Catching up with Bulldogs legend Larry Munson

Larry Munson misses fishing but still loves to talk about the Dogs. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Larry Munson misses fishing but still loves to talk about the Dogs. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Mark Richt and his players have scattered for a rare weekend off. Richt is catching a football game involving one son and a musical performance involving another. Aaron Murray is attending the FSU game to watch some friends play. Most players have gone home for a visit.

Let’s hope that everyone makes it back to Athens safe and sound and without an arrest record.

In the meantime, while we can’t watch the Bulldogs play, we can still read about them, including one of the greatest Dawgs ever, though he never took a snap for UGA: Larry Munson.

Loran Smith checks in with the former voice of the Dogs in his latest column in the Athens Banner-Herald and it’s a sweet, if somewhat poignant, visit.

Munson laments no longer being able to indulge in one of his great loves. “It hurts like hell that I can’t fish anymore,” he says. Notes Smith: “It was sad, knowing that just talking about his deep love of the water and not being able to pick up a rod and reel anymore was painful. You could see it in his eyes as he talked.”

But Larry still likes to talk Dogs. “I didn’t like some of the stuff I saw out there, we almost gave it away,” Munson says of last week’s Vanderbilt game. “You think we are gonna beat Florida? Is this our year?”

“We reminisced about the past,” Smith writes.”We told him how much he was missed by the Bulldog Nation, which evoked a soft smile. He didn’t say so, but it was evident that he appreciates being remembered.”

Take a moment to catch up with a Bulldogs legend here.

And now for an off-week bonus batch of Junkyard Mail …

Barry Clinton writes: Hey Bill. Enjoy your writing, neighbor (I grew up just down the road from you on Milledge Terrace [in Athens] — Class of ‘69). So, this question is not as serious a most you get but I’m curious. Why doesn’t Russ get the attention he deserves? My wife is a HUGE Russ fan and wants to start a “Russ is for Us” campaign. She’s very sympathetic of his rise to fame. It’s like getting drafted in the 7th round and ending up in the pro bowl. He has risen from the ashes. He doesn’t get the attention on the field that the other “Ugas” get, which isn’t fair, I feel. I say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Let Russ have a long and appreciated career on the Georgia sidelines.

Go Five Points! I think a lot of fans have a soft spot for Russ, whose extended run as a fill-in mascot has gone on quite a bit longer than anyone at first thought it would. And you’re right, he hasn’t been accorded the full mascot attention. He may get the “Russ Cam” on the big screen at Sanford Stadium during games, but it’s costumed mascot Hairy Dawg who gets to hide behind the French fries in a weekly video screen spot. It’s expected that a new Uga will be introduced later this season, probably during either the Auburn or Kentucky game. And after that Russ will retire back to obscurity (and hopefully won’t be called on to fill in again for a short-lived mascot). Although he has never been named the official mascot and so probably won’t wind up joining the other mascots buried inside the stadium, it would be nice for the university to honor Russ with at least a special plaque or something noting his service, don’t you think?

OrlandoDawg writes: Junkyard, I have a question in regards to Isaiah Crowell. He has tremendous talent but it appears when he doesn’t have success running the ball in certain situations throughout the game he becomes easily agitated and his emotions are apparent by his demeanor and effort on the field. … Now there is word of his recent episode that caused him to sit out the first quarter of the Vandy game and played sparingly throughout the second half. Do you hear this is a ongoing issue or should we consider his recent ordeal as only a minor bump in the road and that attitude problems won’t be recurring in the future?

While sitting out the first quarter apparently was because of some sort of transgression, I think Crowell’s sporadic use in the second half was more due to that nagging wrist injury. I haven’t heard of any major attitude problems on his part, but obviously he’s young and immature and, like most kids, doesn’t hide his feelings. I imagine he’ll settle down as he matures.

Jared R. Shafer writes: Have you noticed that ever since the endzone celebration of 2007 that the SEC and officials, especially Penn Wagers, have seemed to have it out for Georgia? Georgia seems to get hit with the toughest penalties possible for infractions when other teams (Nick Fairley at Auburn really comes to mind) are not punished at all. We get called for the most questionable holds or late hits, etc. it seems. I bet if you researched into this the number of penalties have probably been 25% higher against UGA than other member schools. Any thoughts?

