Georgia Tech kicker Harrison Butker (87) and other players celebrate their 28-27 win over Georgia with a piece of the Sanford Stadium hedges at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, November 26, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Hyosub Shin
Photo: Hyosub Shin

Paul Johnson supports leaving hedges alone

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson supports the agreement between Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury and UGA counterpart Greg McGarity that both schools’ teams will refrain from destroying property at their opponents’ stadium.

The agreement centered on Tech players’ practice of tearing off pieces of Georgia’s hedges at Sanford Stadium and Georgia players tearing up pieces of Grant Field after beating their rivals in their stadiums. Johnson said he had never taken part in it and called the players’ actions ridiculous.

The Jackets face their instate rivals Saturday (Noon, SEC Network; News 95.5 and AM-750 WSB) in Athens.

“Certainly, I’ll talk to our team that that’s not something that I think has any part of the game,” Johnson said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “It doesn’t do any good to tear somebody’s hedges down. If you win the game, go celebrate with your fans and celebrate in the locker room. The same thing when they come here when they go in the middle of the field and rip up the turf and the sod and plant a flag in the middle of the field. Kids will be kids, but it’s kind of been tit for tat, I think.”

The tradition is believed to have begun when Tech beat Georgia in 1984 in Athens and Yellow Jackets quarterback John Dewberry (a transfer from Georgia) broke off a piece of the hedge. Tech players have continued the practice in Johnson’s tenure, in wins in 2008, 2014 and 2016.

“I hope we have that problem,” Johnson said. “That’d be a good problem to have.”

Last five times Georgia Tech has defeated Georgia in Athens

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