Dogs’ ‘Florida fixation’ an obstacle to winning

"Beat Florida" has become a mantra in Athens.

"Beat Florida" has become a mantra in Athens.

You can’t look at the past 20 years of the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville without concluding there’s more at work here than simply the Gators outplaying the Dogs on the field.

Too many times we’ve seen the Florida players looking loose and like they were having fun (winning a bunch in a row will do that for you), while Georgia has looked about as tightly wound as a team can get.

Former QB David Greene alluded to this on the radio the other day when he was talking about how badly Georgia players want to beat Florida. Sometimes, he said, they want it so badly that they get too wound up and make mistakes that cost them the game.

Even the coaches have been susceptible to this, as we’ve seen in Mark Richt’s reliance on gimmicks like end zone dances and black helmets to try and get his team emotionally ready for the Gators in recent years. Not to mention some bone-headed calls like a certain onside kick.

It’s one thing for the fans to be obsessed with a rivalry, but when the players get too wrapped up in losing streaks and “hate week,” it messes with their heads, and the result is they don’t play their best football.

Of course, it’s easy to understand how this game has morphed into something special, what with the Cocktail Party atmosphere and the 50-50 split of the fans inside the stadium.

But as new UGA athletic director Greg McGarity — who spent the past 18 years on the other side of this rivalry — pointed out this week, it’s moved beyond that in Athens to a “Florida fixation” that he finds “extremely unhealthy.”

McGarity said he can’t understand “why it was more important to beat Florida than it was to beat South Carolina, Tennessee and anybody else in the [SEC] East. … That doesn’t diminish our desire to win [against Florida], but I think if you put too much pressure on that, it translates into players being tight and coaches being tight. Coaches and student-athletes have enough pressure on them as it is. They know the deal.”

Georgia’s players certainly are trying to talk the talk this week when it comes to playing down the obsession. Said Carlton Thomas, a Florida native: “The only differences are all the festivities and that it’s 50-50 in a neutral site. Other than that, it’s still four quarters and somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose.”

And Aaron Murray, another Sunshine State boy, said, “I’m just trying to prepare like it’s any other game and not focus on all the hype. It’s an SEC game for us, so we’ve just got to keep working hard.”

It would be great for Georgia if the players really could enter EverBank Field in Jacksonville with that sort of mind-set — that this is just another SEC East game, no more or less important than any of the others. But the odds of that are probably pretty slim.

I’m not sure there’s anything that’s going to fix the “fixation” other than Georgia getting back to winning this game on at least a somewhat regular basis like back in the Vince Dooley era. But before that can happen, the players first have to win the mind game.

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107 comments Add your comment

Cuz

October 28th, 2010
10:46 am

Just win baby. GATA.

Holy Cow

October 28th, 2010
10:50 am

gotta beat the gators in their down year. no excuses.

Bremen Dawg

October 28th, 2010
10:51 am

Winning will fix it all.

Dwayne

October 28th, 2010
10:55 am

Take this game out of Jacksonville and it will become just another SEC match up, the game it self has become to much of a bowl like atmosphere.

Cuz

October 28th, 2010
10:56 am

A must win game for both teams. Each team is looking to salvage a season by winning this all important game. UGA needs to win to get the monkey off their back and back to the organ grinder. A loss to Florida will have their fans storming their AD’s office with pitchforks. They have been told that it is a W every year in the pre-season. Easiest game on the schedule. Four losses in Gainesville in a row capped with a loss to the Dawgs and Urban’s popularity will be less than Ahmadinejad’s.

True Dawg

October 28th, 2010
11:01 am

Yes we do need to get over fixation that is the problem BUT Richt needs to be uptight because he has already proven he cannot beat them 2-7 record. This should be a HUGE part of his “hotseat” discussion if he looses.The Gators are down this year-No excuse!! Dont you think?

On Georgia’s Mind « Jean Shorts Torture

October 28th, 2010
11:03 am

[...] is trying really hard to downplay their greatest chance to get the Gators in two decades. Special black helmets didn’t work. Special endzone dances worked briefly, but [...]

RxDawg

October 28th, 2010
11:11 am

I agree with cuz. Just win!

Sanford Drive

October 28th, 2010
11:15 am

Welcome to our blog Tech “fans”. We know this is the best 2 weeks of your year, when you can vicariously live through the Florida Gators.

