It’s Saturday in Athens …

Between the Hedges! (Cassie Wright)

Between the Hedges! (Cassie Wright)

I hope you’re lucky enough to find yourself in my hometown today, sitting in Sanford Stadium watching Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs take on the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Fall arrives at 10:49 a.m. today (which also happens to be my birthday), and there’s nothing quite as glorious as an autumn day in the Classic City. I hope we wind up with as lovely a day this week as we enjoyed last week, which my new friend Cassie Wright brilliantly captured in this photo, which is one of my all-time favorite pictures from Between the Hedges.

My wife Leslie first came across the shot early this past week on Twitter and called it to my attention. I contacted Cassie through Facebook (one of the benefits of the social media age) and discovered that she not only read the Blawg but was one of our Fan of the Week winners back in 2009. As she told me, “You chose a photo I took of our American Bulldog in a junkyard a few years back for a UGA pet spirit contest, which meant a lot to us! That was a year or so before we started freelancing with UGA.”

Cassie and her husband Wesley moved to Athens from Atlanta four years ago when looking to buy a home and “thought this was the perfect place to live and be happy for many years,” she said. “We had no jobs lined up locally, but we just knew this was the place we wanted to be and plant some roots. While my husband commuted to Atlanta for a year, I set up a meeting with Kirk Smith and his team at the Adsmith to show them my work and hopefully get to team up with them on some advertising projects here in town.

“The first job he called me about shooting was the UGA football poster for 2011, and words can’t describe our excitement about that opportunity.”

Since then she and Wes have teamed up in their business Cassie Wright Photography, and “UGA has kept us busy, giving us opportunities to work with the UGA Football, Basketball, Gym Dogs, Terry College of Business, Franklin College, the College of Education and the Office of the Vice President for Instruction. We feel very lucky for all the opportunities!”

The 2012 football poster with photos by Cassie Wright. (University of Georgia)

The 2012 football poster with photos by Cassie Wright. (University of Georgia)

She said she was thrilled to also get to shoot the pictures for this year’s Georgia football poster, “and for the first time I’ve gotten to photograph on the field … which was awesome. The players are great, and it’s so much fun to see them go through the Dawg Walk, and the joy they give to the fans.

“The energy on the field is electrifying from the roar of the crowd, with the cheerleaders, band and players pumping them up. I love running around trying to anticipate where to be to capture the next big play and hate that I can’t catch them all.”

I asked Cassie how she captured the terrific pregame shot of the Dawgs and she said, “I just remember that this was before the game after warm-ups. I saw the guys getting together, ran up behind them and held the camera up as high as I could above my head and clicked away trying to get everything in the frame. It was the perfect time of day, right before sunset, so I was lucky with how everything came together lighting wise on this.”

For you photo geeks, she said she “shot it with my Nikon d800 with a wide angle Nikkor 2.8 zoom lens 17-35mm. I always shoot with manual settings so I have control over the fstop, shutter speed and iso.” She just uses “basic color/contrast/noise reduction in Lightroom so they remain true to what it was really like.”

Yes, she said, “the sky actually looked like that.”

Which is just one more reason to be thankful to be a Georgia Bulldog in Athens on a Saturday night.

1980 MEET AND GREET

Since this is another night game (Georgia’s third in a row this season), a lot of Dawgs fans will be wandering around Athens during the daytime. If you’re anywhere near downtown Athens this afternoon, you might want to drop by the Red Zone at 155 E. Clayton St., where filmmaker Lenny Daniel, who did the excellent “1980 Dawgs” documentary that came out last year, will be greeting fans along with a couple of members of the national championship team, Rex Robinson and Freddie Gilbert. They’ll be signing autographs from 1 to 4 p.m., and it’s possible that other members of the 1980 team may show up.

Mike Moss, executive producer of the film, told me that “Fans, their families and kids really enjoy these events. The former players show a humble graciousness about their past and enjoy meeting fans, talking football and joking around.” He added that the 1980 players “don’t mind ‘letting their hair down’ and talking with fans about what it was really like to be part of that special team.”

