Smart on black uniforms: ‘It wasn’t my decision’

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Smart on black uniforms: ‘It wasn’t my decision’

Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7) during a game against Mississippi State on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov., 21, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)
Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7) during a game against Mississippi State on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov., 21, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)

On Wednesday afternoon, the official Georgia Football Twitter account broke the news that the Bulldogs would be suiting up in black against Cincinnati on Friday in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

This came as a shock and Bulldogs’ head coach Kirby Smart said on Thursday’s press conference that it wasn’t his decision.

Smart said that it was requested by Gary Stokan, who’s the CEO and President of the Peach Bowl.

“It wasn’t my decision. You’ll have to ask Gary (Stokan) about the decision, that came from the higher powers,” Smart said. “We’re obliged. Those kids like wearing those. I don’t exactly know the whole deal, but I think it has something to do with both teams wearing their home jerseys.”

Thus, No. 9 Georgia will be daunting black and No. 8 Cincinnati will be wearing red on Friday. It will be similar to the occasional NFL Thursday night matchups that are referred to as “color-rush” games.

Stokan said that it looks more attractive and eye-popping on television when both teams are representing the home jerseys.

Georgia defensive back Eric Stokes (27) during a game against Mississippi State on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov., 21, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)
Georgia defensive back Eric Stokes (27) during a game against Mississippi State on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov., 21, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)

“Kirby is too kind to me and giving me way too much credit,” Stokan said. “I know the Georgia Bulldogs had the opportunity to wear the uniforms they wanted and at the end of the day, both Coach Fickell and Coach Smart made their decisions.”

Nevertheless, Smart said he didn’t really have much of an option.

“I guess I should say it was brought to me in a light that it was encouraged to wear dark colors and I’m assuming we both couldn’t be in red,” Smart said laughing. “So that’s the way it was presented to me. It wasn’t a narrative where we died to wear black, it was more we had to wear one of our dark colors, and that only gave us two options.”

Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell said the message was probably presented to him the exact way it was to Smart.

Cincinnati is ranked higher in the polls, so the Bearcats are delegated as the home team. Georgia would have normally worn its white uniforms, although when the options were given, Smart ran with the black jersey option.

Earlier this season, the Bulldogs wore the jerseys against Mississippi State en route to a 31-24 victory. That game was played at night and under the lights at Sanford Stadium. It was Southern Cal transfer J.T. Daniels’ first game as the starting quarterback and he threw for 401 yards and added four touchdowns that night.

So, the stigma of the black jerseys now bring a much more positive vibe. When Smart was initially hired at UGA, he said the team would try and wear them once a year. So far, that has only happened twice in his five-year tenure in Athens.

This will be the second time in program history that Georgia has worn the black uniforms in a bowl game. The other was in the 2008 Sugar Bowl when the Bulldogs dominated Hawaii, 41-10, under former head coach Mark Richt.

“I know the kids love it,” Smart said,” so I just figured it was a great time to bust them out (again) after the year it’s been.”

Here is the video from Smart’s Thursday presser:

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.