The center of Bobby Dodd Stadium's natural grass field was replaced with new sod on November 11-12, 2019 to prepare for three games in consecutive weeks. (Ken Sugiura/AJC)

‘A little beat up,’ portion of Bobby Dodd Stadium turf gets replaced

The Bobby Dodd Stadium playing surface will not have the pristine appearance that it invariably does for Georgia Tech football games. However, the field’s caretaker assures that it’s for the best.

Chris May, Tech’s director of athletic grounds, oversaw the re-sodding of the center of the field Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of three home games in a span of 15 days at a time of year not conducive to maintaining healthy turf.

“We’re just making sure that we could make it through the end of the year without the additional wear,” May told the AJC. “Using the (new) sod that we did, that’ll really help with that.”

The area of the field between the hashmarks and the goal lines was replaced with new Bermuda grass, rolled up on spools and hauled from Precision Farms in Braselton on six flatbed trucks. May had monitored the field and weather throughout the season, wary of the possibility of having to replace the turf. Heavy rain, cooling weather and the wear caused by four home games and multiple practices led him to call for re-sodding.

That Tech will play two home games in the span of six days (the Jackets play Virginia Tech on Saturday and then N.C. State the following Thursday) was another factor.

“We were a little beat up through the middle (of the field), especially around the hashes that last game,” May said. “It looked good for the last game, but I don’t feel it played as well as we would have liked.”

May said he would have liked to have replaced the sod sooner, but logistics prevented it.

“It’s not uncommon to do it this close to a game,” May said.

Last season, North Carolina re-sodded the Kenan Stadium field before every home game.

The aesthetics won’t be ideal. May said that, because of cold weather, the new turf lost much of its color in the time that it was brought from Braselton and installed at Bobby Dodd Stadium. What will be lost in appearance figures to be gained in condition.

Coach Geoff Collins expressed his appreciation for the in-season makeover.

“This surface has got to be arguably one of the best surfaces in college football, on Grant Field, and the investment that our administration puts in making sure our guys have a safe surface, a fast surface, is pretty cool,” Collins said.

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