Fan talk: Mix-and-match uniforms, Dawgs’ slow starts, making a statement and more

It'd be great to see the red britches again ... but only with the white road jerseys. (Associated Press)

It'd be great to see the red britches again ... but only with the white road jerseys. (Associated Press)

I’ve been battling Internet connection problems this morning, but finally have prevailed. So let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail. …

Jason Powell writes: Bill, what with just about every team in college football jazzing up their uniforms, I wondered if you’d heard anything about Georgia possibly breaking out the black jerseys again. I know a lot of fans soured on departing from the standard jerseys after the failed “Blackout” against Bama and the “fake juice” with the Grambling helmets and black pants against Florida, but the Dawgs also had a couple of major wins in the black jerseys and they looked really sharp. I know the players loved them, too, and today’s players generally want some variety in their uniforms. If Georgia sticks to its traditional uniforms, do you think it could hurt in recruiting?

Jason, I agree that the black jerseys looked terrific, and there’s no denying the players love them, but I have a hard time believing that any athletes in major college football make the decision on where they’ll play on the basis of variety in the uniforms. If that were the case, Oregon and its nightmarish wardrobe would draw every five-star player in the country. As for Georgia, Mark Richt was asked on Monday night’s “Bulldog Hotline” about another Blackout and he basically said he wouldn’t rule it out but didn’t see it happening again any time soon. He feels now that all the hype about the Blackout messed with the team’s focus. He also said that fans could do their own Blackout any time they wanted. As for the uniforms, Richt said that in the future, rather than trot out black jerseys as a surprise, he’d rather lay out an array of uniform options before the season, including red, black and white jerseys “and maybe even do something with the helmet.” That way, he said, the can “mix and match” and it’s not “some kind of secret weapon.” I’m not sure I like the talk about doing something with the helmet, unless it was maybe a retro silver helmet (hopefully not the one Nike had with the Pro Combat uniforms), and the “mix and match” idea is a little worrisome. While I’d love to see the red britches from the late ’70s and ’80s make a return and wouldn’t mind even the black britches, I’d add the caveat: only with the white road jerseys. I’d hate to see the Dawgs wearing red tops and black pants like they did against Florida once in the Jim Donnan era. Ugh. As for the black jersey, as I’ve said in the past, I’d like to see it reintroduced for a not-so-crucial game, like maybe homecoming, or perhaps be made a tradition for home games against Auburn.

Jeff Clark writes: I keep reading how everyone is so concerned about the effectiveness (or lack of) of the defense in the first half of games. While I do share some concern, we have to remember that we’re playing short-handed and have played 3 teams that we are completely unfamiliar with and/or had zero interest in playing. For once, the offense doesn’t appear to be an Achilles Heel for the team and should put up some nice numbers against the Vandy D. What are your thoughts on the defense’s ability to start fast this week since we finally have a familiar opponent? I think if Jarvis is back and they come out fast, this game could be over by mid 3rd quarter. Great blog and Go Dawgs!

I don’t think it’s fair to say Georgia’s players had no interest in Missouri. And in that game it was the offense that got off to the slow start, not the defense, which played pretty well the whole game. I think the level of opponent in the other two games was a factor, as were the missing starters and the problems in on-field communication caused by their absence. However, even with a couple of starters still missing this week, after last year’s confrontation between Todd Grantham and James Franklin, I don’t think motivation is going to be a problem for the Dawgs’ defense against Vandy. Barring any mistakes or special teams meltdowns on Georgia’s part, I think your prediction could be on the mark.

Jon W. writes: Bill, I like to scan the Dawg’s opponents’ local papers for info on the other team. In spite of all the nice-nice by Franklin and the “we’re just preparing like we do every week” from his players, this slipped out: “‘I see it as unfinished business,’ defensive end Johnell Thomas said after Vanderbilt’s 58-0 drubbing of Presbyterian on Saturday.” He was referring to the Dawgs game. Richt, Granthm et al need to appeal to the pups’ egos that this team thinks they are coming to Athens for a rivalry game. It’s time to make a statement.

I couldn’t agree more. There’ve been individual players who’ve had statement games so far this season (Jarvis Jones being the prime example), but the team overall has yet to turn in a performance that screamed championship contender. This home game and next week’s against Tennessee are great opportunities for the Dawgs to make such a statement.

