When I arrived on campus in 1969, I had two years of Junior College behind me. It was not because I wanted to go to Brunswick Junior College, it was because my grades from high school would not open the door for an offer of bagging groceries. Brunswick Junior College taught me to study and work and my grades opened the door for acceptance to UGA. There were two things that I wanted to accomplish fall quarter 1969: make the grades to erase those words "accepted tentatively" and see a Georgia Football game between the hedges.
I had never seen the Bulldogs in person so this was something I could not wait to do. Thanks to a friend on campus, I was set up with a blind date and had seats in the student section, right where I could see the cheerleaders and listen to the band. We had a good team in 1969 and Vince Dooley knew how to run the ball. Yep, Vince Dooley knew how to run and run and run the ball. One thing about our team, if you were not ready to stop the run, you were in for along day.
Someone ask Coach Dooley about throwing the ball and he responded that we do throw the ball, you just need to get there before the game and see the warm-ups. That was about as much as we passed the ball, but when you could churn up three and four yards a pop, no need in taking a chance to throw the ball to the wrong person. Nope, when you hand the ball off, you know right where it is and right where it's going. Coach Dooley didn't have any trick plays or try to disguise anything, it's just "here we come, try to stop us".
I'll never forget my first game between the hedges and the party we went to afterwards. We won the game and I went to the first party on campus. I had never been to a party like that and I'm not sure Momma would have approved of what was going on. There was a live band and folks dancing and dancing all over the place. It was a fraternity party and I wasn't in a fraternity but we acted like we were suppose to be there. Guess no one paid any attention because we had a ball and no one told us to leave.
The dance ended and we headed to the Krystal for chili and burgers before going back to the dorm for a few hours sleep. Sunday would arrive and I had promised Momma that I'd find a church, but I saw that it was going to be a huge temptation to overcome for me to get out of that bed until time to get something to eat. That ole Devil won the battle and I slept until time to get up and walk down the street for another hamburger and french fries.
That Sunday morning that followed the first football game will forever be etched in my mind. I didn't sleep as late as I thought I would, but found myself wanting to get out and see the campus. It was quiet and hardly anyone was moving around. I looked out my window at Reed Hall and could see the beautiful campus and the streets that stretched through the buildings. A few people were walking about but mostly it was quiet. I went out and walked down the street, and for the first time felt the loneliness of being there. I walked across campus and down toward the Stadium. It was a long walk but it was a walk I needed to take.
There was a bridge that crossed the top of the goal post and you could stop and watch the football games from up on that bridge. As I walked closer and closer to the Stadium and was about to walk on the bridge, I heard a noise down below. Down on the football field were some guys throwing the football. I stopped and watched them as they passed the ball back and forth. They had on what appeared to me as white practice jerseys, shorts and tennis shoes. They threw that ball as if they were doing plays. Not one time did they run across that goal, but they passed the ball for touchdown after touchdown. It was just two guys and I don't have any idea if they were suppose to be there, but I watched.
Right there on the field between the hedges, I witnessed a hundred touchdown passes. So when someone tells me that we couldn't throw the ball back in 1969, I am reminded that on one Sunday morning I saw the greatest passing attack of all time. It was not Archie when he came to town, nor was it Sullivan to Beasley when Auburn came, but it was those two guys in white jerseys, September 1969. Georgia 100, the enemy 0.
Now I know the truth about Georgia Football. We were a passing team, it's just you had to get there on Sunday to see us open up and score like crazy.