Is it realistic to smell upset against the Gators?

(Georgiadogs.com)

(Georgiadogs.com)

A group of us were sitting around Sunday talking about the upcoming game in Jacksonville and the chatter was getting increasingly optimistic as a couple of folks noted that Florida has looked anything but unbeatable over the past three games.

Then the fan who seemed the highest on Georgia’s chances to upset the Gators turned to me and said, “You don’t look too optimistic.”

What can I say? As much as I’d love to be, I’m not.

Sure, if both Georgia’s offense and defense play mistake-free football on Saturday, the Dogs can win. I’ll be ecstatic if they do.

But I haven’t seen much on the field over the past month to make me believe that’s actually going to happen.

I know Florida’s been struggling in the red zone recently and Tim Tebow has looked less than superhuman. But which do you think is more likely: that the Georgia defense somehow manages to shut down the Gators’ running game while also holding the receivers in check, or that Urban Meyer’s offense finds the antidote to its problems in Willie Martinez?

And even as its offense has struggled and despite the injury to leader Brandon Spikes, the Gator’s defense has continued to look formidable. What are the chances Georgia’s offensive line, having been reshuffled for the fifth time this season, finally puts it all together against Florida, gives Joe Cox time to throw and also blocks effectively enough for the Dogs to establish a running threat?

What optimism I can muster about the Dogs’ chances is based mainly on the fact that Georgia had the benefit of a bye week this year while Florida had a tough game the week before the Jacksonville showdown. The Dogs will be rested. The Georgia coaches have had plenty of time to study the Gators and come up with a plan to negate their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.

Listening to Mark Richt and Cox and Jeff Owens talk at the Touchdown Club of Athens meeting last week, I started to believe it could happen. Then I thought back on every big game Georgia has played over the past season and a half, and I began wondering if this coaching staff is really capable of taking full advantage of the bye week.

I haven’t given up hope, but I guess you could say my faith in Richt’s staff is more than a bit shaky. It’s that old heart vs. head thing I wrote about last week, and the closer the game in Jacksonville gets, the more my head rules over my heart in terms of what I expect.

Please forgive me for returning from vacation sounding all doom and gloom. I’d much rather believe that everything will fall into place and Richt will get one of the biggest wins of his career.

I’m just having trouble seeing that as a realistic scenario. So if anyone can make a convincing case for feeling good about the Dogs’ chances Saturday, I’d love to hear it.

343 comments Add your comment

Tech sucks

October 26th, 2009
10:30 am

Eh Florida has looked terrible on offense this season against some teams that really aren’t that good, but our defense is the cure to any offensive woes. If we want to win this game we have to score about 38 points, which I don’t think we are capable of doing against UF. We would have to run the ball like we did in the 4th quarter against Vandy and their defense isn’t nearly close to the one the Gators will field. The bye week should help and Richt should remind everyone of Urban Meyers complete lack of class with the timeouts last year. We would need a bunch of turnovers by Tebow and co. to pull this one off.

L-Dawg

October 26th, 2009
10:34 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE GEORGIA!!!

WHAT DO GEORGIA TECH “FANS” AND UGA FANS HAVE IN COMMON?? THEY ARE BOTH OBSESSED WITH THEM DAWGS AND WHAT GOES ON IN ATHENS!!!

LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING JEFF OWENS END TEBOWS CAREER THIS SATURDAY!!!

GO DAWGS!!!! THE ONLY RELEVANT TEAM IN GEORGIA!!!!!

HWS

October 26th, 2009
10:35 am

I agree, it’s all about the turnovers. UF has been friendly giving the ball away, but so has UGA. Essentially, the Dawgs need error free ball to stay in the game. Bring it to the 4th quarter close, and anything can happen.