Eddie Whitaker writes: Am I alone in believing that at least part of our “slow starts” on defense against the smaller schools is either A) Playing an extremely vanilla defense which honestly the players aren’t used to, and B) a bit of gamesmanship for the next week’s opponent?  My thinking is this, we had a slow start and less than stellar showing in Week 1, but really put the clamps down on a pretty prolific Missouri offense. I still believe that we are spending most of the practice time preparing for the “real” opponents who are next on our schedule (Mizzou, Vandy). I just feel like when it really starts to count, our D will be as dominant, if not more dominant than next year. Though I do worry a little about still not having Rambo and Tree for Vandy (2 very selfish players, by the way).

It is true that Georgia’s defense against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic was fairly vanilla and the D looked much sharper against Mizzou. I think there’s something to what you say about looking ahead and working on upcoming opponents. I don’t believe we’ll see any of that against Vanderbilt, however. That would be an unwise and dangerous bit of gamesmanship. Vandy is not a pushover.

T.J. Stripling, seen working with Todd Grantham, has come back slowly from a serious knee injury. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

T.J. Stripling, seen working with Todd Grantham, has come back slowly from a serious knee injury. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Keith McCants writes: I was watching the game between UGA & FAU and although it was late in the game, OLB #44 T.J. Stripling was very quick off the edges. Kinda reminded me of Thomas Davis during the Brian VanGorder era. Should the Dawgs use him in 3rd Down situations to add to their pass rush, & what happened to Ray Drew? I noticed that he didn’t play that much in the game against FAU & against Missouri. Has he fallen down the depth chart or is there some other reason?

I talked about Ray Drew’s slow progress up the depth chart last week but the quick version is he’s playing behind some veterans. As for Stripling, he had a sack in the FAU game and so far has two solo tackles and three assists. It’s been a long road back for T.J. from a serious knee injury suffered a couple of years ago against Colorado. But he’s gotten bigger, as Grantham wanted, and he says he now feels more comfortable making quick, sudden movements on the field. I think you’ll start to see more of him as the season progresses.

Chris writes: Bill, Richard Samuel is the ultimate Dawg, I wish we had a roster full of guys that had the heart of Samuel. He has switched to whatever position the coaches have asked him to play unselfishly to do what was best for the team. Now the guy has hardly been on the field in his final season. I thought he would be the full back this year. Why can’t the coaches reward this guy (who can play) by finding somewhere to put him?

Basically, Samuel hasn’t won the starting job at fullback, but he did win a hug from the head coach for his heads-up play on that fake punt in the Missouri game. For that reason, a lot of fans did think it was curious that he didn’t get any playing time in the FAU game. Richt was asked about that this week and all he said on Samuel was: “He still plays both positions — fullback and tailback. He just didn’t get any reps the last game.” I’m not sure what’s up with that.

Kelvin Phillips writes: Bill, I do not like the fact that [Todd] Gurley is returning kicks. I think the risk of injury is too great and he is far more valuable running the ball 15-20 times than returning 2-3 kicks. What do you think about that?

Yeah, there’s some risk in using your best tailback to return kickoffs, but the potential payoff outweighs that risk, I think. If you want a reminder, go here and watch that 100-yard return for a touchdown earlier this season.

Tracy in Indy writes: Hello Bill, I enjoy your Blawg and appreciate all the insight you provide not just in regards to UGA football, but all things UGA. I’m a displaced Georgian living up in the North (Indianapolis to be exact). I’m taking the family (wife and two sons 7 and 8 years old) down to Lexington this year to catch the UGA vs UK game and I was wondering if you’ve made the trip before.  If so do you have any insight on where the UGA fans congregate before and after games? Restaurants and tailgating locations? Any other words of advice?

I have not made that trip. Readers, if you have any suggestions for Tracy on where fans gather in Lexington, please share them in the comments.

Jim Earing writes: Hey Bill, My family and I live in New York and will be attending the November 17th game against Georgia Southern. It’s our 1st game day in Athens. Do you have any advice on what we should look to do before and after the game? We should be arriving in Athens around 10 a.m. the day of the game. Thanks.

It kind of depends on what time the kickoff is. If it’s an early one, you won’t have much time for pregame activities other than the Dawg Walk, which takes place roughly an hour and a half before kickoff. If you’re not tailgating, you might want to head down for that and then join the crowd on the Tate Center Plaza, where you can eat in the Bulldog Cafe or get hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. from under the tent between the Tate Center and the UGA Bookstore. A visit to the bookstore for some UGA gear might be nice, too. You don’t say how old your family is, but if you have kids they’d probably enjoy trekking up to North Campus and the Chapel to ring the bell after the game. There are lots of good places to eat in town and Flagpole is a great place to check out what’s available. Downtown Athens has lots of offerings for postgame celebrations, though they tend to skew toward adult interests (drinking, music) rather than family fare. Hope you enjoy your visit to Athens!

