Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part III

Larry Munson was a Damn Good Dawg
Whether he was pointing out Georgia’s silver britches, or asking UGA to hunker down, Larry Munson’s unique approach to play-by-play will always be directly linked to Georgia football.  Here are Munson’s two favorite calls of all-time according to his autobiography.  To reiterate, this information is also found in an ESPN Insider article written by David Ching on November 21, 2011.  Read part IIRead part I.

2. Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott!
The verbiage Munson used on November 8, 1980, is part of a defining moment in Georgia football history. The Bulldogs and the Florida Gators were together again to renew their storied rivalry.  I remember hearing one Florida Gator recall UF was in cover three trying to keep their lead intact during the final moments of the game while the Dawgs hunted a miracle.

Fortunately for Georgia fans, miracles do happen. UGA QB Buck Belue hit Lindsay Scott with a pass, which caused Larry Munson to plead with the wide receiver not to stop running until he got in the end zone.

“Run, Lindsay!” Munson says, later adding, “Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott!” as he crosses the goal line. As he reflects on the touchdown, Munson tells listeners, “I broke my chair. I came right through a chair. A metal steel chair with about a 5-inch cushion. I broke it. The booth came apart. The stadium, well, the stadium fell down. Now they do have to renovate this thing. They’ll have to rebuild it now.”



1. The Hobnail Boot
I like to refer to this as the moment I realized how deeply my passion for Georgia football runs. Until “The Hobnail Boot,” I always cheered on the Dawgs, but I was not yet emotionally invested. The credit goes to Larry Munson for changing my outlook forever.

It was October 6, 2001, and UGA was still warming up to the Mark Richt era.  The Tennessee Volunteers went back and forth all day long with the visiting Bulldogs, in Neyland Stadium and the game looked to be all over but the whining after Tennessee took the lead on a 62 yard screen pass from Casey Clausen to Travis Stepehens with less than a minute to go in the contest.

However, Georgia would get good field position with 38 seconds left in the game as they started from their own 41. A few wonderfully executed plays later, and Georgia was all the way down to the Tennessee six yard-line with about ten seconds remaining.  Bulldog quarterback David Green found Verron Haynes for the game-winning score.

What followed was a moment that only Larry Munson could wordsmith.

“My God a touchdown! We threw it to Haynes! My God almighty we dumped it over. It is 26 to 24. David Greene just straightened up and found Haynes. Haynes is keeping the ball. We just crushed their face! We stepped on their face with a Hobnail boot and broke their nose!



Turn the Television Down and the Radio Up
Many Georgia fans watched UGA play with the television on mute with the radio blaring because they wanted to be able to hear Larry Munson. Munson brought a certain atmosphere to Georgia games, and he had a bond with Bulldog Nation that could never be duplicated, especially in the days of neutral television commentary.

Larry Munson did not Call the Game. He Told the Audience a Story
Referring to Larry Munson as a play-by-play man does not do his legacy justice.  Munson is considered the voice of the Bulldogs because he went out of his way to describe every crucial moment, encourage Georgia to always play their best, and to make every UGA gridiron triumph seem much more important than just winning a football game.

Randy Smith, a writer for The Chattanoogan said it best, “With apologies to the college sportscasters of today, there will never be another Larry Munson.  Love him or hate him, he made a lasting mark on his profession.”

Glory Glory to Ole Georgia/Larry Munson’s Legacy Lives Forever
With every fall Saturday in Athens, Larry Munson’s voice can be heard throughout Sanford Stadium. Before the Georgoa Bulldogs take the field,  Munson’s unmistakable tone leads the crowd in the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Though a new breed of Bulldog does indeed lead the charge, the indelible paw print Munson left on Georgia Football will last forever.  As illustrated below, the hymn always ends the same way any good Bulldog presentation should, with Larry Munson’s voice saying, GO DAWGS!



Todd Grantham Holds Georgia’s Key to Success in 2013

Coach Grantham Dealing With High Expectations
When Todd Grantham was named associate head coach of Georgia last summer, Bulldog Nation rejoiced.  The new title meant that, at the very least, coach Grantham would be the defensive coordinator in Athens for another few years.  Now, the Dawgs find themselves rebuilding on defense during a time when expectations could not get any higher between the hedges.
t odd_grantham_angry

Upon his arrival in Athens to help put the bite back into the Bulldog’s defense in 2010, Todd Grantham  brought with him an impressive resume.  Fresh off an NFL stint, most UGA fans were eager to see how Grantham’s aggressive style would translate to the college game.  After three years in Athens, it is fair to say that Bulldog Nation is largely pleased with the result.

Is The Bloom Off Of The Grantham?
Following a banner year in 2011, the Georgia defense could not meet the lofty expectations that accompanied 2012.  According to Georgia Dogs, UGA’s 2012 defense had seven defensive starters that would eventually be drafted during the 2013 NFL Draft.  With all of that talent, the Georgia Bulldog defense was not good enough to hold an eleven point lead that would have allowed them to play for a national title at the end of last year.