Covington_Dawg

October 26th, 2009
10:38 am

If we play our best game of the year, maybe. Problem is they’ll play their best game against us, just like they do pretty much every year.

garydawg

October 26th, 2009
10:39 am

Willie better have our D playing tight or Tebow will march down the field with those 4-5 yard dump passes / QB draws like a hot knife through butter. Curran will have a career day. Cox to Green for a late fourth quarter upset, GA – 17, FL – 13

Okefenokee Dawg

October 26th, 2009
10:41 am

kauai dawg

October 26th, 2009
10:41 am

I think we may catch Florida like Tennesse caught us. A perfect storm… tired and in need of a bye week.

With us coming off our bye week, things could get interesting. My concern is turnovers and lack of creativity and pass rush. Same old same old.

Hopefully some of our young puppies have grown up some and we start to play as we all had hoped they would this year. Go DAWGS!

superDawg

October 26th, 2009
10:42 am

The gatyrs are prime for an upset.Can the DAWGS do it? Maybe not but who knows.If UGA plays a complete game without turnovers and stout D it is with in reach.Time to send a message to tek.

Hampton Roads Dawg

October 26th, 2009
10:44 am

Enough L-Dawg. End Tebows career? You are a blind homer and you now sink to a level that gives UGA a fans a bad rap.

I’ll take a repeat of 1985, or at least the end of Willie’s career.

Gators Rule

October 26th, 2009
10:45 am

The only thing I smell is you lousy flea bags. Ever thought of using soap?

RonnieGarDner

October 26th, 2009
10:45 am

Gators will blow UGA out.UGA is ripe for a big loss after riding high off the big Upset win at VAndy.

Saint Simons

October 26th, 2009
10:47 am

UGA #39 hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha Go Gators

keith

October 26th, 2009
10:48 am

After the Alabama loss last year and the Tenn. loss this year I’m not sure our staff can motivate or scheme a big game

Cuz

October 26th, 2009
10:48 am

This ought to make you feel good.
Florida has allowed 5 offensive touchdowns all year. UGA-20.
Florida’s D has allowed an average of 95 rushing yards per game and 140 passing yards per game.
UGA has allowed an average of 138 rushing and 234 passing yards per game.
In seven games, Florida has 10 interceptions, UGA has five.
In the same seven games Florida has 23 sacks, UGA has 14.

We can win only if we step up and play lights out Defense. If we do not. Florida’s D will turn out the lights on us.

Head says no chance. Heart says there is always a chance if you are a Dawg. Going with the heart at least til halftime. And then alcohol should take control. I better start stocking up.

Valdosta Dawg

October 26th, 2009
10:50 am

you never know, if we win the turn over battle along with 7 sacks we have a chance.

J Dub

October 26th, 2009
10:50 am

Bill, I simply hope that Bobo has found the rest of his playbook that went missing. I don’t have boatloads of hope the Willie has made all the adjustments he needs to make but I hope that the young guys have gotten enough experience over the last few weeks that they can be ready to make up for Bryan Evans and Prince Millers lack of coverage ability in the secondary. We must get pressure with our front four because it is going to take linebackers to cover Aaron Hernandez, who could be the best tight end in the country. It’s time for Owens and Weston and Wheeling and Atkins and whoever else to use those big bodies and close that gap in the middle of the line. Free up the ends, especially Houston, to get after Tebow. Somebody has to shadow or spy Tebow all game long, whether it be Reshad, Rennie, or somebody else. Take away the short routes and make them beat you deep. King of the Jorts, Riley Cooper, can beat you deep but we have to stay with him at all times. Perhaps Rambi can stay with him. As for the offense, PLEASE PLEASE open up the playbook a little bit. Give us a different look. If I know the play before it is ran, it would make sense that a paid SEC defensive coordinator can recognize what we are doing. It is going to take a very well planned and executed game from the Dawgs to win but unlike a couple of weeks ago, I feel like we have a shot.

Old School Gator

October 26th, 2009
10:50 am

As long as Cox makes our Defense his recievers then you all will fall on your own sword. We don’t need the help, but it will give us two things to laugh at after the game is over. Us winning and GA helping us win.

