Dog Bones A Sign Of Excellence
Bones that adorn the helmets of Georgia’s football team.

Bones that adorn the helmets of Georgia’s football team.

Sept. 11, 2012

ATHENS --- The small black and white bone stickers that adorn the helmets of Georgia’s football team are more than just decorative measures. They are markers of excellence, both on and off the field.

Senior linebacker Christian Robinson said the distinction between the black and white bones is whether they are earned on the football field, or in the classroom.

“Everybody’s trying to get production and that’s based off of what you do in the game. Important third downs, sacks, pressures, tackles for loss, interceptions; things like that are how you get the white ones,” Robinson said. “The black ones are for if you get a good grade, B or higher. It’s on main things not homework assignments but projects and tests.”

Robinson also said that bones can be doubled depending on the importance of the play.  Sophomore center David Andrews said that negative plays can also affect an individual’s number of bones.

“You can have bones taken away for bad plays,” Andrews said. “It’s just a little check system to make sure you’re doing all your stuff.”

Robinson said that, while neither color is more important, a lack of academic bones can lead to ridicule from teammates.

“The grades come back, the people at Rankin check them off and then they tell the coaches what is worthy of getting those,” he said. “I know guys that don’t have black bones. People kind of mess with them, they say ‘you’ve got to get some black bones’ when they’re all athletic.”

For junior offensive guard Chris Burnette, the recognition of being presented a dog bone is a rewarding experience.

“It’s something cool that the fans can see. You want to get a little bit of appreciation for what you do every week,” Burnette said. “What we push for at the end of every year is a ring or a trophy, but it’s always good to get a little bit a reward every week.”

Burnette said that the awarding of bones can be for either individual or team achievements.

“There are individual and there are some team things combined in there too,” he said. “It just goes to show when you perform well you get rewarded. Plus it makes your helmet look a little better.”

The awarding of bones takes place in team meetings at the beginning of the week, with coaches calling out academic and athletic honor rolls. Andrews said that the collection of bones occasionally becomes a friendly competition.

“The offensive linemen were joking around with coach (Will) Friend trying to get more bones here and there. It’s definitely a little competitive thing,” Andrews said. “In the end, if we came out with the win, we’re not going to be freaking out about bones. We like to get them though as it reflects on the effort and how well you played in the game.”

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