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.

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.



Georgia Football Traditions – Baba O’Riley

Recently I touched on my admiration for the “Battle Hymm of The Bulldog Nation.” Following that hallowed Georgia tradition, Dawg fans wait with baited breath for the Georgia Bulldog football team to take the field. As “Baba O’Riley” by The Who rings out of the Sanford Stadium speakers and the familiar piano notes play out, it is impossible not to forget one’s troubles and simply be a fan for about three hours.

Georgia’s arrival into Sanford Stadium is special because it is unique. Instead of a serious or intense entrance, “Baba O’Riley” provides the feeling that the crowd has gathered between the hedges to enjoy themselves and root for the Bulldogs. Entrance themes such as Virginia Tech’s choice of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, have become so cliche that it is hard to see how it could feel like part of a tradition. With “Baba O’Riley” it is easy for those in attendance to relate to the narrative on a Saturday in Athens. “Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals. I got my back into my living. I don’t need to fight, to prove I’m right, I don’t need to be forgiven.”

It was not until I  experienced the tradition first hand that it had a profound effect on me. I could not imagine being so passionate about any other football team besides the Georgia Bulldogs. The University of Georgia has a place in the heart of every member of Bulldog Nation. Regardless of whether the Bulldogs win or lose on a given Saturday, there is no better way to feel connected to 90,000 plus people than to hear “Baba O’Riley” begin to play.



Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation – Georgia Football Traditions

Larry Munson's voice will ring out from between the hedges forever. A video of the battle hymn can be found below.Sanford Stadium is the ideal place for members of Bulldog Nation to gather on a Saturday afternoon to cheer on our Georgia Bulldogs. There are many memorable moments that define one’s  experience between the hedges, and the Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation is a personal favorite of mine.

Led by iconic Georgia Bulldog football announcer Larry Munson, the anthem inspires “Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia” before paying homage to great Bulldog players from the past. The hymn is also accompanied by video highlights on the scoreboard of Sanford Stadium, showing great moments in UGA football history. Included in this Dawg retrospective are memories such as: Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates, the hob nail boot, and Lindsay Scott running for his life to overcome the Florida Gators in 1980.

The Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation is an important reminder of the tradition that comes with being a Georgia Bulldog. On a personal level, my heart swells with pride each time I hear Larry Munson encourage Bulldog Nation to cheer for the “new breed” of Bulldogs that are about to take the field on a given fall Saturday in Athens.

The best thing about this particular University of Georgia tradition is that it is timeless. As long as UGA has a football team, the Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation will be woven into the fabric of the University of Georgia during home football games. While some of the highlights may change with time, Larry Munson’s unforgettable voice will forever narrate the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Munson’s body may be gone, but his memory will live forever thanks to his unforgettable calls, and unbridled passion for the Georgia Bulldogs.