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December 27, 2005

Book Review: Dooley's Tales from 1980

Yesterday, I finally got around to reading Dooley's newer book on the 1980 season. It's a good light read. I'm about half way through it, and a couple of things stuck out to no particular order:

-- When Bobby Dodd pulled GT out of the SEC in the mid-60s, he did it so unexpectedly and abruptly that the SEC struggled to address scheduling problems for 3-4 years. All of the SEC schools had existing contracts with GT that had to be honored as well as contracts with each other. Plus, each school needed 6 league games on the schedule. It was too late to reshuffle everyone's schedule while honoring the GT contracts. So the SEC's solution was rather unique. The league looked at everyone's schedule for the next few years. If GT was on the schedule (formerly as an SEC game), they picked a different game to count in the SEC Standings. When UGA was SEC co-champ in 1966, the UNC game counted as a conference game. If I remember correctly from the book, the 1967 game with Clemson also counted as an SEC game by the league.

-- The story of the purloined pig is good enough to buy the book for. Old timers have heard it before, but it was new to me. Hugh Nall, Scott Woerner, Nat Hudson, Frank Ros and one other guy (Welton) got the bright idea that the post-Spring Game beer bash the team usually threw itself needed more than just beer in 1980. They wanted BBQ. So....they snuck into the UGA hog farm that used to be over on East Campus, and Nall (now the OL Coach at Auburn) shot a 400 lb pig with a bow and arrow late, late that night. The pig was too heavy to get over the fence, so they dressed it in the middle of the field and snuck it back to Athens. The whole story of them getting busted and Dooley/Erk disciplining them is comedy. Dooley told them that they had screwed up and eaten an experimental pig injected with serum that caused impotence. lol.

-- The story of how the 1977 7-6 loss to Clemson set up the rivalry against the Tigers for the next 11 years is interesting. Dooley told that story to set up the game with the Tigers in '80. A game in which UGA only ran about 45 plays to Clemson's 95+ plays...and still won b/c of Scott Woerner. Dooley was 10-1 against Clemson prior the 1977 game, and he was 5-5-1 after it. He said that win in 1977 by Clemson was a watershed moment for them, and it completely turned their program around.

-- Dooley mentions in the book that he knew about Wayne McDuffie's bi-polar disorder when he was the OL coach back in the 80s. Dooley talks about what a great coach McDuffie was, but that he was so high strung and intense that they had to send Wayne out recruiting on Thursdays and Fridays. The players would be so stressed out after Sun-Wed with Wayne that they needed a few days to build their confidence back up.

-- The players interviewed pretty much throw Coach Pyburn under the bus. Pyburn was the DB coach until '79. He retired after being disillusioned with the way that Dooley and the fans handled the Buck Belue (So) vs. Jeff Pyburn (R-SR) quarterback controversy in 1979. One of our DBs (Welton?) talked about Pyburn's coaching style as "Just go hit the shit out of somebody" vs. Bill Lewis' more organized approach that actually involved teaching assignments.

-- My favorite story so far is about Bill Hartmann, the pan-ultimate bulldog. Hartmann was an All-American fullback for Georgia in 1937. He was also our kicker. After two years of pro ball, he returned to Georgia in 1939 under head coach Wally Butts as backfield coach and served in that capacity until 1956. Dooley brought Hartman back in 1970 as the volunteer kicking coach.

That part of the story most everyone knows. What I didn't know is that the NCAA did away with the volunteer coach in the early 1990s. So Hartmann went back to grad school at UGA so that he could serve as a Graduate Assistant coach for 3 more years. He was near 80 at the time. To keep the kickers focused, he would run them through their kicking drills each practice. However, that never took the entire practice. So Hartmann would teach the kickers the "Notre Dame Box" offense that he ran at Georgia under Harry Mehre, a former ND assistant under Rockne. They would run plays from this offense just to keep them focused and engaged.

The Notre Dame box was the contemporary to the Single Wing. The sight of kickers, punters, snappers and holders all running a 40-50 year old outdated offense while an 80 year old man coaches them up is comedy to me. It must have worked as our best kickers all played for Hartmann. Butler, Robinson, Kasey, etc. Every elite kicker except Billy Bennett was trained by the legend who taught kickers based on the golf principals of consistent swings.


DAve said...

Sounds like a good lazy-day book. Only one "n" in Hartman though.

Anonymous said...

Did Coach Dooley mention that Clemson's 1977 watershed moment happened shortly after Coach Charlie Pell taught them how to cheat?

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