Like most UGA fans, I’ve wondered the same thing. Some write it off as just fan paranoia, but last Saturday night is a good example. Vandy got away with questionable blocks and on that kickoff return the officials failed to call at least one hold and a block in the back or two. Maybe they just weren’t very good officials, which is pretty much the norm in the SEC, unfortunately. Especially Wagers and his crew. Remember the 2008 game against Tennessee where a defensive holding call in the end zone should have resulted in a Georgia first down but didn’t? But, yes, I do think that after the end zone dance Georgia developed a “reputation” among the guys in stripes who officiate SEC games and perhaps they look more closely for infractions than with some other teams. I don’t think it rises to the level of conspiracy, like some fans do, but I don’t think it’s totally our imaginations, either.

Bryan Ingram writes from Des Moines: First, I’m an avid reader of your blog and the biggest Junkyard Blawg/Dawg fan in Iowa! Second, when was the last time that you remember the fan base as unstable as it is now? I’m a “glass-half-full” fan and I’m getting a little tired of the critical eye Georgia fans are casting on our Dawgs. We’ve won four SEC games in a row! Three of which were road games. So what if they weren’t “pretty”. I don’t remember too many pretty road-game wins. Additionally, let’s give Bobo a little bit of credit. I agree his playcalling can be suspect; most coordinators don’t call perfect games. However, he has drafted some great game plans and a lot of our red zone follies have been due to poor execution. Murray missing a wide open receiver, for example, at Vandy. I think doubting Dawg fans need to realize we have a tremendouslly talented young team and things are only going to get better. With the youth, injuries, and scheduling the coaches have dealt with this year, I think they’ve done a great job. I don’t think any other coaching staff could accomplish what we have with so much adversity. What do you think?

I think the biggest Dawg fan in Iowa makes a good point. Georgia has bounced back nicely from its 0-2 start this season and Bobo certainly doesn’t deserve all the blame when the Dogs’ offense misfires. And, yes, the influx of young talent should make all UGA fans optimistic about the future. I think the reason Georgia fans are perhaps a little harder on this team than normally might be expected is a result of the cumulative disappointment over the past three seasons. A win in Jacksonville would go a loooong way toward changing that mind-set.

Dean writes: Hi Bill, I’ve got a comment related to the big picture state of Georgia football. This has been an interesting few years with a lot of angst and optimism alike, but there is one thing that I’m feeling pretty good about: Greg McGarity. Here’s why. When I attempted in the past to imagine Mark Richt sitting across the table from Damon Evans, I had a hard time imagining Evans as “The Boss”. To me, in that hypothetical meeting, Richt is the adult in the room. That may or may not be true. But it’s my perception that come time to make The Big Decision, Evans would be out of his league (props for getting [Mark] Fox though). But for whatever reason, I feel that McGarity is in the right seat. So to the extent that Richt is in any kind of actual turning point at his career at UGA, I have a good feeling that McGarity has the right perspective to understand the situation and manage it in a manner that will deliver the best outcome for all parties. Let’s face it, Mark Richt is the current dean of SEC coaches and one of the winningest active coaches in the NCAA. This is a serious situation, and emotional calls for his ouster are short-sighted. I’m comfortable that McGarity will get Richt, the program and all of us through the turbulence. You have any thoughts on this? Go Dawgs!

I’m totally with you in feeling comfortable with having McGarity, an Athens native who grew up around the UGA sports program, in charge. I think he’ll give Richt every opportunity to turn things around and get the football program back at the top of the SEC East.

LA Dawg writes: Watched the Vanderbilt game and I was appalled at the Georgia players. It appears Richt has lost control of on field discipline. I thought [Shawn] Williams played a dirty game and should have been benched during the game. I thought the body slam tackle by [Bacarri] Rambo was over the top. I have no problem with the [Kwame] Geathers retaliation hit. If you look closely at the block on Geathers it was almost legal (defender’s head in front of player being blocked). However, Geathers didn’t know that and the guy needed to know Geathers wasn’t going to put up with that. There is a difference in being rough and mean and being dirty. I love Mark Richt but I don’t want him to sacrifice his integrity by lowering his standards. Go Dawgs but stay clean and don’t embarrass the Georgia faithful.

