LIVE from Dogs-Gators, and everybody’s feeling the heat

Georgia's Mark Richt and Florida's Urban Meyer greet each other before the game (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Georgia's Mark Richt and Florida's Urban Meyer greet each other before the game (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

JACKSONVILLE — Time to play.

Was thinking last night — while Tim Tucker and I strategically avoided “The Landing” area — about the enormous pressure on certain individuals in today’s Georgia-Florida game. It’s odd only in that both teams are unranked going into this contest for the first time since 1979. So much for national ramifications.

But think about the pressure on . . .

Mark Richt: Georgia has won three straight but you can’t just wipe out a 1-4 start. If the Dogs lose, they are absolutely, positively dead in the SEC East (I think) because they would lose tiebreakers with both Florida and South Carolina. They also would need to win two of their final three games (Idaho State, at Auburn, Georgia Tech) just to become bowl eligible.

Urban Meyer: Think he’s not feeling some heat? Here’s a guy who appeared to have a serious health issue, suddenly retired, then even more suddenly unretired. He explained his chest pains as “esophageal spasms” and some immediately wondered about truthfulness. We can’t know if Meyer’s heath has affected the way he’s gone about his job this season but we know this: The Gators have lost three straight and they rank 89th in the nation in total offense. Florida can still win the East but if they lose they’ll be 2-4 in the East and all but cooked. For those Dogs’ fans looking for a possible omen, here you go: The last time Florida lost four straight was in 1988. The fourth loss in that streak came to Georgia 16-3.

Uga VIII enjoys his first weekend in Jacksonville. (Kidding. It's not him.) (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Uga VIII was out on the town. (Kidding. It's not him.)

John Brantley: It can’t be easy replacing Tim Tebow, but the Gators’ quarterback was expected to be better than this. In his defense, the offensive line and running game have been awful. But nobody could have expected these numbers through seven games: six touchdown passes, five interceptions, 10 sacks. Brantley had four touchdowns and zero interceptions against Miami (Ohio) and South Florida so you can do the math on the five SEC games.

Aaron Murray: He has been great this season. But he never has played in this stadium or a game of this magnitude. Richt planned to talk to the freshman during the week about trying to maintain his composure. Also, Florida’s defense is still pretty good.

Chris Rainey: Not too much pressure on him, huh? Mr. Time To Die Guy shouldn’t even be in this game (my opinion) but Meyer believes he has paid a big en0ugh price for texting a death threat to his estranged girl friend. He won’t have his phone during the game so he’ll actually have to speak his threats.

One last thing on Rainey: If you have no problem with him coming back because you believe he deserves another chance, that’s fine. But the worst — and most prevalent — excuse I’ve heard is that athletes used to do these dumb things all the time and we never knew about it. The point? I have no doubt that star athletes got away with things before that they can’t now. But that doesn’t make what happened before right. Fact is, that was wrong. Coaches never should be allowed to go pick up his star player from the sheriff’s office and say, “I’ll take care of it. He’ll run steps.” Pretty sure the science teacher isn’t doing the same thing for his students. (”Oh, he’ll just do extra experiments.”)

Caleb King: He’s coming back from a two-game suspension after being arrested for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket. The fact Washaun Ealey has a sprained knee may necessitate King taking on a major role. By the way: Funny line this week by Richt. He noted the Dogs are undefeated this year when they have a running back suspended (3-0 during King and Ealey suspensions). When asked Tuesday if any player has been suspended yet this week, Richt cracked: “It’s early.”

Fortunately, everybody made it through the night without handcuffs. One less thing to worry about. I’ll be back later with a few shots from the stadium and any updates, but I figured I would post a blog early.

Meanwhile, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie provide an appropriate tune …

Our photographer, Brant Sanderlin, took a little video of the scene in The Landing last night and stumbled on this unsanctioned fight between Georgia and Florida fans:

Catching up on Georgia-Florida week

Weekend Predictions: Dogs go down to Gators again

Urban Meyer slammed again for Chris Rainey decision

This is the week Georgia’s defense needs to step up

Dogs’ key to beating Gators: QB, defense or something else?

