Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One Old Dawg hunkering down


If you have trouble viewing the images or in this post, please go to the One Old Dawg site HERE.

University of Georgia football fans have a little over a week until kickoff in Sanford Stadium. Like most of our readers, One Old Dawg has high hopes for this season and is already sporting red and black on a regular basis.

Concluding with last year, on the fiftieth anniversaries of the 1964, 1965, and 1966 University of Georgia football seasons, One Old Dawg remembered his playing years on Vince Dooley’s first three teams with his “mostly true Bulldog lore.”

Though those anniversary seasons are now behind us, we wanted to keep readers informed of news items relevant to those playing years.

First, in an interview with Steve Spurrier, we discovered a video we didn’t know existed. We have stills of this hanging on our den wall of number eighty-eight, One Old Dawg, sacking Spurrier.

Spurrier admits that in his senior year at Florida in 1966, “(UGA) knocked us out . . . Now they completely outplayed us, wasn’t any flukes or anything like that.”

Scroll down mid way through the interview to see the video HERE .
 
HERE are One Old Dawg’s remembrances of the game.

HERE are more highlights from that game.

Also, in a recent Loran Smith article about the Athens Touchdown Club in The Athens Banner Herald, Smith comments on the 1965 Bulldog team. He remembers comments made to the club in the 1970’s by Michigan head coach, Bo Schembechler. “Bo was a big hit with the membership, reminding the members that if he had been coaching the Wolverines in 1965 that ‘things would have been different.’ He was referring to Vince’s light-in the-pants but overachieving Bulldogs, upsetting defending Rose Bowl champion Michigan at Ann Arbor, 15-7.”

If you missed One Old Dawg’s remembrance of that game, they are HERE.

And speaking of the Athens Touchdown Club, One Old Dawg attended their meeting this past Monday night.  He has this to say: “I was really blown away when Coach Smart told the group at the Athens Touchdown Club how glad he was that the athletic department had purchased technology that tracks the players movements during practice (really!) He gave us statistics comparing a practice from last year to the comparable practice this year. This year we had nearly twice as many players exceed nineteen miles per hour and over fifty percent more exceed twenty miles per hour. Is that incredible or what? Not how fast they ran, but the fact they can measure players’ speed while practicing.

 “In my day, the only way coaches could tell how fast we were running is whether we outran the guy we were chasing or who was chasing us! Coach also said he had never seen more intense competition on Special Teams than this fall.

“Then Coach talked about how several seniors were stepping up to take leadership roles and I’m getting excited because I know how important it is for the players to understand the concept of TEAM and their role in leadership. I'm reminded of Ecclesiastes 4:12: 'Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.'
 
“Think about it! Last year we were 7-5 in the regular season. We lost two games by one point and another by three. Speed, inspired Special Teams, and team leadership can turn those close losses into wins.

“We have a stable full of classy running backs and our line is improved on both sides of the ball. We have twenty-six seniors and twenty-eight juniors on the roster. I know I’m easy to encourage, but I think we have decent reasons to hope for 9-3 or 10-2; maybe better. So, get out your red and black and hunker down, kickoff in ten days.  Gooo . . . Dawgs, Sic ‘em!”

We’ll continue to post occasional updates here throughout the season in which One Old Dawg will ponder current UGA football events and remind us again of his “mostly true bulldog lore.”

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A One Old Dawg Special Edition: Reflecting on 2016 and Reminiscing about the 1966 Cotton Bowl

 
Just as it came time to write our final post for the year at One Old Dawg, the Old Dawg grew ill and was out of commission for a while.

He’s better now, and we couldn’t let that wonderful Cotton Bowl game in 1966 go by.

So, here just after the National Championship game is a special edition of One Old Dawg.

In one of our favorite pictures here at One Old Dawg’s house, he’s at the 1966 Cotton Bowl, going up (88) to tip a ball for a Lynn Hughes interception.

 

Dallas Morning News

However, before we continue about 1966, One Old Dawg first reflects on the 2016 season.

“Some Dawgs were ready to close up shop after losing to the Yellow Jackets, not wanting the embarrassment of playing in one of the ‘lesser’ bowl games. Not me! Every game we play is a chance to get better. For the players, the bowl game is a perk; they worked hard all year, and I’m glad they had a chance to go bowling. I’ve never been to Memphis but I love soul, rock and roll and good barbeque so I know I would love the place.

