Looking for Greener Pastures

Vince the Prince seemed to always beat the Gators. Herschel Walker was only one of a myriad of good to great GEORGIA running backs that shredded the Swamp People under Coach Dooley’s watch. Georgia didn’t throw the ball much back then. No team in the old SEC did, until a twangy Tennessean named Spurrier was named head coach at his former university in Gainesville. He emulated and implemented what BYU truly pioneered: the prolific college football passing offense.

Soon, Georgia and much of the rest of the league started zinging it more frequently. The revolution at UGA was one of our current radio guys, Eric Zeier, former quarterback at one of my three high school alma maters, Marietta High School. He entered college a year after me and set the SEC yardage mark, while coming razor close but never beating Florida. They really had our number back then.

On the day of this year’s Bluegrass victory, I was scheduled to pitch my full-length book to literary agents in Hollywood at the exact time of kickoff. So I had walked from LA proper to Hollywood the day prior and moved my pitch time to earlier in the day. Bad enough to not be watching my Dawgs play live, I certainly was not trying to miss any Georgia game altogether. Even for a huge career moment.

On the morning of game day, which was the day of the big book pitch, as he drove me back to the Writer’s Digest Conference, one of the most highly-motivated individuals I have ever known, restaurateur and television commercial actor Dave Weiss said to me “David Greene was our best quarterback, even though he couldn’t throw great. He won the most games…and the most big games. Nothing speaks like results. W and L: those two letters. What does a W and what does an L mean to you.”

Dave grew up near me in Marietta, Georgia before attending the University of Florida on a tennis scholarship, where he was a huge Emmitt Smith fan. Dave and I had attended neighboring high schools and met senior year. After some youthful folly and big missteps at Florida, Dave was out of school for a while and then transferred to UGA, where he was roommates with Boggs, Neil and me. Now, Dave slogs to hundreds of auditions per year, in an effort to land one to four annual lucrative television commercials. He does this while being general manager and co-owner of a high-volume restaurant. And he has maintained intensity at both for fifteen years. He is a character in my book, Golden State Genius, by the way.

Dave’s UGA hero, David Greene left UGA as the all-time winningest quarterback in college football history, with a subpar arm and very limited mobility. It was not until Greene and Pollack’s senior years that they finally claimed Mark Richt’s first victory over Florida. Georgia had only won once in prior recent years, when now offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had somehow overcome three first half interceptions to whip them under rah-rah head coach Jim Donnan.

Usually calm Coach Richt resorted to WWF-meets-Dance Fever motivational techniques in Georgia’s last truly big year, and he managed a convincing victory over Florida (and our whole back half of the schedule). After last year’s big win, Richt has currently beaten the Gators in three of the past eight years, which is improvement. Florida native Murray was able to push them to overtime his freshman year and then to beat them with clutch plays as a sophomore. Georgia’s winning advantage in the series is now eight games. In my next BLAWG, I’ll tell you why this is the single biggest football game in either of their lives to date.