Florida is vulnerable. But can Georgia do anything about it?

Florida is still No. 1 but the reality is that the Gators are bringing a very vulnerable football team to Jacksonville on Saturday to play Georgia.

The offense, which was unstoppable a year ago, is simply not playing well. There is no question that the Gators miss offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, now the head coach at Mississippi State. But more than that Florida misses the ability to stretch the field vertically as they did a year ago with Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. Nobody is scared that these guys are going to go deep anymore.

 Tim Tebow is starting to press a little and is trying to do too much. He was sacked six times against Arkansas, a game in which Florida turned it over four times. Tebow threw two pick-sixes against Mississippi State, which meant the Gators had to work way too hard to win 29-19 in Starkville (You may insert your officiating reference here).

 The defense is beat up and tired because it’s been on the field too much. Linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin) and several other defensive starters who sat out last week, however, may be back.

 Urban Meyer is taking the temperature of his team to make sure that guys don’t start pointing fingers. If I’m a Florida defensive player, I’m wondering why my offense is suddenly missing in action and is starting to give away points.

 The bottom line is that Florida has all kind of issues. They have a perfect 7-0 record but are playing less than perfectly. They look like a football team that is trying to tread water until Dec. 5 and the SEC championship game, when they expect to turn it up a notch. That’s a dangerous place to be, mentally and physically, in this league.

 But for the life of me I’m just not sure that Georgia can do anything to take advantage of it.

 Sure, Georgia has had a week off since beating Vanderbilt. But what is Georgia actually going to do on the field that would give them a chance to win this football game?

 Georgia has gone down to Jacksonville many times with the lesser talented football team. But all through the history of this rivalry the Bulldogs have found a way to win because players stepped it up and, in some cases, played the best game of their lives.

In 1966 Florida and quarterback Steve Spurrier were favored to win their first-ever SEC championship. Spurrier was on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. But a pair of defensive All-Americans, Bill Stanfill and George Patton, got after Spurrier in the second half and Georgia won, 27-10.

 In 1975 Florida was supposed to finally win the SEC championship with one of their more talented teams ever. But Erk Russell’s first “Junkyard Dawg” defense would not let the Gators score a touchdown. They kept it close so that tight end Richard Appleby could throw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Gene Washington and stun the Gators 10-7.

 In 1985 Georgia upset No. 1 Florida in Jacksonville because Tim Worley and Keith Henderson just ran the ball right through the Gators and defensive end Greg “Muddy” Waters had a career day rushing Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell and Georgia won 24-3.

 In 1997 Mike Bobo played one of his best games as a Georgia quarterback. Robert Edwards and Hines Ward were magnificent. Jim Donnan called his best game as Georgia’s head coach and the Bulldogs dominated the No. 6 Gators 37-17.

 In 2007 Knowshon Moreno ran for 188 yards, a career high, and Matt Stafford threw three touchdown passes. Florida was vulnerable that day because Tebow had a bad shoulder. Georgia rolled up 413 yards and beat No. 9 Florida 42-30.

 But as you look at this Georgia team, you wonder: Who can step up and do something exceptional?  Can somebody on this team have a career-defining moment and at least put Georgia in a position to win?

 I think QB Joe Cox is that kind of guy. I know A.J. Green is. Linebacker Rennie Curran is a warrior. But look at the numbers and tell me how Georgia wins this game:

 103rd in rushing (108 yards per game)

 84th in scoring defense (27.7 ppg)

 119th in turnover margin (minus-11)

 117th in penalties (9.29 per game)

 90th in passing defense (238.29 ypg)

 70th in total defense (365.57 ypg)

 95th in time of possession (28:28)

 The response to that question should be that the numbers don’t matter. It only matters how these two teams play for 60 minutes in Jacksonville. In the past some flawed Georgia teams have found a way to put it together and have a magical afternoon against Florida. But what about this team?

 I’m not here to beat up on a Georgia team that has clearly had its struggles since a 3-1 start. All I know is that I was down on the field for the last five minutes of the Tennessee-Alabama game last Saturday and I saw two football teams playing their guts out to win a huge rivalry game. I saw some great players make some great plays with the game on the line.

 At Bryant-Denny Stadium I saw the kind of effort Georgia is going to have to give to have any kind of shot in Jacksonville. I just wonder: Does this Georgia team have that kind of effort in them?