TCU was a worthy opponent as they proved in the game, but in the end, we got another W; 8-5 just looks better than 7-5. I enjoyed the game especially from the beginning of the 4th quarter when we took the lead for good. Way to go Dawgs!”

One Old Dawg had a hard time narrowing his focus down for this post, because he has so many great memories of the Cotton Bowl. Finally, he settled on three remembrances to highlight.

“As I mentioned in the last post, fifty years ago, we were 9-1, SEC co-champions with Alabama, ranked fourth nationally and headed to the Cotton Bowl to play the Southwest Conference Champion, Southern Methodist University, with an 8-2 record and ranked tenth nationally. Georgia had not been high in the national rankings in recent years, and we wanted to prove we were back and that we belonged there. Since SMU was ranked only six spots behind us, it would take a decisive victory to prove our point.

The first high point was the second play from scrimmage, a simple dive play over our left guard by bruising 165-pound sophomore tailback, Kent Lawrence. Kent was the fastest thing on two legs most of us Georgia boys had ever seen. Those Texas Methodists saw him right off.

 “No one could put it better than Atlanta Journal Sports editor, Furman Bisher. ‘The Sun had just come out, after a foggy morning, and the sellout crowd of 75,400, including a large delegation from Georgia, was just settling into its seats, when Lawrence made his presence known to Texans.’

 “Kent broke through the line, cut to his left and raced down the side line 74 yards to the end zone. Bobby Etter drilled the extra point and it was 7-0 Georgia with only one minute and five seconds off the clock. This was a high point because, as Furman Bisher put it, “…this was to be the tenor of the game.”

 “About half the team raced down the side line with Kent to the end zone. If there had been a penalty for ‘excessive celebration’, we would have drawn a flag. That play set the Dawgs on fire and propelled us toward that decisive victory we were looking for.
 
Atlanta Journal
 

“The second high-point was the fact that we held SMU to only forty yards rushing and Jerry Levias to only three receptions for sixty-two yards. Levias was an outstanding receiver and an elusive runner with blinding speed. Everyone, including us, expected him to be a major factor in this game but our defense held him in check.

Athens Banner Herald
“The third high point was the last four plays of the game. George Patton had come to Georgia as a quarterback. We spent a year together on the scout team in 1963 where he gave his best impression of whoever the quarterback was on the team we played the next Saturday.

Athens Banner Herald
 
 “In 1964 the new coaching staff, headed by Vince Dooley, moved George to defensive tackle. His All-America honors testify to the wisdom of that decision, but George used to remind us jokingly that the staff that recruited him promised him he could play Quarterback.

 “The last few minutes in his college career were winding down, when coach Dooley sent George in the game on offense, to play quarterback. With wild supporting cheers from the sidelines and the stadium, George threw three very long and very incomplete passes and then ran sixteen yards for a first down to end the game.  It was indeed an impressive beginning at quarterback but George had to settle for the Most Valuable Lineman award as Kent Lawrence was the hands down favorite for backfield honors.  The bottom line is we got our decisive victory and George finally got to play quarterback in a varsity game; it was a very good day for Georgia Football.

 “I could not settle on one verse to express what I feel so you’ll have listen to two: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Don’t be confused by the language. Paul is not saying that all circumstances are God’s will, and we should give thanks for those circumstances, but rather it is God’s will that we always give thanks to God, regardless of the circumstances we face. In the midst of the most troubling circumstances, I can always find many things to be thankful for.

 “James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” I have faced many difficult circumstances and enjoyed many blessings. I have learned to give thanks in all of them, even the hard times. As I look back through the years, I am convinced that “grace and mercy have followed me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23). Otherwise, how can I explain how a 5’ 11” 165-pound runt, without good speed, can end up as a starting defensive end on an SEC championship team? Not that my life was mapped out by God, I had choices to make, other people had choices to make; there were things I needed to do.

"As I look back on all the so-called coincidences that had to occur for things to work out as they did, I am impressed that God does all things well. So, I give thanks to the Father of the heavenly lights for giving me courage and strength to press on through the hard things and using them to perfect my character. Then I give Him thanks for the people who helped me along the way and for using the good things to give me joy, hope and peace. 

