Why any game against hated Georgia is ‘special’ to Spurrier

Steve Spurrier has "special" feelings about going up against Georgia. (Associated Press)

Steve Spurrier has "special" feelings about going up against Georgia. (Associated Press)

There’s probably a little extra spring in Steve Spurrier’s step this week, and it’s not just because his South Carolina Gamecocks are going for an unprecedented fourth consecutive win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

For Spurrier, this game is personal. It’s always personal with him against UGA, whether he’s wearing South Carolina garnet or Florida orange and blue.

As he noted recently when he was talking like a “Dukie” as he prepared his team to take on North Carolina, Spurrier has always loved a good rivalry game. As he put it: “It is a little special when you are coaching against a team like that, just like coaching against Georgia. The Gators and Georgia were teams that didn’t like each other very much. That’s a special game, too, so anytime you coach against a team that was a little special wherever you coached at, it remains a special game.”

When it comes to Georgia, though, it’s more than just a “special game” for the Ole Ball Coach.

He hates the Bulldogs with a passion. And with good reason.

Joe Litsch, who attended UGA back when Spurrier was playing for the Gators and later was a sportswriter for the Constitution, provides some background on Spurrier’s hatred of all things Red and Black in this firsthand recollection he sent in to the Blawg …

Ever since Steve Spurrier left the head coaching position at Duke University to return to his alma mater, the University of Florida, in a similar capacity, he has taken every opportunity to needle and take cheap shots at the Georgia Bulldogs. And, he was unbelievably successful with his superior coaching in what many longtime Georgia fans refer to as Georgia’s “down years” — when the Bulldogs were coached by Ray Goff and Jim Donnan. But Spurrier’s real hatred for Georgia began when he was a sophomore starting quarterback for the Gators (freshmen could not play varsity in those days).

It was 1964, Vince Dooley’s first year at Georgia, and everyone was amazed at the turnaround Dooley was directing in Athens. So, the Georgia aggregation rolled into Jacksonville, underdogs but proud dogs nevertheless. Spurrier was held in check and the score stood 7-7 in the fourth with Georgia lined up to try a field goal. The snap was fumbled, but kicker Bobby Etter, who weighed a whopping 120 if he had rocks in his uniform, had been a high school quarterback and he scooped up the ball, cocked his arm once, then took off for the goal line and scored. 13-7. Then, Etter kicked the PAT and Georgia had its first win over “Stevie Baby,” as the Florida swampers liked to call him.

The next year, Spurrier did manage to pull out a 14-10 win. But it was the following year, on Saturday, Nov. 5, 1966, that literally rocked ole Spurrier’s world — and it hasn’t stopped rocking since. We didn’t know then how big that EGO was. Florida was undefeated, heading (they thought) for their first SEC title and Spurrier had the inside track on the Heisman Trophy race. The Gators were lying in wait for the upstart Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs rolled into Jacksonville with only a 7-6 Friday night loss to Miami marring an otherwise perfect record. (In those days Miami played teams, especially the stronger teams on its schedule, on Friday, thus cutting down the preparation time for the visiting team.) And of course, for this game in Jacksonville, Spurrier and the Gators were favored.

Spurrier in his quarterbacking days for the Gators. (University of Florida)

Spurrier in his quarterbacking days for the Gators. (University of Florida)

The morning of the game there was the Georgia-Florida breakfast with died-hard fans from both sides, the coaches and a couple of bleary-eyed, hungover pep bands (I was a Georgia band member). I remember well Coach Dooley’s mournful speech: “The Bulldogs will be limping today but we’ll do our best.” Talk was that All-American defensive tackle Bill Stanfill had a pinched nerve in his neck (I personally think it just irritated him and made him meaner). But there was still All-American defensive tackle George Patton, ready to go.