William

October 26th, 2009
10:53 am

The stage is set for an upset: Florida has injuries issues; UGA now realizes that FL is beatable; UGA has had a bi-week to get healthy; FLA was elavated to number one for their ‘performance’ against Miss St; and no one expects anything much outta UGA. On a good albeit a rare day, we can play competative football. So, if UGA brings their A game, and Florida brings their B game; UGA can win this one. I predict such a victory would be low scoring affair. I also predict it won’t happen. But don’t forget, we all knew UGA would lose last year. I don’t feel so strongly this year.

birddawg92

October 26th, 2009
10:54 am

Whether or not we upset UF this week is beside the point. As long as the current regime remains in Athens, such an occurrence will remain the exception rather than the norm. We are doomed to mediocrity as long as Mark Richt is in charge in Athens.\

http://www.saturdayinathens.com

homer

October 26th, 2009
10:54 am

Will Richt allow the players to dance in the end zone after our first td that will make the score 38-7?

superDawg

October 26th, 2009
10:55 am

tebone head is not a team player and it will show saturday.

Todd

October 26th, 2009
10:56 am

as a grad, letterman, raised in Jax, banned from the “dawgvent” at ugasports for having an opinion, it aint happenin!

how many times do I have to read bone head statements about defense this defense that, WHEN THE OFFENSE IS ALWAYS THE PROBLEM IN JAX STARTING WITH MARK RICHT, EVEN LAST YR. THE DEFENSE PLAYED THIER A…S OFF AND IT WAS STAFFORD AND THE OFFENSE THAT STUNK UP THE JOINT.

Offense is again the concern, UF can be held in check, everybody has held them in check so far. Now let’’s turn to the Joe Cox (Mark Richt says in the off season, Joe will start his entire Sr. yr b/c he’s earned it, understand!) he did nothing against Okie St, a little against LSU and absolutely nothing against Tenn.

I know he looked good against Carolina and almost gave it away, thank goodness for you know who, DEFENSE.

You think Fl is overlooking GA, raised in Jax folks there not! They sit around a chuckle when it comes to GA, like we do with Tech.

L-Dawg has no class

October 26th, 2009
10:56 am

The “end Tebow’s career” comment is about as classless as it gets, I agree. I expect better from Dawg fans.

homer

October 26th, 2009
10:56 am

Georgia wins when all the planets align and pigs start flying.

DBalcer

October 26th, 2009
10:57 am

I don’t come to read your blog to hear the DAWG coaching staff talked down. We had an SEC player of the week our last game and not a mention of him in your blogs. I am so tired of reading of fans who want the DAWGS to lose so that there will be a shake up in the coaching staff. That is not what a fan should hope for they should hope that things start clicking. Having our players and coaches read blogs like this one is bad for their psyche, they expect that type of thinking from the opposing teams fans but to have the AJC blogger writing that type of stuff is defeating for the team. Shame on you.

mcdaviddawg

October 26th, 2009
10:57 am

The coaching staff including Richt says a lot of the right things but the games show little evidence that they even look at the films of prior week games. I look for this week’s game and the Ga Tech game to be a total mess. Great players without coaching can not beat a team with great players and coaching. Next year no GA/FL tickets, never again until Richt’s gone.

tj

October 26th, 2009
10:59 am

won’t happen georgia will have another late bs call go against them that will cost them the game
the refs will make sure florida wins and stays at #1

Bill King

October 26th, 2009
11:01 am

DBalcer:

Where did you ever get the idea I want the Dogs to lose so there’ll be a shakeup in the coaching staff? I said no such thing and I certainly do not hope for that.