 “Last, and certainly not least, I give thanks for One Young Dawg, being my wife, whose idea it was to do this blog and who “encouraged” me to write every week and then cleaned up my rambling and added her personal touch so you would have something pleasant to read. All you guys out there know it; we all married way over our heads. Thank you, God and Beverly.

Go Dawgs!!!”

 
Thank you, One Old Dawg. I came across a hand written letter written to One Old Dawg's parents by none other than Erskine Russell, UGA defensive coach who later would go on to do amazing things as head coach at Georgia Southern. He wrote, "I don't mind saying he (Jerry) has been my kind of football player because he has gotten more milage with average ability than anybody I know. When Jerry was in our line-up, we were a better football team, mainly because he was our leader. He kept others jumping. I know of no individual who has made a greater contribution to our program than Jerry has . . . He's a good one." High praise from one who would become a legend himself.

In reading all the press coverage for the 1966 Cotton Bowl, a quote from Vince Dooley stand out. Jim Minter, the executive sports editor with the Atlanta Journal questioned Dooley about the season ahead. Dooley said, “You think about people like Lynn Hughes, George Patton, Jack Davis, Frank Richter, Jerry Varnado, Ken Pillsbury, Jimmy Cooley, John Kasay, Steve Neuhaus, Dickie Phillips, Bobby Etter and all the others and you realize how much they’ve meant . . . You never know if you can replace people like them.” As he reflected on the team’s execution in the Cotton Bowl, he said, “I rate them a great team.”

Athens Banner Herald
 
Athens Banner Herald

 Certainly, Vince Dooley has been proven right. The 1966 team has definitely taken its place in the history of University of Georgia football. Since 1892, there have only been 14 Conference Titles.

 It has been my joy to be One Old Dawg’s sidekick as he remembered these wonderful first three years of University of Georgia football with Vince Dooley at the helm.

 It was our original intention at One Old Dawg to focus on his memories of the 1964, 1965, and 1966 years as the fiftieth anniversaries rolled around, but One Old Dawg has opinions, lots of opinions, so going forward who knows what we might do?
 
And so with that, we’re signing off. At least for now.

We end as we always have with a great big, Go Dawgs!!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Old Dawg: And now about that Tech game plus a few thoughts about the 1966 Cotton Bowl


As we wait on bowl selections, One Old Dawg has a few words to say about last week’s Georgia-Georgia Tech game. Well, actually, more than a few.  “Yeah, I know. We could have, should have won the Tech game! We whipped them in every category for more than three quarters! We were up thirteen points and had them pinned down second and twelve on their own four-yard line; we had them right where we wanted them!  

“Then the unthinkable happened – they stuffed it right down our throats – six plays and ninety-six yards later they are standing in our end-zone and it’s 27-21. But, we still had the upper hand; we’re ahead by six. We can take the kickoff, eat up the clock, maybe score a touchdown or field goal and it will be over. The unthinkable happened again. They intercepted a pass! Ten plays later, they’re back in our end zone, and Tech has the lead 28-27 with only thirty seconds left. We had seen late game miracles this season, but there was not one for us last Saturday.

“That’s life, that’s football. There’s nothing to do but suck it up and keep moving. Let these failures be the motivation to improve, to become stronger and more determined. As I was writing this blog the words of the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 came to mind: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Paul was talking about the persecution they experienced for preaching about Jesus, which is certainly not in any way comparable to having a less than desirable football season. However, the principle emphasized is applicable to everything in life. We must not let today’s hardships or failures hinder our pursuit of success. In fact, with the right perspective, today’s failures and difficulties will help prepare us for tomorrow’s success. The good thing about football is there’s always next year.

“Meanwhile we await the Bowl game invitations. Our winning tradition and strong fan base makes us an attractive choice, so hopefully we will have one more game and the opportunity to end this season on a positive note to help us get through until next fall.”