 Please follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

340 comments Add your comment

BobinBuford

October 28th, 2009
9:43 am

JM:

The defense is already the best in the country??

Umm, what happened in Knoxville??

The Other St. Simons

October 28th, 2009
9:49 am

Will someone please stop off in Macon and pick me up some Nu-Ways on your way to the Island? Double wrapped, cold bun. Thanks.

Go DAWGS!!!

rowdy von wompington

October 28th, 2009
9:52 am

I think the dawgs can pull it out. just got put tebow down for the count early in the game.

FloridaDawg

October 28th, 2009
9:53 am

Check the all time Ga vs. Fl record Ohio State fan…UGA also beat you down in Orlando I do remember….I was there
Lately , you lose most all the big games.
I remember when Florida put the whammy on you in the NC game, your band even played the Titanic theme at halftime…that’s nice.

PK Sam's Club

October 28th, 2009
9:54 am

The Nole’s won’t have a chance in Gaineville, either.

It will be ACC refs this year, and the ACC Supervisor of Officiating is a Gator grad.

JM

October 28th, 2009
9:56 am

BobinBuford, I was referring to Florida’s defense, nut UGAs.

Happydawg

October 28th, 2009
9:57 am

Can Georgia do anything about it? Your Mr.College Football?! Don’t you know that we had a week off and you give Martinez, the best DC in the country this much time, he will devise a defense to shut FL down. The Martinez MAGIC will be on display in Jacksonville. The Dogs defense will be stout and they will play Martinez ball to a huge victory. Having Martinez as DC is why we win on Saturday.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 28th, 2009
9:59 am

Ohio, you see we have been playing them for decades and in spite of the last twenty we still have the upper hand. If you guys got to play them the last twenty my predictions for you guys would be “No chance. None. Nada. Zippo. Florida would win easily”. Truth is not many teams have beaten since Spurrier arrived so I don’t feel too bad about our losses against them. Tebow is one of the best QB if not the best to ever play college ball so there is no shame in losing to him, like him or not. Now go back and find a way to beat Purdue will you. That one was a nut crusher wasn’t it.

Will

October 28th, 2009
10:02 am

I realize no one is giving my Dawgs a shot in this game, I mean why would you when we have Willie Martinez roaming the sidelines with his “soft” cover-2 ideology? UGA does not scare anyone in this league which is embarrassing given our talent pool.

Although UGA does not have much of a chance, this is BIG, BIG game for CMR and staff I believe. If we implode like many are predicting than I doubt many assistants will survive the off-season. The UF and Tech game are their final chances I think. I have heard St Simmons and Fernandina are like ghost towns this week, which are usually packed with UGA fans. However this base has given up on the assistants and their ability to prepare for a big game. In this pissy economy, who wants to go to Jax or anywhere for that matter to see UGA get blown-out? This is why Damon Evans will force CMR to make the changes needed. The question is will Damon be a cheap SOB and not give Kirby Smart the money he wants. Get it done Damon, we are watching!

RxDawg

October 28th, 2009
10:03 am

Old Fan

October 28th, 2009
10:04 am

Well, the bettors may know something we don’t. The line is down to 15 this morning.

That can mean only one thing. Florida, 62-3.

Denver Dog

October 28th, 2009
10:06 am

I’m sorry guys, but I’ve watched this game for 42 years, and I don’t see anything on the UGA side that looks like 67, 75 80 whatever and so on and so forth. There is no way the UGA team playing the way they have played on offense, on defense, on specail teams can be in this game. Seniors vs freshman, Dean vs Martinez, we could win the punting battle, but then we have to cover it.

Other than that Mrs Lincoln how did you like the play? GO DOGS BEAT GATORS

senoiadawgs

October 28th, 2009
10:07 am

Let’s see, seven games each game an INT from Cox with a total of 9 and several fumbles thrown in there. Yep, Cox is just the guy to show that he can pick apart the FL D. As CMR always tells us it’s not the QB but the blocking even though he hardly ever has pressure on him.

As usual Martinez will devote the game plan to stopping the run. He will forget that the other team has a QB that knows how to complete a pass when he is not pressured. The big play as usual kills us.

After we score on our first possession Fabris orders a directional kick and it goes out of bounds killing all momentum. Remember our kickoff is to young and doesn’t know how to play yet or the wind will be blowing.

