds like ‘I am not taking responsibility.’”
Tarkenton added: “I think Greg McGarity has got to look at this awfully hard, I think the signs are that we have a program that is in big trouble.”
McGarity told 790 The Zone that he had a “nice conversation” with Tarkenton after he heard about the comments and seemed to be trying to gently bring the famed scrambler back into the fold.
Said McGarity: “I basically apologized to him for not reaching out earlier, which I probably should have done to a number of individuals but just did not do it. I think he got to know me a little bit better. I got to know him better, and I was able to talk to him.”
And what did the AD think of Tarkenton’s remarks? “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion,” McGarity said. “It’s disappointing that it would come from one of your own. And basically, that’s about all I care to say about that.”
Which is a heck of a lot more diplomatic way of responding to criticism from a former player than the way Urban Meyer handled it at McGarity’s former employer when critical comments from former QB Shane Matthews prompted him to issue his infamous statement: “I’m also going to talk about loyalty with our former athletes. Some are welcome, some aren’t. …We want former Gators to come back, but loyalty’s a two-way street. If you want to be critical of a player on our team or a coach on our team you can buy a ticket for seat 37F, you’re not welcome back in the football office.”
SPEAKING OF BUYING TICKETS …
Despite the declining fortunes of Richt’s Dogs on the field the past couple of seasons, UGA was one of only 18 FBS schools to sell out all their home football games this season. What do you think are the chances that string will continue in 2011 if Richt doesn’t turn it around quickly?
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