One Old Dawg now turns his attention to the championship season fifty years ago. “The atmosphere was entirely different. The shouts of Georgia players and fans, ‘We’re number one’ were sincere. We believed we could compete with the best in the land and wanted the opportunity to prove it. But the system was not set up that way. Undefeated number one ranked Notre Dame and number two-ranked Michigan State had tied in their regular season meeting, and neither played in a bowl game. I’m not sure why Michigan didn’t, but it was a long-standing rule at Notre Dame to forgo playing in post-season games, I guess an academic decision. So, they remained one and two in the polls, ignoring number three Alabama, which was undefeated and untied. Georgia, with one loss, was ranked fourth. It was frustrating that the polls were fixed prior to the bowl games but we still wanted to try to better our lot in the minds of football fans by beating a high ranked team. That wasn’t to happen.

“We ended up in the Cotton Bowl playing the Southwest Conference Champion Southern Methodist University with an 8-2 record and ranked in tenth place.



 

"It wasn’t what we had hoped for, but they were the champions of a highly respected conference, and we were going to one of the top four bowl games in the country. Life was good. We packed our bags and saddled up for another bowl trip to the great state of Texas. We had a great time in El Paso at the Sun Bowl two years before and this trip promised even more; not to mention we would be playing on national television. That is not a big deal today but it was in 1966. In my three years on the varsity, this would be only the third televised game. The first was the 1964 Sun Bowl and the second the 1965 Alabama game between the hedges. So, we were pumped, ready to do our best to raise Georgia’s football stature on a national stage. More on the SMU game next time. Let’s go Bowling! Gooo dawgs! Sic ‘em.”

One Old Dawg will be taking a break until bowl time, and then he’ll be back with more of his mostly true Bulldog lore talking about the 1966 Cotton Bowl game as well as the yet to be determined bowl match-up for this year’s Bulldogs.

Until, then, Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One Old Dawg: Remembering the 1966 Georgia Tech game and going bowling


Three consecutive Georgia wins have put One Old Dawg in fine form.  “Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia! We put a good old-fashioned whipping on those Auburn cats and sent the Ragin Cajuns back to Louisiana dragging another loss behind them. That Auburn win was simply incredible, and we did it without scoring an offensive touchdown. This team had been cranking out 473 yards and thirty-four points per game, 298 of those yards rushing. We held them to 164 yards (127 rushing) and seven points, and then shut them out the last three quarters. I’m not sure where that defense came from, but I sure hope it shows up again this Saturday. We have a three game win streak going―let’s make it four!
 
“As always we wind up the regular season this week against Georgia Tech, which in my circle is affectionately referred to as The North Avenue Trade School. This year, we have them between the hedges. Both teams are 7-4; averaging a little over 380 yards per game on offense, so we are evenly matched. The same as when the Bumble Bees buzzed into town fifty years ago, but the stakes were a bit higher then. We were 8-1 the Jackets 9-0 and we were both ranked in the top ten in the nation. We had already clinched a share of the SEC championship but both teams were looking to increase our national stature.



“The game was special to me because six of my former team-mates from Valdosta High School played for Tech. A win generally insured hometown strutting and bragging rights for the summer. But I had never lost to Tech. We won our freshman game in ’62; I was red-shirted and did not dress out in ’63, and we had beaten them the last two years. I was looking at hometown strutting and bragging rights for a lifetime – did I mention the stakes were high?

“We struck first when Kent Lawrence (Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons) took a Tech punt seventy-one yards for a score. Then the unthinkable happened. Our place Kicker, Bobby Etter (Atlanta Falcons, Memphis Southmen) missed his first extra point, but it wasn’t his fault.
 
The cheerleaders had acquired a little cannon they intended to fire after each score, only someone messed up, and it went off just before Etter kicked and caused him to miss. That was the last we saw of the cannon. Rumor has it the artillery was laid to rest somewhere in the Oconee River.

“Tech responded in the second quarter with a ninety-six-yard scoring drive and took the lead 7-6. The Dawgs quickly came back with a score and two-point conversion and then a field goal to take a 17-7 lead into the half.

“Our defense tightened things up in the second half.”

When searching through saved newspaper clippings we found The Atlanta Constitution’s Jesse Outlar wrote, “Other than Tech’s long march, the Georgia defense asserted itself once again in spectacular fashion. The Bulldogs intercepted three passes, recovered a fumble and limited the Jackets to 35 net rushing yards other than the 96-yard drive.”

