Coming off (perhaps) the program’s biggest win in years against No.6 LSU at home this past Saturday, combined with the fact that Tennessee will be wearing “smokey gray” uniforms this coming Saturday as part of a recruitment gimmick, alternate jerseys have (once again) become an acceptable topic of conversation around the UGA football facility this week. As I wrote yesterday, the similarities are very eery as to the way UGA handled their last jersey change, which resulted in a 41-30 thumping by Alabama while wearing the once-loved black jerseys. However, this week, Aaron Murray made a declaration that will either make you shiver in disgust, or jump for joy, depending on your level of superstition.
“I would love, love for us to come back and wear the black jerseys,” Murray said. “Maybe I can talk to coach Richt about that, and maybe get it in for whoever our last home game is. We still have some time. Maybe Nike could make it happen.”
That would be the Kentucky game on November 23rd.
As mentioned above, the black jerseys were the hottest thing in the state of Georgia for nearly a year, following a surprise unveiling against Auburn during a November home game in 2007, and worn again in a Sugar Bowl victory over Hawaii that same season. Fans and players were energized by them, loved the way they complimented the red helmets, and bought them off the store racks like they were seamed with pure gold.
Then came September of 2008, when Alabama came to town.
After that night (which was built up to be one of the greatest nights in Sanford Stadium history) ended in pure disaster, the black jerseys have since been associated with a curse. Though the score only shows an 11-point loss, the fact that the Dawgs were down 31-0 at halftime with their once pumped up fanbase in absolute shock, contributed greatly to the overnight disdain for the uniforms.
And while it was not the same black jersey, the color black was spontaneously used again in 2009 at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, which resulted in a 41-17 beatdown by the Gators while the Dawgs wore helmets and pants of the newly “cursed” color.
The years following 2009 have left many fans not wanting anything to do with the color black, despite being listed as one of two of UGA’s official colors.
However, now that the team has been playing very well, posting double-digit wins in each of the last two seasons while beating two top-10 nationally ranked opponents early in this season, the talk of wearing black once again has popped up in many casual conversations.
With Aaron Murray making his wishes known to have a picture of him in the UGA history book wearing the jersey that pumped up Dawg Nation just a short time ago, Bulldawg Illustrated found out that he is not alone in the fraternity of current players who share in his sentiments, albeit some with a bit of caution attached:
“I’ve always seen the black jerseys and I have really wanted to wear them.”
“There is a jersey somewhere online, it’s like a black Nike Pro-Combat jersey with [Chirs] Conley’s name on the back. It looks like a real jersey. I hope we get to wear it one day, and hopefully this season too.”
“I think I can speak for every guy in that locker room, that it is nice to enjoy something different. For me it would be more of that than just for a specific game. We have the best college colors to have cool stuff, so I would love to wear the black jerseys!”
Justin Scott Wesley:
“People say if you look good, you play good. But I don’t really get too caught up in that. At the end of the day you still have to lace up your cleats and play football. But I think it’s really good for the fans and the recruits to see something new, to see a team that is willing to change it up.”
“I think it would be pretty cool, but I’m not going to kick myself in the butt if it doesn’t happen.”
“I’d love to wear black. It doesn’t really bother me what we do wear, what we don’t wear. If we were to wear black one time, I wouldn’t get mad. It wouldn’t change the way I view anything. But if anything, that means you better be ready to back it up if you wear something like that.”
“I definitely want to wear black. I feel like we have the best colors, as far as red, black, and white. A lot of guys would want to wear different jerseys. There are a lot of guys on the team that do talk about wearing the black jerseys.”
“To be honest I have never been high with the fashion. You put me in an old practice jersey, and as long as it’s game day, I’m ready to go.”
“They are real nice, but I just feel like sometimes when you do stuff, or change stuff like that, the focus is lost, kind of. I think that’s a big thing, maintain the focus when you do change uniforms. So if we wear them, we wear them, but if we don’t, no hard feelings.”
“It depends on what black jerseys we are wearing. If we’re wearing the black jerseys we wore against Alabama, then no. If we were wearing the black jerseys we wore against Auburn, then yes!”
“I like the black jerseys, but I really don’t care what we wear.”
Without question, there will be many who read these quotes, and still be of the utmost belief that the color of the jersey would fully affect the performance on the field. Some of the same players quoted above defended the notion that that would not be the case:
“We could wear pink jerseys and lose and they would say the jersey is the fault! It’s human nature when something doesn’t go our way, you find a reason why, so some find the black jerseys as ‘the reason we lost the game.’ I mean that has (talking very slow) nothing – to – do (regains normal talking speed) with an outcome at all. It doesn’t do anything.
Justin Scott Wesley:
“They don’t make you play negatively. We’ve lost more games in white and red than we have in black. You really cannot pin it on a uniform change.”
“It really shouldn’t matter what color jersey you wear, because we have lost more games in our white jerseys, and we didn’t stop wearing those. But we will just leave that up to the coach.”
A common theme in my writing, and amongst the Dawg Nation these past couple of weeks has been “superstition.” With College Gameday coming to town last week, and our next opponent highly publicizing a uniform change, the theme has loomed too large over this stretch of the season to ignore.
You have just read the wishes of Aaron Murray and many of his teammates to pull out the black jerseys once again, allowing them to be the kids they are while hopefully feeling and displaying the “swag” they love to show off.
And now it’s time for you to chime in: Let kids be kids and have some fun, or keep those jerseys locked away for good?
**If you are pro wearing the black again, I am interested in hearing your scenario on how and when they should be used**