‘Countdown to Kickoff’ unites Georgia Bulldogs and their fans

ATHENS – I just returned from the annual Countdown to Kickoff extravaganza over at Georgia’s Woodruff Practice Fields. I’ve been before but haven’t been in several years. Now that I have a 5-year-old boy, I figured it would be a good time to go back.

AJC photographer Johnny Crawford was there and posted a great photo gallery here on the AJC website. If you missed my hotlink you can see it HERE. I’ll add a few crappy pics from my iPhone below shortly to illustrate the difference in an amateur and a pro.

Former Georgia quarterback David Greene shows his son, Jordan, the proper way to shake a hand. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Former Georgia quarterback David Greene shows his son, Jordan, the proper way to shake a hand. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

It looked like a very good turnout and they’ve really perfected the layout and routine of the event. For fans, you can’t ask for better access to the players. It’s a very relaxed environment and you can spend some time chatting up the players, current and former.

I saw a bunch of both and spoke to a few. Among the former Bulldogs I saw — in addition to the annual hosts David Greene and Jon and Matt Stinchcomb — were Seattle Seahawks receiver Kris Durham, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback and kick returner Brandon Boykin and Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Rennie Curran.

“It’s a great event,” said Durham, who played for the Bulldogs from 2006-2010 and has participated in “countdown” every year it has been held. “It gets the fans involved and it’s a great cause, especially with what they’re raising money for. I enjoy it. You get to meet a lot of fans, which is always a good time. I get to see a lot of old buddies, just like this guy [Fred Munzenmaier] He’s my favorite.”

I ran into Durham under the shade of the training shed in the middle of Georgia’s otherwise shadeless practice complex. It was 90 degrees Saturday and very humid, which is radically different than what Durham is acclimated to nowadays.

“I’m not used to this humidity anymore,” he said with a laugh. “I’m trying to adjust. I came up here to get water, felt the breeze and I just haven’t left. It’s a nice and comfortable 70 degrees in Seattle right now.”

Most of the current Bulldogs were also in attendance and signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. Quarterback Aaron Murray missed this year because he’s currently attending the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. Among those who were there was All-America free safety Bacarri Rambo. I was tempted to ask Rambo what his disciplinary scenario is going to be to begin the season. It has been widely reported that Rambo will have to sit out the first four game so the season due to a violation of team policy. But UGA has yet to make an announcement or even confirm or deny that a violation has occurred. And UGA sports communications Claude Felton asked all the reporters in attendance not to interview Rambo, so we all complied.

I did talk to running back Richard Samuel for a while. He, too, has participated in Countdown all five of his years. It’s a voluntary event for the current players.

“I just enjoy meeting with the fans and talking to them on a personal level,” said Samuel, who will play both fullback and tailback for the Bulldogs this fall. “They only see us from the stands and on the TV, so getting to just hang out with them, I enjoy that.”

I’ll have more from Samuel later on how he feels about his latest position switch, which is back to being “primarily” a tailback again, as offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Friday.

Here are links to the last couple of football reports:

Now for a few pics . . .

The smart players, including All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (top left) set up on the bleachers underneath the training shed.

The smart players, including All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (top left) set up on the bleachers underneath the training shed.

Every-growing offensive lineman Watts Dantzler was among the wise.

Every-growing offensive lineman Watts Dantzler was among the wise.

Former Bulldogs Kris Durham (L) and Rennie Curran got a chance to catch up during a break under the training shed.

Former Bulldogs Kris Durham (L) and Rennie Curran got a chance to catch up during a break under the training shed.

Recently-retired NFL player Jon Stinchcomb, one of the event's organizers, threw some passes to some young Bulldogs.

Recently-retired NFL player Jon Stinchcomb, one of the event's organizers, threw some passes to some young Bulldogs.

Do-everything running back Richard Samuel was a popular autographer on Saturday. He found himself signing a lot of placards with the score of last year's win over Florida.