In 2013, Defense Balance Wins Championships
To be blunt, the days of shut down defense are a thing of the past.  College football has become more about getting key stops as opposed to shutting down the opposition. This is a trait that Georgia had some trouble with last year. UGA gave up 24 points to a Kentucky Wildcat squad that only won two games all season.

Dawg Defense Neutered In Big Games
Georgia has lost a total of six games in the past two years (including bowl games). In those six loses, the opponent has put at least 30 points on the Bulldogs.  Three of Georgia’s first four games are against highly ranked opponents with experienced quarterbacks. If Georgia cannot find their defensive footing very quickly, the championship dreams of Dawg fans everywhere will be turned into a nightmare.

Todd Grantham – K.Y.P.
K.Y.P. is a popular term in the sports world, specifically on the gridiron.  K.Y.P. stands for know your personnel, and that is a must for Todd Grantham if Georgia is to contend for a national title during the upcoming season.  Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera has shown flashes of brilliance in his Bulldog career, but coach Grantham needs to ensure that Herrera is positioned to succeed in a more prominent role this year.  The same can be said for defensive end Ray Drew.

A Few Drives Will Make The Difference
Bulldog Nation was so close to a championship last year that UGA fans were forced to watch as it was pried from our paws.  Georgia head coach Mark Richt’s mantra has always been to finish the drill.  If that philosophy is followed, it is hard not to think about Pasadena, and confetti falling from the sky.

Georgia-Kentucky 2011- The Wildcats are all that remains on the Dawgs’ Road to Redemption

UGAmaddawg_football

Georgia's leap of faith has paid off in 2011.

Week 12 of the 2011 college football season marks the final regular season conference match-up for the Georgia Bulldogs. To the delight of Georgia players, as well as Bulldog Nation, this game is for all the marbles in the SEC East. If Georgia wins, the Dawgs will represent the SEC East in the Southeastern Conference championship game on December 3rd.

First things first, the Kentucky Wildcats come calling on Saturday in Athens looking to spoil the Bulldogs’ championship aspirations. Kentucky is just 4-6 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. However, that fact will not deter head coach Joker Phillips from trying to trick the Bulldogs into sleeping on his Wildcats.

Georgia was wide awake last week during their 45-7 dismantling of The Auburn Tigers. The Dawgs are playing with a sense of focus that has largely been missing between the hedges during the past three seasons, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. Georgia continues to get better as leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to the starting line up after missing three games, and picked up where he left off with three catches for 85 yards and a touchdown last week against Auburn. It will be equally as important for fellow freshman Isaiah Crowell to have a turnover free afternoon against the Wildcats this week as he looks to build confidence as the feature running back at UGA.

As for Kentucky, a letdown by Georgia is the Wildcats’ best chance to pull out a win. The Wildcats have been anemic on offense as they are ranked 115 in the nation in scoring,  averaging just 17 points per game. Kentucky has just one conference win this season, (against Ole Miss) and they are coming off a 38-8 road loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores. Georgia’s special teams must be aware of the possibility for a fake punt, or fake field goal early in the game as Kentucky tries to generate offense.

Georgia’s defense has been lights out during the Dawgs’ eight game win streak. They are among the top 15 defenses in the country in terms of points per game on average. The Bulldogs’ stingy unit is allowing opposing teams just 18.6 points per game. Georgia’s offense averages 35.8 points per game. These numbers translate to UGA winning convincingly on Saturday.

Even so, anything is possible in college football. The Georgia Bulldogs can not afford to look past the Bluegrass State in favor of the Georgia Dome artificial turf that awaits them if they are victorious at home on Saturday. Georgia must keep in mind that the game against Kentucky is the most important football contest they have played in the last three years. This is the final stop on the road to redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day College Football Week 9 – (October 30, 2011)

ugamaddawg_todd_grantham

Georgia's Defense Mauled the Gators

Week nine of the 2011 college football season yielded jubilation in Jacksonville for Georgia Bulldog Nation. At times the game was bowling shoe ugly, but, in the end the Dawgs dropped the Gators by a final score of 24-20. Georgia has won six games in a row, while Florida is left to pick up the pieces having lost four straight. However, there won’t even be a crocodile tear shed here.

The latest chapter in the “Florida vs Georgia Football Classic” was not about a singular moment or key play. Ultimately, It was about a Georgia football team and their fan base being desperate for redemption after almost two full decades of torture from a despised rival. In the post-game interview on CBS, Georgia head coach Mark Richt echoed that sentiment when he said that he was not thinking about the SEC East at the moment, he just wanted to enjoy the win with his football team.

Georgia was far from perfect in victory, but the Bulldogs answered the bell at every key moment. On the first play from scrimmage, the Dawgs chased down Jeff Demps and prevent him from scoring on a 72 yard screen pass. As a result of their effort, Georgia was able to force Florida kicker Brad Philips into a 38 yard field goal try that he missed.

In the second quarter the Georgia Bulldogs found themselves in desperation mode. The Dawgs were down 17-3 and needed a score to help the dwindling morale of players and fans alike. On fourth down with five yards to go, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray hit wide receiver Michael Bennett with a 20 yard touchdown pass that gave Bulldog Nation hope. Georgia headed into halftime trailing only 17-10.

