I wish I could say I remembered more about Georgia Running Back Gliding Glynn Harrison. I know his name was very appealing to a youthful side of me, a kid that had once dreamed of playing Running Back at a high level. But, it was a position I would outgrow in the wrong direction. How many 6’5″ Running Backs do you see playing at about any level? Any time you pass the 6 foot level and have pale skin, coaches love to make a lineman out of you.
Gliding Glynn will never be listed among the top Georgia Running Backs, they’ve had way too many great ones like Herschel Walker, Todd Gurley, Garrison Hearst, Rodney Hampton and so many more. Yes, Georgia has had a lot of great backs, but the list starts and ends with only one and that’s Herschel Walker.
Glynn Harrison will not be on any of those top 10 Georgia Running Backs of all time lists.
But, he was part of a Georgia resurgence in preparation for the arrival of Herschel Walker, I believe.
The Georgia Bulldogs had been pretty average for a few years and the cries came for head coach Vince Dooley’s head. It was pretty similar to what every other Georgia coach has gone through and more recently with Mark Richt. Even though Vince Dooley is the best coach the Georgia Bulldogs have had, they were going through a rough patch in the mid 1970’s.
In 1972, the Bulldogs had finished 7-4, while in 1973 it was a similar 7-4-1 record. In 1974, it all came to a low point with an embarrassing 6-6 finish.
Glynn Harrison was a promising young sophomore on the 1973 Georgia team out of Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia. Gliding Glynn wasn’t particularly big at about 5-11, 190 and he was definitely not a speedster. But, what he did possess was a smooth running style which earned him the name of Gliding.
According to Glynn Harrison, he grew up a Georgia Tech fan since Decatur is a suburb of Atlanta and he watched the Yellow Jackets as a kid. But, that all changed when he was recruited. He thought he was all the stuff when he arrived at Georgia and would start right away, but he found some other guys ahead of him that felt the same way.
He didn’t play much until he was a sophomore and then mostly on special teams as a punt returner.
Harrison was supposed to start out as the main punt returner as a sophomore, but Vince Dooley decided he didn’t trust a sophomore and put a senior back there in the opening game against Pittsburgh. This was not the same Pitt team that they would be playing in a couple of years and the two teams tied 7-7 in Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back Tony Dorsett’s first game. Tony Dorsett
Later in the season, Gliding Glynn would become a good and reliable punt returner.
As a Running Back, he was behind Jimmy Poulos, Horace King and Bob Burns. He managed to carry the ball 38 times for 173 yards and 2 Touchdowns.
Harrison’s junior season was 1974 and that wasn’t a good season for the Bulldogs. With a bad defense, they finished the season with a 6-6 record and head coach Vince Dooley was feeling the heat from the Georgia fan base.
Harrison took over as the starting Running Back and he ran for 959 yards at over 6 yards per carry.
Losing to rival Georgia Tech 14-34 and then a big loss to Miami of Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl caused the Georgia Bulldogs to make some changes in the off season.
The Junkyard Dawgs began in 1975 led by legendary Defensive Coordinator Erk Russell. Junkyard Dawgs
Gliding Glynn Harrison was also a senior in 1975 and with fellow classmates, they were determined to turn the program around.
It didn’t start out that way in 1975 with Pittsburgh coming to town in their first game. The legend Tony Dorsett was now a junior and head coach Johnny Majors was turning that program around. The Bulldogs and the Panthers had quite a little rivalry going back then with consecutive games played against each other and Pittsburgh won this one 19-9. Dorsett ran for 1,600 yards that season, but the Junkyard Dawgs slowed him down during this game.
The Panthers were not all Dorsett and sophomore Quarterback Matt Cavanaugh’s development was a large part in the Pittsburgh national title the following season.
Georgia won 3 games in a row including a conference battle against Mississippi State. They also beat South Carolina in their border battle and Clemson.
Ole Miss surprised the Bulldogs in Oxford, 13 – 28. But, after that the Dogs went on a roll winning 6 games in a row including the famous win over Florida when Tight End Richard Appleby hit Wide Receiver Gene Washington on a trick play for an 80 yard Touchdown. Georgia won 10-7 and I did not expect to see that kind of arm out of Appleby. He really flung it downfield to a wide open Washington.
In their last game of the regular season, the Bulldogs got some sweet revenge on Georgia Tech and coach Pepper Rodgers after they had beaten Georgia badly the season before. The Bulldogs stuffed the Yellow Jackets, 42-26, but it was 42-0 before Vince Dooley called off the dogs, pun intended.
Georgia was beaten badly in the Cotton Bowl by Arkansas of the old Southwest Conference, 10-31. But, that didn’t take away from the really nice 9-3 season that the Bulldogs had to set up the following year.
Gliding Glynn ran for 894 yards and 5 Touchdowns as a senior to finish off his Georgia running days with 2,026 yards while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
The Georgia Bulldogs won the SEC championship the following season and played good ole Pittsburgh for the national title in the Sugar Bowl with the Panthers winning fairly easily. The Bulldogs dropped off a little the following seasons until the arrival of the great Herschel Walker, but I like to think the attention received with the 1975 and 1976 Junkyard Dawg years led to later success.
Glynn Harrison was a 9th round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs and he was only in the league for a single season. He won’t be remembered when people start talking about all time greats for Georgia. But, he was a good player and helped in a time when people were calling for Vince Dooley’s head.
I’ll always remember him because of his cool name, Gliding Glynn.