Fan talk: Spring football fantasies, upgrading UGA baseball, Bulldog logos and more!

Getting Todd Gurley more involved in the passing game sounds like a great idea. (Associated Press)

Getting Todd Gurley more involved in the passing game sounds like a great idea. (Associated Press)

Like many of you, I’m headed over to Athens Saturday for the annual G-Day Game.

As was the case last year, we’ll see one team with the first-string offense and second-string defense and the other team with the first-string defense and second-string offense. At this writing, rosters hadn’t been announced, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will coach one team and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will coach the other.

Admission to the 1 p.m. game at Sanford Stadium is free, though the UGA Athletic Association is teaming up again with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and is encouraging fans to donate a bag of canned food at the game. Fans are asked to drop their bags of donated canned goods into the receptacles upon entering Sanford Stadium. Bins will be located at the Main Gate and Gates 2, 4, 6 and 9.

The game will be preceded by the lettermen’s flag football game featuring Bulldog names from the past at 11 a.m. Also, the Student Alumni Association is holding a tailgate at 10:30 a.m. on Tate Plaza with popcorn, face-painting, games and appearances by Hairy Dawg, the Recoats and more. And former Dog Rennie Curran will sign his new book “Free Agent” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the UGA Bookstore.

If you can’t make it to Athens, Saturday’s game will be televised live by CSS.

Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail …

Ben Gibson writes: Seems like every spring there’s a player whose performance gets everyone excited, and this year it seems to be early enrollee Tray Matthews, who looks like he could wind up as a starter despite being a true freshman. What do you think of him, Bill, and is there anything else you’ve heard out of spring practice that’s got you excited?

Like everyone else of the Red and Black persuasion, I’m anxious to see Matthews in action. Both coaches and players have been raving about him and the big hits he’s been delivering this spring at safety. I’m hopeful that he brings more than just big hits to the secondary, as we’ve seen in the past some players who concentrated more on delivering the boom than on their pass coverage. Speaking of passes, another spring development that’s got me excited is the apparent plan to get star tailback Todd Gurley more involved in catching them. Gurley said recently that he’s “been in on a lot of the pass stuff” during drills and that he hopes to improve on last season, when he caught 11 balls for 117 yards. Let’s hope the idea of getting the ball to Gurley in the open field when he’s already running full-speed is as enticing to Mike Bobo as it is to those of us in the stands!

The front of Foley Field is due for an upgrade. (University of Georgia)

The front of Foley Field is due for an upgrade. (University of Georgia)

JD, who has a son in high school going through the college baseball recruiting process, writes: My take on the UGA baseball disaster: Scouts have told me UGA has the second worst facilities in the SEC. It does not seem the [athletic] department cares about baseball. This hurts [coach David] Perno’s recruiting. Most of the top Atlanta area talent signs with Tech. UGA gets the outside Atlanta talent. Guess where all the talent is, year in year out. UGA should be able to be competitive utilizing the HOPE to effectively add a number of scholarships not available to most out of state schools. I have no idea of the solution. Perno seems to be a pleasant guy who knows baseball, but the program is not headed in the right direction. Since the runner-up finish [in the College World Series], we’ve been on a steady downhill trend. Is it recruiting? Facilities? Support from the athletic department? Inquiring minds want to know.

I don’t have any easy answers either, JD, but I think you’ve nicely framed the problem. While Greg McGarity may well decide at the conclusion of this season that coaching is part of the problem, I think the facilities/recruiting issue looms large.

Foley Field, built in 1966 and refurbished in 1990, seats an official capacity of 3,291 (all chairback seats since 2011), which makes it the second smallest baseball field in the SEC. Only the University of Kentucky’s is smaller. In comparison, South Carolina, which won back-to-back national titles in baseball in 2010 and 2011, spent $36 million a couple of years before that building a deluxe stadium that holds 8,200 (6,600 seated). The conference’s traditional baseball powers have the biggest stadiums: 10,150 for LSU and 15,000 for Mississippi State.

