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?

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340 comments Add your comment

Andrew Zow

October 28th, 2009
12:15 pm

ARdawg,
Im not saying that the Gators had this in mind during summer work outs. Im dont even classify this as a conspiracy. There’s just a little tension between Coach Meyer and Coach Richt.
As Tebow got closer to Walker’s record, why not save the cue de gra for UGA?

Florida hates UGA for that trash they did 2 years ago. They wont forget. Thats why Meyer called 3 time outs in the 4th quarter last year, when they were up by 30!!!
Take a close look at the play calling in the Miss St game when Florida was inside the 20. It’s not crazy at all to assume that Meyer wanted Tebow to break the record this week.

UGAIsSoLastYear

October 28th, 2009
12:16 pm

I thought the timeouts last year, at the end of the game, were priceless.

We win the ACC when the ACC is pitiful

October 28th, 2009
12:16 pm

It still never ceases to amaze me how Tech fans think they’re so wonderful in what could be the most pathetic excuses for an ACC football conference to date. Enjoy it, it ain’t gonna last, but you darn sure don’t want Florida or Alabama. I’d love to see it, frankly.

UGA sucks this year, no doubt, but Tech ain’t world beaters. There’s a reason they’re not in the top 5 right now.

CPJ will be wearing the navy and gold in a couple of years, but it’ll be at Notre Dame. Even he knows that he’s making good on a bad conference year, and needs to get the $$$$$ before it gets exposed.

Lord of The Lizards

October 28th, 2009
12:17 pm

Yes Tony, the Gators are tired…they are tired of reading articles like this about how vulnerable they are and how lousy they are on offense. And they are NOT waiting around for Dec 5th, THIS is the game they are pointing to. They STILL have that unsportsman act of 2 years ago firmly in their minds. Timeouts at the end of last years game compared to the whole Georgia team dancing in their face was merely the appetizer. Expect a break out game by a determined Tebow…

Grandad

October 28th, 2009
12:17 pm

Bottom line________Are we (’scuse me, I’m not playin’)
Are “the DAWGS” man enough?

Gen Neyland

October 28th, 2009
12:18 pm

Accurate and current stats..?
Tebow, 15 sacks in 132 attempts
Cox, 6 sacks in 209 attempts

gdawginkalamazoo

October 28th, 2009
12:20 pm

Really, we can win this game, no doubt. That’s why Florida isn’t 14-0 yet. Joe Cox has his big chance to make his name at UGA and I think he will be playing harder than anybody out there, including Tebow. Keep throwing it to AJ, run that well dry.

Very true that the numbers and rankings don’t favor us one bit, but the numbers and rankings aren’t playing the game.

SOUTHGADAWG88

October 28th, 2009
12:22 pm

In 07 Owens and N.Washington had big games and we got good pressure off the edge.We missed that in 08 but this year I look for our DL to control the LOS and make this a very tight game..When we get good play from our front 4…our scheme has been pretty sound against Meyer and this year the Gators offense is not as good as it has been the last three seasons.Our return game is explosive and our punter top notch..so I feel good about us having an advantage in field position.The key to the game will be how our OL plays..we have to be able to run the ball…Fla has excellent corners..Cox will not get away with to many poorly thrown balls trying to force it to AJ.Establishing a running game is a must.The intangibles are on our side..3 of our senior starters are Fla kids with a shot to go out 2-2 against Fla,we had a bye week,we need this game more than they do and I have a feeling that if there are ANY game changing flags thrown in this game it will be on the Gators(I think our stay in the official’s doghouse is over).and then there’s just the aspect of Tebow breaking Hershel’s record against the DAWGS.As beleaguered as our Defense has been it would be fitting to not only win this game but keep Tebow out of the endzone as well.Hit Tebow in the mouth.. early..often and all game.My strategy is simple…all out assault on Tebow!The only blowout is coming fro our side if it happens!

bh

October 28th, 2009
12:23 pm

as much as i like coach richt; i dont know why UGA plays flat so often. think about all of the games where UGA was just plain not ready mentally to play. as bad as it hurts, that is coaching. why do you need some kind of “special” motivation to get up for a game? especially games against teams like Tenn. and Alabama (last yr). i dont understand it. that is the saddest part of watching UGA now. where is the heart?

