People of the Program

“PEOPLE OF THE PROGRAM – Big Cat Candid:” UGA Legend Jonas Jennings and Program Insider Han Vance Rap about Georgia Football and Their Time Spent Attending UGA in the 1990s.

Jonas Jennings:“Booger McFarland was right on my head. We were in slide protection, one play to win or lose the game on the road at night in Death Valley. At LSU. ‘Get to damn center and just get him the ball,’ Donnan said. I was the only one without real instructions: my first play at center at Georgia. I was all taped up to play guard and could barely hold the ball. There was no time to cut the tape off. I think it was 4th down. It was one play to win the game. Miles had done a great job on him. I’d never practiced it. I was second on the depth chart. The new guy who comes in my spot probably hasn’t played the whole game and doesn’t shift. I see Booger coming free to the backfield and dive and just barely get my head on him.”

Big Hairy Blawg:“Oh, I remember him. He was like the first of these just total giant Bayou Bengals they always get now.”

J:“I’m looking up from the horizon on the ground and see the ball and number four comes out of nowhere and we win the game. Quincy put it up there. I remember Donnan said, ‘That play was spectacular! Booger McFarland was coming straight through.’ He knew.”

BHB:“Chill bumps right now.”

J:“We were close to winning the East that year but lost it on the tiebreaker to Florida. We dropped a lot of balls that year.”

BHB:“Damn Gators. I remember talking about the drops with my dad. We had a problem with that forever at Georgia; it was horrible. I played wideout and was quick but never had elite speed. I had great hands and vision. I’d be like why are these guys dropping balls. They’d get way down the field fast and be open and then not make the play.”

J:“I’m doing battle with guys out there, and I’d tell them on the sidelines your only job is to catch the ball…so catch the ball!”

BHB:“Let’s go ahead and talk about Donnan’s bad business dealings.”

J:“No real comment on it. It’s still an ongoing case for him. But I will say that I will never see him the same.”

BHB:“It was great to see you again on The Sports Joc Show.

J:“Yeah, Wayne’s (Gandy) always been real cool.”

BHB:“I love him. I remember I had a class with you and sat a couple seats behind you, maybe your freshman year, when I got back up to Athens, and I recall talking with you about how they grade y’all out in G-Day games.”

J:“Yeah. They do. I definitely remembered you.”

BHB:“When I guarded Champ in an intramural hoops game, maybe that next year, we played y’all pretty good, but you just had too much size for us in the end.”

J:“You remember I was the player-coach on those teams.”

BHB:“Champ is the fastest athlete I played against in any sport.”

J:“He can fly.”

BHB:“Take me back to when you were recruited to Georgia.”

J:“I’m from College Park and grew up right by the airport. I went to Tri Cities High School in East Point. Saban was recruiting me at Michigan State. Donnan was still at Marshall.”

BHB:“Sure. End of the Goff era.”

J:“I was always a big Georgia fan. My high school team was the Bulldogs, too. But we knew there was probably a new regime coming. I was looking at Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Penn State. I took a visit to Indiana just because the coach was such a nice guy, and I took unofficial visits to Florida and Florida State by car. Chris Scelfo of the Falcons was at Marshall with Coach Donnan and they were talking to me, saying they knew they didn’t have a chance to get me. Suddenly, they get the Georgia job, and at the last minute, practically, I switch to Georgia.”

BHB:“Was it wild? You are retired so you can tell me. The hot Georgia Girls and all. And did you announce on signing day?”

J:“It was a big deal. I had the four hats in front of me. I don’t know if you remember but I was Donnan’s first recruit to sign in ’96. As far as recruiting, I’m from the hood. I grew up in the projects. I didn’t have a dad. Staying in hotel suites, that was the first time I was getting air conditioning. It was life changing. Everything was new to me. It’s a funny moment. Get some good eating but the kids from high school aren’t old enough to take advantage of the great bar scene in Athens. You all get together and talk football and see who’s invested.”

BHB:“Talk rivalries with me, bro. Donnan wasn’t even close to getting fired early his last year. We finally beat hated Tennessee, and I was there as a recent graduate season ticket holder. I actually touched the goalpost as it passed through Herty Field after they ripped it down.”

J:“I was a fifth-year senior and moved interior to right guard.”

BHB:“You played every line position at Georgia.”

J:“Yeah. Haynesworth and Henderson. Same play all the way down the field.”

BHB:“What was the play?”

J:“36 Lead or 42 Lead. Stretch then Lead. They couldn’t stop it even though they knew it was coming every time. Giving Sanks or Musa the ball.”

BHB:“Q goes out with a minor hand tweak and clutch, great hands wideout Michael Greer whose daddy is director of football operations has an undisclosed issue. They never played again. Donnan had made the big mistake of promising success. It didn’t play out. Who ended up being our quarterback by year end?”

J:“Cory Philips. But he could have played Greene.”

BHB:“That might have saved his job. You know I’m a purely diehard alum, like you. We care about our school over anything. I mean, I managed the student center for barely over $3 an hour. I bleed Red and Black. But the folks who are just fans – they only care about wins – they were saying and we all heard it: Quincy was big into blow and Greer provided it. Then he got booted from my Cowboys for it. I’m from Austin and Ft. Worth. For years, I was stuck with Quincy.”

J:“I recruited Quincy to Georgia when he was playing pro baseball. He wanted to play college football but didn’t want to go to Tech. We were roommates his first year, and then he got another apartment. We hear rumors but I didn’t know anything. We went from friends to left tackle and quarterback. I graduated by then and was working for Damon Evans and Dooley at the athletic director’s office. People hang more with their class.”

BHB:“You were like a coach practically.”

J:“Where I’m from people don’t ask too many questions. Me, I’m known as a fixer. You don’t do that in my locker room. I solve problems. I don’t make them.”

BHB:”Greer, our best receiver was just gone and he transferred. Q went pro early. Was he even at practice?”

J: “Yeah. He was the captain. You played football. You know no one comes between the coach and his quarterback, man.”

BHB:“I knew if anyone knew, you knew, Jonas. …Florida, 1997?”

J:“Me, (older) Stinchcomb, Terry had moved from defense to offense, Steve Herndon. We had a good line and Bobo, Robert Edwards, Hines Ward catching balls.”

BHB:“I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but were those your two biggest wins, finally besting our powerful East rivals?”

J:“I wouldn’t say that. We beat every team. We could have beaten those teams multiple times, take away a drop here and a timeout there. We pushed them around and they knew it. I hang my hat on four straight bowl wins and representing the University of Georgia nationally.”

This interview republished as an introduction of PEOPLE OF THE PROGRAM, a new micro-series of BIG HAIRY BLAWG developed by BHB founder Han Vance, a nationally-acclaimed college football expert and the aspiring Georgia Bulldogs Poet Laureate. This new series will culturally investigate the folks affiliated with and/or passionate about Georgia Football.