Is a bigger facility needed? On the one hand, UGA ranked 32nd in Division 1 baseball attendance last year, averaging 2,050 per home game, but that was with a mediocre team. When the team is good, bigger crowds than the capacity have been drawn by the Diamond Dogs, with the record being 4,461 for a regular season game against Mississippi State in 2009. Still, it’s a fact of life on the current college sports scene that facilities do matter in recruiting.

Does UGA need a baseball stadium with a larger seating capacity? (University of Georgia)

Does UGA need a baseball stadium with a larger seating capacity? (University of Georgia)

As for whether UGA’s athletic department cares about baseball, I’d say the answer is a qualified yes. What’s envisioned as a $10 million program of upgrades to Foley is under way, though most of the initial renovations are cosmetic (new scoreboard with HD video, better sound system, planting trees). They’re still raising funds and studying what to do beyond that besides a nicer main entrance and fan plaza out front and a wider concourse and new restrooms inside. Plans also call for improvements to the dugouts, the home locker room and team lounge, training room and batting cages. All of those improvements might help in recruiting, but capacity is still something that impresses high school kids.

What about drastically expanding Foley or building a new stadium? Part of the problem is that there isn’t much room for expansion at the landlocked current location of Foley Field. One option, of course, would be to build a brand new stadium out near the softball and soccer stadiums on Milledge Avenue. That would most likely require a lot of money, though, and I kind of like the idea of the baseball field being on the main campus.

A few years back, two designs were unveiled for revamping Foley Field at its current location. One would involve a completely new structure, with the field rotated so that home plate would be in what is now right field. The other (presumably less expensive) plan would simply add seating all the way down the outfield lines of the existing stadium.

I think the latter sounds doable, plus I don’t see why the tiny section of bleachers currently situated at the base of Kudzu Hill (where university officials no longer allow the baseball team’s rowdy equivalent of the old Sanford Stadium tracks crowd to gather) couldn’t be expanded considerably into a proper grandstand. Combined with the already planned upgrades, such an expansion would turn cozy Foley Field into a venue that could be pretty intimidating — and might well turn the heads of more of those high school prospects.

David Scott writes: Hey I have a question related to the uniforms, Why in the —– have we heard people talking about the gray britches versus silver for several years and then we hear [Greg] McGarity say he would like us to get back to that (yippee) and the Dallas Cowboys being Nike and having the silver … so why can’t we do it now, what takes so freaking long? Why hasn’t someone asked Nike to give us the correct pants 2 years ago?

You’re referring to comments McGarity made to the Macon Telegraph after announcing UGA’s uniform tweaks this week. He said that the pants the football team wears could eventually be a more obvious silver, rather than the more grayish ones they’ve been wearing in recent seasons since they went to a different fabric from the one with the sheen seen in earlier years.

“As new technology comes up, as new fabric becomes available, you’ll see that morph into maybe more [like] our silver britches,” McGarity said. “It all has to do with what kind of fabric and color these people do. You know, kind of like the [Dallas] Cowboys wear? That’s the kind of silver you’d like to get, which is kind of like what we used to have, which had kind of a shine to them. It just depends on how fast they can get that material. That’d be the goal, to get it back to the silver britches. That’s the overall goal. And Nike’s one of the few that can do that, because they’ve got some of it in the NFL now.”

Of course, McGarity’s comment raises the excellent question you ask, David as to why Nike doesn’t go ahead and provide the new fabric Georgia wants with a sheen now instead of having to “morph” into it, as McGarity said. It’ll be interesting to see how long that takes.

New "secondary" Bulldog logo. (University of Georgia)

New "secondary" Bulldog logo. (University of Georgia)

On a related note, Janice Bowen writes: Bill, I’m dismayed by that “secondary” Bulldog logo unveiled this week along with the new uniforms. Ugh! I can’t believe they actually paid somebody for that design. And why do we need a new logo anyway? What’s wrong with the traditional logo of the Bulldog head with the cap and spiked collar? Or the traditional standing Bulldog? I don’t understand why they’re constantly trying to mess with traditions at UGA. What do you think of the new logo?

