ATHENS – So, Mark Richt was asked, does Georgia have a creative name for the offensive package in which the ball is snapped directly to speedy freshman Branden Smith?
“Well, I think . . . Scott Howard on the radio . . . calls that the ‘Wild Dawg,’” Richt said.
“That was Zeier,” interjected Howard, passing the credit to color analyst Eric Zeier.
“I’m all for that,” Richt said of the name.
So “Wild Dawg” it is -– Georgia’s moniker for the offensive formation that football folks generally refer to as the “Wildcat.”
“I heard someone else, I think in the NFL, was calling it something a little bit different than the Wildcat,” Richt said. “They were calling it the Wild Bronco or something. I think Wild Dawg is pretty good.” (And for the record, Richt declared the preferred spelling: “Gotta be D-A-W-G.”)
By whatever name, Smith’s role in the Georgia offense stirs excitement, especially after his 52-yard touchdown run in last week’s win over Tennessee Tech.
Richt said Smith, whose primary position is cornerback, will continue to focus on defense but can be worked increasingly into the offense in future seasons as he gains experience.
“I don’t know if we’ll get to Champ Bailey numbers as far as the amount of [offensive] plays in a game,” Richt said, “but I don’t think that’s out of the question.
“Even when we recruited [Smith], I told him, ‘Your first year, you have to learn defense. You have to spend most of your time in those meetings. To think you are going to spend some time here and some time there, it just doesn’t work that way.’ . . . We want him to get comfortable in that [defensive] role and really understand it well. It may be as early as this spring that we could spend a few days [with him] exclusively learning more offensive football.
“This first year we wanted to give him just enough [offensively] to get him lined up and get the ball in his hands. I think our coaches have done a good job with that. Hopefully it will grow as we go.”