One Old Dawg ties it up, “Two of those interceptions resulted in field goals giving Georgia the lead 23-7. Tech’s last score came against our reserves with five seconds left in the game. It was a great end to an almost perfect season. We tied with Alabama for the SEC Championship and were chosen to represent the SEC in the Cotton Bowl against the Southwest Conference Champion, Southern Methodist University.
 
Under the headline "Bulldogs Smash Jackets," the Athens Banner Herald ran this photo of several Georgia players including One Old Dawg, 88,  celebrating after the Georgia Tech game.

 
“As we wind down this season, I think it would be good to recall Philippians 4:12, ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.’

“Many in the Dawg nation are upset, not content, with how the season went this year and for sure, I would have preferred a national championship. But this is a game, with ups and downs, good fortune and bad. With the transition to a new staff and system, I’m not sure it was reasonable to expect much better. I’m proud of our team and staff for fighting back after disappointing losses and salvaging a decent season. We have laid a good foundation for the future, so I’m content. I’m not griping and complaining because things didn’t go the way I wanted. So, let’s get ready to put a whipping on Tech and go bowling – did I hear something about Nashville - I like country music.

“Gooo Dawgs! Sic ‘em!”

Last week, One Old Dawg flew down to Albany with a contingency from the University of Georgia to the funeral of the legendary Bill Stanfill. We extend our sympathy to the Stanfill family as they navigate their grief over the passing of this great man. If you missed Loran Smith’s tribute to Stanfill, please take the time to read it HERE at Online Athens. No one does a better job than Loran Smith honoring and remembering those who have etched their names in the annals of Georgia Football.
 
One Old Dawg will be back next week to talk about the Cotton Bowl game in 1966 and weigh in on the results of the Tech game.
We’ll see you here for still more mostly true Bulldog lore.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Praying for one of the greatest and the 1966 University of Georgia - Auburn game


We began this week’s One Old Dawg on a sad note. Bill Stanfill, (All American, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl Team) , who Vince Dooley called “one of the greatest linemen to ever play the game” and a key player in the 1966 Southeastern Conference Championship is at this moment hospitalized and in very serious condition according to a family member we spoke to earlier today. We invite you to join us in prayer for Bill and his family. We couldn’t help but remember the picture above taken during the 100 Years of Georgia Football Celebration when our son, Aaron, was just a baby.

So, as we look back to the 1966 SEC championship year, we are closing in on the championship SEC title, and the Auburn win was the final significant step toward that accomplishment.

One Old Dawg remembers, “When we stepped on the turf of Jordan-Hare stadium fifty years ago, Georgia was riding high with a 7-1 record, our only loss to non-conference Miami 7-6. Auburn was struggling with a 4-4 record, three of those losses to SEC teams.

“But we were smart enough to know that in this oldest rivalry of the Deep South, records and statistics mean nothing. Vince Dooley, and several other coaches on our staff had played and coached at Auburn. In Dooley’s first two seasons as head coach, we were unable to get the victory over Auburn and getting that first win over his Alma Mater was serious business. This was our last SEC opponent, so Auburn was the only thing standing between an SEC championship and us.

“On the other side a win over Georgia would keep the Tigers from the humiliation of a losing season. Both teams had serious motivation. It was a beautiful sunny day, but it had rained for four days prior, so the field was soggy and slippery. At the half, we looked like we had been mud wrestling.

“They came out roaring and clawing, and before you could say “Go Dawgs” we were down 13-0, and it was still the first quarter! Then an interception gave them the ball on our twenty-six, but our defense held, forcing a field goal attempt. Thankfully, defensive end Gary Adams got a hand on the ball, forcing it wide, or our deficit at half time would have been 16 instead of 13.  We were moving the ball up and down the field but penalties, fumbles and interceptions ended every drive pointless. I don’t remember what was said at half time but something turned things around. 

In the Atlanta Constitution, Furman Bisher described the results of the second half as a “stirring, dramatic, frenetic victory.”

One Old Dawg continues, “Georgia’s defense, which had shutout the Auburn offense in the second quarter, did the same in the third and fourth. Meanwhile the Dawg offense went to work. Brad Johnson made an inspiring twenty-four-yard run in heavy traffic to Auburn’s seven-yard line and on the next play covered the last seven yards for the score. Etter’s (Atlanta Falcons, Memphis Southmen) PAT made it 7-13.”