There was also the rumor that Spurrier was to be the primary subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story; the game was merely a backdrop as he was the odds-on Heisman favorite. The magazine had dispatched a legion of photographers to cover his every move — and they did.  Both bands were on the field for the pregame national anthem, so we got a close-up look at the preacher’s boy and his strutting — now sportswriters call it swagger.

For two quarters, Spurrier looked pretty good — nothing spectacular — and his team did have a 10-3 lead when they broke for halftime.

Now, I do not know what Dooley and his stalwart defensive coach Erk Russell told the Dogs at half, but when they returned to the Gator Bowl field, they owned it — and Spurrier, too. He would drop back and Stanfill and Patton would be there with him. They literally mopped the field with him and the grass stains on Spurrier’s butt attested to that fact. Stanfill has very long arms and here he would come, waving one arm in the air and grabbing for ole Stevie with the other. In short, they ripped Spurrier a new one and shut out the previously high-scoring Florida offense. It was humiliating for a Heisman Trophy winner who had visions of an SEC title and maybe a national crown.

On offense, Dooley had another All-American tackle named Edgar Chandler, who along with a line that included the likes of Don “Heavy” Hayes and John Kasey, shredded the Florida defense and let speedy Kent Lawrence scoot through holes big enough for the team bus to drive through. And Georgia quarterback Kirby Moore was in total control.

When the clock ran out, it was Georgia 27, Florida 10! The Gators’ undefeated season was gone and so were any title hopes. And Spurrier was not featured on the Sports Illustrated cover!

Florida did manage an Orange Bowl bid against Georgia Tech, another undefeated team until the Yellow Jackets visited Sanford Stadium in Bobby Dodd’s final season, and Georgia easily won 23-14. Georgia went on to the Cotton Bowl and a 24-9 win over SMU. Florida and Tech played in what Georgia fans called the Lemon Bowl, and Spurrier has never been able to get the sour taste out of his mouth.

Sure, he did beat Georgia later on — with other players. But he wasn’t able to hang on to the brass ring himself. He had to stand on the sideline, throwing visors and watching other players do what he could not.

That four hours on a Saturday in 1966 is why he hates Georgia.

The best comment that November afternoon in Jacksonville came from Florida coach Ray Graves, who said he was sure glad Stanfill was not at full strength that day. He knew it could have been worse. And I imagine Spurrier did, too.

Thanks, Joe!

Tomorrow: What fans think Georgia needs to do to beat South Carolina.

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

157 comments Add your comment

C from Marietta

September 4th, 2013
1:24 pm

@ Mobile Dawg

Your a perfect example Ball control was the key against Clemson, all we did was try and pound it up the middle, no creativity whatsoever.” Then, how did they score 35 points and run up 535 yards. Didn’t Murray have over 300 yards passing? But yeah it was the play calling on offense. LOL

C from Marietta

September 4th, 2013
1:27 pm

Plus, I have something for you too trolls. It is really sad when you come here to rub dirt in the wounds of other people. Real classy. YOU ARE COWARDS that hide behind a keyboard. I wish you would go to Athens and talk that crap to the fans in person. I would love to watch you get your arse kicked.

Skokie Dog

September 4th, 2013
1:44 pm

@C from Marietta wrote: “You sit on the coach and think you know everything.”
I want to state for the record that I have never, ever sat on a coach, despite my tendency to know as much as others who post here.

Skokie Dog

September 4th, 2013
1:47 pm

I notice that lots of people who post here are claiming that Clowney was winded and out of shape in the game last week against UNC. Many of these are the same people who told us how relatively weak Clemson’s defense would be in our game last week. So, were you wrong last week, or is Georgia’s veteran offensive line not very good? Or did the o-line just have an off night in Clemson?

Skokie Dog

September 4th, 2013
1:50 pm

Ironically, Spurrier’s teams, when they do lose games, are exposed for lacking attention to details, such as special teams lapses like botched field goal attempts and the like. But for games against Georgia, he does seem to have his teams especially well prepared. I think that losing to S.C. three straight times should get Coach Richt’s attention similarly focused on details as he prepares the ‘Dogs for this week’s game.