Early Georgia-Florida primer (and why Meyer is catching heat)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

2,829 comments Add your comment

Yellow Fuzz

October 30th, 2010
9:43 am

TommyJack

October 30th, 2010
9:49 am

For a day, ol’ TJ becomes a huge dawg fan. Let dat big dawg eat.

Sloan

October 30th, 2010
9:51 am

Let’s go Dawgs! We need this one!

NYCDAWG

October 30th, 2010
9:52 am

BirdDog

October 30th, 2010
9:55 am

Pretty funny that this blog is about the GA-FL game but a Tech nerd is the first one on here. You guys will never get over your obsession with everything UGA! I have never even been on a Tech blog in my life.

WPDawg

October 30th, 2010
10:02 am

that is bowie not freddie mercury

Joey

October 30th, 2010
10:05 am

If Rich will coach this game like he coached in ‘07, coaching to win, vs his usual (in UF games), coaching not to lose, UGA can win this one.

He has the same type weapons as in ‘07, except a QB who protects the ball this time. Turn him loose, Richt, and keep your foot on the gas!

Yellow Fuzz

October 30th, 2010
10:05 am

“BirdDog
October 30th, 2010
9:55 am
Pretty funny that this blog is about the GA-FL game but a Tech nerd is the first one on here. You guys will never get over your obsession with everything UGA! I have never even been on a Tech blog in my life”.

My girlfrind drug me down here little man. Otherwise I wouldn’t be caught dead. But hey, I do like seeing the dog fans humiliated and muzzled like the last 2 years down here and the last time we were in Athens (45-42). Hahahaha.

Pago Pago Dawg

October 30th, 2010
10:06 am

For years, UGA has had the “better” team, but…out coached…out played..???

Hairy Dawg

October 30th, 2010
10:07 am

Dawgs has got the talents and playing good to unloading whooping can on Gaytors and that arrogant mule backside Oscar Myers hot dog. We got Christain coaching with dominants players to mash Gaytors and start them continued losing streak. Dawgs is table running now for rest of season to bad beating over teams we playing. Gaytors goning to be paid back this year for cheating on ref calls to win for Teblows. Gooooo DAWGS!

THR (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GATOR

October 30th, 2010
10:07 am

THIS IS THE GAME THAT GETS MARK RICHT FIRED!

dublin mike

October 30th, 2010
10:08 am

WPDawg, actually it is Queen, featuring David Bowie.

Nervous. Really nervous about todays game.

Vain Jangling

October 30th, 2010
10:09 am

Jeff, you’re going to have to get someone to do the math on Brantley’s five SEC games for me. That’s why I went to law school.

RedandBlack

October 30th, 2010
10:11 am

Go Dogs!! Hit those gators hard, and often!!! Win BIG.

NXS

October 30th, 2010
10:13 am

Great point BirdDog. Ya gotta wonder about Tech nerds that spend their every waking moment living vicariously through Georgia football and trolling GA blogs. Pretty sad but that’s what happens when the only woman in your life is your mom.

Anyway, back today’s game. In spite of yesterday’s misguided prediction, Jeff, Dogs rumble today… 31-14. You heard it here first!

1eyedJack

October 30th, 2010
10:14 am

“My girlfrind drug me down here little man. Otherwise I wouldn’t be caught dead.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a bold-faced lie.

Yellow Fuzz

October 30th, 2010
10:18 am

Birddog/NXS:

I have to admit. I do have an obsession with seeing georgia fans put in their rightful place.

GADAWG88

October 30th, 2010
10:20 am

Today is my birthday. Can’t think of a better present than a Dawgs win today!!!!!!! GOOOOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!!!!!

James

October 30th, 2010
10:21 am

dublin mike,

I am worried about this game too. And I don’t even have a dog in this fight (forgive me that).

I am worried this is going to be the most talented yet most underachieving, bone-headed, penalty-ridden game the world has ever seen. It’s time for one of these teams to step it up. I don’t particularly care which, just sick of watching such bad football from Florida and (though improved lately) Georgia.