Gray will get into the game and run a zone read play. Smith will get in the game and the ball will go to him. I am sure Strong is shaking in his boots planning for our varied attack.

Yes, I have a glimmer of hope UGA can win the game provided all of the stuff above doesn’t happen but so far we are 7-7 pretty much in all of the above. I will be cheering hard unless the new little one decides to come during the game Sat.

The sad think except for the QB position I think we have better players this year on the O side of the ball.

UF wins MNC undefeated this year old school style DEFENSE.

UF 31 – UGA 9

keith

October 28th, 2009
10:07 am

to quote Pat Dye “I don’t this team is man enough”

Denver Dog

October 28th, 2009
10:09 am

Ohio State Fan, the only thing we know about with you guys, is winning! I suppose if we played OHIO U every year we could thump our chests, but come on mam this is the SEC. You can’t even beat UGA when you play them.

Ohio State fan

October 28th, 2009
10:11 am

Heck, I know the state of Buckeye football right now. I’m not trying to convince anyone of some sort of superiority – the Big 10 isn’t what the SEC is, that’s just a fact. I don’t like it but can see the obvious.

If we want to talk about the past (i.e., previous to the last 16 or 19 that you’ve beaten by UF) then let’s do it. I’ll put Ohio State’s record and championships up against anyone – particularly against Georgia – and come out feeling pretty good.

Keep your eye on the ball – it is about this week and this game. And you guys are getting to get stomped. I base that solely on the product on the field, Georgia won’t more the ball against that defense – and you know it, or at least you should.

This will be an ugly game for the Dawgs.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 28th, 2009
10:12 am

Anyway Buckeye I am not here to debate you about anything. Good luck with your game this weekend. I can’t wait to see you guys play three great games to end the year against Penn State, Michigan and Iowa. Those kind of games make the Big Ten worth watching.

Herschel, et al

October 28th, 2009
10:12 am

We don’t see it happening.

senoiadawgs

October 28th, 2009
10:15 am

Ohio State fan easy on the Dawg fans right now. Most are still a little delusional that the heavens will align, we win out, everyone else loses, we get TCU in the MNC game, TCU wins and we hire their D Coorindator immediately following them beating us 56-0. Nice to see a Big Ten fan that can admit to what the SEC typically has every year.

Snellville fan

October 28th, 2009
10:17 am

Remember it has taken Saint Tebow four years to do what Herschel did in three.

THWG

buckblue

October 28th, 2009
10:18 am

Nope..not gonna happen…but at least the dog fans can start blaming the offical earlier this game ……

McDawg

October 28th, 2009
10:18 am

sweet bird of youth takes off in Jax on Saturday-boykin pick, branden smith pick, geno atkins, fumble recovery, who needs an offfense when you have Mr. Butler as punter-we pin them down all day and tee off on tebow-Dawgs win it ugly junkyard style-UF looses agin and dawgs meet ‘bama in the dome-see you in new orleans-its all sweetness and light

[...] UGA may actually be able to help Tech by going to Jax and beating the Gators.  Just can’t bring myself to cheering for the Dawgs, but I surely wouldn’t mind if they win.  I’m also not sure if some UGA fans really want to win.  It would be curious to see UGA win by shutting down the UF offense, thus saving Willie Martinez’s job again.   Here’s to you Willie Martinez, I would love the chuckle of your defense somehow someway shutting down Florida.  Go Daw…. no, THWG! [...]

jlc

October 28th, 2009
10:19 am

Gators win big and we can finally stop listening to UGA fans relive the glory days of 1980 and HW…that was almost 30 years ago!!!

help, I live in Ga

October 28th, 2009
10:20 am

Tony, you’re right and you’re winning me back as a reader. Florida isn’t that good but Ga would have to play way above their heads, which it has been known to do in this game. You have always shown class and probably have the best understanding of the SEC of any writer. Thanks for acknowledging the effort of the Vols against Bama. You have to admit, they are starting to play tough football. You have to love Monte, and you probably hate Lane, but we can live with that. The Vols are back, and so is this reader.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 28th, 2009
10:20 am

OSU Fan, hey I know your are right. I hate it. But I can’t argue.

Paul H

October 28th, 2009
10:22 am

m – UGA should schedule Duke, VA and Maryland so they can beat their chest about dominating the ACC? You mean the same way that Tech schedules Vandy and Miss State?