Stevey Spurrier

September 4th, 2013
1:51 pm

Would it be OK if I coached the game on Saturday with my shirt off? I like to do that over here at Carolina, and work on my tan.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

September 4th, 2013
1:55 pm

I can’t help it, I Love spurrier..he is snarky and backs it up..He was a Heisman winner on the field, and tore 3 yards and a cloud of dust college football a new orifice as the fun and gun head coach. Hell, he is the only thing besides Hootie and the blowfish to put USC on the map. I am glad he is in the SEC east so i can pull for Auburn and Spurrier at the same time (except sec championship game 2010…sorry stevie baby!) When I think of Athens I think of Jim Donnan’s lotto pick’em Investing strategy, popped collars, and bad hair…It is an easy call..
USC 33 (31 + a uga safety) UGA 24

NCDawg

September 4th, 2013
1:59 pm

C from Marietta
September 4th, 2013
1:24 pm

LOL! You hit it right on the head. Yes, they wanted to control the clock… we had 5 more minutes of possession. But we also out gained them both on the ground and in the air. Our crappy OC called such a horrible game that we punted the ball 1 time less that Clemson.

The problem wasn’t that we didn’t move the football… it was the mistakes. They made mistakes as well… they got away with theirs and we didn’t. It’s that simple. We had a stretch during the later part of the 1st half and the early 3rd quarter where they were crashing the line and stopping us. Other than that we moved the ball the way we needed to. But it’s either we pass it too much or we run it too much.

Every running play that doesn’t go for 5-8 yards is a dumb call. Any pass that is intercepted was a horrible play by the QB as well. Any punt that isn’t returned for a TD is a bad play. Any time the other team executes well and gains some yardage is a huge defensive failure. Any bobbled snap is a coaching failure. Get REAL people.

You underestimated Clemson. You bought a line of horse manure that says that teams DO NOT IMPROVE. Clemson’s defense is better than you thought but they still gave up 35 points and 500+ yards. They fought hard and they were AT HOME. I didn’t like losing but I was not embarrassed.

There is room for improvement and we will see it come Saturday night. The Doom and Gloom crowd deserves to be miserable. It’s a miasma of their own making. You choose to live and die by the performance of 18-22 year old young men. I love my Dawgs but the sun still rose on Sunday morning and life went on. Gee… I think that is called being rational.

NCDawg

September 4th, 2013
2:10 pm

A botched snap is NOT a coaching failure… good god! Have you lost your freaking minds!? Get a life!

How many botched snaps have we had? 1 that I can remember. And he is a new snapper. How could he have been coached better? Tell us oh great gurus… tell us that the hundreds of snaps the kid has made could have been better coached. You are insane.

BTW Clemson launched 1 over Boyd’s head and got called for a false start to wipe out the advantage it would have given us.

I don’t know why I bother… it’s useless to point out anything rational to lunatics. No sane person would say a botched snap was a coaching failure unless it happens ALL the time. It doesn’t. Just damn…

dawgfan

September 4th, 2013
2:14 pm

Spurrier hates anyone that is standing in his way to a W. We’re not special. He hates Clemson. He hated Tennessee and probably still does. He hated FSU but could probably care less about them now because he doesn’t play them. He doesn’t vocalize it but he probably even hates Florida now. I don’t see him taking it all that easy on them. He ruined their season in 2005.

I seriously doubt Spurrier prepares any harder for us than he does anyone else. That might fly if we were only losing to South Carolina, but we lose to every top team that we play. Are they all going the extra mile to beat the Dawgs? Laughable.