I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the new football season or UGA athletics in general? Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

81 comments Add your comment

masivatack

September 21st, 2012
11:43 am

Macclenny_dawg

September 21st, 2012
11:43 am

masivatack

September 21st, 2012
11:47 am

You had to one up me with the three exclamation points, huh? :P

Al

September 21st, 2012
12:00 pm

No Black Jerseys!!!!

Drew was overrated out of HS. He will get his chance next yr., so we shall see.
Supposedly he backs up Washington but I did not see much of him last week or Drew.
You can take those 4-5 star ratings that are given kids and its a 50\50 shot whether they live up to it or not. In this case, Drew was overrated and did not do much in his senior yr.

Raleigh

September 21st, 2012
12:00 pm

Go dawgs beat the admirals or captains or little girls or whatever that team from nashville is

Pup fan

September 21st, 2012
12:05 pm

Looks like he two uped you!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 21st, 2012
12:09 pm

I wished we went to that uniform Walker is pictured in for our away games

Really miss those and thought they looked the best

old dog

September 21st, 2012
12:15 pm

@Flat Tire…..
And miss Walker too…………..

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 21st, 2012
12:19 pm

old dog

Richt wouldnt use Walker that much 15 carries a game at best but do miss those days

especially watching him run it down the throat of FL for 200+ yrds several times

Tuck Fech

September 21st, 2012
12:24 pm

I’m ready to see some lock-down play from this defense. Also, I think that we are as stacked (talent wise) at wide receiver as I can ever recall. Thirdly, can we PLEASE run the ball at least 35 times against Vandy? Sam Parker in Boone sucks at NCAA13.

Cuz

September 21st, 2012
12:31 pm

Silver helmets without the horrendous red stripe would look pretty cool as a throwback.

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
12:47 pm

I would love to see us wear black jersey’s for the home game with tennessee. But for god’s sake don’t mess with the helmet……The next week i would to see us wear red pants for the poultry. I’m severly disappointed with all of our DE’s…ray drew….corn and abry jones….smith…none of them are making plays….please for god’s sake let one of those step up. I was impressed with TJ…I think he has played well considering his terrible accident.

Ed

September 21st, 2012
12:53 pm

(Re: Ray Drew) My junior year of high school(mid- 80’s) our middle linebacker looked like a linebacker out of central casting: 6′3″ 230 lbs., muscular, looked 25 when he was a 16-year old, etc. He signed a scholarship with a major southern power. Every kid on that team knew he had no chance to start for this school, and most doubted that he’d last 4 years in the program. What the scouts didn’t know, but the other players did, was that he was highly overrated and was only good for 3-4 tackles a game – and that was back when most schools ran run-first offenses like the I-formation or the option. But his size and look were just irresistable, and one powerful program got suckered.

It turns out that he found a niche as a long snapper and lasted all 4 years, but I doubt he ever saw a snap at linebacker. If Drew turns out to be such a player, it won’t be a big shock to me. College football is full of such stories.

And then there are guys like Terry Hoage who were severely underrated and exceed all expectations. That’s why good coaching is so important.

jimboga

September 21st, 2012
1:11 pm

Nothing like the red tops and silver britches

Huh?

September 21st, 2012
1:11 pm

Lack of motivation….vanilla schemes…missing starters…for the love of GOD…Buffalo and FAU? Please.

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
1:14 pm

We jut got a commit from kelsy griffen. I want to see those red pants again….Richard samuel is a great dawg..but he runs funny. He is a athlete not a football player…he has tried multiple positions and he has never panned out…. oh well i guess he can hang his hat on the 80 yrd touchdown against arkansas in 09 baby.

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
1:16 pm

I agree with HUH…..our defense is making to many excuses….while they should be walking the walk. instead of cheap talk

GB's Hamburgers

September 21st, 2012
1:23 pm

Well, another blogger wants us to kiss Richard Samuels in the mouth. Truth is, Samuels has less, not more heart than any other dog. Please check the facts. He had a good run against Arkansas as a freshman. Last year he had a great partial 4th quarter against Florida and won the game for us … powerful running. Then against Missouri he stopped a fake punt. So his potential is evident. With his size, speed and talent UGA should have gotten much more from him. Less players (who do have heart) have simply moved past him for playing time. Richard is getting a free education in exchange for 3 good moments. We owe him nothing more.

cb

September 21st, 2012
1:31 pm

You ain’t ringing that bell after the Georgia Southern game this year, Tough Chief.

