Alright. Alright. Alright. My amigos and I just got back from Athens, and boy did we have ourselves a day. Yet again, to everyone’s amazement, Georgia pulled another Georgia. We blew a 4th quarter lead, at home, against an obviously inferior opponent. We all thought that this sh** would end after we got rid of Richt. Well guess again! New coach. Same team. I thought about scrapping together an article about how we lost this game, but halfway through the long, somber, traffic ridden drive back to Atlanta (At this point I have no idea why I keep putting myself through this….) I decided it was best to just go on a frickin rant. As a fan and alumnus of UGA, there are way too many things that have been ticking me off regarding our football program, for far too long. We know McGarity and the administration won’t fix them, and it now appears as if Kirby isn’t going to address them either. So, I’ve decided to write an "open letter" to Kirby and the administration, on behalf of Dawgnation, with the hopes of forcing some change and fixing these problems. Keep in mind emotions are running pretty high right now, so cut me some slack if you think some of the points are a little extreme.
Dear Kirby/Greg/Anyone else responsible for the UGA football program,
1. Improve the In-Game Experience/Atmosphere
Georgia’s in-game "experience" is downright pathetic. Fans and players have complained about it for years, and now recruits are as well. I’ve been to games at Auburn and Alabama recently, and their overall game day experience is night and day compared to UGA. A lot of people try to blame this on our fans (claiming they are old and lame), but that’s just not true. The only difference between our fanbase and Bama, Auburn, LSU (Ok, LSU’s might be a little different…I mean have you seen Coach O), and Tennessee’s, is about 40 IQ points, so don’t give me that! We are at least 10 years behind rival SEC programs in regards to our music selection (30 years behind in this case), speaker system, halftime performances, videography, etc. There’s no doubt that this has a significant impact on Georgia’s dismal home performances and recruiting as well. Young people thrive off energy and excitement that can be concocted through popular music and highlight videos. The players love it, the students love it, and most importantly the recruits love it. Getting the crowd and players pumped up and into the game can make a huge difference. HUGE. There’s a reason why certain teams (Bama, Auburn, Florida State, etc.) never lose at home. Their stadium environments are lit! Changes need to be made at UGA because if I go to one more game where they are playing 80’s music, through blown-out speakers, on that damn Karaoke cam, I’m not coming back. Here are the changes that need to be made ASAP:
a. Fire The Music Guy
(Ok, I don’t really like calling for people’s jobs, so maybe just give him a stern talking too.) I have no idea who is in charge of music, but the guy must be in his 50’s/60’s because 75% of our songs are from the 80’s or earlier. It’s unbelievable and embarrassing. Most respectable programs, such as Alabama and Auburn, have rap/pump up songs from artists such as T.I., DJ Khalid, Future, Lil Wayne, Lil John, etc. blaring during almost every timeout, halftime, pregame, and really during any prolonged break from action. Georgia, on the other hand, rarely plays music at all, but, when we do, we blast 80’s hits such as "Livin On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi, "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey, and "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Frickin Gaye on that damn Karaoke Cam (You couldn’t make this stuff up…So bad). Our music does the opposite of pumping up the crowd. It kills it. Someone needs to introduce the "Music Guy" to the 21st century. Here’s my advice: Blare some rap/pump up music every break from action and own it.
b. Fix The Speakers/Add more to the Stadium
The fact that Georgia blares 80’s music the majority of the time might be a surprise to most of you. Why? I’m assuming most of you can’t even hear it. This has been a huge problem in Sanford stadium for a long, long time, and it’s pretty pathetic that they still haven’t fixed it after 5+ years. As a student at UGA, I wrote a letter to Greg McGarity and other people within the athletic department, complaining about this very issue. Believe it or not, as a student, in the upper student section, we were unable to hear the band, music, etc. They claimed to have upgraded the speaker system and fixed the problem. Well, this was either a lie or Ole Greg is more incompetent than I thought, because the speakers still suck. Georgia has literally one speaker on the scoreboard that sounds like it is blown. You can barely hear any music or sound coming from it, and the noise level comes in and out (like a blown speaker). The speaker system needs to be upgraded and there need to be speakers installed throughout the stadium (especially in the student section), not just on the scoreboard. It’s laughable that I have to write an article about this, but obviously everyone over at Butts-Mehre is pretty oblivious to the problem, so now the secret’s out.
c. Put the Greek Student Sections on the Lower Level
What is the craziest section of any SEC school’s fan base? The Student Section. And what is generally known as the craziest section of the student section? The Greek Life section. They are front row and center at Alabama, Auburn, LSU, etc. But where are they are Georgia? They’re in the upper deck above the band and out of sight. The fraternity sections are in the upper back corner of the stadium located directly above the regular student section and band. The seats are extremely far away from the field (Upper deck), located in the sun, beyond audible range from the speakers, and you can’t even hear the damn band. It’s unbelievable and pathetic. Move them to the lower level next to the band and I bet you the student section will be elevated to a whole ‘nother level. If this is too much to ask (which I’ve got a feeling it will be) at least put some speakers up there, so that the students can hear the band/music.