You’re not alone, Janice, in not being too thrilled with the new secondary logo. Most fans I’ve heard from don’t think much of it, and I have to agree it looks rather like the generic bulldog logos that companies who haven’t paid UGA a licensing fee usually come up with.

This 1990s logo never really caught on. (University of Georgia)

This 1990s logo never really caught on. (University of Georgia)

This isn’t the first time, though, that the school has come up with a new secondary logo. Remember the mod-looking standing bulldog introduced in the 1990s? It never caught on and you rarely see it these days, and I have a feeling that’s going to be the outcome with this new logo.

Meanwhile, UGA will continue to license the traditional logos, so you’ll still be able to get T-shirts, etc. with the classic look.

Lastly, here’s a post-script to last week’s report on the Band Bowl IV football game between the UGA and Georgia Tech bands. Tony Floyd of the Redcoats tells me the Redcoats won 35-7. He adds that the Redcoats will be playing Georgia State University’s band April 27 in Athens and he’ll send along more details about location and time later. Thanks, Tony. And go Redcoats!

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe 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

29 comments Add your comment

joey hanie

April 5th, 2013
9:43 am

NCDawg

April 5th, 2013
9:56 am

Am I really first? Nah… can’t be.
Anyway… I am excited about having a big hitting safety again. Rambo was good in coverage and Williams always seemed to have the rep for big hits but it was always a sling the guy down type hit. I want receivers to fear going across the middle and backs to have their head on a swivel waiting for the hammer to drop. No matter what anyone says that type of thing makes OC’s call different plays.
Which leads me to the Gurley in the passing game idea. I’d like to see both guys in the game… line Marshall up in the slot and bring him around like spread teams do with the jet sweep. Having Gurley in one flat and Marshall in the other would send DC’s on an all expenses paid trip to Crapyourpantsastan. There is no way both can be covered. MLB’s would have to watch the middle fearing the run and OLB’s can’t cover that kind of speed and quickness. Can you imagine a corner trying to take on Gurley in the flat? Can you say SQUISH?
The baseball dilemma is that the product draws fans and no attendance equals no willingness to put funds into better facilities. The paradox is that without new facilities to draw recruits and fans, the product doesn’t get better. Somebody has to take a leap of faith at some point.

NCDawg

April 5th, 2013
9:57 am

SimpleDawg

April 5th, 2013
10:28 am

I don’t mind the new Bulldog Head….in fact, I kinda like it. It has a new bold look to it.

Sometimes the unwillingness to progress and to update serves to stifle growth and opportunity.

I say offer both. Buy the one you prefer.

Go Dawgs!

WDE

April 5th, 2013
10:42 am

Bill that “secondary” Bulldog logo needs to get demoted.

Bubbatavious

April 5th, 2013
11:03 am

Bring Back the Silver Britches NOW!… UGA has the money…. just pony up!

Flat Tire Doesnt Live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 5th, 2013
11:09 am

Bring us an athletic department that wants to spend the money to have a winning sports program

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

April 5th, 2013
11:55 am

Lookout dogs, you don’t have the scheduled to hide behind this year.

You had the schedule setup of a lifetime and if you would just recruit instead of whining about oversigning, you would have won your first title in most of your lives’. Trust me, national championships are great. :)

32 years…

bawbie

April 5th, 2013
12:10 pm

Just fire Dave…. Our Baseball program stinks just like our basketball program.

Flat Tire Doesnt Live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 5th, 2013
12:11 pm

The Tide is Rolling

We have recruited better than Bama has the last 12 years

Its not our recruiting it is the guys wearing the headsets on the sidelines and an athletic dept that worries more about price gouging the fanbase with donations and parking costs than it does with fielding champions

NCDawg

April 5th, 2013
12:29 pm

Tide Rolling… yeah we hid behind our schedule and then took your Bama Bubbas within five yards of runner up. That happened because your mighty Tide couldn’t run out the clock on a worn out defense. Your all everything defense gave up yards in giant chunks when the game was on the line. A FLUKE play ended the game with the score in your favor. I bet you crapped your pants you were so scared.
Now does that sound like you have any reason to gloat like a 7 year old BOY? Sure doesn’t.
Only a juvenile, booger eating moron gloats about a nearly 5 month old victory. If I were a Bama fan I’d tell you to shut up and stop embarrassing us. Maybe that is why you hang out on Georgia Bulldog blogs, because the Bama blogs kicked your sorry butt out.

dawgster7

April 5th, 2013
12:43 pm

How bout them Redcoat DAWGS!!! Way to Wreck Tech!!! We need to move the baseball stadium and build an indoor football facility where Foley Field is now.