It was a very chippy game, as games against Vanderbilt tend to be, and it didn’t help that the Commodores were getting away with going for the Dogs’ legs on borderline chop blocks. But, yes, I do think the Georgia defense in particular lost some of its composure during the game. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising considering the behavior after the game by their coach. I’m hopeful if the Dogs encounter another team that tries to get under their skin they’ll have learned the lesson and will ignore the provocations.

James writes: Regarding playing it safe in the 4th quarter, yes, we need to be less conservative. It’s good to be able to lean on your defense but we need to have the same amount of faith in the O as the D to get the job done. Eventually, the D will be placed in a no-win situation where we are trying not to lose as opposed to trying to win and we will, in fact, lose. On another point, Bobo’s playcalling inside the 20’s is even more predictable than Richt’s was — shocking I know. Also, although Bobo has averaged more points statistically, Richt’s offense consistently put up better numbers against better defenses as opposed to Bobo hanging 50+ on Coastal Carolina and Vandy and then fizzling against an underwhelming UT defense. My two cents. Go Dawgs!

You’re right. Bobo’s offensive numbers might be better than Richt’s overall, but Richt got the big wins and so far that’s been a rarity in the Bobo era. But like Bryan Ingram notes above, the shortcomings of the Georgia offense can’t be completely put on Bobo, although the preditability of his playcalling is a common complaint. The players have to start coming through in clutch situations. That’s one area where I certainly feel better about this year’s team than last year’s. I think last year’s team would have lost that game to Vanderbilt.

That’s it for now. I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail later in the week, so if you’ve got a question or want to raise an issue, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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104 comments Add your comment

GrAnThAm

October 22nd, 2011
11:27 am

First! GATA Dawgs. Beat those slumping Gators!

JAWJeRDAWG

October 22nd, 2011
11:30 am

Good post, Bill, and thanks for the Larry Munson update! .. Go Dawgs!

teewest

October 22nd, 2011
11:55 am

Munson report was much appreciated!!! He is definitely a state treasure!!

Voyager Dawg

October 22nd, 2011
11:58 am

Gotta disagree with LA Dawg. The Bulldawgs responded to Coach Franklin’s strategy of convincing his team they can play with the big boys (the little engine that could). Franklin said that they wouldn’t back down from anyone, so they came in with a chip on their shoulder. The helmet to the back of Geathers’ knee is not the way to carry out that strategy and there were several other cheap shots in the game (not close to being legal play – that’s why the penalty was called and the player was suspended). Geathers, Williams, and Coach Granthem responded to a strategy that included a lot of chippy play on Vanderbilt’s behalf. Coach Franklin pointed the first finger after the game and CTG responded to it. UGA let down on a weaker opponent but broke Vandy’s heart in the end. I think if Franklin expects to hang with the big boys, he needs to take the losses like a big boy as well. The Dawgs need to play with a chip on their shoulder and not take anyone for granted. Go Junk Yard Dawgs – Finish the Drill!

1+2=4

October 22nd, 2011
12:07 pm

The comment about Rambo’s tackle being over the top is absolutely stupid. It was a legal/legit tackle. Georgia’s problem with its defense (since Willie Martinez) was that it did not scare anyone… it was soft. These boys want to hit you and hurt you… that’s football. This also provides Georgia’s D with a swagger. And believe it or not, top level d recruits look at how aggressive a defense plays. So get out of here with Rambo’s tackle being over the top.

In regards to Shawn Williams, he violated a rule and should be suspended. The same goes for Geathers… although I do understand Geathers reaction.

Jack Flash

October 22nd, 2011
12:19 pm

Showa little class and sportsmanship.