KJ

October 28th, 2009
12:26 pm

“2 National Championships and you dawgies think you are one of the greatest programs ever. Dream on.”

There was nothing in my post that indicated this. Alabama education FTL.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 28th, 2009
12:26 pm

Regarding the Walker/Tebow TD thing. Doesn’t matter we all know Walker was the most dominating. Who the hell gets their shoulder popped out in the Sugar Bowl, gets it fixed then goes back in to rush for 150 yards? Damn that guy was tough.

Fishing is for 'necks

October 28th, 2009
12:29 pm

how2fish is another delusional mutt fan. probably blames the refs for every UGAy loss over the past 10 years. Go get a PBR and a new ‘tat hillbilly.

Bob

October 28th, 2009
12:31 pm

Stop the dive. Don’t turn the ball over. Don’t commit costly penalties, especially on your side of the field. Win special teams.

If Georgia does these things its got about a 50-50 shot of winning this game.

Florida is very beatable. I’m an SEC guy but I think Texas is #1. Florida and Bama are very fortunate to be where they are at right now. Let’s face it. The SEC is down this year.

Gatorzip74

October 28th, 2009
12:33 pm

Collegeballfan-
The only chance you have now that Spikes, Marsh and Trattou are back in the lineup is if the Gators turn the ball over and you get points off of it or force a short field. You may want to think again about punting against the Gators as well. If they block one,which they do about every other game, they don’t lose. Don’t believe me check out the stats.

UGAIsSoLastYear

October 28th, 2009
12:35 pm

gdawg, maybe you need to get onto youtube.com and watch Dwyer plow through a defender or watch any of the 30 rushes our QB has in a game. And if that isn’t enough, then watch the superb Louisville transfer Allen run through defenders. . . . and so on, and so on.

Dave Dawg

October 28th, 2009
12:38 pm

I just don’t see Georgia winning this game, but I’ll surely take the Dawgs and the 16 points that Vegas is giving us.

Gatorzip74

October 28th, 2009
12:41 pm

KJ
How many of your “Championships” came during your lifetime or since the advent of television? This is the big leagues down here, not triple A ball. Stick to a Big Ten blog.

UF 24
UGA 10

Stupid UGAy fan

October 28th, 2009
12:41 pm

You guys watch we will win saturday and the rest of our games. joe COX will win the heisman and we will be 2009 champions. Gooooooooooo dawgs!

1980 National Champions greatest tradition in college football.

UGAIsSoLastYear

October 28th, 2009
12:42 pm

Dave Dawg, 7 points or less – u take the underdog. Over 7 pts – you are supposed to take the favorite.

Alabama jack

October 28th, 2009
12:42 pm

Football is a simple game – you kick the ball, you run the ball, you pass the ball, you catch the ball, you block, you tackle – or in the case of the dawgs you false start, hold, fumble, celebrate, delay the game, illegally substitute, clip, and whine. Then you stomp on the other team’s logo and pee off the crosswalk.

Underdawg

October 28th, 2009
12:46 pm

Florida is going down to somebody this year (and I don’t mean in the SEC Championship or MNC games either, although they could lose either of those as well). They simply are not playing well enough to run the table for the regular season – a similar situation to how USC has been beaten once by a lesser opponent each of the last few seasons. Maybe UGA will be the team to bring them down?

David Granger

October 28th, 2009
12:52 pm

“Mark Richt has been loyal to Georgia, so we need to show him our continued support and allow him the opportunity to right this ship!”

You make a good point, pvbeachdawgfan….however: We need to see some sort of sign that he’s TRYING. And one indication of that would be that we do NOT continue to do the same things over and over again that end up costing us games. Stupid penalties, very questionable play-calling, poor kickoff coverage SCHEMES (not just execution), getting KILLED on our blitzes, lining up in illegal formations at critical moments…we keep doing the same things over and over again. Sometimes we have overcome the mistakes to win, and sometimes we haven’t.
Coach Richt’s plan for righting the ship seems to be “let’s drill another hole in the bottom, so all this water can run out.”

Coach Richt does two things very well. He’s an oustanding recruiter, and he represents the university very well. And those are about the only two positives he has. He’s the worst game coach I’ve ever seen, and it’s hard to see the Dawgs appear so unprepared.