Do-everything running back Richard Samuel was a popular autographer on Saturday. He found himself signing a lot of placards with the score of last year's win over Florida.

Fans probably got more out of All-America safety Bacarri Rambo than I did. Reporters were asked not to talk to him.

Fans probably got more out of All-America safety Bacarri Rambo than I did. Reporters were asked not to talk to him.

A couple of coeds get an audience with new Philadelphia Eagle Brandon Boykin. He'll go down as one of Georgia's all-time greats.

A couple of coeds get an audience with new Philadelphia Eagle Brandon Boykin. He'll go down as one of Georgia's all-time greats.

60 comments Add your comment

Willy

July 14th, 2012
7:47 pm

Were any of the suspended players there?

Basstringerfish

July 14th, 2012
7:53 pm

Richard Samuel is a DGD.
And I am excited to hear Murray is in Thibodeaux…fantastic food there, but trust he is concentrating on the “being an elite QB” aspect of the game…his physical gifts are there…
Excited about 2013….

JoeyHanie

July 14th, 2012
8:05 pm

Wish we had 22 Richard Samuaels to take the field. DGD

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

July 14th, 2012
8:53 pm

Have fun now UGA fans. By the time December 1st rolls around the pain will be unbearable.

Watsonone

July 14th, 2012
8:54 pm

Big things will happen in Athens this year. Go DAWGS!!!

dbc

July 14th, 2012
8:59 pm

I wonder if Cornelius was there pressing the flesh.

bruce mac

July 14th, 2012
9:19 pm

Hey Willie go back to the loser blog with the rest of your GT Bumble Bee buddies. All those suspended players will be back for annual butt whoppin in Atlanta. Loser

kingdaddy

July 14th, 2012
9:39 pm

Richard was looking good…

HABDAWG

July 14th, 2012
9:52 pm

Go dawgs. Cant wait for the season to start. Predict 11-3 or 12-2.

RabunJacket

July 14th, 2012
10:06 pm

Richard Samuel – my favorite fumblin dawg. He’ll be ready to take over spot as primary Gangsta. But in all seriousness, those girls with Boynkin, with that makeup are they trying to look like a raccoon, or is it that their eye-shadow is running from all the cryin they be doing because their UGA boyfriends rather be huntin n’ fishin than take care of business at home?

2005DawgAlum

July 14th, 2012
10:11 pm

Thanks to all the players who came out for a good cause today and made sure people will come back in years to come. Especially to Chris Conley… Those kids will always remember playing a pickup football game with one of UGA’s greats.

Dawg '88

July 14th, 2012
10:26 pm

inappropriate picture in the photo gallery….picture #1. Two babies with “….SEXY” written on a sign behind them. Could have cropped that. But why is such a sign out there anyway with children around?

William

July 14th, 2012
10:50 pm

Forgot all about it. Wish I had gone. Richard Samuels looks like he’s ready to go. Hope he has a great year. Go Dogs.

larddawg

July 14th, 2012
11:10 pm

hope you tech fan aready for another year off the most boring football in the world go dawgs

Gadawg77

July 14th, 2012
11:19 pm

The team will be ready when it’s time to put up or shut up
Mark My Words!

GaDawg77

UGA Golfer

July 14th, 2012
11:53 pm

Man, Jarvis Jones killed me. We waited in line an hour, and he left for a Bar BQ. Painfully, the fan Picture Day in August is no good to try for him again because you can’t bring aything in to sign. They should just so away with it, but then all those nut cases who attend Picture Day would crash this event and ruin it. I am no eBay seller, just a Hartman Fund Donor, ticket holder and big Dawg fan that collects memorabilia.

RED DOG 77

July 15th, 2012
12:18 am

Yesereebobtail………….I loves me some Geeeooorrriga Bulldogs…………..RED

RED DOG 77

July 15th, 2012
12:21 am

That is Geeeooorrrgia Bulldogs………………….Yup !

Quindarius the dawg

July 15th, 2012
1:54 am

@rabunjacket

I guess there is nothing to be happy about over on your tech blogs, because the only way you can bash our football team is by commenting on how two women wear their makeup. Judging by the way tech has performed against the dawgs for the last couple years, it seems like tech players are the ones wearing too much makeup. Don’t try to come in and try to start something because you will get shot down. GT is pathetic along with you and the rest of your fan base, and I cannot wait until we walk all over you in Athens. Have fun witnessing another pathetic season tech fans. The dawgs run this state. Not tech.

Cody

July 15th, 2012
2:18 am

I know I’m ready to hear Paul Johnson blame his players yet again after losing to UGA for the 4th consecutive year!

BR is a doofus

July 15th, 2012
5:53 am

Great to see another “unbiased” report from the AJC. What a joke… no wonder this paper will be out of business in less than a year. Remove your lips from the rear end of the UGA program you clowns.

tenn.DAWG

July 15th, 2012
7:07 am

Really hope Richard Samuel has a great year and gets drafted.If anyone deserves it,it’s him.GATA Richard !!!

mt

July 15th, 2012
7:16 am

@Buzzzzzzz,
Basketball and baseball? Get real.
Here are the important numbers: Georgia 61-39-5 The Dawgs truly run this state.

RedandBlackDAWG

July 15th, 2012
7:27 am

Buzzzzzzz

July 15th, 2012
6:55 am

About the only thing that tech. runs in this state is their mouths.
I guess you had to get your stupid comment in early before heading off to your job at McDonalds. Have you been promoted to the fries section yet?

bucket

July 15th, 2012
8:09 am

@ BR – this is the UGA Blog you doofus! If you don’t want to read about UGA don’t click on the UGA Blog.

DawgNation

July 15th, 2012
8:10 am

How many years did you have to wait Buzz to get those stats to work out for you?

kingdaddy

July 15th, 2012
8:19 am

Buzzzz has about 15 different names to blog-bash the Dawgs because of the beatdown the Jackets get from UGA every year. How many football wins against the Dawgs does Tech have this century???

Buzzzzzzz

July 15th, 2012
8:31 am

It’s really sad that UGA alumni and fans have only their football team to take pride in. It’s even sadder that this pride depends on the performance of illiterate dummies who don’t even come close to meeting minimum academic requirements. 94% of UGA football players are what UGA calls “special admits,” which is just a euphemism for admitting bozos who can’t even read.

This sorry practice not only cheapens all UGA degrees (which are pretty worthless to begin with), but embarrasses the State of Georgia and its citizens. And Mark Richt is the one behind the atrocities at UGA.

So enjoy your victories, and be kind to your former players when you see them working menial jobs in custodial or sanitation services. Or pushing a shopping cart around, looking for a warm place to sleep at night. That’s your UGA reality.

Joey

July 15th, 2012
8:41 am

Trying to figure out what year Jordan Greene will be taking snaps for the Dawgs!

Great to see all these DGDs back on campus.

Can’t wait to see Boykin play on Sundays soon – though I wish it would be in a Falcons jersey . . .

Joey

July 15th, 2012
8:50 am

Nice, buzzzidiot. I’m glad those other two sports gives somebody joy – I could care less if there even such a thing as college baseball. And everybody knows why the ACC teams like Duke, NC, Tech all put such an emphasis on basketball – cause their football teams get spanked whenever they venture out to play with other conferences.

Oh, and congrats on having all Tech athletes being engineers and such. Impressive. What rocket-building firm is Reggie Ball at now?

TDawg

July 15th, 2012
8:57 am

Buzzz

Your 8:31 post was a well written piece of crap. You should be proud of yourself. GT recruits the same football players. They just don’t get as many of the better ones. That is because they play in a weak conference and run a high school offense. Do they run a high school offense because their players are so smart?

Great to see you throw your incredible basketball program at us too. Arrests, flunk outs, and just guys that can’t play. Top recruits every year and they still suck. That Crittenton guy was a real Tech Man when he shot that Mom.