Jablonski

October 22nd, 2011
12:29 pm

Lose to Florida and it’s over. All that good will BS will be gone. If he can’t beat Fl more we will never be at the top. He makes too much money for mediocre records.

Dawg48

October 22nd, 2011
12:31 pm

Why are you so negative bill?! Why bring up the arrest subject some one who clams to be a dawg but try in every way to throw a jab! Stopped reading your article after that! Any way glory glory to ole GEORGIA!

Red Scarlett

October 22nd, 2011
1:21 pm

Hate to point this out but the Geathers clip was just barely if at all. The Vandy guy took his legs out from under him but at best it was from the side if not slightly in front. I doubt the clip would have been called if not for the retaliation punch. Kind of like saying you shouldn’t have done that… but I understand.

As to Shawn Williams I seriously doubt anyone would be looking at suspensions if he hadn’t been running his mouth during and after the game. I loved it when someone on one of the other blogs brought up Sampson being able to bring down an army with only the jawbone of an ass. I don’t want to be too rough on the kid as boys will be boys but I would expect his coach not to act as childish in his defense. He should have pulled him off of the field during the game and adjusted his attitude and we would have a full deck to face the gators.

dawgfan

October 22nd, 2011
1:26 pm

Did it ever occur to OrlandoDawg that maybe Crowell gets frustrated when he isn’t doing well because he’s a relentless competitor that wants to help his team win? I’m just saying. I would be more concerned if he was on the sidelines laughing like a moron after a two yard loss. THAT would be immature. Maybe the guy just wants to win really really badly. Nobody says Will Muschamp has an attitude problem when he cusses out a ref and is slobbering like a rabid dog in the middle of a game.

Dumb question.

Athens-Clarke County Jail welcomes you

October 22nd, 2011
2:00 pm

Let’s hope that everyone makes it back to Athens safe and sound and without an arrest record.

There aren’t many schools that a sports writer would make that comment about. It’s an acknowledgement that Bill King knows what a bunch of drunks and scofflaws are at UGA.

ARdawg

October 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

Williams and Geathers were flagged on the field for their violations. It’s BS the SEC decided to flag them for 1/2 of a game while others get not even a mention from the league office

Radio Daze

October 22nd, 2011
4:49 pm

The only thing I liked about Munson was listening to his pathetic whining in the closing minutes of a game that Georgia was losing. That was quite enjoyable.

joe suggs

October 22nd, 2011
5:26 pm

Radio Daze : move to California and hang out with the sissy boys !!!

1969 Graduate

October 22nd, 2011
6:03 pm

Larry Munson’s voice is very much missed. Glad to hear he’s still involved as a fan.

What’s the Over/Under on the number of Georgia players who will be arrested during the off weekend?

What are the Florida players and coaches doing this weekend while ours are relaxing, traveling, and visiting family and friends?

{We may be beat up, and we may need a break, but we certainly haven’t earned any bragging rights. I hope our guys aren’t strutting around like football heroes.}

you morons

October 22nd, 2011
6:10 pm

First off, Russ is a dog. I like dogs, mind you. But it’s a dog. It doesn’t care about the game. Not to sound like those crazy PETA morons, but live animals really shouldn’t be on a field. No matter how cute you think they are. Sorry.

Second, leave it to Georgia fans to whine about the refs. Maybe if they didn’t commit all of those penalties, they wouldn’t have anything to whine about.

ca dawg

October 22nd, 2011
6:59 pm

joe suggs: we don’t want radio daze out here, either. fwiw there are a lot of good dawgs in CA. and i’d be surprised if you’ve ever even been to CA. hell, you probably haven’t even left your home state.

Producer

October 22nd, 2011
8:12 pm

There are very few names that will get us all on the same sheet of music, one is Munson and the other is Grizzard. Amen!

GOB BLEUTH

October 22nd, 2011
8:34 pm

LA sucks, unless you love smog and STDs.

dogdawg

October 22nd, 2011
8:48 pm

Bama 6 Tenn 6 at the half GO VOLS LOL.

Stay off the roads if you value your life!

October 22nd, 2011
8:52 pm

“Most players have gone home for a visit.”