But if you were to switch EVERY time this blog post said “Florida” with “Georgia”…. and switch every “Georgia” with Georgia Tech”…… It would make JUST as much sense.

hammerhead

October 28th, 2010
11:16 am

No question we put too much emphasis on this game. “Extremely unhealthy” is an accurate statement, but until we can win 3 of 5 or 4 of 7 and get the dang monkey off our back, Georgia and its fans will continue to an unhealthy fixation on this game. Personally, I dread it.

Reality

October 28th, 2010
11:19 am

I am sorry. There are no excuses. You either play to win and win or you dont. Dont confuse reality with dreams and cheap talk. Georiga never is ready to play Florida. They dont run over people and they dont show the desire to win ———-its simple. Georiga always finds a way to lose and then we get some excuse –like we had a minds wrapped to tight or blah blah blah——quit acting like a bunch of whimps and get out there and hit somebody. Make their quarterback limp—–cause their team to make mistakes——-there are NO excuses people. Get over it and get after their quarterback..–make tackles, hit, explode, run fast———excel——–in order to win and then you will not need any excuses.

Mike

October 28th, 2010
11:23 am

The fixation? Historically, THE team that prevents Georgia from playing the first Saturday in December (SEC conference championship game) is FLORIDA. For Georgia, the beginning of EVERY football season should have a countdown clock until the Florida game. Every practice should stress the importance of preparing to play Florida. Until Georgia can consistently beat Florida, get use to “watching” SEC football that first Saturday in December, every year.

guy

October 28th, 2010
11:30 am

florida is to georgia as georgia is to georgia tech.

gomdawg

October 28th, 2010
11:39 am

Simple, if you want to beat Florida GO OUT AND PLAY LIKE WE HAVE THE LAST 3 GAMES. GO DAWGS

Destin Dawg

October 28th, 2010
11:42 am

we lack a killer instinct…. does Mark Richt coach with emotion ???? I respect his religious beliefs… but we need a killer instinct…… run ‘em into the ground.. no cheap shots but HIT and WRAP UP…when you get ahead, keep your foot on the gas !!!! use the TE’s… 1or 2 trickeration plays PLEASE fake punt/ reverse etc… go Dawgs !!

gomdawg

October 28th, 2010
11:42 am

JUST ANOTHER GAME , HALF THE GAME IF NOT MORE WAS WHAT WE DID NOT WHAT FLORIDA DID. SO IF EVERY PLAYER DOES HIS JOB THE GAMES OURS, GO YOU JUNKYARD DAWGS

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Gator Eater

October 28th, 2010
11:51 am

Who can explain to me why Florida always gets a open week before this game?

Uh Oh!!!!

October 28th, 2010
11:54 am

Arkansas starting DT arested for marijuana posessioin.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5733687

JaxDawg05

October 28th, 2010
12:00 pm

I’m with Gator Eater, instead of the new AD playing down the rivalry he should worry about changing the culture. Florida has had a bye week 14 of the last 17 years before this game and by doing that The Head Ball Coach changed this series FOREVER.

Dawg Tell

October 28th, 2010
12:02 pm

It is a head game for our players.Anyone who says it is not are short sided or has not looked at the last 20 years of UGA and Fla. football.To beat the Gators you have to be totally Physical with each play on both sides of the ball.You have to play like it is the last game you will ever play in again.No holding back,no penalties,no turnovers.Go out and knock the crap out of somebody!Also getting the game out of JAX.every other year would help.People who think this would not have an affect on the game are mistaken.GO DAWGS!!

schmeckdawg

October 28th, 2010
12:16 pm

EverBank Field. It will always be the Gator Bowl to me. And I hope the game always stays in Jacksonville. When Dooley was our coach we owned the Gaytors and nobody was complaining about moving the game and I suspect that WHEN we begin beating these clowns again, the talk about moving it out of Jacksonvegas will stop.

Go DAWGS!!!!!!!!! Skin the swamp lizards!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JETHRODAWG

October 28th, 2010
12:22 pm

I really like UGA’s chances for a win Saturday against the Gatas! Mistake free ball, playing with intensity and emotion yes are all keys to victory! Much like the tech game, this game is being run on intense emotions. Hope CMR can keep the dogs loose enough to have some fun, and still very focused. Feel we have to establish the run early, so Murray can pass to A.J and Durham.!!

Coachdawg 2000

October 28th, 2010
12:22 pm

IT’S GREAT TO BE A GATOR HATER!!!!

Coachdawg 2000

October 28th, 2010
12:26 pm

MEMO TO RICHT AND BOBO:
Run the Ball.Run the Ball. Run the Ball.
MEMO TO TODD GRANTHAM:
Tell the players “SHUT UP AND HIT SOMEBODY” then go up in the stands and slap their mommas!

