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

Dawg Tired

September 21st, 2012
7:02 pm

Bill – I understand we have worn red britches on other occasions over the years. I was referencing the 1980 season. That season we only wore them at UT. Thanks for the total list though.

joe jenkins

September 21st, 2012
7:16 pm

Some of ya’ll are old and don’t have a sense of style….We look good in white jerseys and red pants……..we look good in black jerseys and red pants and silver….thats our school colors …..so ha!!! what we don’t look good at is giving up points to of the worst teams in college football

AAAAA Athens Bail Bonds R Us

September 21st, 2012
7:47 pm

How many dwags arrested today?

buzzDawg

September 21st, 2012
8:01 pm

It’s odd that Richt gets criticized for sitting better players (in the mind of the fan) while letting his favorites play. I think if Richt had a favorite, it would have to be Samuel. Now he’s being criticized for not playing the fan favorite Samuel over other, better players. It just goes to show that a coach is going to get criticized for almost any decision he makes.

1Dog1

September 21st, 2012
8:10 pm

Mark this down–the dogs will roll over vandy and richt will run up the score to rub it in good after the stuff last year!

Huh?

September 21st, 2012
8:52 pm

1Dog1….what stuff last year? Oh, I forgot…you are a UGA fan and see things one way

SSIgator

September 21st, 2012
9:25 pm

Good Lord. The UGA fans just never learn. Here we go with the wardrobe debate again. Don’t think that the players don’t get caught up in it as well, no matter what they say. So when the day comes along this season with that “awsome” new look that St. Markus Rectumus will use as an additional ploy to get the team motivated to beat a tough opponent (and eventually lose to) the fans will once more be crying for heads to roll for messing with tradition. What a crew. Only at UGA.

SSIgator

September 21st, 2012
9:37 pm

Tracy in Indy -

Good for you to make the trip with the wife and kids to see the puppies beat another fierce rival in one of the most challenging seasons ever to appear on the UGA schedule horizon. Get in touch with DawginLex for info on what do see and do in the area before and after the game. She is supposed to be very astute regarding UGA football (or so she tells everyone) and also has a penchant for caesar salads and pinot grigiot wine. Better hope UGA wins because she becomes very hostile towards other people when they lose.

Top Row Dawg

September 21st, 2012
11:17 pm

Dog fans in Lexington go to Keeneland on the Friday before the game for the horse races. Order your grandstand tickets early or get general admission the day of the race.

Columbia Steakhouse across from Transylvania University is always packed with Dog fans the Friday night before the game.

The part district down town around Rupp Arena is dominated by Wildcats, but congregations of Georgia fans can be seen.

We get handicap parking right by stadium but anywhere along the downtown side of Cooper Drive is full of red flags flapping.

Top Row Dawg

September 21st, 2012
11:18 pm

party district

Hank Hill

September 22nd, 2012
12:12 am

No viddya games!

A dawgfan from lex

September 22nd, 2012
12:40 am

hey tracy there is really no alot of places for dawg fans here in Lexington. Common wealth stadium doesnt has a desent amount of parking for the size of the stadium many UK fans tailgate there. Traffic to the stadium is a mess as the road to the stadium only one way coming and going. As for food the city of Lexington has more restraunts per capita than any other city in the US so finding a place to eat is not hard. One of my personal favorites is Raising Caines but there are plenty of places to chose from

drbasic1

September 22nd, 2012
12:50 am

@DIT

People told me I had a great time watching the game from the tracks…..
Know what i mean….lol

mgdawg

September 22nd, 2012
8:04 am

I would love to see an all black look for UGA; black pants, black jersey, and black helmets (but with black face masks). The red facemasks is really what made the black helmets ugly last time.

As for the D, I agree that part of it is that starters have been missing. I believe the biggest factor is grantham runs a vanilla defense against weaker teams so that he doesn’t show his hand for the bigger guys.

