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Lewis Grizzard: Great Moments in a Would Be Father’s Life

Great Moments in a Would Be Father’s Life

To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on her underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.



Change is a good thing.  Today will mark the last day we will be posting on the Grit Tree.  This doesn’t mean we are going away; we have a great opportunity to partner up with the fine folks at Bulldawg Illustrated and will start providing content on the blog at their site.  It will still be labeled Grit Tree, so you can still find us over there.  We are excited about all the possibilities our new home can offer.  But you won’t find content at this site any longer.

We started this blog on September 1, 2009.  We all sat around and talked football year round, and decided, “Instead of just talking about it, why don’t we do a blog?”  When coming up with a name, we wanted to do something different to make ourselves stand out from the dozens of other Dawg blogs out there.  We all decided our blog would be more than Georgia football; we wanted to pay homage to Lewis Grizzard.  We also wanted to do reviews of BBQ restaurants.  Having BBQ Thursday-and going around the state eating good BBQ-was more fun than writing anything about the Dawgs.

We found inspiration from his famous column Great Moments in a Would Be Father’s Life¸ and it became a tradition of ours to post it the Wednesday before the first football game.

This isn’t technically our last post. The final post here will be the Lewis column that gave us our inspiration so if anyone ever stumbles on, they will see Lewis’ best article, and the one article that accurately sums up what it means to be a Bulldog.

It has been a fun ride here.  Thank you for reading, commenting, and supporting our little hobby.  We look forward to continue posting very soon over at our new home at

Go Dawgs!

The Grit Tree

Win or lose, it’s all moving ahead

It just seems like an alternative universe these days on the recruiting trail.

Even a year ago, the hope for this Georgia program was to maybe, if it was lucky, snag one or two four or five-star guys. Now, especially on the heels of Andrew Thomas signing on, getting the high-caliber guys is expected and not a shock.

Maybe it’s the reveling in the energy that Kirby Smart has brought that has trickled down all over the far reaches of the program, from coaches to the fans.

Perhaps it’s an energy we didn’t see out of Butts Mehre since pre-2005.

Sure, part of it is novelty. But the bottom line is that Georgia is getting more and more high-caliber guys than I can even remember. I’m not a recruiting fanatic – I try not to get hung up in star ratings.

But when you are beating the Alabamas of the world instead of the USC Jr.’s for players, that speaks MAJOR volumes.

Bottom line – this team could be scary good – which is why if this team goes 8-4 this year I won’t be too bummed.

That’s a far cry from the previous regime.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg


Defense Is Key to UGA Success in 2016

When James Carville was running Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, there was a famous mantra, “The economy, stupid.”

There were actually three messages that Carville had to keep the campaign on message, but talking about the economy was his most famous:

  1. Change vs more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don’t forget health care

Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit James Carville is a great strategist.  I don’t agree with him, but I love to hear him.

I bought the Phil Steele last week.  I haven’t gotten deep into it yet, but I started it same way I always do:  I looked over the Georgia page.

I wanted to guard my optimism this season because of the uncertain health status of Nick Chubb, questions at quarterback, and the new coaching regime.  But after reading over some of the numbers in Phil Steele, my hesitation quickly turned to optimism.


The defense, stupid.

Nick Chubb will certainly play a factor into the success of the season.  But I still think that Georgia will be a viable player in the SEC East race and win 10 games this season because of the defense.

Georgia has, according to Steele, 6 returning starters on defense.  I don’t agree with that because he doesn’t count Davin Bellamy or Lorenzo Carter.  While they may not have technically been “starters” last season, they each saw significant playing time.  I think it’s fair to call them “starters” in the sense of it’s nothing new.  So really, I think you can more accurately say UGA has 8 returning starters on defense.

Last season, Georgia had 6 returning starters on defense, and in turn yielded the lowest defensive points allowed per game since 2006.  How good was Jeremy Pruitt?  From 2013 to 2014, defensive ppg went from 29.0 to 20.7, and last year fell again to 16.9.

Now, I don’t think it’s totally fair to call 2013 a total indictment on Grantham, because the defense certainly played better in total during his tenure, though I think we can all agree Pruitt was an upgrade.  The 2013 unit replaced all those starts from 2012 and had 3 returning starters.

If Mel Tucker and Kirby Smart’s defensive results are simply just as good as what Jeremy Pruitt did, we shouldn’t see much of a drop off on defense, especially considering we retained two position coaches from last year’s unit and we have 6 (8) returning starters.

It could be another good defense in 2016.

Should we expect Alabama level of good defense?  No, I don’t think so.  At least not initially.

But even if we improve slightly over our average output per game over the past several seasons, that would be enough.