And yes, he said, “They will also give their views on current Bulldogs football.”

Speaking of which, feel free to discuss the Vandy game in the comments below, and I’ll be back after the game to share my thoughts on what happens.

Go Dogs!

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

44 comments Add your comment

bigcalidawg

September 22nd, 2012
12:40 am

1ST for hobnailbootblog.com

Go DAWGS!

mvdawg

September 22nd, 2012
12:44 am

Go Dawgs! Vandy is in for a long night.

Angela

September 22nd, 2012
12:47 am

Happy 60th birthday! I’ve enjoyed reading the Junkyard Blawg for the past several years. While you’re much more positive than Simon Cowell, I find myself agreeing with everything you say like I did with him during his days on AI. :) Hopefully we’ll enjoy good weather and good play on both offense and defense in Sanford Stadium tonight–you can find me in my usual seats in 101!

Huh?

September 22nd, 2012
12:57 am

I never thought I’d live to see the day when the UGA/Vandy game would reach such heights among UGA fans.

CritterDawg

September 22nd, 2012
12:58 am

Happy Birthday young man! Love your blawgs! Go Dawgs!

Huh?

September 22nd, 2012
1:02 am

Happy Birthday Bill…I would like to say that I agree with you on most of your “blawgs,” but I find that most of it is UGA propoganda that UGA fans drink in as Kool-Ade. I will say though that you are popular…I can read your blog, then talk to a UGA fan who spits out what you write as if it was their own.

Dog in Nam

September 22nd, 2012
2:07 am

Huh? good thing you are impressed with your knowledge of UGA fans and their opinions…..you are a boring writer…maybe you could start a blog and write about UGA fans…you seem to be so hung up on them….since you have trouble creating originality, perhaps you’re on to something….really, like the UGA propoganda involved in shutter speed discussions,,,,and maybe about UGA blogs providing fuel for the never ending anti UGA comments about people still obsessing over singular and 35 year old championships…..maybe your blog could at least provide some fresh fuel for something new….maybe, you could write about how many starting and heavily contributing players UGA has placed in the NFL over the past 10 to 20 years…..but I guess that too would be propoganda…..I think this blog is intended to be one of those fan blogs that are usually boring to most people looking for compelling pieces of literature and almost always boring to the Huh?s of the world……I got a good idea Huh? you are more than boringly qualified to be a regular contributor for this column of soon to be regurgitated boring facts about UGA….but Bill usually has some really interesting stories like the one about the lady who is a hell of a good photographer….and he is well qualified to write a column about our beloved Athens with which surely you are bored…..and, like Dr. Samuel Johnson recently said…anyone bored with Athens (or was it London)is bored with life itself….so maybe you should find another town to be bored with, Huh?

OrtegaDawg

September 22nd, 2012
6:35 am

Dog in Nam- nicely done. Woof!!

ZinoDawg

September 22nd, 2012
6:38 am

Happy Birthday Bill! Enjoy the Dawgs 45-10 thrashing of the Dores.

GATA!

ZinoDawg

September 22nd, 2012
6:44 am

And I wish I could stop by and see Rex Robinson – we are old high school buddies – Marietta High class of 77! Rex is a good dude.

Snack Shack

September 22nd, 2012
7:18 am

Especially liked reading this morning’s article. (I believe the modern terminology is “Blog”). My daughter (Class of 80) and family will be in attendence, as they are for all the games in Sanford Stadium, and being a photography buff should be interested in Cassie’s pictures. They are superb. Thanks for all your writings about the Bulldogs. An old man appreciates it.

NorthStarsDave

September 22nd, 2012
7:47 am

Happy Birthday Bill! GO DAWGS!

Dog in Nam

September 22nd, 2012
7:51 am

thanks, Ortega….let’s put up another 40+ tonight–whadaya say!