Spurrier isn’t obsessed with us. He’s obsessed with winning. Must be nice having a coach like that.

dawgfan

September 4th, 2013
2:21 pm

Who in the world said anything about a botched snap other than the voices in your head NCdawg? Yes, things like that can happen to anyone. Therein lies the point. Great teams overcome it. We just come on message boards and whine about what people are saying about our coach and how we “almost” won. We’re always a botched snap or a bad call from greatness according to homers like you. Every freaking big game we lose you homers start up with that crap.

NCDawg

September 4th, 2013
2:21 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle
September 4th, 2013
1:55 pm

What mental institution are you currently inhabiting? A Turkey Buzzard talking smack on a Bulldog blog? I bet you really ate up the back to back cans of whoop as$ we laid on the tiggers (45-7 and 38-0 in case you forgot). Looks like the Dawgs did all the talking and backing it up recently. It’s pretty damn sad when the PuddyTat fans have to live vicariously through Spurrier. Any sane person would be so ashamed they’d hide.

When your Turkey Buzzards can walk the walk come back and talk smack… until then just put a sock in it and go crawl back into your padded cell.

Skokie Dog

September 4th, 2013
2:24 pm

@NC: If you’re reacting to my mention of a botched field goal attempt in the post made at 1:50 PM, I assure you I wasn’t making any reference to the field goal try in the U.Ga.-Clemson game last week. I actually had in mind a missed field goal attempt that U.S.C. made at Florida a few years ago, and that miss was the difference in the outcome of that game. (I don’t recall the specific year, but I saw it happen on the telecast.) That post is about a Spurrier-coached team. I read a long article about Spurrier’s time as HC of the Washington Redskins, and his failure there seems to have included several lapses that were attributed to not spending enough time in practice working on details, including those on special teams. My comment was about Coach Spurrier’s teams.
I understand that players make mistakes during games, regardless of how well prepared they are when they arrive on the field.
If you were reacting to someone else’s post, just ignore my reply.

NCDawg

September 4th, 2013
2:32 pm

dawgfan
September 4th, 2013
2:21 pm

How about this from Skokie Dog?

“Ironically, Spurrier’s teams, when they do lose games, are exposed for lacking attention to details, such as special teams lapses like botched field goal attempts and the like.”

Yeah… I’m really imagining things. And don’t try to use the “homer” crap as an insult. I just happen to not filter everything through the “all our problems come from bad coaching” view of being a Bulldog fan. I am proudly a “HOMER”. I am a real Bulldog fan… I back the team no matter who the coach is and win, lose, or draw. If that is something you disdain then maybe you need to rethink who you “say” you pull for.

General Ledger

September 4th, 2013
2:51 pm

Go Dawgs! Hope we win but will have to be more varied on offense than we were on 6 straight 3 & outs versus Clemson. Sure was a lot of run up the middle, run up the middle try to pass on 3rd & 10. Need to keep them off balance more…..toss sweep to Marshall (PLEASE!), some mis-direction, some quick slants and screens etc.

fan

September 4th, 2013
3:01 pm

aaron murray is not good enough to overcome grantham.

Mobile Dawg

September 4th, 2013
3:08 pm

NCDawg you make some good counter points, but, six consecutive possessions isn’t really late second qtr, early third. We keep the ball for half those possessions and it’s a different game, that’s all I’m saying as far as ball control. I would bet that Clemson scored at least twice off the exchange of those six three and outs.

So I guess from your comments running the ball between the tackles for “little” to no gain was ok, maybe even good, rather than getting excellent backs out in the open a bit more. You’re pretty “football” smart. Even on the first and goal series, after we had been stuffed on “several” previous possessions. Thanks for the education, no wonder we keep Bobo in the OC position, wink.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

September 4th, 2013
3:23 pm

@NCDawg yes you beat us 2 years running..course, you wouldn’t know it from the way some dawg fans still whine over Nick Fairley planting Aaron Murray like a tulip 3 years ago..And there is no mental damage involved in my love of all things Spurrier..I love the snark, I love the not so subtle put downs of opponents and his own QB’s, hell, I wish he was our coach.