Look at the chart below to see the points allowed by UGA and Alabama:

defense 2009-2015

Since the Alabama started winning National Championships-4 championships in the 7 years represented on the chart-take the average ppg allowed from UGA and Alabama. Even doing Olympic scoring to take out any anomalies, if you take out the highest and lowest ppg, it doesn’t change anything.  UGA and Alabama’s averages still stay the same.

If we are half as good as the difference, in other words if the Kirby/Tucker effect doesn’t get us as good as Alabama bur gets us closer, Georgia will be giving up somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 ppg.  If Georgia gives up 17 ppg or fewer, the Dawgs will win 10 games.

Do you think there will be a major drop off from Pruitt to Kirby/Tucker?  I don’t.

So I think that Georgia should be in neighborhood of 10 wins.  For Kirby Smart’s first season, that would be good enough.

But depending on how the offense goes will determine if UGA gets to 9 or 10 wins, yet still isn’t a factor in the SEC race like.  If Chubb is healthy or the quarterback situation isn’t a liability, then the Dawgs could have a chance to win the East.

First and foremost, it’s all about the defense, stupid.

But don’t forget about the offense.


BBQ Thursday: Hickory Pitt, Chattanooga

I was traveling this week and had an overnight stop in Chattanooga.  I grew up in Rome, and my grandparents lived in tiny Trenton, GA in Dade County.  For those of you who haven’t heard of Trenton or Dade County, it is quite small and there isn’t much there you should know about.  But looking at the map of Georgia, it is that small sliver of a county in extreme Northwest Georgia where Alabama and Tennessee converge with the Peach State.

So growing up, I’ve spent a lot of time in and around Chattanooga, albeit not recently as an adult.

So passing through town, my family and I had time for one dinner, so I searched “best restaurants in Chattanooga”.  A lot of places came up on the first page, but they all looked fancy and not quite appropriate to take a the three year old who has been in the car all day.  So I made a grave mistake.  I went to the next page.

I was hoping for some barbecue, and the first place on the second search page was what I was looking for:  Hickory Pit BBQ.


Check out this side dish:

Freedom Fries

We ain’t got time for no sissy French Fries here.

I was going to get a sandwich and stew, but with Freedom Fries on the menu, how can you turn those away?  And stew wasn’t available as a side item, so I got the sandwich, fries and baked beans.  I feel like if you are going to be calling your fries Freedom Fries, they need to be really special, and really good.  These were not.

I believe a picture says 1,00 words, so here are some pictures of my meal:



Sometimes, a shitty looking restaurant in a shitty part of town can be really good.  Or, in this case, it turns out to be shitty.


Three Make or Break Games

There are a lot of games this fall to raise the needle up as far as anticipation.

There’s Kirby Smart’s debut. A pivotal game for the division against UTK. Jacksonville. A chance to exact more mastery against Malzahn. The bugs. And others along the way.

Here are, at least in my mind, three games that can make or break the season.

  1. North Carolina: This one is big for oh so many reasons. First – the Bulldog Nation has some demons of the Georgia Dome to rid itself of. And then there’s the whole Kirby Smart’s first chance to prove himself as head coach against and pretty good quality opponent. Losing won’t detonate the whole season, but it’ll certainly get things off to a good start, and also avoid detractors that are bigger fans of The University of Mark Richt than UGA from foaming at the mouth.
  2. Tennessee: If Georgia takes care of business, this one could be big, and even may still be if a loss to Ole Miss happens. Win this and the season, as usual, hinges on the WLOCP. Plus, you can stunt the upward path of a Tennessee program that just may be better than the ’72 Dolphins if you ask their fan base.
  3. Florida: First of all, Kirby knows what this game means as a South Georgian and former player. Remember – he grew up partially in a time where Georgia did not lose often in Jax. If there are any doubters about CKS – they’ll be greatly silenced by doing something Richt struggled to do for the most part – beat Florida.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg


BBQ Thursday: Traveling

Hope you guys have fun and safe holiday weekend.

If you are doing some traveling, be sure to check out our BBQ map where all our reviews are archived.  You can take a “pit” stop at one of the joints if you are heading to the beach, lake, or some other locale.   Just click on the little piggy on the map for directions and a link to the review.

I didn’t take any pictures, but I ate some ribs from Georgia Bob’s in Perry this week.

Now, I have to say this:  I’ve called Georgia Bob’s an overrated barbecue joint.  The Macon Telegraph has awarded it the “Best of the Best” several times, but I just don’t see it.  I mean, it’s fine if you want a BBQ sandwich.  But it’s nothing special and folks around the mid-state love it.

However,  I never had gotten the ribs.  I got the rib plate for the first time this week, and it was awesome.  The ribs were some of the best I’ve had in a restaurant.

And if you have an appetite, don’t spring for the half rack.  The basic rib plate was loaded down, and it was all I could do to finish it.  I even skipped dinner that night.

