When I first had the idea to do a special series of posts focusing on my favorite University of Georgia football players from the past, there were a handful of names that immediately came to mind. This blast from the past will focus on one those players. I just hope this entry can reach the level of excellence that this favored DAWG is known for…..
RETROBEAST: DAVID GREENE, #14 QUARTERBACK (2001-2004)
David Greene is easily one of my all-time favorite DAWGS. I loved everything about Greene…his number, that he’s a lefty, his calm demeanor, his fiery competitiveness, his leadership, his toughness…everything. As important as all of those things were, I particularly enjoyed that although Greene may not have been the best overall athlete on the field (and would admit as much), he fully understood the nuances of the game and mastered their execution. Watching Greene play quarterback at Georgia was like watching a maestro conduct his orchestra. At times, it was truly a thing of beauty.
Greene, the magician
More than anything else, Greene’s legacy at Georgia is that he was a winner. During his time in Athens, Greene led his teams to 42 wins making him the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history.
Among those 42 wins were four consecutive victories over bitter, in-state rival Georgia Tech. One of my favorite memories of Greene comes from his final meeting with the Jackets in Athens in 2004. During what was a sloppy game in a rain soaked Sanford Stadium, Greene displayed the toughness and a will to win that defined his time as the DAWGS signal caller. Greene injured his thumb after hitting it on a helmet on a pass attempt and would leave the game for an extended period of time. DJ Shockley would play in Greene’s absence. Shockley would struggle to move to the team and ball security was an issue on seemingly every play. While Greene was out of the game, Georgia Tech would even manage to take the lead. You could clearly see it on the sidelines (and television replays would confirm) that Greene could see the game slipping away and was anxious to get back in the game. Moments later, with the thumb on his throwing hand heavily bandaged and with what we would find out later was a broken thumb (cracked tip), Greene returned to the field. Greene would play through the pain and the elements and lead the DAWGS to a fantastic victory over the Jackets with a force of will that has earned him a special place of honor in the mind of this member of the DAWG Nation.
As fantastic as that win was for Greene and the DAWGS, the game that sent shockwaves throughout the SEC and announced with authority that he, Mark Richt and the DAWGS were for real was the victory at Tennessee in 2001. On that October afternoon in Knoxville…where a redshirt freshman quarterback and an unproven head coach proved their mettle in the crucible of Neyland Stadium…Greene and Larry Munson became forever linked by a series of events in game that has come to be known by just two words…Hobnail Boot.
After what the DAWG Nation witnessed in Knoxville in 2001, there was a strong belief that anything was possible for Richt’s DAWGS with Greene running the show. In 2002, with Georgia trailing the Tigers, those hopes were realized on the plains of Auburn when Greene found Micheal Johnson in the back of the end zone on 4th and 15 for the touchdown that would give the DAWGS a comeback win, their first SEC East Championship and a spot in the SEC Championship game where Georgia would defeat Arkansas and claim its first SEC Championship in twenty years.
You can check out the recap from the game HERE.
To the victor go the spoils.
When you’re as successful as Greene was during his time at Georgia, others tend to take notice. Greene was honored as SEC Freshman of the Year in 2001, SEC Championship Game MVP in 2002, Second-Team All-SEC honors in 2003 and 2004 and was a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist in 2004.
For more information on Greene you can check him out on Wikipedia.
David Greene was a favorite of this DAWG fan, a winner on the field and a total class act. He set the standard for all that it means to be a football player at Georgia under head coach Mark Richt. During his time in Athens, Greene forged a legacy that will forever be remembered as a turning point in the program’s history and a golden era by those of us in the DAWG Nation.