 Furman Bisher  noted One Old Dawg’s contribution to the game, “After Jerry Varnado broke Tiger hearts, throwing Quarterback Loran Carter for an eleven yard loss, Georgia rushed back again like touchdowns might go out of style at sundown. In five swift plays, they made it in the end zone from their thirty-four-yard line.”

Georgia 14, Auburn 13.

“The Tigers quickly responded with a twenty-nine-yard pass completion but the receiver fumbled at the Georgia forty and Larry Kohn (All SEC) recovered. Georgia then launched a time-consuming sixty-yard drive. Fullback Ronnie Jenkins bullied in for the score from the four-yard line. Etter kicked his third extra point of the game and the score was 21-13 with six minutes left on the clock. The defense held, ending Auburns hopes of upset when Terry Sellers (All SEC,Cleveland Browns) intercepted a final desperation pass at midfield.

 
Pictures from Atlanta Journal Constitution
 

“The Georgia Bulldogs, under the leadership of soon to be legendary coach Vince Dooley, had made a dramatic move from the cellar to the pinnacle of the SEC in just three seasons. As I think about those days, I remember Coach Dooley’s first talk to the team; he told us if we would do three things, we would win our share of the football games: work hard, conduct ourselves in a way that would honor our families, our school and state, and care about one another. We worked on doing those three things for three years and as Proverbs 14:23 says, “In hard work, there is always something gained . . . “ We did in fact win our share of football games. I don’t remember what all was said in the aftermath of that great victory, but I do remember how I felt. Keeping in mind that we were a bunch of nineteen to twenty –two year old young men, most of whom had not yet experienced things like true love, marriage and the birth of children, I think I must have said, ‘It just doesn’t get any better than this!’”

One Old Dawg weighs in on this week’s University of Georgia match-up with Auburn. “This year’s teams have plenty of motivation as in 1966. An SEC title is not at stake for the Dawgs, but it might be for the Tigers. Yes, Auburn has two losses but they are still ranked number nine. These Tigers don’t just roar; they know how to claw and bite. They have won six in a row, five of them SEC teams, two of which beat us. We must be at the top of our game this week.”

If they beat us and then Alabama, they go to the Dome on December 3. For us, getting that sixth win would make us bowl eligible. So, Glory, glory to old Georgia! Sick ‘em Dawgs!

“On a more serious note, a prayer request: Bill Stanfill, our outstanding defensive tackle on the 1966 team (All American, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl Team) broke his leg this week and then had a heart attack at the hospital. Please keep Bill and his family in your prayers.”
 
Indeed, we will keep Bill Stanfill in our prayers.

One Old Dawg will be taking next week off, but be sure and join us for the Georgia Tech game, and later, to cap off the season, he’ll be sharing his memories of the 1966 team’s Cotton Bowl Championship.

So, there’s still more mostly true Bulldog lore to come!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

1966 Georgia- North Carolina game, a memorable interception, and a pep talk for 2016 fans


A challenging week to say the least. Bulldog fans everywhere are trying to come to grips with the results of last week’s game and the diminishing prospects of championship hopes.

One Old Dawg gives us a little pep talk, “I know a lot of you want to quit, but that’s not the Georgia way. Let’s switch from complaining, griping, and moping and start hoping and praying. The season is not over; we have four games left to play, and we need to win them all.  In Psalm 30:5, we read, ‘. . . weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.’ Let us keep hoping and praying for that morning of rejoicing.”

As we continue to celebrate the 1966 SEC championship year, we look at the North Carolina game played about this time in the season.

 

 

 

One Old Dawg observes, “It was a seemingly unspectacular non-conference game. North Carolina’s last winning season was 1963, and we had beaten them the two previous years. The 1965 game had been in a crazy fourth quarter shootout which resulted in a score of 47-35. They were 2-2 coming into our game but did have an impressive win over number eight-ranked Michigan; so, they were not a patsy. We had lost to Miami two weeks before but had rebounded with a close win over Kentucky. Now we needed another confidence-building win before we traveled to Jacksonville to face the undefeated Florida Gators the following week. North Carolina would prove to be just what we needed."
 