Is Cornelius Washington driving?

dixie dawg

October 22nd, 2011
8:55 pm

hey ladawg vandy coach was the one with no class they took cheap shots all game its refs resposnibilty to control the game and they did not and it came to a head at the end a true dawg will suport the team no matter what save the critisim till the end of the season

guy

October 22nd, 2011
9:13 pm

UGA better beat UF,especially this year,or CMR is out.The end!!! I hope not.

Archie@Arkham Asylum

October 22nd, 2011
9:16 pm

I will remember the play in the early 1980’s where Lindsay Scott caught the touchdown pass from Buck Belue to my dying day! I thought Larry Munson was going to swallow his microphone at any moment!

UGA '79

October 22nd, 2011
9:19 pm

Another loss @ Florida should seal Richt’s fate. Beating a paid patsy and squeaking by Vandy count for naught.

Gainesville DAWG

October 22nd, 2011
9:19 pm

Bill, your comment about the players returning from the weekend was totally unnecessary. I won’t even repeat it. What is it with you, Bill????? You are not someone to read anymore. You choose questions from readers, when all we have to do is read comments after columns. Just leave UGA and go elsewhere.

Idiot Dawg

October 22nd, 2011
9:33 pm

I sure do miss Larry Munson. He is one of a kind and I didn’t even realize it until he no longer called the games. I thought most broadcasters were similar to him. Man what an Idiot!
Good Luck Larry!!!

terry harrell

October 22nd, 2011
9:56 pm

45 L S U 10 Auburn got tails whipped bad ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Nub

October 22nd, 2011
10:20 pm

Muson is priceless ….. God Bless Larry!!!

Dawg48

October 22nd, 2011
10:20 pm

I’m with gainesville DAWG on that one!

kybodawg

October 22nd, 2011
10:22 pm

hey tech how many points a game are u averaging now. dont worry, with that bone crushing defense you play and the development of an awsome passing game now things couldnt look brighter.

Georgia Nation!

October 22nd, 2011
10:22 pm

We just need to stop all of the whining about the Vandy boys being mean to us.

Larry would want it that way.

Dawg48

October 22nd, 2011
10:26 pm

Our d looked as good against teen as bama’s did, I hope we get some rest and come back strong against the gators!

Georgia Nation!

October 22nd, 2011
10:36 pm

If our defense is as good as we think it is, then we have nothing to worry about!

William

October 22nd, 2011
10:42 pm

Comment about arrests was uncalled for. You are the most negative Bulldog supporter there is. You need to find a new line of work or another team to support. Write about the positives not the negatives. There are to many good things going on to be so negative.

Georgia Nation!

October 22nd, 2011
10:46 pm

Write about happy birthdays!

jack bull

October 22nd, 2011
10:51 pm

A few observations and reminders for everyone…First, it is SO apparent to me and to most people who know a little about the game of football, that Coach Bobo and Coach Richt have very little confidence in A Murray. And after throwing a pick at the end of the Vandy game, which I thought was a very poor pass, I can see why. That’s the EXACT reason why he/they get so conservative at the end of games. They’re just plain scared he’s going to make a mistake, just like he did. Secondly, I think everyone needs a reminder that the University of Georgia has so many tough opponents because the state of Georgia puts so many players in different programs around the Southeast. And it’s that reason why teams like Vandy seems to play Georgia tougher than anybody else in the conference. A lot of these guys know and play against each other there whole lives and the ‘less known’ at Vandy and UK and such, sometimes want to make a point…Anyway, sorry to be so long, just wanted to point a few things out….Go Dawgs..

UGA-27 UF-23

Georgia Nation!

October 22nd, 2011
10:53 pm

I just want to remind everyone that we didn’t lose today!

Yay!!!

doggie

October 22nd, 2011
10:58 pm

Hey.. Tech sucks

Live From New York

October 22nd, 2011
11:32 pm

What I remember most about Larry Munson was the humor that infused his play-by-play. Underneath the mix of zest, anxiety and colorful phases was a sometimes subtle, sometimes uproarious thread of comedy. In a long-ago Georgia-Florida game in the old Gator Bowl stadium, after the Dawgs scored a decisive, go-ahead TD, Muson immortally declared, “The girders are bending now!” Then there was “Look at the sugar falling from the sky!” How could you not chuckle at so many of his ad libs?