Big Bad Bwuce

October 30th, 2010
10:22 am

That dog in the photo is being pushed by a person with six toes. Inbreeding never stops. I am on a run of impressive victories and todya I ma giong . . . wait, htat was inbreeding cutting in. I am not as smart as that other little dog but he was only tmeporary. If none of the running backs got arrested last night I am predicting another win.

Jeff Schultz

October 30th, 2010
10:24 am

On “Under Pressure”: Mercury and Bowie co-wrote, produced, performed the song. But I’ll tweak the intro.

You Ain't-Know Gaily Whacker

October 30th, 2010
10:24 am

The Reporter: Mr McGarity, have you seen this article from St Simons Island about the trash UGA fans

leave on the beach ? They leave about ten tonnes, even though they are given trash bags.

Greg: Our fans are just nasty and not very clean. It is leave it on the beach or throw it out of their

cars on the interstate highways. I wish I could get my old job back.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/st-simons-tells-uga-700759.html

NXS

October 30th, 2010
10:24 am

Well Fuzz, it’ll certainly take a MUCH better team than Tech to put us in our place. We’ll see how your “obsession” is progressing after that game.

The Nature Boy

October 30th, 2010
10:24 am

Did you see any pretty girls…..did you see any fights…?? or better yet a fight between pretty girls..??

Big Bad Bwuce

October 30th, 2010
10:24 am

HaVING A naturallY whiTe A$$ makes me a betteR mascot than RuSs.

Vain Jangling

October 30th, 2010
10:27 am

I hope Richt leaves the goofy gimmicks at the team hotel. Here’s a crazy idea; how about just knocking the other guy’s helmet off every time you get a chance. Think Erk Russell. This year, the Dawg defense either wins it or loses it. I’ll take the easy way out. A.J. Green and Blair Walsh score early and often. Dawgs hold on and win. Before his career is over, Aaron Murray supplants Theron Sapp as the Drought-Breaker. Film at eleven.

Yellow Fuzz

October 30th, 2010
10:29 am

The Nature Boy

October 30th, 2010
10:24 am
Did you see any pretty girls…..did you see any fights…?? or better yet a fight between pretty girls..??

I didn’t get down until dusk yesterday but saw probably 200 beatitiful women and two dog fans get their azzes kicked (one with one punch-hahaha).

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

schmeckdawg

October 30th, 2010
10:30 am

Since Dooley quit coaching, these guys have had out number. We’ve had every type of coach with Goof, Donnan & Richt and their own offense, defenses, players etc. and they still own us. I feel like the DAWGS will win today; however, these feeligs are met with skepticism AND I think that IS THE MAIN REASON for the 3-17 record vs. the gayturds. We don’t belive and they do! Still I am taking the DAWGS today!!!!!!!!

Joey

October 30th, 2010
10:30 am

“But hey, I do like seeing the dog fans humiliated and muzzled like”
******************************
What, Yellow Fuzz, if any fans should know what that feels like, it would be Tech’s . . .

schmeckdawg

October 30th, 2010
10:31 am

Sorry folks, I meant our.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

October 30th, 2010
10:35 am

Good Stuff JS- a lot is on the line for this game. I think Murray is going to handle this game fine and be the star. Just hoping the D does not give up big plays again to Brantley or Death Threat Rainey- which i agree with you on. He should have a year suspension. If Richt suspends a player 2 games for missing a court date, IMO, the bar should be set at all schools the same way.

Joey

October 30th, 2010
10:35 am

I think the D will be fine today, if 1) Richt/Bobo lets the offense attack, 2) stays out of the 3-and-outs, 3) the offense doesn’t turn the ball over in our own territory, as has happened the past two years in this game.

RedandBlack

October 30th, 2010
10:35 am

The Georgia Bulldogs prevail today. BIGTIME. Go Dogs!!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

October 30th, 2010
10:36 am

JS- what is the drunk to sober ratio right now? Bloody Maries or Natty Light??

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Yellow Fuzz

October 30th, 2010
10:37 am

Joey

October 30th, 2010
10:30 am
“But hey, I do like seeing the dog fans humiliated and muzzled like”
******************************
What, Yellow Fuzz, if any fans should know what that feels like, it would be Tech’s . . .

