After a week off, the Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday as a Conference USA team named after the star of the most memorable Coca-Cola commercial comes to Athens, primarily to earn a $975,000 paycheck but also no doubt with dreams of pulling off the sort of shocker upset that Akron nearly got last week against Michigan.
Mark Richt has, you can be sure, reminded the Dawgs that they can’t get caught looking ahead to next week’s game with LSU. Still, the betting line on the game has Georgia favored by 32.5 points over the North Texas Mean Green and — barring key injuries, a spate of turnovers and a complete lack of focus on the part of the team in red — that sounds about right.
Saturday’s 12:21 p.m. kickoff may well take place under rainy skies, so breaking out the ponchos on the way to the stadium sounds like a good idea. Dawg Walk is set for 10:30 a.m.
The athletic association wants fans reminded that it’s now scanning tickets as you enter the gate, so those who wait until the last minute might wind up standing a while in line — though probably not as long as at the South Carolina game since indications are a lot of folks are planning on skipping the trip to Athens and watching this one on SEC TV. While the new Young Alumni program filled in those pesky empty gaps in the upper section for the game against the Gamecocks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a few empty seats this week. Probably not the week for Butts-Mehre to consider releasing an actual head count of tickets scanned at the gate.
Oh, and don’t forget the new bottomless souvenir drink and popcorn bucket program! (he said with mock excitement). Well, at least with it being a lesser game against a nonconference opponent it won’t matter quite as much if you miss an entire quarter of football waiting in line at a concession stand this week.
The pre-game festivities will include the induction of football legend Pat Dye, gymnast Lori Strong and tennis player Marissa Catlin into UGA’s Circle of Honor.
While Dye is now best known as the former head football coach and athletic director at Auburn, he’s apparently still a Bulldog at heart. I’ve always figured that whole bit about Georgia not being “man enough” to beat Bama in 2002 was aimed more at challenging the Dawgs than belittling them. After all, back when the centennial of the first Georgia-Auburn game was feted at a ceremony in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, Dye even recited the old rhyme about being “Bulldog born and Bulldog bred and when I die I’ll be Bulldog dead.”
Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.
Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail …
I’ve heard a lot of chatter from fans about the emergence of Quayvon Hicks as an offensive threat, and the fullback was on the minds of several readers this week. Harold Hale writes: Bill, I’ve pretty much concluded that the reason the Georgia defense always acts like it’s never seen the wheel route before (happened again in the South Carolina game) is because they hardly ever see it in practice since Mike Bobo’s offense rarely runs it. But with a fullback like Quayvon Hicks in the backfield, I’m wondering if that might change — at least, I hope it does. What do you think?
And Matt McGahee writes: Hey Bill, I saw this awesome post where a guy had put the music to “Levon” by Elton John to new lyrics for our fullback Quayvon Hicks. You should definitely check this out. I think if the Redcoat band would play the chorus of this song anytime Quayvon has a big play, it would be awesome. Is this a suggestion you could pass along? What do you think?
Sporting a 9.43 yards-per-carry average and with two catches for 61 yards in the first couple of games, Hicks has excited the fan base considerably by returning the fullback position to its status as a weapon in Georgia’s offense rather than just a blocker, as it was most of the time in recent seasons. He may well prove to be the Bulldogs’ most dangerous fullback since Verron Haynes. And I agree that since Hicks has proved he also can catch the ball that it seems like a good time for Bobo to rediscover the wheel route. Like you said, maybe seeing it in practice would help Todd Grantham’s troops recognize it when opponents use it. As for Matt’s idea, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I can see how the similarity between the names Quayvon and Levon might strike some fans. Still, I’m not sure how well that particular Elton John song would work in a football game setting. It’s not exactly cut from the same cloth as the pre-game “Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting)” and, in fact, is a rather downcast ballad. But more to the point, the speed of the game basically precludes the Redcoats playing even a snatch of a tune like that for a play by a particular Bulldog. This isn’t baseball, where players have theme songs played over the PA as they approach the plate to bat. Maybe if someone records a version of the tune with “Quayvon” lyrics it might get played at least in part on UGA radio broadcasts, but that’s about all the future I can see in that idea.
Mark Tillman writes: First off, thanks for keeping the Dawg beat exciting and informative. I read your Blawg daily all the way out here sunny in Los Angeles — grew up in Metro ATL and attended games at Sanford Stadium since I was a lad in the ’80s. I digress … seems both [Keith] Marshall and [Todd] Gurley want to separate themselves from the “Gurshall” moniker. Understood — they’re pioneering their own legacy. So I have a new term of endearment for Tailback U’s next wave: “The 3-4 Punch.” I think Dawg Nation might rally around it. It’s a nod to the running backs’ prowess as a tandem, not to mention their consecutive jersey numbers, and a play on the ol’ “1-2 punch” saying in boxing — tenacity, toughness, speed, agility, versatity that knocks out the stoutest of D’s.
I can see sportswriters warming up to such wordplay more than fans in general, but basically I think now that they’re past their freshman year and have established themselves as individual offensive threats, there’s really no longer any need for a cute nickname. The phrase “Gurley and Marshall” alone will set opposing defensive coordinators to fretting!
Ken in Houston writes: Bill, What is the full story behind the Bulldawg logo change? I was in Athens for the USC game and got my first glimpse of the picture on hats and shirts. Am I the only one who thinks this new rendition is hideous? It’s Uga with a Fu Manchu mustache. The old bulldawg was perfection, now we have an artistic disaster!
You’re certainly not alone among fans in dismissing the new logo as inferior to the traditional Bulldog. But don’t be too concerned. The new one is considered the “secondary” logo while the “power G” is the “primary” logo, according to the UGA Athletic Association. As for the genesis of the new logo, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that, as with almost anything hideous-looking in college football these days, Nike had a hand in it. It’s part of an athletic “brand identity system” developed in “close consultation” with Nike that also includes the new rounded numbers worn on jerseys in all sports. UGA says the iconic “G” logo “is the primary representation of the brand and is used as the main identifying device for athletics” while the secondary logo reflects characteristics of the bulldog as ferocious. Or something like that. Thankfully, the more traditional representations of the Georgia Bulldog remain available for licensing — and when I checked the clothing section at the UGA Bookstore last month I saw a lot more of them than I did the new one.
Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg