Georgia Versus Georgia Tech – November 30, 2013

mark_richt_paul_johnsonNeither Team has Bigger Fish to Fry
The 109th renewal of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry has lost some of its luster for the 2013 edition.  These two major college football programs from the Peach State have combined for eight losses this season.  How is this possible, you ask?  Any number of reasons come to mind, including an inability to stop the opposition, injuries, and untimely buffoonery.

Is Paul Johnston Still a Genius?
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has earned the right to be called a genius dating back to his time coaching the Naval Academy.  He achieved even greater success during his first two seasons in Atlanta.  However, since 2010, the Yellow Jackets have struggled to rise above mediocrity.  Georgia Tech’s inability to win big games in the past few years has left some fans in Atlanta wondering if their head coach is too smart for his own good.

Oh Yeah, Both These Teams Are Bowl Eligible
The contest known as “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” signifies the conclusion of regular season UGA football.  Unfortunately, neither the Dawgs nor the Jackets are participating in a conference championship game, meaning a lackluster bowl game is all that separates these two teams from a long offseason.

Aaron Murray’s Injury
When Dawg Post tweeted a picture of Aaron Murray leaving Sanford Stadium to go to the hospital for a Saturday night MRI, the prognosis did not look good.  Sadly, the worst fears of Bulldog Nation have been realized Aaron Murray’s Georgia career is over.  He will have surgery to repair his ACL on Tuesday.  So ends his 52-game start streak, along with his decorated college career.

Don’t Cry for Aaron Murray
Aaron Murray’s injury does not signify an end.  Rather, it marks the beginning of his next chapter. #11 had arguably the greatest career of anyone to ever quarterback the University of Georgia.  He will get the opportunity to play in the National Football League.

Based on the grit and determination he has shown throughout his time between the hedges, Aaron Murray will make an NFL team start him on Sundays sooner rather than later.  Don’t cry for Aaron Murray, bark louder than ever.

The Hutson Mason Show
Hutson Mason’s time has come.  Any Georgia Tech fan who believes the sudden change at QB means the Jackets will win has not been paying attention.  Hutson Mason has been in the Georgia program for nearly four years.  He has yearned to start a game for the University of Georgia since he was 18 years old.  November 30th represents a chance for Hutson Mason to send a message to the rest of college football.

On behalf of all of Bulldog Nation, Hutson Mason’s arm is going to pronounce 2014 as the year of the Dawg.  The defense is going to reinforce the statement by keeping the Yellow Jackets from buzzing.  Todd Gurley has been unstoppable when healthy.  He is sure to make his presence felt as well.

Georgia-Georgia Tech, Picking a Winner
This Saturday is the final stop on the Bulldogs’ regular season calendar.  The 2013 UGA football season will not go down in the history books in the way that Bulldog Nation had hoped, but Georgia fans and players alike should be proud that passion did not waiver no matter how many obstacles got in the way.  Coach Richt has owned Georgia Tech during his time in Athens, expect that trend to continue.

UGA 31, GT 20.  GO DAWGS!

Georgia Blackout: Aaron Murray Appreciation

aaron_murray_kentucky_wildcatsAccording to Bulldawg Illustrated, Aaron Murray is requesting a blackout this Saturday for his final home game at Sanford Stadium.  However, before Bulldog Nation starts reminiscing about Knowshon Moreno and the CBS announcers dancing, it must be noted Georgia head coach Mark Richt has stated UGA does not have access to black jerseys.



Oh, Coach Richt, You are Such a Kidder.
Who does Mark Richt think he is kidding?  Unless the Dawgs had a jersey burning party following the loss to Alabama in 2008, I refuse to believe black Georgia football uniforms are not available.

What if Mark Richt is Telling the Truth?
On the off-chance Mark Richt is being truthful, it is incumbent upon Georgia fans to give their senior quarterback the blackout he so richly deserves. If black uniforms are not an option, then the game against Kentucky should be played with the stadium lights out. Everyone in attendance can bring lighters for a true old school blackout.  Alas, television presentation would be too difficult.

Georgia Should Absolutely Send Aaron Murray out on his Terms
The article on Bulldawg Illustrated reveals Aaron Murray “would be the happiest man in the world” if a blackout is made official for the Kentucky game.  For this reason alone, a blackout must occur.  With all due respect to the other Bulldogs who will be moving on after the season, this Saturday night should center around Aaron Murray’s wishes.