Click Clack

krazydawg

September 4th, 2013
3:51 pm

When I think of Clemson I think Auburn with a lake to wash their cows or wives.

Trisha the dishwasher from auburn

September 4th, 2013
4:11 pm

Hi I’m looking for overtime work
my auburn tigers haven’t had enough money to buy a quality team.

I feel that hard work leads to more money to buy players to come to auburn.

It’s hard to convince good players to come here

Trisha the dishwasher from auburn

September 4th, 2013
4:14 pm

Please let me know if u have any dishes to wash

War eagle

Trisha the dishwasher from auburn

September 4th, 2013
4:17 pm

Oh I forgot

Click clack ;)

Realistic dawg

September 4th, 2013
4:25 pm

C from marietta

I guess when facts are presented then that person is a troll

Have another refreshing glass of Kool-aid. You are going to need it

dawgfan

September 4th, 2013
4:25 pm

I support the team too. I hope we win. I just don’t think it’s going to happen. I also want to win the lottery, but I don’t think that will be happening either. That’s the difference between me and you. I’m willing to admit that because I live in reality and you live in a homer fantasy land. It’s not an insult. It just is what it is dude.

I’ll be as excited as anyone of we win though. Rest assured.

Macclenny_dawg

September 4th, 2013
4:46 pm

Up the middle Bobo against Spurrier. Now pick your who out coaches the other!!!

TrishaDishaWarEagle

September 4th, 2013
5:07 pm

HAHA ttdfa,,,thats funny stuff..you dawgies may not have a NC in the modern era but you never lose your sense of humor. Three cheers for UGA. perennially the best of the rest

WDE

NCDawg

September 4th, 2013
5:12 pm

dawgfan
September 4th, 2013
4:25 pm

I don’t live in fantasy land, dude. I live in reality… I just don’t get worked up and start pointing fingers when things don’t go my way. I didn’t like losing any more than any other Dawg fan. Any and all losses suck. But I know that you win as a team and you lose as a team… coaching is only part of the equation. The blame game is fruitless.

Realistic dawg

September 4th, 2013
5:46 pm

Trisha

“the modern era” started before 1980

Something you would have known if weren’t so busy washing dishes to buy players

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
5:47 pm

I’m going to be honest and defend Clowney a little bit. It was reported that he had an intestinal virus a couple of days before the game. His electrolytes probably got out of balance causing his loss of energy. With the Game Crocks having two more days than UGA to get ready for this game (because they played on thursday) Clowney should be fully recuperated.

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
5:57 pm

Dawgs have a “finesse” OL and are better suited running outside than up the middle. Trap plays are good too. Scrrens to the WR’s will work on the Game Crocks who over pursue. Their OL is huge and gut heavy. They are built for a power game. You better believe that they will run right at the middle of the UGA DL.

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
6:46 pm

I sent three vents. Have they all been eaten by the blog monster?

BULLDAWG BILL

September 4th, 2013
6:51 pm

One more reason the “evil genius” hates Georgia — He wanted the UGA head coach job that went to Ray Goff. He thought he was more experienced and better qualified(and he was) and he took it out on Ray and UGA every chance he got at Florida and now at South Carolina. He may have been offered the Georgia job if he had not been such a jerk.

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
7:01 pm

Come On……
Where did that come from? Spurrier wanting to coach at UGA -never! And the feeling is mutual.