I want the Dogs to win. I hope they win. I’m just having trouble mustering any optimism that will happen.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 26th, 2009
11:02 am

Bill, we can always hope. Or just stay drunk and deny, deny, deny that the nightmare ever happened. If it weren’t for the narrow wins that we do have or the debacle at UT (that’s the main one right there) or the less than stellar 1 first down/49 yard performance in the first half against LSU I would think okay it might be possible. BUT given the week off I just don’t see anything productive coming out of it. Remember last years week off?

Brad

October 26th, 2009
11:03 am

Will any and all REAL Dawg fans please identify yourselves? I’m a Gator fan and would like some real confidence from the UGA faithful. Articles like this make me scratch my head because it seems like this mentality paraphrases the collective UGA mindset going into this game. Newsflash: UF, I’m sorry to say, has dazzled no one this year. We are beatable and if I’m being honest, I’m worried about the fact that this is a rivalry game that has a giant circle around it for the Dawgs. After all, what better way to turn your season around than to beat Florida? I’m sure Mark Richt will have his boys ready. I fully expect UGA to play tough and give us their best shot.

augustadawg

October 26th, 2009
11:03 am

Embarrassed to say that i have little confidence in the coaches ability to come up with a winning plan. After seeing Compton light us up, why do we think that we can slow down Tebow and all his weapons? After seeing a good defense keep us from crossing the 34 yard line, why do we think we can do something against a better defense this week? I would love to see us pull the upset but given the history of the series and how we have played this year, i dont see it happening.

Joey

October 26th, 2009
11:05 am

I UF played against us like their last couple of games, we would have a chance at an upset. But mark my words, they will play like a #1 ranked team Sat. They always seem to play their best game against UGA, dating back to Spurier’s very first year. During Dooley’s years, it was UF who played “tight” and UGA who always came in loose. Now it’s reversed.

Joey

October 26th, 2009
11:06 am

Brad

October 26th, 2009
11:07 am

William:

It’s bye week, not bi-week. Just FYI…

Kendawg

October 26th, 2009
11:08 am

The UGA defense made Jonathan Crompton look like Joe Montana or Dan Marino. Do you seriously think that defense can hold Florida to a low score? Will we ever have another good defense again?

Ginger

October 26th, 2009
11:09 am

Don’t look for UGA to win..Hope that I am wrong…..If UGA were playing like we expect UGA to play I would give us a good chance….but let’s face it—-this is a down yr for UGA…..Defense sits back and allows the other team to move ball at will…we just don’t get in the face and contest plays..we should contest every yard and not automatically give up yards in an effort to save big plays..offense can’t run….Passes are often inaccurate…special teams have looked good at times with kickoff returns,,but then will make a blunder like muff a punt or something….team is not well coach—getting stupid preventable penalties at times…….So this UGA coaching staff would have to fix lots of stuff for us to have a chance against Fla……Now Fla has more weaknesses this yr than in years pass…Miss State almost had them….But UGA has to do 360 degree turn around and have not seen evidence yet of coaches & players making corrections to do this….Urban Meyer as well as Lane Kiffin know that they need to be UGA every year for recruiting…so you had better believe that Urban will have team ready to play or they will be doing extra reps, extra running all yr long if they lose to UGA…players remember hard discipline…We don’t do that at Georgia…..So sadly, have to believe Fla. will win or we UGA will lose….It will probably be UGA will do enough things to lose it….Hope that I am wrong

Saint Simons

October 26th, 2009
11:09 am

UGA – 4-3 Duke 4-3 hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

sunday

October 26th, 2009
11:12 am

This is coming from a Tech fan. The Dawgs will upset Florida in Jax Saturday. As an outside observer I can just sense that Florida is reeling and the Dawgs, coming off a bye week, will want this one a lot more than the Gators, and probably be better prepared. I see this as a “draw the line in the sand” game from Willie Martinez, and I honestly think UGA will play the most complete game of the year this weekend.

Savannah Jacket

October 26th, 2009
11:13 am

Saint Simons. Dude I share your passion, but the hahahahah is getting old. You are starting to sound like m. Also, the best thing that could happen for Tech if for UGA to knock off Florida. It could open up a top ten spot and allow UGA to be ranked for Thanksgiving weekend! I’m not saying that I am a dawgs fan…. but this weekend we need to pull against UF!