d. Put Microphones next to the Band
Put microphones next to the band and blare their music through the speakers when they play. Tennessee does it. Auburn does it. Why can’t we? The band is barely audible to half the stadium, including parts of the student section, and should be heard by all.
e. Half-time Show
So this isn’t as big of a deal, but we could improve our half-time "show" as well. Now I know everyone loves the red coat band, so by all means let that show go on. But, in my opinion there is about 10 minutes, in between the bands and the game, where nothing is going on. Here’s what I propose: Bring in a performer/artist for a small 10-minute show for every game (There's only 5-6 a year). We have the hip-hop capital of the world (ATL) an hour away, and a bunch of great country music stars, as well as local musicians in Athens, that would be more than willing to come and perform. I mean come on, who wouldn’t like to see 2 Chains, T.I., Luke Bryan, etc. put on some half-time shows? And if they need some incentives, we all know that Greg McGarity is more than willing to shell out some condoms, cognac, fruit roll-ups, and a couple thousand dollars.
f. More Night Games
I speak on behalf of everyone below the age of 50 on this one. Enough with the frickin noon kickoffs, we want more night games! I realize that some game times are out of the administration's control, but most of them are. The noon kickoffs kill home field advantage (Today was a great example). It’s very hard to get the crowd to wake up and get going that early on a Saturday, especially when you blare 80’s music through blow out speakers! Bama, Auburn, and LSU lick their chops over the opportunity to play night games at home, and their home records reflect this advantage. Georgia needs to play more night games in Athens, and make the noon kickoffs a thing of the past.
Georgia lost three home games this season, in which we lead in the 4th quarter. Playing at home definitely doesn’t appear to be an advantage anymore. These are all serious issues that need to be addressed ASAP. I guarantee that our home record, fan turnout, as well as recruiting will improve significantly as a result.
2. Fire Jim Chaney and Shane Beamer
Let’s be honest. Jim Chaney is God-awful. I mean even my 13 year old cousin can predict the run, run, pass play call sequence that Chaney has perfected this season. He’s the most predictable play-caller I’ve ever seen (Yes, worse than Schottenheimer), until he actually needs to be predictable (The WR pass plays against Auburn in the red zone are a classic example of his incompetence). Yes, our O-line sucks. Yes, we have a freshman quarterback. But, Chaney still can't run an offense. I knew we were in trouble when Pitt fans celebrated after hearing he was leaving. He has to go now or Kirby might be leaving with him in a couple years.
As bad as Chaney has been, Shane Beamer has been worse. He was brought in primarily as our special teams coach, and has made Mark Richt look like a special teams guru. He definitely didn’t learn much from his father, that’s pretty apparent. Our kickoff coverage is worst in the Power 5, our punt coverage is abysmal, and our kickoff return average is near the bottom of the power 5 as well (How Reggie Davis continues to be our kick returner continues to baffle me). After watching football for many years, I’ve come to one solid conclusion. Never hire a great coach’s son (Brian Schotteinheimer, Jim Mora Jr., Derek Dooley, Mike Shula, Terry Bowden, Lane Kiffin, need I say more?).
3. Night Game Blackout’s
I’ve been saying it for years, and I’ll say it again. Every night game in Athens should be a "Blackout." Before all you wimps starting freaking out about how the black jerseys are unlucky and bad karma, shut up and hear me out. First off, the black jerseys are straight fire. Second, they are great for recruiting, and pump up the players and crowd. Third, we only have one damn night game a year anyways (Thanks Greg), so it’ll still only be once a year. Penn State has White Outs, so why can’t we make "Blackouts" a thing in Athens. We can tell everyone to dress and behave accordingly! I guarantee that "in-game experience" will be lit!
4. Bring the red pants back for at least one away game a year (The Florida Game? Or the Bowl Game?) They are pretty cool and would be great for recruiting!
5. And while I’m at it, you also need to fire Mark Fox! He seems like a great guy, but lets be honest we’ll never do better than a 10 seed and a first round loss in the NCAA tournament with him. He’s been here 8 years and nothing has changed. College basketball is all about recruiting and he’s proven that he can’t do it. We need to hire an ex-NBA player or coach that can come in and recruit from day 1. Alabama did it (Avery Johnson). Dominique Wilkins (Ex-UGA player) or Jeff Van Gundy (Daughter goes to UGA) would be perfect fits. Considering the talent in the state of Georgia, especially Atlanta, and the resources at UGA, there is absolutely no reason why Georgia shouldn’t be a contender in college basketball on a yearly basis.
One more thing. Improve the damn security at home games. It's bad enough that we lost today to Tech, but watching them stomp around on the G and rip up the hedges was even worse. Have some frickin self-respect, put some security guards down there and make sure we (Georgia fans) never have to witness that again. That's inexcusable and downright embarrassing.
Everyone hop off Kirby's back by the way. Saban went 7-6 his first year at Alabama, including a loss, at home, to UL Monroe. I'm not pleased with the way this season went down, but give the man two more years at least. He's recruiting very well and this was his first year as a head coach. But, if we don't win a national championship or at least make a big time bowl by year three, I'm all for running him out of town.
That’s all I’ve got.