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August 6, 2013

We Talkin' 'Bout Practice

Sketched during 1896 fall camp, trainer
"Pop" Warner (L) stands with one of his
star Red and Black players.
As we are all fully aware, football practice at UGA has recently resumed.  Personally, with the start of the last few fall camps, I'm reminded of one of the program's first and has to be most intriguing practice sessions entering a campaign since I discovered its details in research conducted several years ago.

By 1896, although the sport of football was relatively new at the University, it had already taken the town of Athens by storm.  After just one season at the helm, 25-year-old Glenn "Pop" Warner, Georgia's "trainer" as the head coach was known back then, had nurtured a program which, as it was stated, made "Athenians have the football craze."

It was said about 2,000 residents arrived daily to observe the Red and Black's first week of fall practice.  This is absolutely remarkable considering roughly the same number would show up for most of the team's games during that upcoming season. 

Imagine if 90,000+ people showed up nowadays to the Bulldogs' practice field every August.

Back then, a UGA football practice was evidently a family affair.  During one of the early 1896 practices, a newspaper writer overheard a young man ask his father, "Did you ever see better grit than [halfback Laurie] Cothran showed today?"

"He's one of the finest but did you notice [quarterback John] Spain's fearless tackling?" the father replied.  "That fellow would tackle a buzz-saw."

"None of them are as good as [halfback Rufus "Cow"] Nalley," chimed in the mother.

"Oh, shucks, mamma," declared the youngest child, a seven year old.  "Old Cow can eat 'em up when he gets his hands on 'em but you know he ain't half as fast as [halfback Arthur] Clark.  Clark's the swiftest."

A lot was expected from the talent-filled Georgia squad of 1896 despite, according to a preseason forecast, "most of [the players] were light men, not averaging more than 130 pounds." 

One hundred seventeen years later, Georgia's fall practice has certainly undergone some major transformations.  With no such evidence of a cow, buzz-saw, or a debating family of four, an image of one of the Bulldogs' recent practices sent by a photographer friend of mine: 

Posted by the sponsor of this blog to the site's right panel, apparently making it to the practice field recently was also a pouch of SF-7x Super FruitSpeaking of my sponsor, I've been meaning to post information on the 100% fruit, 100% natural fruit chews for some time. 

SF-7x Super Fruit is operated locally out of Athens and currently supplies its fruit chews to more than a dozen college athletic programs around the nation.  Each pouch is equivalent to two servings of fruit, USDA and NCAA compliant, a fruit source free of preservatives, added sugars, waxes and glazing agents, and  comes in three flavors--Strawberry, Raspberry, and Watermelon.

And, unlike similar products, SF-7x Super Fruit actually tastes good.  My family can attest to this: my 6-year-old is perhaps the pickiest eater on earth; however, when it comes to SF-7x Super Fruit, my wife and I literally have to hide the family pouches from him.

If you're interested in finding out more information on SF-7x Super Fruit, visit their website.  From there, you can order their products.  When ordering, make sure to enter SFATD as your promo code (ATD for "About Them Dawgs!") to receive a 10% discount off your order.

For a few of you, SF-7x Super Fruit is giving away pouches of its fruit chews.  Be one of the first three to answer the trivia question correctly below, and the company will promptly mail you a box of 15 pouches--five of each flavor.  

Speaking of 1896, Georgia would finish a perfect 4-0 that year, marking the first of how many seasons in UGA football history through 2012 where Georgia has gone perfect, not losing or tying a single game for an entire campaign?

A. One (1896 has been the only perfect season)
B. Three
C. Five
D. Seven
E. Nine  
Email your answer to Samples@patrickgarbin.com for the opportunity to receive complimentary SF-7x Super Fruit.  Please send only one answer per email address.

That was quick--had five readers promptly email and answer the trivia question correctly.  Congratulations to W. Easom, J. Blackston, R. Rivera, J. Pratt, and R. Tankersley.

Summing up Georgia's fall camp of 1896, it was reported "Athens has the football fever," and "the outlook for the Athens men is exceedingly bright" ("in spite of the lightness of the candidates").  Perhaps Athens and its "men" have actually transformed little 117 years later; the exact same things could be said of the city and its Bulldogs during the current fall practice (except the "lightness" part as the Athens men now average approximately 230 pounds per player). 

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