The recap from the 1966 Georgia Bulldogs yearbook begins like this, "Kent Lawrence, the fastest football player in Georgia history, came out of two weeks' drydock to steal the show as the Bulldogs conquered North Carolina, 28-3, before another overflow assembly of 45,321 in Sanford Stadium." Kent Lawrence (Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons) would score the first touchdown set up by George Patton (All SEC, All American, Atlanta Falcons).
  
One Old Dawg continues, “The game is expecially memorable to me because of one great play by our other defensive end, Larry Kohn. We had been team and position mates for two years, roomed together on away games and had become very good friends. The game was tight midway into the third quarter; we were leading 7-3. Then Larry picked off a Danny Talbot pass and returned it sixty-two yards for a touchdown. We went on to score two touchdowns in the fourth period to win the game 28-3."
 
Photo Athens Banner Herald
 
 
Jerry Varnado, Steve Neuhaus, George Patton, and Larry Kohn at the year's 1966 SEC Championship Celebration
 

“After the game, the Carolina coach said of Larry’s interception and touchdown; ‘It just took the heart out of our fellows.’ And I add, it put heart in our fellows. We had a fine time celebrating Larry’s great play and that confidence building victory we needed to skin those Florida swamp lizards the next week.”
 
Kirby Moore and Ronnie Jenkins accounted for the last two Georgia touchdowns. 

One Old Dawg weighs in with his thoughts on the game this weekend. “This week, we have to play Kentucky at their lair in Lexington. Lately the Cats have been doing a lot of yowling, snarling and scratching. They are 4-2 in the SEC, including the last three in a row, which places them second in the east behind Florida. That means they still have a shot at the East Championship, if they win out. So, they will have their claws sharpened and be ready for a fight. So, hunker down Dawgs, get ready to show these felines a thing or two about canine superiority. Gooo Dawgs, Sic ‘em.”

We found this photo in Mama Varnado's archives. One Old Dawg may be moving a bit slower now, but it was not always so. Here he is airborne in an attempt to stop a punt.



Way to go, One Old Dawg.

Please join us again next week for more mostly true bulldog lore.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One Old Dawg: Ganging up on Spurrier in 1966 and heating up the gator fryer in 2016


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The pain was palpable after the Vanderbilt game as fans exited Sanford Stadium in stunned silence. Here at One Old Dawg’s house, it’s taken some time to get over, but one thing that has helped immensely is the 8-0 record of the Athens Academy team where One Old Dawg is the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplain. He’s so proud of them and it’s a balm for the Bulldog soul for sure.


He weighs in on the situation at Georgia, “I know everyone in the Dawg nation is down in the dumps after that loss to Vandy. Many are wondering if we can win any of the SEC games left on our schedule, much less beat the next one, the Florida Gators, who are leading the east division. I confess I had the same doubts until I actually looked at the numbers. We stomped Vanderbilt in every statistical measurement except score. We had 421 yards to their 171! That’s enough difference to have to have beaten them twice.


“Florida beat them 13-6 but Vandy outplayed the Gators in every other category except passing yards; Florida had about thirty yards more. Total yards: Vandy 265, Florida 236. The bottom line is Georgia’s loss to Vandy was a fluke, or ‘a chance occurrence’. We can play with the big guys; we just have a few rough spots we need to get ironed out. I love the way The Message translates Jeremiah 51:46: 'Don't lose hope. Don't ever give up when the rumors pour in hot and heavy. . . Don't listen to the naysayers, pessimists and complainers.' We have good players, good coaches, and we are getting better each week. This team has been through a very significant transition. Cut them some slack. So get your heads up Dawgs and button up your chin straps, there’s still a lot of football to play.”


When we began to look at 1966 newspaper clippings, coverage was about average for each game. After the win over Florida, the game received front-page headlines in several papers across the south.



 

The Atlanta Constitution

The significance of what the University of Georgia Bulldogs did signaled they were on the hunt for the SEC championship, and that made football fans everywhere sit up and take notice. At One Old Dawg’s house, no less than seven pages of newspaper clippings from that one game equal the coverage of all the previous 1966 games combined.