I hate FLA

October 26th, 2009
11:15 am

I really think we have a chance. Other than last year, Willie’s defense has played very well against the gators every other year. The thing that concerns me is our lack of discipline on D. We are subject to all the misdirection crap they run because our guys abandon their assignments. Hopefully, they’ve all had a gut check during the off week and are going to come out and play lights out football. Our O needs to establish a running game with one back and quit alternating so damn much. Lets get a rhythm going. This team is capable of beating UF, if they and the coaches can get their heads outta their asses and do what needs to be done to be successful.

AGTfan

October 26th, 2009
11:17 am

Some have noted that Florida hasn’t looked like Florida lately. Unfortunately, the DAWGS haven’t looked very DAWG like either. At least one GT fan will be pulling for you in Jax.

The truth

October 26th, 2009
11:19 am

Yes, with our defense who has made Jonathan Crompton look like Peyton Manning and Steven Garcia look like a competenct QB, we can easily stop Tebow. If anyone is not a blind Dawgs fan they can see that all servicable teams struggling on offense have the offensive games of their lives against our defense. I hope for the miracle and we win, but dont count on Tebow playing bad against Willie’s soft zone…..

Joey

October 26th, 2009
11:19 am

DBalcer, I haven’t read a single item on these blogs by a real fan pulling for Dawgs to lose. Bill’s just writing what many of us believe – Willie Martinez and Mike Bobo have not fared well at all against the top teams in the SEC (and Big 12 this year) the last few years. They game plans have not worked and they make no adjustments that matter. Shame on you for having your head in the sand.

GADawg

October 26th, 2009
11:20 am

Florida’s offense is messed up, Tebow’s in a slump, they have to deep receivers to throw to and they have a bunch of key injuries!!! Ga will upset Florida Saturday—mark it down!! It’s payback time for Richt–he’ll get even for those 2 late timeouts last year by meyer!!!

Ga 33 Fla 24!!!!!!! It will party time in Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra after the game—all night long!!!

Best News Ever!

October 26th, 2009
11:20 am

The Dawgs didn’t lose this weekend, but they will this coming weekend and drop into the 50’s in rank. Go Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwgs

NoDawgsPlease

October 26th, 2009
11:21 am

To even dream of UGA beating Florida is so unrealistic that someone would have to be totally out of touch with reality. UGA has second-rate coaching, players are illiterate thugs who spend much of their time being bailed out of jail, and the players aren’t very intelligent to begin with. Richt isn’t remotely on the same level as Urban Meyer in coaching skills. All of which creates a disaster of a team just waiting to be skinned alive by Florida, Tebow or no Tebow.

Yes, the Dawgs will keep it close for a few minutes, then the floodgates will open. Make it Florida by 28 points if Meyer takes pity on Richt, but with the BCS requirement for big wins, that’s not likely to happen.

It will be ugly.

Styles

October 26th, 2009
11:21 am

St. Simons should be hiding in his double wide with the shades drawn this weekend as we infiltrate his town. UGA needs a set plan and needs to stick to it mistake free in order to have a shot…

SagaciousSamDawg

October 26th, 2009
11:21 am

To defeat the gators…….tiny chance, tiny chance. But the adjective ‘tiny’ does denote that there is some remote possiblilty. Just remember that the key to avoiding delusion is to focus on the enormous meaning of the adjective, not the noun.

BIRDDAWGONE

October 26th, 2009
11:21 am

Sitting over here in China, thanks for getting me FIRED UP!

HOW BOUT THEM DAWGS!!!!

Tech fan

October 26th, 2009
11:21 am

Boy, Florida looks some what soft on Offense Tebow just aint the same with out P. Harven…Very Close Game..the score will be with in 7 points.