Like Vince Dooley, Munson fretted that nearly every opponent was the biggest, toughest team Georgia had faced in ages. That act had a special tinge of hilarity. Even in games when Georgia didn’t win, Munson voiced his melancholy in a way that let the audience know that he realized that all was not lost, because better days on the gridiron would come. You could sense that he had an inward smile and wanted his listeners to share that optimism.

It was always a pleasure to be in Munson’s company, whether via a transistor radio at a stadium or a radio at home while the TV broadcast of a Georgia game was muted. Munson was sui generis, his own special creation.

Hairy Perry

October 23rd, 2011
12:31 am

To all the Tech fans on here,

It’s not UGA’s fault you don’t have the team you thought you did. We tried to tell you. Maaaaannnn.

jojo

October 23rd, 2011
12:56 am

Would it just be GREAT if Larry Munson could do a little bit of a home game again? I’d give all the sugar falling from the sky to hear that!

legionaire

October 23rd, 2011
6:54 am

Hope Munson continues to enjoy his Dawgs and wish him the best. It appears that the SEC officials do have an agenda against UGA and that should be addressed by McGarity with the League. The problem I see with Bobo is that he doesn’t take what is given. Why attempt to run the 5′7′ 175 pound scatback up the middle if the D is throwing 8 up front? Why go for a + 20 yard pass on a 3rd and short if the running game is clicking? Why not throw down and outs of 4 to 8 yards to loosen up linebackers and cut short some of the blitzs we are seeing? Just wondering.

old time dog

October 23rd, 2011
8:01 am

legionaire…….. Why??? Because he is out of his league as an OC.

Pago Pago Dawg

October 23rd, 2011
8:51 am

Did UGA name the broadcast booth after Larry yet!!!!! Come on UGA……

GATA

October 23rd, 2011
9:30 am

Agree with Dawg48 at 12:31

claytondawg

October 23rd, 2011
9:32 am

As a die-hard ‘Dog fan, I’m a pessimist when it comes to our coaching staff. We all know Richt has done fairly well in the past. But, the past IS the past. We need to look toward to the future of this program: a new direction, some new and different ideas to move our ‘Dogs to a more stable and hardnose program. AND, gain back some national respect. I miss Larry Munson.

Dawg_Mike

October 23rd, 2011
9:49 am

As I watched the LSU / AU game yesterday I tried to imagine what we would look like if we had some offensive imagination like they exhibited. True, Auburn got hammered, but at least they were not predictable in their playcalling. LSU ran all kinds of misdirections/pitchouts, etc… and it got me to wondering why we dont. I came to the conclusion that its all on Bobo.
I would love to see us run a non predictable offense, so until we jettison Bobo and hire someone with imagination we will be easy to prepare for and game plan against.
Want proof?
Here are our first 3 offensive plays against FL:

Crowell run into the line for 1-2 yards.
Incomplete pass on 2nd down bringing up 3rd and 8.
On 3rd down we throw a 30 yard pattern. Whether or not we complete it is beside the point.
I just made the call- lets see if it comes to pass.

out…

1969 Graduate

October 23rd, 2011
10:11 am

Some of our OC’s play calling is – I hope – based on the talents and limits of the players on our team. Our coaches simply shouldn’t call plays that they know our guys are very unlikely to execute.

That’s not really giving any point to the coaches, as the limitations of the players are due either to bad coaching, or poor selection of players chosen to be on our team.

Much of our OC’s play calling is – I fear – based on his lack of talent, imagination, competence, and ability to properly analyze, study, and understand the game. He does not seem able to copy (steal) from the playbooks of other teams, nor does he seem to recognize which of his own plays are working, and which are not.

Watching the Dawg play calling makes me wonder if our coaches are diabetic.

tech fans are virgins

October 23rd, 2011
10:26 am

Not by choice