One of the most interesting places we’ve seen coverage of the game was at a wedding we attended on St. Simons Island. The bride and groom had met at the Florida-Georgia game one year and used a Florida-Georgia Rivalry book for their guests to sign. We wondered if One Old Dawg might be in it, and sure enough, there he was on the 1966 page sacking Steve Spurrier. He signed right across the white pants.   


One Old Dawg and his lifelong friend, Ken Pilsbury were chosen captains for this game that turned out to be the turning point in the season.

Jerry Varnado shakes hands with Florida player
photo Lou Engle

Vince Dooley in Dooley's Playbook says, "The best tackles I ever had at Georgia were Bill Stanfill and George Patton." Writing about the Florida game, Jesse Outlar in the Atlanta Constitution reinforced that statement, "The Georgia line kept Spurrier under tremendous pressure all the way. All -American tackle George Patton, Bill Stanfill, playing despite a painful neck injury, end Jerry Varnado, guard Dickie Phillips, linebacker Steve Neuhaus and their playmates ganged Spurrier in the second half."
 
Additionally, newspaper accounts noted the significant contributions of Bob Etter (Atlanta Falcons, Memphis Southmen) for extra points and a field goal, Lynn Hughes' interception (All SEC, All American, New York Giants, Coaching positions Georgia and Vanderbilt) , as well as the efforts of Brad Johnson, Larry Kohn (All SEC) and Frank Richter (Denver Bronchos).
 
One Old Dawg remembers, “In 1966, Georgia verses Florida was a super big game. The Gators were undefeated, ranked number seven in the nation and their quarterback Steve Spurrier was leading the race for the Heisman. The Gator fans were ecstatic as they looked forward to their first-ever SEC championship. We had only one loss, the heartbreaker at Miami, and had not yet broken into the top ten in the rankings. If you want to know why Steve Spurrier has seemed to have held a grudge against Georgia all these years, just pay attention to what happened in that 1966 game, his senior year in which he did win the Heisman.


“The game started out the way everyone expected. Florida took the kickoff and in nine plays covered eighty-six yards for a touchdown and led 7-0. It was then a slugfest for the next twenty-five minutes, the teams swapping field goals, and Florida took a 10-3 lead into half time. Florida’s offensive showing was not up to par, a little over 100 yards passing and nine first downs, but it was only to get worse. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune sportswriter John Brockmann described the Bulldogs pass rush as ‘a pack of wolves’ that chased Spurrier down all afternoon. Take note of the Gator’s second half numbers: one first down, twenty-nine yards passing, five net yards rushing and zero points.


“Spurrier, who had only two interceptions prior to the game, gave up three picks to the hungry Dawgs. The Gators only managed sixty-one yards on the ground for the whole game while the Dawgs rolled up 213 yards. Total offense was Georgia 334 yards and Florida 194. Georgia scored three touchdowns and a field goal in the second half to win the game 27-10. I think it also made the Gators a little hot under the collar when Georgia scored its final touchdown with one second left on the clock, I guess they wanted us just to quit. One Old Dawg takes great pride in being part of the reason why Steve Spurrier has had it out for Georgia all these years.”
Jerry Varnado 88, about to sack Steve Spurrier, 11

So after reflecting on the Florida game in 1966, One Old Dawg continues to believe there’s still something good in the future for this year’s Bulldogs. “I know the Gators are riding high right now, but I believe, they can be had.  As an assistant coach, Kirby Smart is 8-3 against the Gators, two of those losses were with the Dogs. I think one reason we hired him is he knows how to beat these guys.

"I believe this is the game where the Dawgs put it all together: Eason’s laser arm on target, receiver’s with sure hands, linemen opening holes for our stable of running backs, and a solid effort from special teams, not to mention a stingy defense that refuses to give up yards or points to a pack of overgrown lizards. If we can do that, those Gators will be slinking back to the swamp looking for a mud hole to hide in. Come on Dawgs, it’s been three years since we enjoyed fried gator tail. Gooo Dawgs, Sick ‘em.”

So with that, we're heating up the fryer and looking forward to the outcome of this weekend's game.

Join us again next week when One Old Dawg will be here once more sharing more of his mostly true Bulldog lore.
 
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