Turnovers sealed Georgia’s fate in the previous visit to Jacksonville, but, this year it was Florida’s turn to fumble their lead away. Gator receiver Frankie Hammond coughed up the football on the Florida 18 yard line and the Bulldogs were there to pounce on the gift. It took all four downs, but, Aaron Murray found wide receiver Tavarres King with a 14 yard touchdown pass on fourth down to tie the game and send Bulldog Nation into a frenzy.

With Georgia trailing 20-17 entering the final frame, the game began to resemble that of a heavyweight title fight in the late rounds. Both teams were battered and each was trying to land a decisive blow. To the delight of Dawg fans, the knockout punch came in the form of Richard Samuel, embattled running back who had struggled to identify his role on the team.

Richard Samuel took it upon himself to do his part in helping the Georgia offense as he ran through tackles, and, pounded the tired Gator defense into submission. After a pass interference penalty kept a Georgia drive alive early in the fourth quarter, the Dawgs rode on the back of Samuel as he scored on a four yard touchdown run. Georgia Bulldogs 24, Gators 20.

Georgia denied Florida’s attempts to take back the lead as they were determined to leave Jacksonville, Florida on a high note. When Georgia got the football back with 5:32 left to go in the game the Bulldogs knew they could not give the Gators another opportunity. Following a surprising 18 yard throw to wide out Chris Conely, Georgia was poised to run out the clock.

Georgia’s season defining battle with Florida had some of the key elements of Bulldog success that have been highlighted by this blog. Mark Richt made two gutsy fourth down calls that led to euphoria, Georgia executed a textbook drive before halftime that gave them momentum, but, there is apparently something wrong with kicker Blair Walsh.

Maddawg’s Play Of The Day belongs to Richard Samuel. It is dedicated to every member of Bulldog Nation that believed Georgia would turn their Jacksonville fortune around. For those that stand by Mark Richt for as long as he is our football coach, yesterday was a small measure of vindication. If we can get a little help from the Razorbacks, or even the Gators, maybe the Georgia Bulldogs can shock the college football world by taming the LSU Tigers, or turning back the Alabama Crimson Tide.



Georgia-Florida 2011- The Bulldogs’ Road to Redemption Goes Through Jacksonville



The end of October means one thing for Georgia Bulldog fans– it is time to make the trip to Jacksonville, a “neutral” site, for the annual “Florida vs Georgia Football Classic.” Georgia Coach Mark Richt has not had much success in this rivalry as he is a mere 2-8 against the hated Gators. However, Georgia’s agony against Florida extends far beyond who is patrolling the sidelines. Jacksonville has been a thorn in the paw of the Dawgs for the past two decades. Georgia has just three wins against Florida in the past 20 years.

Speaking as a diehard fan myself, there is not a more important game on the schedule than Georgia versus Florida. Every year I am completely emotionally invested in the outcome. I want nothing more than to beat Florida, so that Georgia fans everywhere don’t have to go another year hearing about how the Gators bit the Dawgs again.

Unfortunately, that has become the theme of this rivalry over the past decade. Other than in 2004, (the year that Ron Zook was a lame duck head coach) and 2007, (the year of the big end zone celebration) the trip to Jacksonville has ended in misery for Dawg fans.

Horror stories of the past notwithstanding, 2011 brings about a sense of encouragement  for Georgia. The Dawgs have won five in a row, and are in the thick of the SEC East race.  Florida started hot in winning their first four contests. Since then the Gators are ice cold, having lost three straight games, and they are all but out of conference contention. But, what better way for Florida to circle the wagons than to ruin another season for the Dawgs.

Georgia must eliminate the critical errors that the Gators have thrived on in the past. Last year, the Dawgs could not get out of their own way soon enough, as they committed four turnovers. Although, even with the benefit of three interceptions and a fumble, the Gators could not fight off Georgia in regulation. Aaron Murray’s interception in Overtime doomed the Dawgs and allowed Chas Henry to kick a spirit crushing game winner.

The Dawgs need to treat this contest like any other game as much as possible. Pressing too much on either side of the ball is a recipe for disaster. Quarterback Aaron Murray must avoid forcing a throw if it is not there. Defensively, the Dawgs must avoid over pursuit to eliminate big plays.The Gators have a dynamic duo in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. If either of them is allowed space in the open field they can score a touchdown at any moment.



This game should not be about the future of Mark Richt, or what has happened lately in this match-up. Instead, it must be about turning the page in this bitter rivalry and ushering in an era of Dawg Days in Jacksonville. Furthermore, If Georgia can take care of business on Saturday, nearly all of the axillary issues will resolve themselves. Mark Richt’s approval rating will go way up in gouging the Gators, and Bulldog Nation can bark without fear of Gator trash talk.

Georgia has no control over whether South Carolina loses again. The Dawgs must take care of their own business and finish the 2011 season strong. Ending the regular season on a 10 game win streak would capture the hearts of even the most cynical Georgia Bulldog fans whether they make a return trip to the Georgia Dome on December 3rd or not. I hope the Georgia Bulldogs repeat their much talked about 2007 celebration. Only this time, they should wait until the game is over.