Enough with Tech loser though till around Thanksgiving. Go Dawgs.

@spencaman

July 15th, 2012
9:07 am

Buzzz – Do you realize that the only time any UGA fans say anything about Tech is when you IDIOTS come on our boards and insult us? You have zero evidence to substantiate any “special admits” progams and if you did care to look, you would see that UGA has the second best athlete graduation rate in the SEC.

Chipper

July 15th, 2012
10:00 am

Squirreldawg

July 15th, 2012
10:59 am

It amazes me the audacity that Trade School fans have in question the intelligence of UGA football players, when they have guys playing the QB position that cant count to 4 (Reggie Ball) , How is that Reggie Ball School of recognizing numerals 1-5 coming along

tell me again

July 15th, 2012
11:30 am

Here’s a secret: Most of the “Tech fans” on here don’t even know where North Ave. is….and most of the idiotic “Dawg fans” on here have to google “Athens, Ga.” to even know where in the state the UGA campus is located. The real fanas of both schools are pretty obvious by their posts and comment quality. The rest are just wannabe fans who aren’t smart enough to discuss politcs so they crash the boards to talk “foo baw”

oldbird

July 15th, 2012
12:35 pm

Just love the humblebee fans. They can’t fill their stadium but they can sure fill Bulldog blogs.

RabunJacket

July 15th, 2012
12:36 pm

@Quindonatius

If by shot down, do you mean shoot down by the drop gun they pulled from IC’s car? Fact- that gun is not available now so you might have to find another one to shoot me down with. Opinion – you probably wont have a hard time finding an illegal gun.

Thanks for the enlightening post, perhaps the mighty dawgs will be able to do something with all that talent they get, year in and year out, for example, beat a ranked team.

Bo Jax, Marcus Dupree>Walker

July 15th, 2012
12:43 pm

you know it too.

bucket

July 15th, 2012
1:02 pm

@ tell me again – I would venture to say that your post is spot-on.

@ oldbid – that was hilarious!

bucket

July 15th, 2012
1:31 pm

Looks like the Dawgs will get another commit this Tuesday!

JB

July 15th, 2012
5:33 pm

looks like we need lot’s of commits.

I dropped my fried twinkie

July 15th, 2012
7:18 pm

a good time had by all

The Daily Planet

July 15th, 2012
7:38 pm

HEADLINE: Mobile home parks mysteriously vacant on Saturday

It was reported that every mobile home park in the State of Georgia was mysteriously vacant on Saturday. No one knew where the state’s welfare recipients and other unsavory characters had gone.

There were unconfirmed reports that some residents were returning on Saturday evening, most of them carrying large drums filled with Kool-Aid.

TOP DAWG

July 15th, 2012
8:13 pm

bzzzzzz go hide in a closet you nerd. You pathetic nerd. You make me sick,get on your losing nerd blog.At least dog fans stick to theirs.

I dropped my fried twinkie

July 15th, 2012
8:18 pm

Top Dwag now that is Funny……dwag fans stay on their blogs. Can you so proof?

nursedawg

July 15th, 2012
8:22 pm

@Dawg’88 …the sign you are referring to is a sign saying “Scars are Sexy”….it’s a non-profit group selling tshirts that promote transplant and help support transplant patients…you know, ones that have scars…

I dropped my fried twinkie

July 15th, 2012
8:53 pm

uncledaddy I would almost bet it is a mom(40) and daughter(20).

Dawg Haus

July 15th, 2012
9:20 pm

Thanks for the update, Chip! I hope Samuel has a senior season for the ages.

BG

July 15th, 2012
10:13 pm

GO DAWGS! I can’t wait to crush Auburn,UT and UF again. Oh, I almost forgot about poor Tech.

Will Muschamp

July 15th, 2012
11:12 pm

I guarantee we will beat Georgia this year! Oh wait, we freaking lost!