There are locations right off I-75 in Macon, Byron, and Perry, so if you are going to the beach, stop by and get a belly full of ribs.




BBQ Thursday: Speedi Pig, Fayetteville

A few weeks ago now, life took me over to Fayetteville, and having a little bit of time during the lunch hour, I found Speedi Pig.


Speedi Pig was nothing fancy.  Just a typical little barbecue joint that had your standard fares.  I did notice that if you were someone with a rap sheet, you might want to stay away.  There were more cops in there than at a Baylor football practice.

Speedi Pig can’t be sued for false advertising, the food came out quite speedi.  I ordered the basic plate.  I thought the school lunchroom trays was a nice touch.


I don’t really eat slaw, so I can’t give a report there.  The pulled pork was just “so-so”.  Not disgusting, not great.  Nothing special there.

What saved the lunch, though, was the stew.  This was some of the best Brunswick Stew I’ve ever had.

If you’re in the neighborhood, I suggest you try another meat option but definitely get the stew.  Or just skip the meat and stick to the stew all together.  But no matter what, get the stew.



Cognitive Dissonance At Ole Miss

The Senator had a post yesterday about Hugh Freeze not wanting to be disposed in Laremy Tunsil’s domestic violence civil case (note:  allegedly for an issue with his stepfather), for fear of any testimony being used against him in the NCAA.

For those of you needing a refresher, and I know I did, this case stemmed from an altercation with his stepfather last summer, where the stepfather said it started with a disagreement over Tunsil “riding around with agents.”

I know this is not the same sort of case as the disgusting Ray Rice video that surfaced, but the buzzword is “domestic violence.”  A prominent SEC coach does not want to participate in a lawsuit for fear of repercussions to his program.

At best, this looks like Hugh Freeze is wanting to hide something.

At worst, it appears he is being complicit in not helping the justice system take action.

What is so disingenuous about this whole thing is the entire sports world has now taken a stance against domestic violence.  You can argue if it is strong enough or if the various sports leagues are doing enough, but whatever.  From Ray Rice to Jose Reyes, sports leagues of all levels are stepping up to punish players for these sort of issues.

When the entire sports industry is now all about doing something about domestic violence, Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss have chosen to do nothing.


For fear of wrongdoings being exposed to the NCAA.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…




Mark Fox is a Smart Man

I follow Georgia basketball pretty close, and this past season was even a season ticket holder.  Admittedly, I probably won’t be this upcoming season.  No, its not a statement on the state of the team or anything like that.  With a three year old and my wife and I having jobs that are demanding on nights and weekends during January and February, it was hard to get to as many games as I would have liked.  Easier (and cheaper) to just get single games.

I do think that Mark Fox is a pretty good coach, though I think we have grossly underachieved the past couple of seasons.  We can brag all we want to about winning 20 games three consecutive seasons, but this team should have been a 25 win team and a no-brainer for the tournament.  Easily.   There are moments in games when I just want to scream.

Georgia should be a better at basketball.  I do think there are some disadvantages and I think you can’t underestimate the hole the Harrick scandal put the program in, but that is neither here nor there.  Simply put, Georgia should be better.  Georgia should recruit better, and Fox should consistently coach better in the games.

For schools in the SEC (with one obvious exception), especially a place like Georgia, basketball is widely regarded just something to get you through signing day and then a distraction before the spring practice.  Right or wrong, that is just how it is.

Mark Fox knows where his bread is buttered, and it is buttered by football.  I went to the alumni gathering last week in Macon.  It was the the third or fourth time I’ve been.  The first time I went was in 2010 and was after either Fox’s in his first or second season. Everyone had a long line to get autographs and pictures with Coach  Richt.  Mark Fox just stood over there by himself drinking a beer.  Kennsingtondawg and I talked to him about coaching in Kansas and rural life out there.

Every other time I’ve gone and heard him speak, he is very brief and says something like “Well, I know you guys are here to hear from Coach Richt so I’m just going to say thank you and sit down.”  Not quite that brief, but it’s pretty close.

Fox and Richt’s close relationship was well documented.  So when his buddy Mark Richt was fired last fall, he was understandably emotional addressing it the first chance he could.  When asked about Kirby Smart addressing the crowd at halftime of the Arkansas game, Coach Fox was short and terse.  I honestly think that was blown up by some of the beat writers looking for something to talk about and not a big deal.  At all.  But the perception was Mark Fox was not giving a warm welcome to the new Head Football Coach.

When at the alumni event last week,  Coach Fox and Coach Smart were effusive in their praise of one another.  That was the focus of an article by Jason Butt on Sunday.

Fox was a Richt guy.  Now he is a Smart guy.  And it’s the smart thing to do.