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Let the Big Dawg Eat, Write Books, Wear Red Jerseys, and Dance

Before we both dive headlong into our respective Friday mornings, I want to call your attention to a couple or three points raised by your friend and mine, David Hale. The first concerns dancing, of all things:

During the TV timeouts in the latter stages of last week’s win over Arizona State, the music blared throughout Sanford Stadium, and a large contingent of Bulldogs broke out some of their best dancing moves to lighten the mood.

The lighthearted demeanor ruffled a few feathers among fans who wondered if the team was taking the close game as seriously as it should, but Richt said he thinks just the opposite was true.

"Our guys have a wonderful spirit," Richt said. "I know some defensive guys were dancing a little bit in the fourth quarter and we had the last three drives of the game we had three-and-outs and they had negative yardage in the fourth quarter. So I don’t think you can say it was a bad thing. I don’t think it hurt their play."

Richt said he understands the criticism, but thinks barring the players from a few spur-of-the-moment dance routines would create a new wave of criticism from the other side. The bottom line, he said, is results. If the team wins, they can dance all they want.

"I’d rather them be dancing than crying," Richt said.

Mark Richt is completely right about this one. Remember the sideline dance the Mississippi St. Bulldogs’ special teams used to do before taking the field, back when MSU was good? Remember the energy in Sanford Stadium when the Red and Black broke out a few dance moves in the 2007 games against the Mississippi Rebels and the Auburn Tigers? Heck, that Hawaii Haka dance even had its moments.

I am no dance aficionado. I know that because my wife is one---I surprised her last Christmas with tickets to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company at the Fox---and her efforts to teach me to dance have been dismal failures. I once dipped a bridesmaid while dancing at a wedding reception . . . and dropped her. Despite those shortcomings, though, even I see how energizing the dancing is when the players take part in it. They’re not showboating, they’re not behaving in an unsportsmanlike manner, and they’re having fun. Football is supposed to be fun.

I’m an uptight middle-aged white guy. Twenty years ago, I was an uptight 20-year-old white guy. Yet even I know the dancing isn’t a bad thing. When I’m the one telling people to lighten up and let young men be young men, folks need to lighten up and let young men be young men.

In the same piece linked to above, Hale also reports the following:

Georgia’s fifth game last season came with plenty of hype, with a top-10 opponent coming into town and the Bulldogs donning black jerseys as part of a planned "blackout."

Once again, Georgia welcomes a top-10 team to Sanford Stadium for Week 5, but there won’t be any festivities surrounding the uniform to go along with LSU’s visit.

"I don’t think we’d do a black jersey or black helmet, we wouldn’t do a blackout of any kind unless we got the fans into it," Richt said. "I don’t think it’s worth doing a blackout without it."

Although the black helmet idea admittedly is intriguing, Coach Richt is right, for three reasons. First of all, a 3:30 kickoff is no time for a blackout; that should be reserved for night games. Secondly, we cheapened the coin with last year’s debacle and the black jerseys need to be shelved for at least this season, and probably for next season, as well. That’s a well we don’t need to go back to anytime soon; let that field lay fallow for a while. Finally, this is the kind of game for which no gimmicks should be needed. It’s time to man up and put it together for a big game against a big opponent. If the ‘Dawgs aren’t ready to do that, changing uniform shirts isn’t going to change anything. It’s time to hunker down, not time to stand in front of the closet deciding what to wear.

Also, I’m glad to see former Bulldog greats are doing so much writing.

In closing, I’d like to make three points, not one of which is related to football. I find this hilarious out of all proportion to its actual hilarity, I think David Letterman handled that well, and I think Jon and Kate need to get off of television, need to get real jobs, and need to start acting like two people who give the slightest damn about their eight kids.

I’ll be back this evening with Too Much Information.

Go ‘Dawgs!