Bulldog Bites: Buck on Georgia-Florida

Buck Belue in 1980. (University of Georgia)

Buck Belue in 1980. (University of Georgia)

Former quarterback Buck Belue, whose name always comes up this time of year as Georgia fans remember the “Run, Lindsey!” play against the Gators in 1980, has had quite a bit to say on his blog about this year’s Dogs-Gators meeting.

Among other things, he thinks keeping Florida frustrated in the red zone early, improved blocking on the offensive line and getting the ball to A.J. Green are the keys to a Georgia win.

He’s also weighed in, as have many of us, on the SEC rushing touchdown record controversy as Tim Tebow prepares to eclipse Herschel Walker’s misleading official stats. Belue also notes that in three games against the Gators his teammate racked up 649 yards and 8 TDs, averaged 5.6 yards per carry, made 36 first-down runs, and had 17 runs over 10 yards. Walker averaged 39 carries and 216 yards against Florida.

But to me the most interesting of Belue’s postings sees him retracing the Bulldogs’ route to the old Gator Bowl from the Ramada Inn where the Bulldogs stayed in his day. He notes that when they crossed the Isaiah D. Hart Bridge over the St. Johns River, “it seemed so high in the air and gave you such an open view of the stadium, the river, downtown, and the packed area around the Gator Bowl. I always got a little jolt of adrenalin right there.”

And once at the stadium, he recalls, “There were some quiet moments in that old, tiny locker room. Just us. And you could hear the craziness outside. There was a big game to be played. And it was almost time to tee it up. As I scanned around the room, looking at those guys around me, I don’t remember ever thinking we were about to lose. We were all in back then. And ready to win. I loved every second of it.”

LOVING JACKSONVILLE

During Florida’s dominance in the Dogs-Gators series in recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about a Jacksonville “jinx” in the minds of the Georgia players and the fact that it’s not a “neutral” site. But the Bulldogs never thought that way in Vince Dooley’s day, as he told a new generation of players when invited by Mark Richt to address them the week before the 2007 game.

Georgia won the ensuing game in a big upset, of course, and afterward Dooley reminded the dancing, chanting Dogs in the locker room that he had told them there was no greater place to celebrate when Georgia wins than Jacksonville.

As recounted by Loran Smith at the time, Dooley said, “Our players always got excited about any game, but no game excited them like the Florida game in Jacksonville. They walked a little taller that week. They stuck their chests out. We always believed Jacksonville was just an extension of South Georgia. There was no more exciting place to play.”

That’s the way today’s Dogs need to think of Jacksonville.

HISTORY OF UPSETS

With No. 1-ranked Florida favored over the unranked Dogs by more than two touchdowns, the Florida Times-Union has an interesting feature on how the Georgia-Florida game (or the “Florida-Georgia game” as the Jacksonville paper puts it) has a history of shattering the dreams of the favored team.

It’s worth noting that of the examples they cite, all but one involve Georgia teams upsetting favored Florida teams.

The lone exception is the 2002 game, when Florida beat a decidedly more talented Georgia team 20-13. The Dogs won the SEC championship and finished 13-1 but didn’t get to play for the BCS championship because of that loss.

The other examples are more fun to remember. Of course, there’s the 1985 game, already covered here earlier this week, in which Georgia knocked off the No. 1 Gators and kept them from being able to claim the AP national title.

There’s the 1976 game, when both teams entered ranked in the Top 10 for the first time and a victory would have given the Gators their first SEC title, but Georgia won 41-27 and went on to beat Auburn and win Dooley’s third SEC crown.

The year before, Florida was undefeated in SEC play coming into the game and needed a win over the Dogs to earn at least a share of the title, but Georgia rose to the occasion, 10-7.

And the year before that, sixth-ranked Florida was 7-1 and already had accepted a Sugar Bowl bid and, again, was looking for the school’s first SEC title, but unranked Georgia prevailed 17-16 and the Gators proceeded to lose two of their next three games and finish 8-4.

Let’s hope that’s a lesson the current Gators learn the hard way.

CRACKING DOWN ON DISSENT

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has taken another step to make it clear he doesn’t like public criticism.

The SEC announced today that its athletics directors voted unanimously that all violations of the bylaw forbidding coaches, players, etc. from public criticism of officials now will be enforced by suspensions and fines, effective immediately. The length of the suspensions and amount of the fines will be up to Slive.

Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin, who shut up this week after being reprimanded by the conference but let assistant Ed Orgeron continue to blast the sorry officiating in the conference, will want to note that suspensions and fines for violation of the bylaw by assistant coaches or other support personnel will be enforced against the head coach.