How2fish

October 28th, 2009
12:54 pm

Fishing is for ‘necks I remember PBR not a bad beer and I remember beating the Gators like drums real regular..I look forward to both to come back in style soon…and its funny how those that constantly look for rednecks …have only to look in the mirror. Remember I want to beat the reptiles by 100 break there noses and steal their hot cheerleaders…if UF can beat us by 50 so be it…I’ll ask for no mercy and give NONE!

Jacksonville Joe

October 28th, 2009
12:55 pm

Gators are vulnerable? Ok. The Dawgs are Piss-Poor.

OldSkoolDawg

October 28th, 2009
12:59 pm

Is it just me, or could Urban Meyer and PapaJohn’s founder John Schnatter be twins separated at birth?

http://www.fastcasual.com/images/John_Schnatter_pizza_inside.jpg

How2fish

October 28th, 2009
12:59 pm

David Granger really CMR is a good recruiter and represents the program and that all..he’;s the worst college coach you’ve ever seen….DUDE pass what you are smoking the 10 win seasons 2 SEC titles and top 5 rankings are NOT just a matter of recruiting and representing the program…its coaching….worst game day coach ever….DUDE!

DirtyDawg

October 28th, 2009
1:02 pm

Don’t know what I said in my last comment that kept it from being posted…must have had something to do with referring to ‘the gaytors’ – collectively – as a ‘bunch of’ illegitimate children, or something similar. But the thing that was important – at least to me – was that I agree completely with pontevedradawgfan. Lay off the defeatism people. It hurts the players, the coaches and the recruiting.

No matter what the outcome, a true Bulldog would rather die and ‘give up’…and if you won’t ever ‘give up’ then they can’t beat us. As for who’s gonna out-score the other one Saturday, if we protect Joe Cox anything is possible. We’ve got the receiving talent and if we open things up then we’ll see just how effective our running game can be. As for the defense, I know we’ve made some mediocre QBs look like world beaters, but Florida ain’t beatin’ people throwing the ball – so stop Saint Timothy’s and the Gators’ running game -and again, anything is possible.

Go Dawgs!

gimme a break

October 28th, 2009
1:03 pm

you only cited two games in the last 20 years. That’s because the dogs have only won 3 times since 1989. Think about it… 3 wins in 19 years and you think THIS special, special….. (special ed) team is gonna go beat those horrible gators. (defending national champs, undefeated this year)

Yeah, that’s likely.

gimme a break

October 28th, 2009
1:06 pm

That’s great dirtydawg – as a true leghumper I do hope you die and give up. go gator

Charlie (is) Strong

October 28th, 2009
1:07 pm

27-17 Georgia? Georgia couldn’t score 27 on this defense if they sneak Stafford and Moreno into jerseys to play this game. The Georgia D better be ready because they are the key to staying in the game and winning.

Saint Richt soft as baby doo

October 28th, 2009
1:08 pm

Vince Vance arrested last night but Mark Richt says it will not affect his status for Saturday’s game. Of course it won’t! Richt is such a wuss its not even funny. Way to step up and let all your other players know that you can get arrested and still continue to play! What a role model he is.

FalconUGAFan

October 28th, 2009
1:14 pm

Yea traffic charges. Should be flogged in the street……

TidePrideGA

October 28th, 2009
1:15 pm

“2 National Championships and you dawgies think you are one of the greatest programs ever. Dream on.”

There was nothing in my post that indicated this. Alabama education FTL.

___________________________________________________________________________

You were criticizing OSU and there National Championships, so I felt that I should enlighten you about your lack thereof. You only really have one consensus championship and that was almost 30 years ago. The 1942 title was won by guess who, Ohio State!!! GFY Dawgie

Saint Richt soft as baby doo

October 28th, 2009
1:19 pm

It could be a jaywalking charge and I guarantee you Paul Johnson is suspending him! Its not like the guy got a ticket, he was arrested for crying out loud. Almost any coach in America would suspend him at least one game. Except for the holier than thou Mark Richt.

Fred

October 28th, 2009
1:19 pm

We really spend too much time in this country on irrelevant things, such as football, or any college or professional sport for that matter.