Aaron Murray Appreciation Night
The Georgia starting quarterback has earned the right to make his final Sanford Stadium start memorable in whatever fashion he desires.  If Aaron Murray wants to pad his stats and attempt to throw for six touchdowns against the Wildcats he should be given free rein to do so. I am sure such a scenario has not been discussed, but is impossible not to wish the best for Aaron Murray in his last hurrah between the hedges.

Following the loss to Auburn, Aaron Murray tweeted, “Would do anything to go back and start playing as a freshmen again. These 4 years have gone by way to fast. I am a Dawg for life!”  If more past and present members of the Georgia football program shared Aaron Murray’s passion, the Georgia Bulldogs would probably not be in the midst of a 33 year national championship drought.

College Football Week 13 – State of the Georgia Bulldogs

aaron_murray_2013With two games remaining, the Dawgs’ roller coaster campaign is almost over.  2013 has been a challenging year for Bulldog Nation. Georgia has lost four games this year.  Each defeat has been riddled with injuries, a lack of execution, and bad luck.  In spite of the adversity UGA has faced this season, it is always great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Aaron Murray Leaves a Legacy to be Proud of
This past weekend’s game against Auburn was a microcosm of Aaron Murray’s career between the hedges.  No matter how many rushing yards the defense gave up, (323) or how big of a lead the Auburn Tigers built, the Georgia quarterback refused to let his Dawgs roll over and play dead.

The senior UGA signal-caller led the Dawgs to a 17 point fourth quarter comeback in Auburn.  The end result will not be discussed on this blog, but the effort should be commended.

Georgia-Kentucky: Basketball Season Has Begun
The majority of Wildcat faithful will be too busy slurping John Calipari flavored Kool-Aid to make the trip to Athens.  Mark Stoops has notched two wins in 2013.  Patience is a virtue for Stoops, who is in his first season as a head coach.  The good news for the youngest stoops brother is his success on the recruiting trail.  However, the Bluegrass State revolves around college basketball.

The Aaron Murray Farewell Tour Begins
Aaron Murray has two regular season games left on his farewell tour. The fifth-year signal caller is a combined 6-0 against Kentucky and Georgia Tech.  The Dawgs welcome the Wildcats into Sanford Stadium on Saturday night, before traveling to Atlanta for a date with the Yellow Jackets. The SEC’s all-time leading passer has left it all out on the field for UGA.  It is a shame Murray does not have a championship to show for it.

Georgia should beat Kentucky by three touchdowns.  Emotion will be running high between the hedges for Aaron Murray’s final home game, while the Wildcats are dead last in the SEC East with a Southeastern Conference record of 0-6.

Dawgs 49, Cats 17.

Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part I

larry_munson_uga_2
Larry Munson is a Cornerstone of UGA Football Tradition

Over two generations of Bulldog Nation heard Larry Munson’s gravelly tone every Saturday while he provided Georgia fans everywhere with chills and thrills.  Munson voiced the soundtrack to the historic memories and moments that unfolded on the gridiron during the four decades that he spent passionately calling Georgia football.

Rather than one long article, it is best to allow our admiration for Larry Munson to span multiple posts.  This piece focuses on the late Larry Munson’s life before he broadcasted UGA football.   The subsequent two posts that follow will center around his legendary tenure between the hedges, and his legacy that grows with every Saturday in Athens.

A Short Biography
The man born Lawrence Harry Munson came into the world on September 28, 1922.  He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he was a two-sport athlete in college at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  Munson played both ways on the football field, lining up as a defensive end, as well as at the offensive tackle position.  The iconic announcer also played basketball at MSUM as a center and a guard.

Larry Munson Served His Country/First Announcing Experience
Before Larry Munson ever picked up a microphone, he served in the United States Army as a medic during World War II.  When he returned from duty, Munson used all $200 of the mustering-out pay that he earned to attend a Minneapolis radio broadcasting school.  His first official experience announcing sporting events happened when he made $15 dollars per week to introduce boxers and wrestlers to crowds at a Minneapolis venue.