Old Dawg

September 22nd, 2012
8:14 am

Bill – Been a rabid Dawgs fan for 40+ years. Have enjoyed reading your blogs. Not sure what’s up with some negative Nelly’s out there. Your unique perspective and appreciation for our long traditions are always appreciated among my group of friends. Happy birthday buddy! Go Dawgs!

Old Dawg

September 22nd, 2012
8:17 am

“Dog in Nam” now I get it. You were responding to a poster named “Huh”. At first I thought you were talking to Bill.

Spike

September 22nd, 2012
8:27 am

Happy Birthday! Wish I could be at the game…

Just Sayin

September 22nd, 2012
9:54 am

@HUH 12:57
Yes indeed and years ago I never thought I’d see the day when GT was irrelevant!!!!!

Mobile Dawg

September 22nd, 2012
9:58 am

Ditto on Spike’s comment Bill, enjoy your comments and insight. Stuck here on the coast this weekend but not all bad. Today the Dawgs have the opportunity to make a statement, I hope they’re prepared. If they play 60 minutes of hardnosed, physical football, they will wear Vandy out, and position themselves in a position to control the East.

Dawg Haus

September 22nd, 2012
10:03 am

Happy birthday, Bill! Hope the Dawgs cover the spread for you. Keep up the great blogging!

Dawg Tired

September 22nd, 2012
10:30 am

Happy BD Bill. Hoping sports writer here in Raleigh misses this one: He’s picking Vandy over the Dawgs in tonight’s game.

My prediction: Dawgs win but don’t cover the 16.

Hank Hill

September 22nd, 2012
10:57 am

Happy Birthday, Bill.

Go Dawgs!

Buzzzzzzzz

September 22nd, 2012
11:37 am

Happy Birthday!

And by the way, Georgia Tech has the nation’s highest average SAT score for football players, and also the highest average high school GPA.

UGA, on the other hand, has one of the very lowest SAT averages, as well as a very low GPA average. As a result, more than 80% of UGA players are “special admits,” when means that they can not meet the minimum educational and intelligence requirements for admission to UGA, even as low as that is.

Yes, it would be great if Tech was more competitive with UGA, but Tech fans are proud of our heritage of having intelligent, responsible athletes who go on to rewarding careers and contribute to society.

Contrast this with the very unintelligent dummies that UGA recruits. The 53 arrests over the last four years is proof enough, not to mention winning the Fulmer Cup. Most of these goons are tossed out after their eligibility is over, and many end up on welfare.

UGA is clearly just a football f-a-c-t-o-r-y dedicated to winning at all costs, and most UGA fans are okay with this, with no concern about the embarrassment this brings to the State of Georgia.

Mark Richt is the architect of this situation. As long as he is paid a huge salary, he will continue to recruit the illiterate brain-dead t-h-u-g-s who he thinks will win. Unfortunately for UGA fans, he’s not remotely in the same league with the top coaches in the SEC.

So the bottom line is that Georgia Tech – win or lose – does so with honor and integrity, while the lowlife punks, woman beaters, drug users, and drunks in Athens continue to embarrass us all.

Ray Drew Fan

September 22nd, 2012
11:37 am

Great photo by Cassie! GATA Dawgs – beat James Franklin & The Dores!

Huh?

September 22nd, 2012
12:16 pm

Dawg in Nam…I never said I was bored. I simply said that Bill’s articles were propoganda…trust me, it’s quite entertaining watching the UGA fans feed at the trough.

Pago Pago DAWG

September 22nd, 2012
12:33 pm

So is it illegal to have Male sideline reporters….sad.

Music City Dawg

September 22nd, 2012
12:43 pm

Happy Birthday Bill ! I hope this coming year is your best one yet !!! And I think a great birthday present would be for the DAWGS to drop-kick the commodores all the way back to Nashville! Go DAWGS!!!!

dawggirl

September 22nd, 2012
1:12 pm

Happy Birthday, Bill!