MiltonDawg

October 28th, 2009
10:23 am

the MOB and the SEC Officials will not let UGA win, then again you never know, could be a lot of $$ riding on this game- UGA Upset??

Pee pee on a dawg

October 28th, 2009
10:24 am

I’m just sayin…
if the Georgia Pomeranians do beat FU, it would help out our strength of schedule when we rack up 500 rushing yards and beat um by 30 in Atlanta.

Matt

October 28th, 2009
10:24 am

UF is only vulnerable when they turn the ball over putting, the defense in poor position or giving up touchdowns. If UF has less than 2 turnovers this game will not be close. If they continue to give the ball away anything is possible. I don’t think it will happen this week, UF is focused for a “rivalry” game. Gators 35 – Dogs 10.

59bulldawg

October 28th, 2009
10:25 am

Hope springs eternal! But realistically I probably have a better chance of flapping my ears and flying to the game. What good does it do to “step up” when your coaches can’t call the right plays or put you in the right scheme? Or neither your OC or DC can think quickly enough during the game to make effective adjustments? The sad part here is that even if we do somehow win, a lot of Bulldawg fans will point to it as evidence of things being just fine and dandy with the program. It’s a lose-lose situation. THINGS ARE NOT WELL IN ATHENS! If we lose it’s another step towards a subpar season. If we win Willie’s chances of hanging around another year increases as does the opportunity for more subpar seasons in the future. The only positive that might come from a win or a loss is that a loss may seal CWM’s departure. But according to reports yesterday Willie’s back next season no matter what.

I’ll be pulling for my Dawgs like crazy on Saturday but I think it’ll be like taking a knife to a gunfight for us! I hope I’m wrong. I really do. But this game to me stacks up as Florida looking to break out its doldrums versus a very erratic and underperforming Georgia team. Which coaching staff would you bet on to correct their team’s problems? For me, even though I love my Dawgs, it ain’t Georgia!

Jaxdawg

October 28th, 2009
10:27 am

Justin Houston will be in Tebow’s face all day long and that is why we’ll keep it close. Florida’s left tackle is horrible and he will get expsed on Saturday. Now, the only way we get the “W” is if we can run the ball…should be an interesting game. GO DAWGS!!!

Douglas

October 28th, 2009
10:29 am

I have lost complete confidence in Mark Richt and his whole coaching staff. He has demonstrated that he is a weak leader. It just goes to show: just like Erk Russell carried Vince Dooley and his conservative offense over the years, Van Gorder carried Richt’s team in its early success.

DuluthDawg

October 28th, 2009
10:37 am

Unfortunately, I don’t see how we win, but that doesn’t change how I will support the team. Besides, JAX is a great party you simply can’t miss. All will be righted when we beat the nerds in Nov. Until then we will probably have to take this one on the chin and plan to win the rest of the season and hope for a decent bowl. I for one don’t think we need to change CMR, although CWM and CMB are definitely on the hotseat. GO DAWGS!

Hooked On Phonics

October 28th, 2009
10:37 am

FalconUGAFan:
Thank you for pointing that out. I am convinced some people on here cannot read. If Urban Meyer himself wrote an article about this game it would probably sound a lot like Tony’s: Florida’s #1 but had some problems, but I can’t “for the life of me” figure out how UGA is gonna beat ‘em. How is that homerism?
I think you’re right on Tony. But, if everything comes together (Boykin takes another kickoff to the house or close to it; Tebow turns it over a couple times; AJ has a lights out game; Dawgs muster some semblance of a running game), Dawgs have a shot. But that’s a lot of “if’s”…..

OZZFEST

October 28th, 2009
10:38 am

WRONG QUESTION : What shoule be asked is “DOES THIS GEORGIA TEAM’S COACHING STAFF HAVE THAT KIND OF EFFORT IN THEM?”

I will be there, so I hope to God they can pull something out.

J Dub

October 28th, 2009
10:40 am

I don’t want to say this….win or lose…..NOTHING that happens in Jacksonville this weekend will make us forget Herschel or 1980. If you are dumb enough to think that Tebow getting a rushing TD this week against us is going to be a life crushing blow to us, keep on thinking it. You should take the time to read the comparison of Tebow and Herschel on Bradley’s blog and you will see why nothing Tebow does Sat or ever can make us stop crowing about #34. I think we are finally seeing the true Tebow….the one that needs all the weapons around him he has had over the past few years to be as successful as he has been. Just because the media says it, doesn’t mean its true…..OVERRATED!!!