Mark (another one)

September 21st, 2012
1:38 pm

I am also a Samuel fan and I appreciate his attitude, but sometimes I believe us fans overplay that aspect. There are a lot of players on our team that would switch positions to get a chance of getting on the field and helping the team. Watch Gates on the OL. Dent moved a few years back and credits it with getting him to the NFL. Lots of others come to mind.

I like the recent articles about Murry, Bennett, Jones etc. because we are getting to hear some of the good things about these players. We are often focused on the problem kids, and it detracts from the image of the team. UGA and most college teams are full of good people getting college educations and preparing for life.

Samuel is a DGD and we have a bunch of em. Go Dawgs!!!

Biggest Dawg

September 21st, 2012
1:43 pm

I agree…red pants for away games…SHARP!

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
1:52 pm

Red helmets and silver britches are best……..But would love to see those red pants for sc game.

KB

September 21st, 2012
1:55 pm

I remember back the week leading to the beating from Alabama and the talk of the black Jersey’s and how cool the looked. And they did and still do. I wrote on a blog about how neat silver helents, the traditional G and a trditional white, black or red stripe would be. Espescially with white road jersey’s. I was raked over the coals for the sacrilegious thought of the idea. Neat to see there are persons know that are opened minded and get the picture of how cool that would look.

UGA Insider

September 21st, 2012
1:58 pm

Vandy players tried to ruin the career of Jarvis Jones last year by cut blocking. That is how the whole thing got started. The Dawgs have had this game circled all summer.

UGA 45
Vandy 10

Dawg Haus

September 21st, 2012
2:20 pm

The black jerseys are OK from time to time, but don’t mess with the helmets or the silver britches. Georgia has a recognizable, name-brand, “old-man” uniform that’s constantly at the top of all those “best uniforms in football” lists. Why ruin a good thing?

Funny a reader brought up the uniform combinations. The Macon paper is doing a Georgia-Vandy in Athens under Richt photo gallery today. I just so happened to notice that Vandy never has the same style of pants in any of the seasons covered. http://www.macon.com/2012/09/19/2182671/over-the-years-uga-vs-vandy.html

Go Dawgs!

Dawg Tired

September 21st, 2012
2:20 pm

Bill – Obviously reasonable folks can differ on what looks good and what looks bad, etc. when it comes to uniforms. I would point out, and assume you remember, that those red pants (shown above with Herschel at the 1980 Tennessee game in Knoxville ( I was there in person) were generally thought of as being downright ugly by most of our fans back in ‘80. In fact when Coach Dooley appeared in Macon for a meeting with the local TD Club, the first question from the crowd was, “When are we going to get rid of those ugly red britches?”

As I recall, we wore those ugly red britches only that one game in 1980. Why anyone would want us to go back to those things is admittedly something I don’t understand. I don’t see schools like Bama, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State “messing up a good thing.” Our unis are some of the best in college football. I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, I also understand that this day and time produces some strange things in our society – things like those really ugly unis we wore last year against Boise State. Unfortunately, the unis were not the most embarrassing thing about that night.

JCDAWG83

September 21st, 2012
2:37 pm

Changing up uniforms to generate excitement is for loser programs like S Car, Vandy, Clemson, Georgia tech, etc. You never see Alabama, USC, LSU, etc wear any silly costumes. Winners wear their traditional uniforms and let their play on the field make the uniforms admirable. Georgia should wear red helmets, red jerseys at home, white jerseys on the road and silver pants, period.

DIT

September 21st, 2012
2:42 pm

Bring back the “Silver Britches”!

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
2:44 pm

red…black ….silver and white are our school colors…their are no rules combonation on how we can war them…

Not Ready for Prime Time

September 21st, 2012
2:48 pm

Our Defense doesnt have the “Break their will” mentality yet. That is what wins championships my friends…..

bill arp

September 21st, 2012
3:01 pm

Fact is, Samuel runs on his heels, which causes him to have absolutely no balance whatsoever. That’s why when you see him get tackled(or touched), he goes flying to ground like a tree that just got chopped down. He’s right where he needs to be, on special teams. And he makes a heckuva special teams player. Good for him.