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
7:05 pm

Chris Bennett (OG) – surgically repaired shoulder during off season and still recovering

Xzavier Ward (LOT) – mysterious knee injury – has not played

John Theus (ROT)- surgically repaired foot – played sparingly

*** all three are considered the best at their position are injured

dawgfan

September 4th, 2013
7:43 pm

It’s a $3 million a year part of the equation, but mmmkay.

gm

September 4th, 2013
7:45 pm

Just a game,folks. No one owns anyone. Still,go dawgs! S.C. is a talented and well coached team for sure.

krazydawg

September 4th, 2013
7:47 pm

Why are we handing the ball 5 yards almost in are backfield? Does anyone know?

krazydawg

September 4th, 2013
7:50 pm

Whiznot

September 4th, 2013
8:02 pm

Spurrier is a great coach and I’d trade our bible thumping, mealy mouthed, non-ball-spiking clown for him any day. But Go Dawgs (even though I know it’s a lost cause).

krazydawg

September 4th, 2013
8:05 pm

You can be a good coach and a bible thumper with some moxy to ya. Religion has nothing to do with it.

krazydawg

September 4th, 2013
8:06 pm

Look up Nick Hyder

Dawgmeat

September 4th, 2013
8:15 pm

Love the dead beats like whiz knot and dumb fan who trash everything about the Dawgs and end saying they are fans. Give me break?

Hunkerdown

September 4th, 2013
8:18 pm

I have been reading the AJC sports page for many, a year. This is undoubtably my favorite article and puts a lot of the “the visor thrower” into perspective and his tacky behavior towards Georgia. Good to know we whipped his fanny back in 1966 BK and why the lil spoiled boy tends to come out.

ARdawg

September 4th, 2013
8:22 pm

Ya’ll lighten up on Trishadisha. Auburn has won one in a row. They don’t get much to cheer about at the Waffle House

Hairy Dawg

September 4th, 2013
9:51 pm

You forgot half the stuff why we poke Visor Boy in eyes. He did a ssisstants at Yech and we beat the pestky bugs then like worthless pointy head nerds. Then he coach at Puke and we make stinky ACC teams look like girls high squad. Next Coach Richt school him for years at FSU and Stevie Wonder whine it unfair that Noles punish him. And he dont like getting beat by Dawgs in recruiting by Gaytors and more so now with Choking Chickens. And then he try to cheat and crying to change division winners rules but Dawgs own running of East anyways.

And now we makes him pay when we unload that whooping can on Sat. Dawgs get first game mitsakes fixed and expose all that talent on Scar. Dawgs will dominants chickens to point that over/under on Stevie Boy throwing visor on Sat. is 7 times. Also remember Scar dont got no ACC refs to save them like Dabo cheerleader did. That why I sure we put beat down on Scar this weekend like desevring.

Go Dawgs! Sick E’m!

HotDawg

September 4th, 2013
10:08 pm

This IS a UGA blog, but look at all the psychotic haters that gather to make their juvenile comments.
Who are the obsessive ones??
Same old lunatics. Did your momma leave your daddy for a GA guy or just have an affair with him? Miss your mommy?

HotDawg

September 4th, 2013
10:17 pm

Any fan that didn’t know this story about the visor coach must have lived a sheltered life since he became coach at F U…….excuse me UF.
Who did not know this crap? At least one writer somewhere, writes about it every time coach visor coaches against UGA.

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
11:38 pm

Spurrier will have something special planned for Langley (freshman CB) ’cause he flipped from Spud to Richt…. hear it really got under Spud’s skin to be rejected like that. Langley better tighten that chin strap up and watch out for cheap shots – it’s gonna be a busy day for him.

Flo-Ri-Duh

September 4th, 2013
11:47 pm

Really not sure Bummer will even win the WEST with that pathetic offense they showed against #30 ranked Va Tech…… less than 250 yards total offense. Maybe Mettenbubba or Johnny Football will kick their hind end.

Bummer lost their leaders to the NFL draft…… especially the OL. Yelden couldn’t even get it going. Gurley can overcome an average OL – Yelden was great behind the best OL of the last 20 years. Now most of them are gone. Gurley is Heisman material – Yelden not so much.

Creativity Dawg

September 5th, 2013
12:01 am

Flo..ur as nuts as fans on Bradley’s column ready for a Dawgs failure..lmao..Lnagley played a good game