This isn’t likely to affect Georgia, as Richt and his staff have tended to remain pretty circumspect in questioning calls, even after the bogus flag in the LSU game.

Still, it would be nice if Slive put half the effort into upgrading the conference’s officials that he’s putting into muzzling its coaches.

59 comments Add your comment

David

October 30th, 2009
2:05 pm

Jack Nicholson

October 30th, 2009
2:07 pm

What if this is as good as it gets?

Lando C

October 30th, 2009
2:11 pm

Screw it all, let’s go beat these dudes. Give them some Braden Smith wrinkle plays. Hit them with some misdirection and screens early while the Florida D is jacked and overcommiting. Get some confidence, cover some receivers, and roll these losers. I’m excited for the win!

Dr M

October 30th, 2009
2:14 pm

For some reason, I just don’t care about being first… but on the subject at hand, one I do care about, thanks, Bill, for allowing us to revisit some great moments in Bulldog history. Wouldn’t it be great to get back to the level of play against UF that the old Junkyard Dawgs maintained? The “celebration” victory two years ago was a good start. A win this year is critical to turning the prevailing perception of Gator dominance around. I’m not predicting it one way or the other but anything is possible…

Dale

October 30th, 2009
2:16 pm

Actual quote from today’s ESPN podcast: “Florida’s vulnerable, obviously Georgia is not having the season it wants but the Bulldogs will play the best game of their season, you can count on that, and they’ve shown, at times, enough offense to possibly keep this thing close.”

I heard Georgia is going to put the black stripe down the top of its helmet again.

Jake 7

October 30th, 2009
2:18 pm

As far as the officials go……we don’t need to be wining about every game…..BUT there have been some TERRIBLE calls this year!! SOMEBODY has gottin’ a LITTLE unfocused (lax) in their educating the officials .

Lando C

October 30th, 2009
2:21 pm

I heard that when we rush 3 and drop 8 into coverage that they are actually going to try and cover and get some interceptions instead of running around aimlessly under the guidance of our secodary coaching. We have the talent all over the field. Use it.

DBalcer

October 30th, 2009
2:23 pm

I wish that in addition to muzzling the coaches they had done something to reassure fans that officiating in the SEC was going to get better. I like that Coach Richt always goes through channels but it seemed like it took Coach Petrino speaking up for something to be done about that crew. Whispers about them are getting louder. I know our coach won’t be suspended or fined for speaking up but I hope no one has cause to speak up that would be the real victory for the SEC. Go DAWGS Beat FL.

Pago Flyer

October 30th, 2009
2:24 pm

Ohio State gets the best recruits in Ohio…and always gets out coached.
Georgia get the best recruits in Georgia….and…….?!

Cuz

October 30th, 2009
2:25 pm

Just win baby.

Saint Simons

October 30th, 2009
2:28 pm

just a reminder 45 – 42 !!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Jake 7

October 30th, 2009
2:28 pm

The DAWGS have NOTHING to lose…. except a poorer record.Me thinks that the D will “let the dogs out”…BLITZ !! The O HAS to be MORE creative in PLAY-CALLING to OUTFOX STRONG !! Special teams…no FAIR catches….LET THE DICES …..ROLL !!

SSI gator

October 30th, 2009
2:31 pm

Time Out – Florida

AthensSG

October 30th, 2009
2:31 pm

Just like to say I saw Buck Belue play in high school and he was a great high school football player. He had a solid career at UGA but playing for Dooley (and with Mr Walker), didn’t get to pass it but about 12 times a game. Still wound up with over 1700 yds passing as a senior. Ice water in his veins when under pressure. Led many memorable late-game comebacks against Tech (as a freshman), Stanford, UF in ‘80 and 81 among others. All of us Dawg fans will never forget you and the 12-0-0 Champoinship team of ‘80, Buck. Especially this time of year. Run, Lindsay, run….

UGASlobberknocker

October 30th, 2009
2:33 pm

Maybe Slive should spend more effort on hiring competent officials and less on reprimanding coaches who only speak the truth. SEC officials are awful and have been for years. There is no excuse for the best conferance to have the worst officals. If you dont think this is a problem..watch the bowl games this year and see how well other conference officals perform..then watch the poor bowl particpants who get the SEC officails. The difference is astounding..like comparing high school to college.

SSI gator

October 30th, 2009
2:34 pm

Starting the 4th quarter -

UGA VII sitting backwards in his dog house. Even he can’t watch.