Jackets2010

October 28th, 2010
12:32 pm

Thanks for the welcome Sanford Drive.
I did attend Florida my freshman year before I was somewhat tricked by my father some while back into transferring to Tech.
I wanted to beat Ga.
Looks to me like I had the better plan.

Coachdawg 2000

October 28th, 2010
12:35 pm

This week I don’t want to see any players dancing and laughing and smiling until we are way ahead with 2minutes or less left on the clock. I think we need to get back to seeing beating Florida is not some magical/cosmic occurance but simply blocking and tackling. Execution not uniforms or endzone dances.

Dawg 39

October 28th, 2010
12:37 pm

The mind set is all important. All of the intangibles favor the Gators this year. Intangibles & emotions are extremely important at the college level.
IF Uf wins they can run the table & play in Atlanta. Lose & they may finish 6 & 6 with no bowl bid. Is that an incentive or what?
Also UF has had 2 weekks to consider the ramifications of this game & to get mentally & physically ready & to make whatever changes offensively & defensively they feel is necessary to win this game.
To me It appears we have them backed into a corner & that is a bad place to catch a Gator.
The flip side is the Dawgs still have a chance to win the East OR if they lose they could also finish 6 & 6 with no bowl bid. The Colorado Game still hurts us a lot.The DAWGS need this one badly. G.A.T.A.

Alabama Dog

October 28th, 2010
12:39 pm

DawgTell: Right on! I had never really wanted to move the game out of J’ville, but maybe it’s time has come. Anyone who has ever attended this game, and believe it’s a “nuetral” field is only kidding themselves. As a resident of Alabama, I saw the difference in the Alabama-Auburn game when it moved from Legion Field to home & home. Maybe it’s coincidence, but Auburn’s fortunes sure changed. If the stadium in J’ville is considered “nuetral”, wouldn’t the Georgia Dome be too?

Coachdawg 2000

October 28th, 2010
12:57 pm

For everybody who is spooked about the fact that Floriduh had a bye week. We had a bye week last year and guess what? we got smoked! 2 weeks isn’t enough to overcome their problems. We need to play smart and tough and make them beat us. If we do that then we’ll be in it until the end and I like our character.

move the game? give me a break

October 28th, 2010
1:04 pm

you people are all a bunch of whiners.
no one wanted to move the game in the 70s and 80s…..but, let the orange and blue start winning and well….let’s move it.

want to know why we consistently lose to florida? Just read the following quote by CUM…

“When there’s a lack of execution, how does that occur?” Meyer said. “The answer is not to say, ‘That guy, that guy, that guy.’ ……“We’re not into excuses. We’re not into, ‘This happened because.’ It’s, ‘Fix the issues.’

this sounds just like Mark Richt during his call in show and post game interviews…..NOT. He’s blaming everything and everybody but himself….and that, my friends, is the difference here. Fla has a football coach….

Urban may not have 90 wins in 9 years or whatever the heck you koolaiders like to throw out there….
naah, he’s just got 2 National Championships.

And from where I’m sitting, that trumps your 90 wins in 9 years every time.

Lindsey

October 28th, 2010
1:16 pm

We are leaving for St.Simon’s tonight after work, can’t wait to cheer on UGA, GO DAWGS!!

Neutral No No

October 28th, 2010
1:18 pm

Does anyone feel McGarity is still as much a Gator as he is a Dawg? He wants a tie.

History proves something is wrong, but I’m sure a fixation of hate against a program he loves is what he really finds unhealthy. Hopefully a few years back in Athens (and Jax) will let him see the why the dogs want the win so bad…. and why they won’t come regularly until the game is moved.

In 2007 there were crickets at the landing after the game. In 2008 it was slammed full with puke colored jerseys that were spitting and asking for proof of diplomas.

Play it Memphis if you have to but this Dawg has spent his last night in Jax.

long-time dawg

October 28th, 2010
1:22 pm

Why is it such a big game? ‘Cause gators are the worst winners AND losers in the conference.

FaithfulDawg86

October 28th, 2010
1:25 pm

To “Move the Game…” Urban Meyer is a slime ball who will do anything to win (including allow felons to play) and who ALWAYS blames his players for losses and takes credit for wins (alot like your previous slimeball Spurrier there). They both run the score up on opponents regularly. I’ll take a coach with class (Mark Richt) who loses a few games once in a while (still one of the winningest records in NCAA) but disciplines his players when they screw up and cares about their well-being on and off the field than a lowlife who might win but who cares nothing for his players, the tradition, or the school – just his own bottom line. In my day, we beat Florida every year, it wasn’t even a rivalry then, just an excuse to have a party. Trust me, we will beat you again, beat you badly, and beat you regularly because a class-A program like Georgia’s will win out in the end.

