David Greene and that ‘Hobnail Boot’ Thing

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By Anna Parks:

Featured photo via Online Athens

Last weekend did not go as expected for the Georgia Bulldog fans, coaches, and players. Between the rain, all those Alabama fans in Athens, and that awful loss, all Bulldog Nation wants to do now is move on and move forward. With another big SEC matchup this weekend, there is certainly a chance for redemption. Georgia has a long history with Tennessee, and perhaps the most famous game is the “Hobnail Boot” one.

Played on October 6, 2001, an unranked UGA team stepped onto the field at Neyland Stadium with high hopes of a big win. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” said David Greene in a phone interview, “It was my first away game ever and I was excited and confident in our game plan. I felt like we had a good chance.” Not only was it red-shirt freshman David Greene’s first away game, it was also a young Mark Richt’s first game away from home. The Georgia Bulldog’s hadn’t won a game in Knoxville since 1980 when Herschel Walker ran over those guys in the orange jerseys.

As UGA faced a sixth ranked UT, the score was back and forth all game long. With only 44 seconds remaining, Tennessee’s Travis Stephens ran 62 yards after a screen pass to give the Vols a 24-20 lead. Then, with 39 seconds left in the game, a young David Greene stepped onto the field and led the Dawgs 59 yards down the field. When asked what was running through his mind before the touchdown pass Greene said, “It was all happening so fast and I was just trying to execute the play. I realized that Tennessee was in the coverage that we needed and all I had to do was sell the fake and make the throw.” And he made that dump pass right over the defenders to reach Verron Haynes in that checkerboard endzone perfectly. “Pure joy,” is how Greene describes that moment, “The game was an emotional rollercoaster ride, but the win was pretty awesome.”

Georgia would win the game 24-26, and the legendary Larry Munson made one of his most legendary calls, “My God Almighty, did you see what he did!? David Greene just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over! We just dumped it over! 26-24! We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!”

David Greene played in tons of exciting games at UGA, but none may be better than the "Hobnail Boot Game". (Photo: AJC)
David Greene played in tons of exciting games at UGA, but hard to find one better than the “Hobnail Boot Game”. (Photo: AJC)

But does anyone really know what a ‘hobnail boot’ is? Larry Munson didn’t, and neither does David Greene. “I didn’t know then and I’m pretty sure I still don’t know now,” Greene laughed. “It’s an honor to be a part of one of his big play calls,” said Greene, “He was legendary and authentic. His voice was legendary. His calls were legendary.” Greene said that after some games Munson would leave and admit that he didn’t even know if what he had said made any sense.  Nonetheless, the game, call, and name “Hobnail Boot” will forever be legendary.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup, the Dawgs have a great opportunity to build their confidence back up and come out with a big win. “It’s a great chance to rebound,” said Greene, “Tennessee is a good team with a good coach but if Georgia comes out hungry and takes care of business then they have a greats shot at winning. The team [Georgia] is itching to play.” Hopefully the weather for this game is a little drier than last weekend.

With a long season and many games left to play, the future for this Georgia Bulldogs team still looks bright. They still control their destiny in the SEC East if they come out and execute properly in the rest of the games. When asked what Greene’s hopes are for the rest of the season, he replied, “I hope they continue to improve in all three dimensions of the game. I hope the offense and defense continue to improve and that the special teams gets cleaned up, and that everyone stays healthy.”

Fourteen years later and the “Hobnail Boot” game still gives all Georgia fans chills. I think it is safe to say that all of Bulldog Nation is hoping for good weather, a good game, and a good win this weekend as the Georgia Bulldogs travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers.


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