The purpose for Georgia’s news conference Tuesday was to unveil a new secondary logo and some subtle changes they made to their uniforms. But it seemed the primary message that athletic director Greg McGarity wanted to send was that nothing much was changing.
The Bulldogs rolled out their “brand identity launch” with Nike at a news conference in which football coach Mark Richt first discussed Saturday’s G-Day spring game. After Richt’s remarks, McGarity and Nike senior designer Clint Shaner took over the podium and, with high-quality enlarged photos being placed on easels all around them, proceeded to explain the changes they’ve been plotting over the past 15 months to “promote a consistent and unified look across all sports.”
But McGarity emphasized that nothing changed regarding the general look of the traditional football uniform or, most important, Georgia’s “Power G.”
“I want to make it really clear that this is not a rebranding process regarding the ‘G,’” said McGarity, a 1976 UGA graduate and the Bulldogs’ AD since 2010. “We’re not touching the G. That will never be altered as long as I’m here.”
McGarity said they evaluated all 20 teams that Georgia fields and that every team had a different number font and letter font on their uniforms. Georgia and Nike felt the need to “bring some clarity to the program” by providing a consistent style across the board.
Over the past 15 months, Nike’s creative arm worked to identify that consistent look. They ended up creating a font specifically for Georgia and called it “Bulldog Bold.” That will now be used for all lettering and numbering for all sports. But McGarity was skeptical as to how noticeable it will be to fans.
“If we had kept it under wraps and not said anything before we ran out on the field for the Clemson game, nobody would have noticed,” McGarity said.
More buzz was generated by the secondary bulldog logo Nike created. Featuring a wide bulldog head in a red, spiked collar, the “Secondary Dawg” will be utilized only in “non-uniform use.” It will be prominently displayed on the field during G-Day near the two end zones and at other points throughout Sanford Stadium.
One sport was “grandfathered in” as far as using their old, unique logo and that was coach Andy Landers’ Lady Bulldogs’ basketball team. McGarity said they will be permitted to use that program’s “Script G” in a non-uniform capacity.
Gurley is game: Spring games always test coaches’ nerves. With no tangible outcome on the line, they have to weigh the risks of getting their star players hurt against getting them the reps they need and putting them on display for thousands of adoring fans who have come to see them.
Georgia’s coaches will experience that quandary Saturday when they decide how to handle Todd Gurley in the annual G-Day game at Sanford Stadium (1 p.m., CSS). The Bulldogs’ star tailback rushed for 1,385 yards and scored 18 touchdowns as a freshman last season, so he has little to prove and much to lose. Yet everybody tuning in on television wants to see him in action.
“Basically once we divvy up the teams and the coaches (Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham) get who they get, and they’ll make that decision,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “But they’ll all play ball.”
For Gurley himself, it’s an easy call. “I would like to play a lot,” said the 6-foot-1, 234-pound rising sophomore. “It’s the coaches’ decision whether I play or not and how much, but I’d like to. Why not?”
Georgia hasn’t used Gurley much to this point in spring practice, not in the running game at least. He’s had only five carries for a total of 29 yards in the Bulldogs’ two organized scrimmages. But he insists that has more to do with him working on other parts of his game, namely pass protection and receiving.
“I’ve been in on a lot of the pass stuff, just basically working on getting out (of the backfield), pass protection, communicating,” Gurley said. “That’s one of the main things coach Bobo wants me to be working on, so he’s putting me in those situations.”
Theus at left tackle: Sophomore John Theus has been working with the No. 1 offense at left tackle while sophomore Xzavier Ward has moved into Theus’ previous spot at right tackle. “We’re experimenting right now,” Richt said. “Xzavier Ward is really coming along. We’ve also got (Mark) Beard and (Kenarious) Gates who can play tackle, but maybe they can play guard. We’re trying to find what our best five is for next year. So we’re rolling them around a little more.”