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December 17, 2007

Why the Hobnail Boot Play Matters Most

It all starts with this.

We had a post and comment thread last week talking about the Top plays of 2007. The thread evolved into a conversation around the Top Plays of the entire Richt Era. Some were commenting that Michael Johnson's catch vs. Auburn is the most important play. Someone else said that the decision to celebrate in Jax might be the most important or second most important play.

For my money, it all starts with P44 Haynes. With six seconds left we hit the Hobnail Boot. After the 2004 season, I talked with one of the graduating players about his career at UGA. (This was pre-blog so no linky). We talked about buying into the Richt System, and he said it was in Knoxville (his FR year) that the entire team finally bought in.

Prior to that blessed catch by Verron in 2001, there were still doubters. Most of the seniors had bought in during Mat Drills because they had no other choice. They could either try it Richt's way or spend the next 12 months in agony. Three games into the season, significant pockets of the rest of the team still had their doubts.

But a win in Knoxville...for the first time in 20 the face of a bloodthirsty crowd...with a freshman his first road the wake of Travis Stephens' 62 yard catch and run for the ages...our guys Finished the Drill. As the senior told me, "That was when I said, 'Ok, this is worth it.'"

If that rally falls apart, who is to say that the team holds it together that season? Especially after Richt's brain fart vs. Auburn. We would've likely finished the season in Shreveport against Iowa State struggling to get above 7 wins. One less than we had in Donnan's final year.

Why bring that up now?
Look to our West. Today, there's a large article in the Montgomery paper talking about Saban's failure to get the team to buy-in. There are rumblings that St. Nick will have to dump as many as a dozen players who never bought into his "process." Consider this quote about buying in:
Junior safety Rashad Johnson said close losses by the team -- Alabama lost all six games by seven points or less -- could have been reversed if more players did what was expected of them from the beginning.

"It could've been a totally different thing," he said. "Right now, we're talking LSU in the national championship game, a two-loss team. Every game we lost this year was by seven points, just about. I mean, we won a couple like that, but it could've been a totally different season. Totally different."

"When you're playing teams like LSU, Auburn, even Mississippi State, the little things would have really won the ballgame," Gilberry added.
So, today is as good a day as any to be thankful for that senior class who decided to get on board early, and for a well worn pair of Hobnail Boots. The play that started us on the path towards football righteousness.



ChicagoDawg said...

Good call.....well said.

Anonymous said...

Right on. The first of many instances of eliminating the we-can't-do-thats. Still going this year, with beating UF and AU in the same season. Just one big one left.


Hobnail_Boot said...

I mean, duh.

C. Paul said...

Absolutely. That game was 1A and Auburn 02 was 1B (having to follow 1A).

Everything you said about the Hobnail Boot game is dead on accurate. But I sometimes think about what we would have lost in that AU game in 2002, thus allowing the Zooker to play in - and more than likely beat - Arky in the final. Using CMR's manta of wanting to blow the lid off, that game and one play, allowed us to blow the lid off the program and become a true, national name again.

That said, if not for the Hobnail Boot game, we don't have the fortitude to pull off the Clemson, Bama, and AU games in 2002.

Excellent as always.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenny Slater has a great series going right now where he has ranked the top 25 plays of the Richt era. Great write up on each play and youtubage proof when available. I think he has made it to play 15 or 16 so far.

Anonymous said...

1) Hobnail boot
2) Greene-to-Johnson
3) The Celebration

Those seem pretty set in stone for me. Everything before that up in the air. Sean Jones' fumble recovery might be top five, Billy Bennett's FG might be top five, Fred Gibson's TD against Florida might be top five, Sean Bailey's SECCG TD against LSU might be top five, etc.

Anonymous said...

as always...right on, paul.

70x takeoff never happens without p44 haynes.

Anonymous said...

Hobnail boot. Hands down. THE. BEST. PLAY. EVAH!!

Hobnail boot

If this link does not work you definitely need to add a link to the audio in your post.

I laugh and cry every time I hear it.

Anonymous said...

The Jenny Slater website is great.

Pollack's tackle/fumble recovery for a TD has to be a big one not that it really had much to do with coaching or a coaching decision/call.

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