Video: Vince Dooley and Billy Payne Reminisce

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Video: Vince Dooley and Billy Payne Reminisce


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Vince Dooley and Billy Payne entertained the UGA beat media Monday afternoon with stories from their many years of friendship. Payne was in Athens for Monday evening’s dedication of the indoor practice facility in hor of Payne and his father.
On what Vince Dooley thought of Billy Payne as a player …
Coach Dooley: “I remember him first of all as quarterback in in high school. It was pretty obvious he was not a quarterback. But it was obvious that he was a football player, and I still remember those big ole hands. He had pretty good hands early on, so I recall that he was going to play and the question was where. I think that has always been the case with Billy. I have said many times that he was my 60-minute player because he could play so many different positions. We started him, as an example, on offense. Back then, the freshman teams were separate and we had a heckuva freshman team, probably the second-best recruiting class in the 25 years that I was here, because in addition to Billy we had Bill Stanfill and Jake Scott, just to name a few. So, it was a very good class. He (Billy) was an end. We did not call them tight ends or split ends because you had to do both, and he could do both. He could block at the line of scrimmage and he could typically block outside — pretty good size wide receiver — and he could catch the ball pretty dadgum good the few times that we did throw. He made, as I recall, two great touchdown catches — one against Kentucky where both of them went up in the end zone and he was able to use his competitive spirit and big hands to wrestle the ball away and end up with it. Then, he made a great catch in the Cotton Bowl in 1966. We then moved him to defense because we needed a defensive end, and I didn’t know if Billy was going to come back his senior year because Billy, as I remember, you got cut from the side in spring practice. Back in those days, you could block people like this and you can’t do it now but he got a nasty blow to his knee and we were really concerned about whether he was going to come back. He came back, was on that great defensive team and made all-conference as a defensive end. So that is just a quick overview of Billy as a college player.”
On Coach Dooley as a coach …
Billy Payne: “I remember Coach Dooley recruiting me, becoming friends with my parents and coming over to the house, as coaches would in that day. It was pretty clear from the very beginning that his serious demeanor, which he is famous for, was pretty obvious. He started telling me — I recall specifically — the players who were lining up to go to Georgia in I think his first full recruiting class. The names were legend. I mean it was Bill Stanfill and so many great players from the state of Georgia. Jake Scott from prep school that everybody knew of. He was recruited by everybody in the country. Brad Johnson — there were so many great high school players, all of whom I might have played against or was very much aware of. So, you know, he was persuasive. I had a little background at Georgia, a natural connection, and I wanted to play on a great team, so that is what got me here. Coach, thanks to you, I was never disappointed. We had great teams throughout my three years on the varsity and great experiences.”
Watch the full press conference here:


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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.