J Dub

October 28th, 2009
10:41 am

I meant to say, I DO WANT TO SAY THIS!

GatorBob

October 28th, 2009
10:41 am

Gators love dawg meat and we’re looking forward to our annual dawg buffet in Jacksonville! Dawgs are Gator bait baby!! FL 42 GA 3 …. deal with it! Gators #1

another dawg in ptc

October 28th, 2009
10:42 am

I will be very optimistic about beating the gators until I see WM and his vaunted cover two defense. We made Crompton look like Peyton Manning and we will make Tebow look like Steve Young. The key to this game, just like 2007, is getting to Tebow. Mallet lit us up until we started hitting him. If I were the DC, I would rush 7 and play man to man on Cooper and Fernandez. If they beat us man to man, so what. They beat us last year in cover two.

p.s. I wonder how many big plays Penn Wagers will make?

Paul ( You doesn't have to call me Johnson}

October 28th, 2009
10:42 am

Ward, I’m worried about the Beaver.

Aw June, the Beaver will be just fine as long as Georgia covers those 16 points.

Andrew Zow

October 28th, 2009
10:44 am

Tony,

Here’s an observation on the Florida Gators,

The past couple of weeks, UF has has little problems moving the ball down the field. When Florida got in the red-zone, all of a sudden Tebow turned into a drop back- passing QB. Let’s face it, Florida can score at will by rushing the ball inside the 10.

I believe Coach Meyer is great at math and knows his team is far physically better than anyone they’ve played. Meyer and Tebow have executed their plan perfectly….and Tim Tebow will break Herschel Walker’s record against the Bulldogs.

ARdawg

October 28th, 2009
10:45 am

There is absolutely nothing that indicates the Dawgs can win this game. I base this on our play for the entire 7 games thus far. Three of our four wins could easily have been defeats leaving us at 1-6 today. We struggled against a very weak Pac-10 team, (lost to a mediocre Big 12) held on for dear life to a mediocre SC and Arkansas. We can’t stop them but we can contain them. If we don’t give up the turnovers and kill ourselves with *#&@^ penalties.

If CMR and actually prepared the Dawgs for this game (which would be a first in 3 years except recent Vandy game) Georgia can keep it close. This provided the offense and defense play solid no mistake football the entire game we can win it. There is hope, little chance but much HOPE. Keep it close until the end and we do in fact win this game. But if we give up the turnovers and big plays early, we’ll roll over before half time and this game will be done.

Have them ready Richt!

GATA and GO DAWGS

Fleischman in Chi Town's bed

October 28th, 2009
10:46 am

Here we go!! Tony Jabroni spinning this story to defend his pick of UGA beating Florida this Friday. SPIN SPIN SPIN! You homer.

Gator Mike

October 28th, 2009
10:47 am

It should be a very competitive game this year. What happened last year has no bearing on this year. UGA will be ready, and the GATORS will be ready.
Go Gators!

Nachos

October 28th, 2009
10:49 am

WELL WELL WELL !!!!!!!!!!! Look who’s back everyone: ERIC

Warrrrrr Eagle right buddy?

*”Kentucky beats Auburn for the first time since 1966″*

ARdawg

October 28th, 2009
10:50 am

Zow,

I don’t have much love for Meyer or Tebow but I have loads of respect for those guys. I hate them because they are Gators but they are essentially top shelf class acts and extreme competitors. They would not attempt to plan to break Walker’s record against Georgia. That is absurd on it’s face. Tebow would have scored 5 more td’s in Starkeville last week if he could. Are you waiting for the next Hale-Bop?

Movie Fan

October 28th, 2009
10:54 am

Nick Saban is a shoo in for an Oscar nomination next March.

Beakerdawg

October 28th, 2009
10:55 am

You keep waiting for the Dawgs to rise and a play a game for 4 quarters and it just doesn’t happen, not with this regime. I’ll be rooting for the Dawgs, but let’s not forget this team made Tennessee look like a monster of a team and their QB a heisman candidate. What makes you think we will slow down tebow?

PDawg

October 28th, 2009
10:55 am

If we do win or even keep it close isn’t it a reflection on the coaches for not getting this team ready week in/week out?

I think we will get pounded. I just have a bad feeling about this one.