By Patrick Garbin—Twitter @PatrickGarbin
With Georgia’s representatives speaking this morning at SEC Media Days, I was impelled to look back at the annual media gathering in Alabama, and take note of a handful of notable quotes from Bulldog players and head coaches over the past 30 years.
Kim Stephens (1987): The senior offensive guard was asked about Auburn’s imposing defensive line, a unit which placed three players on the preseason All-SEC team: Aundray Bruce, Tracy Rocker and Benji Roland. Stephens: “When you play against Auburn’s line, you just try to survive. But they’re nice guys; they’ll hand your helmet back to you after they knock it off.”
Vince Dooley (1988): The Bulldog head coach announced that he was dividing placekicking duties between sophomore John Kasay and senior Steve Crumley. Kasay, a soccer-style kicker who would handle long field goals, was designated by Dooley as his “pretty kicker,” whereas Crumley, a straight-on kicker who would kick shorter field goals, was recognized by the head coach as the “ugly kicker.”
Bill Goldberg (1989): Goldberg, an outspoken senior defensive tackle, was asked by head coach Ray Goff and SID Claude Felton not to say "too much" during his interview in Birmingham, especially considering the Bulldogs returned just four starters from a defensive unit the season before which ranked 7th (out of 10) in the SEC in total defense and dead last in pass defense. In turn, Goldberg was nothing but tight-lipped: "Our defense is going to be awesome. We're going to be great...I want to scare people with our defense."
Ray Goff (1990): After Georgia had completed 55.9 percent of its passes for 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 1988, Goff was asked what happened in his first season as head coach (1989), when the Bulldogs completed only 50.4 percent of their passes for 9 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Goff: "We felt like we were able to throw the ball better last year (1989) than in quite some time."
Ray Goff (1992): Coming off a 9-3 season and equipped with what appeared to be a fine squad for 1992, Goff reflected back on the hard times as the Bulldogs’ head coach—like during the 4-7 campaign of 1990 when a plane flew over Sanford Stadium during the Georgia Tech game with a banner that read, “Fire Ray Goof.” Goof, err, Goff: “[The banner] really didn’t disappoint me. The only thing that disappointed me was that my wife paid for the damned plane.”
Corey Johnson (1996): Considering that in December, Kansas head coach Glen Mason had spurned the Bulldogs after being hired to replace Ray Goff, only to reunite with the Jayhawks, safety Corey Johnson was asked how Georgia’s second choice, Jim Donnan from Marshall, had introduced himself to the team. Johnson: “The first thing [Coach Donnan] did, to sort of break the ice, was tell us he wasn’t going back to Marshall.”
Jim Donnan (1997): Since three of Georgia's top high school prospects—Cosey Coleman, Deon Grant, and Jamal Lewis—had signed with Tennessee, the Georgia head coach was asked if keeping in-state talent was hampered because of an impending threat of NCAA sanctions. Donnan: "The sanctions hurt us, but so did Rodney Garner (Tennessee's then-chief recruiter). Whatever they're paying him, they need to pay him more." Less than a year later, Georgia would be the one paying Garner, who was lured away from Tennessee to become the Bulldogs' defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
Quincy Carter (1999): The sophomore signal-caller was asked how he felt considering that four quarterbacks who once appeared to be behind Carter as reserves—Mike Usry, Daniel Cobb, Nate Hybl and Jon England—had all either transferred or decided not to finish out their eligibility. Referring to Tennessee’s national championship quarterback from the year before, Carter: “Half of you reporters here probably couldn’t say who Tee Martin’s backup was last year.”
Mark Richt (2002): The Bulldogs' head coach was asked about a proposed rule by the NCAA which would allow all players a fifth year of eligibility. Richt: "If [players] did play five years, I don't know what you'd call them. You got freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors. What's next, senior citizens?"
Gerald Anderson (2005): When asked to comment about an offseason filled with team suspensions and arrests, the senior nose tackle said that he and some other seniors gathered their teammates at the beginning of the summer with a simple message. Anderson: “[The message was] let’s straighten up. This is not Georgia. It’s giving us a bad name and before you know it, it’s going to destroy our program.”
Jeff Owens (2008): The defensive tackle was asked about the Florida game from the season before, when head coach Mark Richt ordered his players to rush the field in celebration following the Bulldogs’ first touchdown. Owens: “[The celebration] gave us our swagger back…But just jumping around and being hyped doesn’t make you a better football team.”
Mark Richt (2011): The Bulldogs' head coach was asked about then-first-year Florida head coach Will Muschamp, and his ties to Georgia, including as a player in the early 1990s. Richt: "He's going to tell everybody he's Florida through and through and all that, but I'm sure there's some red and black in his veins."
Garrison Smith (2013): Seven-and-a-half months after Alabama had broken Georgia’s heart with a thrilling 33-28 victory in the SEC title game, the senior defensive lineman was asked his opinion of the difference between Georgia and Alabama. Smith: “Nick Saban.”
Kirby Smart (2016): During what was bestowed by one media outlet as the Media Days' “Worst Brevity” for an opening statement that “rambled on” for 10 minutes and 45 seconds, Georgia’s first-year head coach expressed some doubt in his football team, yet optimism for its future. Smart: “The trademark for us is to be big, physical, fast football team. We’re not there yet—but, we’re certainly moving that direction.”
These quotes, for the most part, were randomly selected. Does anyone else recall any other notable Georgia coach/player quotes from past SEC Media Days?