GATiger

September 21st, 2012
3:02 pm

“Bring back the Silver Britches?” Am I missing something?

mike addington

September 21st, 2012
3:05 pm

I’m surprised that Samuels didn’t get some carries against FA too. CMR seems to have selective “loyalty,”

mike addington

September 21st, 2012
3:08 pm

“Runs on his heels?” How is that physically possible? I do agree with you that he goes down too easily. Except in last years FLA game, in which he broke several tackles, running through them like a freight train

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
3:25 pm

I agree we don’t have championship defense this year

bill arp

September 21st, 2012
3:35 pm

Watch him run. He does. His heels hit the ground really hard, with his toes almost pointing up in the air. Richt even said it himself during this years G-Day game…”yeah, that’s Richard, pounding his heels into the ground” It’s not over-exaggerated or anything, but he definitely runs on his heels.

Dawgs-34, Vandy-27..

truth be told, I’m more worried about next week than just about any game on the schedule…

DIT

September 21st, 2012
3:52 pm

@GATiger – Long ago UGA wore silver pants. I remember sitting “On The Tracks” during that time. How many of you have ever watched a game on the tracks?

ARdawg

September 21st, 2012
3:53 pm

The champion defense is there. Some of you numb-nuts wouldn’t recognize a championship defense if it flatten you on your asses

Bill King

September 21st, 2012
3:54 pm

Actually they wore the red britches a number of times. From Patrick Garbin’s About Them Dawgs! blog comes this list:

1978: at South Carolina (loss), at Kentucky (win), Florida in Jacksonville (win), at Auburn (tie)
1979: at Clemson (loss), at Ole Miss (win), at Vanderbilt (win)
1980: at Tennessee (win)
1985: at Clemson (win), Ole Miss in Jackson (win), at Vanderbilt (tie), Arizona in Sun Bowl (tie)
1987: at Clemson (loss)
1988: at Miss. State (win), at South Carolina (loss)

DogGone

September 21st, 2012
4:02 pm

One good thing about those awful uniforms we wore against Boise State last year: We are unrecognizable as Georgia on the Broncos’ highlight reel. Sadly, in more ways than one.

Fair n Balanced

September 21st, 2012
4:09 pm

Honestly…there is no way a kid chooses a school based on a uniform. Oh, maybe guys that hold the world ( their world) in suspense and choose which hat to pick up on tv or those who hold up dogs …..but real people, nah. Dumb idea.

On the other hand, I think it would be great for the Tech game some year for throwback unis with silver and gold helmets!

DogGone

September 21st, 2012
4:09 pm

How about black letters on red shirts and red letters on black shirts? Maybe a little hard to read, but still.

Count me as a former trestle sitter.

aldawgfan

September 21st, 2012
5:08 pm

Go back to the old silver britches

Dawg Haus

September 21st, 2012
5:27 pm

Fair n Balanced, that would be one uniform deviation I would welcome. I think Bill suggested doing the same against Auburn.

VA Dawg

September 21st, 2012
5:27 pm

Ever notice that Alabama never changes up their uniforms, and never even talks about it? Their old school unis don’t seem to stop them from getting big time recruits. If we ever want to get back to the top, we’d do well to take a cue from them and focus on what’s important. We’re off to a good start this year, so let’s shut up about uniforms.

Billy Rychman

September 21st, 2012
5:30 pm

Rumor is that McGarity is very happy with Richt and that he is likely to get huge raise at the end of this year in attempt to keep Richt from leaving. Lots of schools interested in Richt, Bobo and Grantham. It will be amazing if our coaches are back next year.

Strat Cat Dawg

September 21st, 2012
6:15 pm

UGA is blessed to have the best colors of any school. The blackout uniform, black jerseys with the regular red helmets, is both sharp and tasteful and it resonates with our love of red and black. I’d be happy to see the Dawgs wear it any time. The black helmets with black jerseys looked awful and I hope never to see that one again. And I agree completely with Bill about red pants with white road jerseys, as illustrated in the photo. It looks especially nice on Herschel…

Strat Cat Dawg

September 21st, 2012
6:19 pm

Correction: Black helmets with black pants… but still awful

Gater Hater

September 21st, 2012
6:51 pm

the red pants didnt & wouldnt look that great….looks highschoolish. Black jersesys and black pants would look good, and NO changes to the classic looks of the head gear

Mobile Dawg

September 21st, 2012
6:58 pm

I want our team to be as good and our unis as boring as Alabama. Don’t mess with the unis.