The All-Time Underappreciated Georgia Football Team

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Defensive Line: Quentin Moses, Steve Greer, Pat Dye and Mike Castronis

Quentin Moses was “the other guy” at end opposite David Pollack. Moses was all SEC freshman in 2003, Pollack’s second All-Everything year, and made All-SEC in 2005. Not only did he lead the team in sacks in 2015, he is seventh on the all-time Georgia career sack list with 25, trailing Freddy Gilbert by one and ahead of Justin Houston and Greg “Muddy” Waters. But when it comes to sacks, Moses is a forgotten man.

Vince Dooley called the diminutive Steve Greer pound for the pound the best defensive lineman in the country. An All-American in 1979, at defensive tackle, Greer was the ying to Bill Stanfill’s yang on the 10-0-2 1968 SEC Championship team. Greer served three heads coaches – Vince Dooley, Ray Goff and Jim Donnan – as graduate assistant, assistant coach, recruiting coordinator and Director of Football Operations.

Told by Bobby Dodd, “If you go to Georgia, you will never beat Tech,” Pat Dye proudly affirms he never lost to Georgia Tech as a player or coach. A three-time All-SEC choice, Dye became an All-American in 1959 and 1960.

Three games against the Dawgs biggest rivals summarize his career. In 1959 against Florida, he deflected a pass into a teammate’s arm for a touchdown-scoring interception. A week later, he recovered the Auburn fumble leading to Fran Tarkenton’s last second pass to win the 1959 Georgia SEC Championship. In 1960, Dye blocked a Georgia Tech extra point to give Georgia the win.

Mike Castronis, “Coach Mike,”  is perhaps the most beloved Bulldog of all time. He certainly is to all he instructed in his PE classes, first enforcing the dress code, “If it don’t say Georgia, it can’t say nothing,” and then announcing which bowl game watch he would time with that day, “Today we’re gonna run to Five Points and back and I’m gonna time you with my 1964 Sun Bowl watch.”

Castronis served as a coach to local high schools in various sports, director of the Athens YMCA camp, assistant coach at Georgia, cheerleader coach, and PE instructor and who knows what else. In these various capacities, he became not only the most popular man on campus but quite possibly the most popular man in Georgia. To this day, when two Dawg gather together only the words ”Coach Mike”are needed to identify Mike Castronis.

But as a Georgia football player, Castronis is another of the forgotten. Denied an opportunity at Florida because of his slight build, the 175 pound Castronis turned to Athens. At Georgia, he became the Bulldogs first three-time All-SEC selection and a 1945 All-American.

Linebacker: Ricky McBride and John Brantley

Ricky McBride gained All-SEC honors and joined All-Underappreciated tailback Willie McClendon as part of the 1978 team that came within a single point of the SEC Championship. He ranks third in tackles in a season with John Brantley.

His finest game came in Tiger Stadium on a Bayou Saturday night. With 24 tackles, he single handedly stymied the great LSU running back Charles Alexander for 81 total yards while McClendon ran for 145 yards. But even then, the pair of seniors were upstaged by an upstart wide receiver, Lindsay Scott, whose 99-yard kick-off return to start the second half ignited a Georgia comeback.

As a worn and faded John Brantley Football Camp T-shirt still hangs in my son’s closet, Brantley is a sentimental favorite. Brantley earned All-SEC honors in 1986 and 1987. He stands  fourth on the Georgia career tackle list and on the season tackle list he is tied for fourth with his Under-Appreciated running mate, Ricky McBride.

His NFL career was brief, playing two seasons separated by two years recovering from injury. He makes the list not just for his career effort and numbers, but for a single play. After James Jackson led Georgia on a length of the field march to take the lead against Georgia Tech in 1986, Brantley grabbed the Jacket ball carrier in the shadows of the South Stands and threw him to the turf on fourth down to preserve the Bulldog victory and snap the Jacket two game win streak over Georgia. It’s enough for me.

Last, but perhaps greatest, is the fourth of our defensive back choices.

Next: Defensive Backs