Joey,
This is a GA/FL blog little man. You obsessed with Tech fans? Drink the red Koolaid and tell OneEyeJacked and bubbadawg how bad you guys are gonna run up the score today.

Joey

October 30th, 2010
10:38 am

Speaking of a one year suspension, Doc, in hindsight, that’s probably what Richt shoulda done to Mett, seeing that EVERYONE in the media seems to be okay that Alabama and LSU have offered Mett a scholly now.

Our O-Line will Mow the Gators A@@

October 30th, 2010
10:38 am

5th!

We dominate on offense. AJ goes for 3 TD’s. Go Dawgs!

Joey

October 30th, 2010
10:39 am

Yellow Fuzz,

Me obsessed? Who’s the one on the “GA/FL” blog, tiny man?

You Ain't-Know Gaily Whacker

October 30th, 2010
10:40 am

The Reporter: Mr. McGarity, the trash doesn’t bother you ?

Greg: Frankly, no. St Simons can close their island, like we did most of our campus. We will take only enough trash to keep the island from tipping over. Congressman Johnson was our consultant on this. He saved Guam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg&NR=1

UGABugKiller

October 30th, 2010
10:40 am

We should win this game.

We should EASILY win this game.

Which means this is the time Mark Richt, again, can’t win.

Richt was 1-2 against ZOOK. Think about that for a second.

1-2 against The Zooker.

But to me, again, all of that takes a back seat to what I like to refer to The World’s Largest Chain Gang Party.

What, with Mark Richt and Urban Meyer going head to head, the ONLY way you know no one is getting arrested is because they’re all on the field, playing.

Talk about two coaches with horrible attitudes towards discipline.

Yes, I do believe Meyer is worse. Meyer has had far more FELONS on his team that he has allowed to come back and play for him.

But just because Meyer is worse doesn’t make Richt right.

For me, Richt’s lasting legacy at Georgia has been the last five years in which he’s not won an SEC Championship, that’s true, but even more, has had all of these arrests.

Believe it or not, Richt and Meyer are neck and neck for arrests since 2005. And Richt has MORE. Again, Meyer has had more serious felonies and such, but Richt has MORE arrests.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the embarrassment that Richt’s lackadaisical approach to discipline has brought MY school.

There NEEDS to be a change at Georgia. Wins and losses simply don’t matter anymore.

The Police Blotter at the ACCPD is all that matters. And there is where Richt is the biggest loser.

SEESAW

October 30th, 2010
10:40 am

Jeff, did you wear red panties today??????????

1eyedJack

October 30th, 2010
10:43 am

Yellow Fuzz, don’t get your Yoda pull-ups in a wad. Who is Tech taking their beatdown from today?

Hunker Down

October 30th, 2010
10:46 am

Agree on the Rainey situation he should be off the team. Does not speak well for their program and the alumn should let them know it.

DIT

October 30th, 2010
10:46 am

Man, I had to set up a couple of appointments today. Hopefully I won’t miss too much of the game. Family comes 1st though! My wife, gator, said that she will have the nachos and football munchies ready when I walk in the door. Great wife!
Our Defense needs to come out immediately and make a statement. Hit someone in the mouth and continue to do so. If our defense is up to the challenge I believe our offense will definitely be. I don’t see a high scoring game unless our defense decides to forget how to play defense.
Nervous about this one! I guess it’s a good thing Munson retired. This one would not be good for his ticker. Still, would love for him to come back for this game!

GO DAWGS!

Saint Simons Doggie

October 30th, 2010
10:47 am

Please leave your trash in Jacksonville or take it back to your trailor in Athens!!!!

DIT

October 30th, 2010
10:47 am

I was surprised. Living here in Tampa I have heard several gators that are unhappy with Rainey playing.

Yellow Fuzz

October 30th, 2010
10:49 am

Beast from the East

October 30th, 2010
10:51 am

Heading down to the stadium as soon as my girlfriend gets ready. Not too optimisitc about the game this year. UGA is on a 3 game win streak while we’re on a 3 game slide. We’ll most likely have to play excellent defense and keep the score down to be in it with our inept offense.
May the best team win!
Go Gators!