Take Me out to the Ball Game, Mr. Munson
Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, Larry Munson was hired as the announcer for a minor league baseball team located Oklahoma City in 1946. Unwittingly, the same friend played a key role in bringing Larry Munson to the state of Georgia because Munson gained valuable experience doing play-by-play for minor league football and baseball teams while in the Sooner State.

Larry Munson was Once a Commodore/The Rod & Gun Club
Prior to becoming the voice of the Bulldogs, Larry Munson moved to Tennessee in 1952, where he worked as the caller for the Vanderbilt Commodores on WKDA, a local radio station in Nashville.  He did the play-by-play during Vanderbilt football and basketball games for the better part of the 1950s.  It was during this time that Munson started his own hunting and fishing television show, titled The Rod & Gun Club. The program first aired on local television in Nashville.

Larry Munson was an Original Member of the Atlanta Braves Broadcast Team
After successfully holding jobs doing play-by-play for the Vanderbilt Commodores, coupled with his minor league baseball and football expertise, Munson was hired to be part of the first broadcasting team for the Atlanta Braves when the team relocated from Milwakee to Atlanta in 1966. 

University of Georgia – The History of the Sanford Stadium Hedges

It’s Saturday in Athens
Sanford Stadium has been the place to be for University of Georgia home football games for over 80 years. Having already discussed Georgia football traditions such as barking like a dog, holding up four fingers in honor of the fourth quarter and the team entrance anthem of Baba O’ Riley, we felt it appropriate to examine one of the most aesthetically pleasing characteristics of Sanford Stadium–the hedges.

The hedges add something special to Sanford Stadium.

Hedging Their Bet: UGA Officials Pick Hedges
According to Online Athens, Charlie E. Martin was the business manager for the athletic department at Georgia in 1929. Martin had attended the Rose Bowl Game, and as a result he had a desire to plant the hedges with roses. Horticulturalists at UGA were quick to inform Charlie Martin that roses would not flourish in Georgia. University officials decided to plant privet Ligustrum instead. The decision was made so close to the kickoff of the first game at Sanford Stadium that the hedges were brought in with trucks the day before the opener against Yale.

The Bulldogs Win Their First Game Between the Hedges
The University of Georgia’s unique privet hedges were first planted on October 12, 1929, reportedly only hours before the first Bulldog home football game at Sanford Stadium. The Dawgs won the first contest on their new home turf, defeating Yale by a count of 15-0. Dr. Steadman Vincent Sanford was the president at Georgia at that time, and he made it his mission for UGA to house “the best football stadium in Dixie.”

The Hedges Inspired Vince Dooley to Garden
The hedges have been a hallowed part of Sanford Stadium for over eighty years. Legendary former Bulldog coach Vince Dooley was not interested in the gardening aspect of Sanford Stadium until well after his coaching days were over. Dooley attended horticulture classes at UGA and became friends with Georgia horticulturalists Michael Dirr and Allan Armitage. According to ESPN, gardening became a passion for Vince Dooley because, he said, “I don’t play golf.”

The Hedges at Sanford Stadium Had to be Trimmed for the 1996 Summer Olympics
When Atlanta, Georgia was picked to be the home of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, men’s and women’s soccer required a venue worthy of gold medal majesty. Sanford Stadium certainly seemed like a perfect fit. However, because the required dimensions of a soccer field are longer than an American football field, the hedges around Sanford Stadium had to be removed

In preparation for this aesthetic dilemma, University of Georgia personal began to collect trimmings from the original hedges for three years prior to the Olympics. This process was kept quiet as the trimmings were nurtured and grown so that they would be prepared to replace the old hedges. Upon completion of the 1996 Olympics, the new Sanford Stadium hedges were brought in from R.A. Dudley Nurseries in Thomson, Georgia.

The Hedges Are Part of the Sanford Stadium Experience
The University of Georgia puts a lot of time and money into making sure that the hedges at Sanford Stadium are in pristine condition. As a result, trying to take a piece of the hedges as a souvenir is quite frowned upon. ESPN reports that, “The hedges are guarded by a state-of-the-art camera system. However, if one is fortunate enough to get by UGA’s security measures, back-up hedges are kept at a secret location.

A body can never be too careful around the University of Georgia hedges. Just ask former Georgia Bulldog tight end Aron White, who once got stuck in the famous hedges following a touchdown catch.