Lando C

October 30th, 2009
2:37 pm

I’m with you Jake. Let it all hang out. Got to blitz Tebow with their avg receivers. Man up in the sec. Run game and Cox are not good enough to dink and dunk are way down the field on these guys. Take chances deep. Take several chances deep.

reebok

October 30th, 2009
2:39 pm

that’s hilarious…your officiating and you deal with the situation by cracking down on the coaches. i love it.

SSI gator

October 30th, 2009
2:39 pm

Post Game Comments -

Mark Richt: “We had our chances, but just could not get it done” “The players just need to do a better job of executing” “I am just focusing on the next game right now” “We will evaluate our program at the end of the season and if changes need to be made they will be made” “Didn’t I say that last year?”

reebok

October 30th, 2009
2:40 pm

my post got edited…i swear it made sense when i posted it…id din’t even use profanity of anything.

SSI gator

October 30th, 2009
2:43 pm

This just in from Athens -

Damon out as AD. Richt to assume the role at the end of the season. Willie M promoted to Head Coach. Salary to top $3,000,000.

Dawg nutz

October 30th, 2009
2:48 pm

That’s all ancient history. The only goosebumps that Joe Cox feels is from the spooning that he gets from Stafford.

Hootie Bookems

October 30th, 2009
2:53 pm

SuperB

October 30th, 2009
3:00 pm

The SEC and Mike Slive should be ashamed. The officials they employ (Marc Curles crew) blow two games, LSU-Georgia and Florida-Arkansas; and potentially a third, Florida-Mississippi State, (Penn Wagers’ crew.) And when the coaches doen’t like this sorry officiating– Slive brings the hammer down on them. It’s ludicrous. (This is like being attacked by al Qaeda and starting a war with Iraq!)

L-Dawg

October 30th, 2009
3:05 pm

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 OUT IN THE GREAT TOWN OF ATHENS!!!

FIRE WILLIE MARTINEZ!!!

FIRE MIKE BOBO!!!

HIRE DAVID POLLACK!!!

HIRE KELLY KAPOWSKI!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!! (DOES THAT STILL MAKE ME A BLIND HOMER??)

TO HELL WITH FLORIDA AND GEORGIA TECH!!!!

Johnny Test

October 30th, 2009
3:05 pm

After reading Buck’s comments it dawned on me what’s wrong with this team…including the coaching staff… they are too intellectual about this game called football and not emnotionally invested enough. They are not emotionally “ALL IN”. They are thinking too much, rationalizing too much and just plain are not laying it all out there to win. The coaches take losing in stride so now the players do. Look at every big game over the last two years that required an all out emotional committment to win.. Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, LSU, Tennessee… It is simple. The other guys wanted it more than we did… and were better prepared to get it. Until CMR finds an emotional spark plug for this program we are doomed to mediocrity. I hate it.

Burdell

October 30th, 2009
3:05 pm

Reebok–

The SEC is monitoring this forum and censoring the comments. You will be fined or suspended–no reprimands.

Danielle

October 30th, 2009
3:07 pm

Florida 49
Georgia 10

Moreau

October 30th, 2009
3:09 pm

If the Dawgs lose this one by a huge margin, will Richt be gone next week? Someone please say yes, so I ca sleep at night with some hope.

SueEllen Daniel-Resnick

October 30th, 2009
3:13 pm

Hey, L-Dawg is here! He must have been out picking up his welfare check.

Gators 45, Dawgs 3

Tech 53, Vandy 3

Lando C

October 30th, 2009
3:13 pm

The only thing I can guarantee if the Dawgs lose by a huge margin is that Tebow and Meyer will have a Snugglefest after the game. I think that is planned regardless.

Burdell

October 30th, 2009
3:13 pm

L-Dawg–

Kelly Kapowski….now there’s something we can agree on.

GO JACKETS!!!

Ga Dg 64

October 30th, 2009
3:14 pm

The SEC can threaten and control the coaches. They cannot threaten and control SEC fans. Fans can say what they want. The best thing Slive can do is his job which he is not doing. He should resign. If Damon Evans support him he should resign also.

RealisticUGAFan

October 30th, 2009
3:16 pm

Hope we can get by our old rival Auburn and finish 7-5. We have very little chance tomorrow and not much at Tech either. I hear lots of Richt defenders like that David P on the radio. He was a player, but he’s not that smart. Richt being 86-25 is not good. It’s a good record in a zero sum game but it reeks of a team underperforming and therefore poor coaching considering the talent level (top 5 in recruiting year after year). Compare that to Meyer who is 52-9 at Florida with comparable talent and tomorrow’s outcome is obvious.

SEC powerhouse NOT

October 30th, 2009
3:18 pm

Steve

October 30th, 2009
3:29 pm

“Still, it would be nice if Slive put half the effort into upgrading the conference’s officials that he’s putting into muzzling its coaches.”