Bulldawg35

April 5th, 2013
1:46 pm

Bubba….I agree we need to spend the money to get those silver britches back…..they are a part of our team

DG

April 5th, 2013
3:03 pm

Thanks Tide Is Rolling. I seem to recall Bama having a pretty lame schedule last year as well.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

April 5th, 2013
3:28 pm

DG, true! BUT, Bama used superior depth to wear out a team that had caught enough breaks to win. You’re defense looked like a powder puff game in the 4th quarter.

More depth instead of this oversigning whining and you probably would have least slowed Lacey/Yeldon down. Resulting in a Title (of course you could have beat ND)

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

April 5th, 2013
3:30 pm

90% of your fan base has eat this crap with a spoon about oversigning. It will do nothing but harm the entire SEC. Did you see how many ACC teams took advantage of the SEC scholarship limitations.

And the UGA fanbase is leading this charge.

Flat Tire Doesnt Live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 5th, 2013
4:36 pm

Tide is Rolling

I agree our leadership want to do nothing more than whine about other winning programs instead of doing what it takes to get it done

I dont blame Saban at all for having “Consultants” which are nothing more than coaches coming in to the program. Mcgarity was whining about that just a few months ago too

Flat Tire Doesnt Live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 5th, 2013
4:42 pm

Bulldawg35

April 5th, 2013
5:38 pm

Bring back the real silver britches…..I refuse to go spend my precious money until Mcgarity brings back the silver pants….plus gets rid of this secondary bulldog….I want the original bulldog with the hat damn it. Also I don’t want the pants the Dallas cowboys have….that’s not real silver it looks graaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!!

Bulldawg35

April 5th, 2013
5:51 pm

If Mcgarity doesn’t bring back the silver pants soon….I’m going to bang my head into the wall of my own apartment

RED DOG 77

April 5th, 2013
10:37 pm

Now yer talkin’ Bulldawg35………..right-on brother! great idea………..RED

Bulldawg35

April 6th, 2013
7:47 am

Red……who do u always sign your name at the end….that’s just strange and weird….consider the source though

RED DOG 77

April 6th, 2013
9:08 pm

Because ………..I AM RED

RED DOG 77

April 6th, 2013
9:18 pm

By the way, 35, I think I am begining to understand your “strange” language skills………..Example, your last post……..”Red……who do u always sign your name at the end”………..Now that’s weid and strange to me,…consider the source though……..oops you just said that………..is this really happening?…………….RED

RED DOG 77

April 6th, 2013
9:25 pm

Perhaps you would have me say………”10-4 good buddy”…………or “over and out”……..or mabe you would prefer………”copy that”………I did try xxxooo a few times, and those would be hugs and kisses………….what do you want dude?…………….RED

RED DOG 77

April 6th, 2013
10:57 pm

Bulldawg35…………yoohoo……….where are you ?……….RED

Bulldawg35

April 7th, 2013
1:58 pm

Hey weirdo maybe that’s stupid to sign your name because nobody else does that. Geez you are a moron

michelle obama

April 7th, 2013
4:22 pm

UGA’s baseball coach is a babbling idiot, LOSER!!! UGA’s baseball program is by far the worst in all of college sports! The Bad News Bears mock the aptly named , “dogs”. The bar has been lowered to a new level of suck. How about a throw garbage on the field day in retaliation for the garbage put on the field by the UGA baseball program. This team would stink up PoP Warner ball. Change the name of the team to “the female dogs”, b*t#hes.

Buzz 2011

April 10th, 2013
5:42 pm

What about that Dawg baseball team? They are the dregs of
a weak SEC pool of teams. They are like UGA basketball..