Rabid Dawg'84

September 22nd, 2012
8:46 am

I don’t like messing with the pants and helmtes. I think our road unis look better than home. I like the 3 different colors. Black jerseys look great. use them for a home night game each year.

dawg4life

September 22nd, 2012
9:02 am

Yeah, the worst mistake that Vandy made last year was making JJ29 mad…. I think we may be witness to the greatest individual defensive performance by any UGA player tonight. Coming off a week of rest, and against a team that tried to take him out last year. I think they are sitting Jordan Rodgers tonight so they don’t get him killed.

blackandwhitestripes

September 22nd, 2012
9:22 am

How about black and white stripe uniforms.

Football Guy

September 22nd, 2012
9:46 am

Hahahahahahaha
hahahaha
hahaha…………………….

gt4ever

September 22nd, 2012
9:57 am

How about just beat somebody, before you start talking about making a statement… UGA fans, Priceless!

gt4ever

September 22nd, 2012
9:58 am

@blackandwhitestripes

Their alternative “Clark County” orange looks good…

Tom in Marietta

September 22nd, 2012
10:38 am

Stick to the basics! Let teh players do it on the field. Go Dawgs!

Tom in Marietta

September 22nd, 2012
10:39 am

Tech wins today…Damn it!

Dawgs stomp Vandy! Go Dawgs!

Hugh Jass

September 22nd, 2012
11:20 am

Black jerseys would cause players to be hotter on the field. Could be a disadvantage

Lexington dawg

September 22nd, 2012
11:56 am

tracy in indy, start by spending friday at the keaneland horse track. The game time start has not been scheduled yet but i would hope its a night game. With very few exceptions the Kentucky fans are gracious hosts and generally amiable. Dawgs fans tend to congregate a little bit of everywhere. look for Red and and join in. Lexington in bourbon paradise….check out the liqour stores.

Rev. Richt

September 22nd, 2012
12:21 pm

Can them make a run? Of course they can. Their schedule is embarrassingly easy.

Duluth Dawg

September 22nd, 2012
12:32 pm

@ 5A

What is a “dwag”? You sound like my three year old nephew trying to pronounce “drag”. You’re a Tech fan so I can understand why you would come on a UGA blog and try to rile up the Dawgs. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out your loyalties as you’re the only one who posts things about “dwags”. FYI, we Dawg fans don’t take your incorrect spelling as an insult. It actually makes you look more and more dumb when you post that on all UGA blogs. To quote the great Antoine Dodson, “You are so dumb!”

McGarrett

September 22nd, 2012
1:03 pm

Can Dawgs make a title run? In a couple of words……………………….Hell No!!!!!!!! Team has neither the discipline nor talent for it.

dougmo2

September 22nd, 2012
1:20 pm

Can Georgia make a title run?

Yes, until they have to play either Alabama or LSU in the dome. Then the title run ends. Sorry, but the West will win again.

jojo

September 22nd, 2012
1:22 pm

We all know Herschel could have run naked and none of us would have cared. Never be another Herschel Walker. Let these young guys be who they are and stop comparing them to 34.

BobDawg

September 22nd, 2012
1:49 pm

For the Lexington Ky trip you can’t beat DeSha’s downtown close to Rupp… Best Sweet Cornbread ever… and the Makers is very fine there of course!

James Ainsworth

September 27th, 2012
6:47 am

I too would like to see Georgia go back to the original uniforms of the Dawgs. The play of Samuel and Malcome cannot be overlooked. Although I am really, impressed and love the tenacity and skill set of the freshmen Gurley and Marshall, for whom Georgia is extremely lucky to have, I would love to see if the opportunity present’s itself Malcome, Samuels, Harton, Krempalis, and the other backs start to contribute and play a role.

I love the play of the team and hope the offense and defense turn it up a notch and hopefully play the winner of the west in Atlanta. Georgia has some extremely tough challenges ahead as Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida look really good!

Best of luck and go DAWGS!! I hope Georgia will seriously consider the old uniforms as that is “Georgia” tradition and signature uniform trademark.