Georgia football: Back in black, and with red pants for opening road game
ATHENS — It’s no secret Georgia football is back under Kirby Smart, riding a wave of three straight SEC East Division titles with the head coach’s first four years at the helm.
But the Bulldogs also appear to be back in black for at least one home game this season, if not more.
Oh, and with bright red pants to go with white jersey tops on the road for the opening game at Arkansas to honor the 1980 national title team, per AJC.com.
The Bulldogs wore the red pants in their 1980 season-opening win at Tennessee, when all-time Georgia Great Herschel Walker famous ran over UT’s Bill Bates.
The alternative jerseys will please most Georgia fans based on polls, while also triggering a few others who thrive on tradition.
Georgia returns home from the Arkansas opener to play host to Auburn on Oct. 3.
Smart has yet to address the uniform pictures that appeared on Georgia’s official Twitter site, but he’s made his stance clear on alternate uniforms in the past.
“I’m not saying we’re not ever going to do it, I’m not saying that we are, that’s just really not what is important to me,” Smart said on Nov. 6. 2018, when rumors spread that UGA might wear black jerseys for a non-conference game against UMass.
“I believe in the guys going out and playing physical, playing hard; you don’t have to do things like that to get them fired up to do it, I really think they should want to do it.
“It’s great for recruiting though.”
These UGA jerseys also are great for sending a healthy message to society, featuring a patch that says “together” and “equality.”
Smart says he’s closer to this team than any other he’s had at Georgia because of how the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted his recruiting travels.
That’s led to more team meetings and communication than ever before, particularly with social injustice awareness issues and initiatives that Smart has been a part of.
Smart led a march across campus earlier this month with the players wearing black jerseys, perhaps foreshadowing Thursday’s uniform reveal.
But even before this season, recent Bulldogs players have pushed hard for Smart to allow the team to wear black jerseys.
Former quarterback Jake Fromm told CBS’ Brad Nessler last year he wanted the team to wear the black jerseys before the end of his career with the team.
Another former Georgia football player, a first-round pick, told DawgNation at a recent NFL combine the Bulldogs “wanted to wear the black jerseys every week, but we didn’t get the chance to.”
The Bulldogs had the black jerseys in stock before the 2019 season, but the only game fans saw them in the annual G-Day.
Part of the reason may be that Smart recognizes how they can motivate an opponent, having been part of an Alabama team in 2008 that took umbrage with UGA wearing them.
New Georgia football special teams coach Scott Cochran, then a part of the Tide’s strength and conditioning staff, famously said the Bulldogs wore back because “they’re going to their own funeral.”
Cochran recently said he feared he would get fired by Nick Saban when that quote become public, and he would rather Georgia fans forget he ever said it.
Bringing the black jerseys back out is sure to rekindle memories and opinions, positive and negative.
Early poll results are that Georgia football fans like the idea of black jerseys this season, too.
The new Georgia football jerseys, which including a patch commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the “Bulldogs” mascot and the 40-year anniversary of the program’s most recent national title, are already on sale online.
Recent Black Jersey Games
• Kirby Smart allowed for the black jerseys his first season as head coach, 2016, for a Nov. 19 game against Louisiana-Lafayette, a 35-21 win.
• Georgia wore the black jerseys and lost to Alabama in 2008 by a 41-30 count.
• The Bulldogs wore the black jerseys again for Hawaii in the Jan. 1, 2008 Sugar Bowl, a 41-10.
• Georgia wore the black jerseys under Mark Richt for the 2007 Auburn game, a 45-20 win at Sanford Stadium.