Its expected, at some point this season, that Kirby Smart’s UGA team will bust out black jerseys. But the team will almost certainly not use those jerseys for the season opener against North Carolina on September 3rd.
“It’s looking more and more like they are going to use them,” said one insider.
But the popular black jerseys, which gained a negative reputation after Alabama’s decisive 2008 victory over the Bulldogs, will likely be used during an anticipated easy home game like Nicholls State, Vanderbilt or UL Lafayette.
Keep in mind that somewhere along the way the negativity surrounding those jerseys eclipsed positive that came from the 45–20 blowout win over No. 18 Auburn and the blowout 41–10 Sugar Bowl win over No. 10 Hawaii. But that negativity has nothing to do with Kirby Smart, who was on the opposite sideline during Bama’s decisive win over the Bulldogs.
Perhaps Mark Richt overdid it a year later in 2009 with his decision to wear black pants and helmets against No. 1 Florida. That game, a miserable performance from UGA that led to a Gator blowout, was the second-to-last time Richt went away from Georgia’s traditional Silver Britches and customary red home tops and white road tops with red helmets. The last time was in the Chick-fil-A Classic in 2011, which featured Mars-like jerseys for both UGA and Boise State.
Kirby has been using the black jerseys as a recruiting tool. Numerous prospects have released images on social media with the jerseys on. Again, Smart has no legacy to the negativity associated with the black tops. His peers wore black pants in the 1998 Outback Bowl destruction of Ron Dayne and Wisconsin to wrap up a 10-2 season in 1997. The next fall UGA wore black pants and red tops, perhaps the worst-looking combination in school history, in their 38-7 loss to the No. 5 Gators in Jacksonville.
The point? Kirby understands the landscape of messing with jerseys. He also understands how critically important recruiting is for programs. There have been rumors amongst the program that UGA will wear the black tops against Carolina in the first game of the season, but fans should expect UGA in red tops.
Keep in mind, too, that Carolina and UGA could both wear home tops in the game since it is a natural-site game. Alabama and Virginia Tech both wore non-white tops in 2013. That also happened in the Tennessee-NC State and Clemson-Auburn games of 2012.
Carolina wore home baby blue jerseys against LSU in 2010, but the Tigers always prefer to wear white tops no matter if they are at home or on the road. Carolina and Georgia’s distinctly different color schemes allow the possibility of both teams wearing home tops. We shall see.
UGA is expected to practice 13 consecutive days to start fall camp on August 1st. That time includes what is being described as an “open practice available to everyone” on Saturday, August 6th. That’s the same day as picture day. The Bulldogs will likely practice at the stadium, and then meet with fans sometime after the conclusion of their practice for picture day.
Classes don’t start at UGA until Thursday, August 11th, but UGA will start camp while finals are going on for the 2016 Summer Session, which officially ends on Wednesday, August 3rd. So the Bulldogs will only have one full week of academically-undisturbed football. That seems like a smaller amount of time than in the past, but it might not be. It’s harder for me to remember.
2018 5-star QB Trevor Lawrence will decide his college destination after his visit over the weekend to UGA and Clemson. There was some thinking that Lawrence would make his decision this week, and while that is still possible, it is less likely than before. He’s been torn of late. Its hard to know what he will do, and the timeline is less and less certain as well.
Speaking of recruiting - was told by one very good source that Kirby Smart had to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to run the type of summer camps he wanted to run. That is to say that Smart asked for nearly $300,000 for camp purposes, but was told no. When he asked if he could raise the money he was allowed to. He came up with $200,000, and asked for the remaining $100,000, which was given to him.
But it is a bad look for a brand new coach to have to raise money in order to compensate for being told no by an entity that just passed a $123 million budget - particularly being told no for what is a such a small dollar amount in the grand scheme of things.
As Dawg Post broke yesterday, former NFL RB Ray Rice will meet with the team Monday. He’s also expected to eat dinner with UGA’s running backs Monday night.