Yeah, like you know something about it Bill. LMAO

Paul H

October 30th, 2009
3:34 pm

Buck didn’t know what it was like to lose to Florida.

Clive needs to focus on hiring competent refs instead of reprimanding coaches for justly critizing them.

Just a “reminder” (as SS would say), Tech is 1-7 against UGA since 01.

Paul H

October 30th, 2009
3:41 pm

Steve – I’m pretty sure any one of us is qualified to see how bad the officiating has been in the SEC this year.

Cuz

October 30th, 2009
3:46 pm

Kelly Kapowski or Kelly Bundy?

An ice cream sundae with Kelly Kapowski.

Shooters with Kelly Bundy.

GT

October 30th, 2009
3:52 pm

You know Bill putting money into officiating may not cure anything. How did we go for years without all this and now at this place we find ourselves in a crisis on officiating. Very simple Georgia is losing. Dooley as Dodd, would visit the referees locker room before home games, bring up a few observations about the visiting team’s use of hands or tenancy to hit the quarterback after the whistle which was always be appreciated by the refs. They might even visit during half time but I bet if we read everything ever written by Furman we would see very little mentioned about this. Reporters in those days weren’t homers like reporters today, or not as blatant about it, but they did their job for the home team not reporting what today would be considered much worse offenses.

Jake 7

October 30th, 2009
3:53 pm

I know this isn’t the topic…..BUT UGA has done a POOR job of DEVELOPING players to replace our “all stars”…..because of average ass’t coaches ! We HAD to play our “all stars” last year because of our MID SEASON losts . We wouldn’t be TALK’IN about what BELUE thinks or anyone else. Florida MIGHT be in the same BOAT with playing TEBOW so much with the close games they have had…………..

Dr M

October 30th, 2009
3:57 pm

I love that everyone is ignoring St. Simon. Good work, Dawgs!

Jake 7

October 30th, 2009
4:03 pm

Dr M…..you mentioned IT….DON’T….IT’S ….OLD HAT!!

Georgia Tech

October 30th, 2009
4:06 pm

Georgia 17
Florida 16

Georgia Tech 42
Vandy 3

DirtyDawg

October 30th, 2009
4:06 pm

What I don’t understand is the thing about certain – judgment – calls not being reviewable. I mean what we’re talking about here is judgment. Every call is somebody’s ‘judgment’ – did I see what I thought I saw?…do I drop the flag?…what do I say to my lead official (or if it was the lead official that threw a flag that others don’t agree with) if I disagree with him?

I think that these guys need to get a little circumspect and say that ‘we’re all just trying to do the best job we can but sometimes we miss ‘em. If you’re willing to put up with fifteen or twenty minutes longer games, and to hell with TV (they can just cut some spots out in the second half and take it out of the payout to the league)…just get the damn call right.

Mike Addington

October 30th, 2009
4:08 pm

Well boys, if Florida is ranked the best team in the country, this is really a down year. they are absolutely beatable, and we have the TALENT to do it. Just play and don’t think you hairy dawgs and whoop some Gator butt.

Wildbill

October 30th, 2009
4:12 pm

Well, if a second tier Tennessee whupped us 49-19, logic 101 would put the gators at least 59-9. But, our guys are gonna play hard, and we will see what happens.

NCDawg

October 30th, 2009
4:42 pm

From Yahoo Sports:

Florida coach Urban Meyer can’t understand how a team with Georgia’s talent — the Bulldogs perennially sign some of the nation’s highest-ranked recruiting classes—has already lost three games.

“I don’t get it. I don’t see it. I’m watching the film and all of a sudden the score is 45-19 and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. I just watched this game. Where did they score?”’ Meyer said, referring to Georgia’s blowout loss at Tennessee three weeks ago.

Much of the blame for Georgia’s slide has fallen on the defense, and it’s hard to argue with the numbers. The Bulldogs rank 10th in the SEC and 70th nationally in yards allowed (365.6 per game), and they haven’t done very well against either the run (54th in the nation) or the pass (90th).

No one is under more heat than defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, whose unit has surrendered at least 30 points a staggering 14 times in his four-plus seasons on the job.

KJ

October 30th, 2009
5:43 pm

I don’t remember who it was, but several years ago a coach was approached by a reporter after a game in which his team got cornholed by the refs. When the reporter asked him to comment, he said “I’m not allowed to comment on terrible officiating”. It would be awesome if CMR said something similar to that.

jack nicholson

October 30th, 2009
6:31 pm

UGA beating UF is on my bucket list. I’m only 60 years young, so it might get to check that off after all!!! Also, my movies are rank.