What a refreshingly unique perspective for today’s topic. Cassie, you are a great photographer.

Hint to those who don’t like the blog. No one’s holding a gun to your head, forcing you to read it. Feel free to leave as no one is stopping you.

GO DAWGS!

Chris

September 22nd, 2012
1:32 pm

Does anyone know when dawg walk starts?

Chris

September 22nd, 2012
1:33 pm

Enter your comments here

dawggirl

September 22nd, 2012
1:36 pm

Chris, I think Bill said it starts about an hour and a half before the game, so I would guess somewhere around 6pm tonight.

Kyle

September 22nd, 2012
1:47 pm

Happy Birthday!

Dog in Nam

September 22nd, 2012
1:56 pm

I have no clue if you are bored….just find your angle of critique a bit juvenile and boring. Sorry for the misunderstanding, but it just seems unimaginative when you ask me or us to trust you, and go on to jovially describe how much you enjoy UGA fans feeding at the trough….congrats on spelling trough correctly, and you probably know the name and type of feed being put in it. Maybe you could practice up a bit on your school’s blog, or maybe get a study group of your friends together, so you can see their reaction to your physical comedy illusion of dog fans eating at a hog trough….really good humor, thanks!

Huh?

September 22nd, 2012
2:11 pm

Dog in Nam…when did I ask you, or any UGA fan, to trust me? That’s twice you seem to be putting words into my mouth. I’ve been on this blog for a long time, and I understand what happens when an “outsider” come in to disturb the Kool-Ade ceremony…it’s fun though.

JRW7

September 22nd, 2012
2:41 pm

Happy Birthday to you! GO DAWGS!!!

Frank Lane

September 22nd, 2012
3:06 pm

I have a good feeling about this game and that scares me. I am more comfortable worrying about the game if that makes sense.

Buzzzzzback atcha

September 22nd, 2012
3:15 pm

Less than a minute in and GT is already behind. Great D!

UA Grad

September 22nd, 2012
4:16 pm

Buzzzzzzzz,

Are you taking any prescription medication? Have you suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury? Are you feeling helpless or hopeless? Have you noticed any changes in your eating or sleeping habits? What type of support systems do you have in your life? Do you have a history of addiction or substance abuse? Have you ever considered hurting yourself? Have you ever felt so down that you thought about suicide? Do you have a plan? Are you still upset at Bobby Dodd for leaving the SEC? Were you part of the Pepper Rodgers generation? Don’t worry. Help is available. Please don’t suffer in silence.

Silence in Gehenna

September 22nd, 2012
4:45 pm

Vanderbilt by Two points. Bet on it.

chazzo

September 22nd, 2012
6:01 pm

Vandy played SC close, and SC is looking darn good today. I am hoping to see the Dawgs looking a little more together today and polished today.

Dawg One

September 22nd, 2012
6:49 pm

Buh bye to the dwags.

Pouncé

September 22nd, 2012
7:16 pm

274 UGA fans already arrested for DUI, drunk and disorderly, public urination, littering, theft, assault and battery, and exposing themselves.

Hmmm… sounds just like the players.

FLA DAWG

September 22nd, 2012
11:15 pm

Dawg Natiion,

I called this game Dawgs over Vandy by 21.
Sorry I was off by DOUBLE !

The D was execellent and the O was superb!

SC and UF have just become larger in our season however – but that’s a good thing.
If we are to make it THROUGH the SECC Game we’ve got to be tested and win.

Where is Dr. PEE and his drivel?

GO DAWGS !!

(gotta tell ya though, Bobo’s O playcalling was basic, basic, basic…………I hope that was by design to hide our strengths from Sperrier and Muschamp)

ZinoDawg

September 22nd, 2012
11:30 pm

Predicted 45-10 earlier, final was 48-3.

Zino for prez!

Bill King

September 23rd, 2012
3:27 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the birthday greetings on the Blawg and also to those fans who stopped by in Section 104 Saturday night to wish me happy birthday. It was a fun day!