Stinger

October 28th, 2009
1:21 pm

BCS Rankings:

#11: Georgia Tech

Hello down there ?!
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/ #59 (or where-ever) ?? UGA

LOL

TidePrideInTheTrailerPark

October 28th, 2009
1:23 pm

TidePrideGA,

Anyone who actually knows anything about college football history realizes UGA’s 1942 title is nationally recognized by the NCAA. UGA won two more games than the Suckeyes and won the Rose Bowl, while the Suckeyes stayed home. Try again, inbred.

Nerd hypocrisy

October 28th, 2009
1:25 pm

Paul Johnson is playing a kid that was arrested for rape for cryin’ out loud. I’ll take a kid with a traffic violation over a rapist any day, you tool.

Fleischman in Chi Town's bed

October 28th, 2009
1:27 pm

Fred – go post on the american idol blogs or the obama walks on water blogs you fruitcake.

TidePrideGA

October 28th, 2009
1:29 pm

Anyone who actually knows anything about college football history realizes UGA’s 1942 title is nationally recognized by the NCAA. UGA won two more games than the Suckeyes and won the Rose Bowl, while the Suckeyes stayed home. Try again, inbred.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Wow, must have hit a nerve, but then again Bama has won more MNC’s. Games and SEC Championships than your middle of the pack program ever has… . How about winning something, and while your at it GFY trailer trash dawg fan.

Charlie Brown

October 28th, 2009
1:32 pm

Yeah, Florida’s vulnerable this year! We’ve got a chance! This time Lucy’s not going to snatch the ball away! Right.

ARdawg

October 28th, 2009
1:33 pm

Zow

Sorry big guy but your theory doesn’t wash. Florida was fighting for it’s life last week at Miss St. Your idea that Meyer would collude with Tebow to hold off on scoring anymore touchdowns makes absolutely zero sense. Richt and Meyer neither one harbor ill feelings for the other. Seems you’ve been drinking too much Kool-aid and buying into the hype. Meyer made a statement with the time-outs thing last year and accomplished his goal and that of his Alums. The previous years dance wasn’t planned but obviously embarrassed Meyer and some Gators. It’s done, it’s over and the coaches don’t hate each other. Pure hyperbole.

Old School Gator

October 28th, 2009
1:33 pm

I just wish for once that after the DAWGS get beat this Saturday that they could just Man up. Don’t blame it on the Ref’s, Don’t gripe about it being in Jacksonville and so on and so on. Just admit that you got beat.

Downbutnotoutdawgs

October 28th, 2009
1:34 pm

I have all the respect in the work for Tebow, but I think the Dawgs can win this game for three reasons. 1) The bye week. The team with the bye weeks has a huge advantage in this game, and the strength of Florida is their defense which should be very very tired. 2) Myers offense is not that great without superior talent, and frankly Florida does not have superior offensive talent this year. 3) the dawgs have talent, and maybe with a week off it will actually show!

Go Dawgs!!

Bubba

October 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

I hope Urban and Tebow enjoy the TD record. After all, it took him four years to do what Herschel did in three.

BG

October 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

BAMA will crush UF this year.

Fred

October 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

Hey Fleischman – First you assume that I watch TV, I leave mindless actives like that you sports losers. Second, Obama is a bigger putz than you, and that’s saying alot!!

Georgia Headlines – 10/28/09 | MrSEC.com

October 28th, 2009
1:36 pm

[...] but he will not be suspended from Saturday’s game.2.  Tony Barnhart of The AJC writes that Florida is vulnerable… but he wonders if Georgia can do anything about it.3.  The fact that Urban Meyer called two late [...]

Old School Gator

October 28th, 2009
1:39 pm

Hey Bubba, how many TD’s did Herschel throw? That’s what I thought. Herschel was the best in his position I will give you that. Tebow is the best in his. Just so happens that their stats will overlap and Tebow will have a higher record. In baseball they never said well Hank did it in less or more years than Barry. Get over it and come to grips with Tebow having scored more TD’s than Herschel.

Saint Richt soft as baby doo

October 28th, 2009
1:40 pm

D—sche bag, Tarrant was erroneously charged with rape after all allegations were proved to be false. There is no crime. And for the record, Paul Johnson did IMMEDIATELY suspend him after he was first arrested- for an entire year. The only reason he is back playing is that it was a BS charge that proved to be false.

But thanks for giving me a perfect example- again, Paul Johnson suspended our guy immediately after the arrest. For a year. Its obvious which coach has the bigger set on em.