Cuz

October 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

Our faithful correspondent Altamahadawg tells me that traffic is picking up on Fredrica Road on the Island. The faithful should be in force at the Village by Friday afternoon.

Valdostadawg

October 28th, 2010
1:34 pm

It’s all about history and it has been referred to as the “19 Year Swing” where one team dominates the other for 19 years. Last year was the first year the 19 year Swing came back to Georgia, but it was also Tebow’s last year. In the 80’s it was Georgia’s, starting in 1990 it changed. History will repeat itself.. GATA DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!

MURPHY

October 28th, 2010
1:55 pm

Bill King,

Ive been thinking about your article last week before the Kentucky game.I keep thinking about the statement your Kentucky friend made about our Dawgs: ” Georgia will beat the Cats.I done see the DAWGS losing another game”. Man I hope your friend is right.If he is can we put him on the UGA payroll?

McDawg

October 28th, 2010
1:58 pm

both teams have larger issues than the “rivalry”-although i was fairly optimistic going into the week, the rivalry bug has taken over and my excitment has turned to anxiety

McDawg

October 28th, 2010
2:00 pm

the game should never be moved-it should always be played in the Gator Bowl and always be referred to as the largest outdoor coktail party

Dr Morpheus

October 28th, 2010
2:09 pm

I agree with Bill and AD Greg. In the shower this morning, I found myself thinking “The team who wins will feel that it’s season was not a failure.” Florida has played looser in the recent memory except for the “celebration” game. But, this year it’s Florida tat should be feeling the pressure to try too hard. If we could recapture the swagger of the “victory dance” game without resorting to a gimmick that puts an asterisk next to the win, we would kick their butts this week and do a lot to erase the mindset.

Delusional hater

October 28th, 2010
2:11 pm

FaithfulDawg86, you are a typical delusional dog who thinks he has the class of the south in football. Wakeup idiot, it is not 1980! How many of the 11 has he booted off the team since March? Only one and he was a freshman who never saw playing time. Richt is a hypocrit of the worst thread. I hope Florida wins and Rainey scores the winning TD so you can whine to your momma!

merbertmoover

October 28th, 2010
2:17 pm

man, me and my fellow dawgs out here in hawaii will be cheering all morning as the dawgs stick their cleats in the geckos throats….game starts at 9:30 am for us….sure beats the 6am starts we’ve been having to deal with all season.

score? 38-6

Valdosta Dawg

October 28th, 2010
2:17 pm

AJC I have been Valdosta Dawg on here for years, how we gonna have 2?

how2fish

October 28th, 2010
2:29 pm

Well I think there maybe a little more pressure on the Gators this year…when was he last time they came to Jax with a 3 game losing streak working?? Don’t give a rats but where they play, don’t care if Rainey plays..line up kick off and Beat the Gators..Go Dawgs!

Ed

October 28th, 2010
2:34 pm

Florida blew the “extra week-off” excuse out of the water last year. 18-22 year olds don’t need much rest anyway. NO EXCUSES, BEAT FLORIDA.

Dawg_Mike

October 28th, 2010
2:51 pm

“Aaron Ice” will be cool and lead the Dawgs to victory.

Dawg_Mike

October 28th, 2010
2:54 pm

” Aaron Ice ” has no history here except the history he is yet to write.
Beginning Saturday he will start a 4-0 run over the hated gators….now I’m done.

ApopkaDawg

October 28th, 2010
2:54 pm

UGA should be the loose team this year and here’s why:

No doubt both teams want and need to win this game, however, this year the Gators should be feeling a pucker factor of 10 on this one.

If UGA loses the game (4-5), they go on to play AU(loss, 4-6), ID (win 5-6), and GA Tech (win 6-6). They will likely repeat last year and end up at the Indepence Bowl or an equivalent.

If UF loses the game (4-4), they go on to play SC (must win game to go 5-4), App St. (Div I-AA, win to go to 6-4), FL ST (must win game for bowl eligiblity to go 7-4, 6-4 to Div 1 teams).

UGA needs a wind against UF, but UF HAS to have a win in b/c 2 of their last 3 games are going to be tough and if they lose to UGA, they may be home for the holidays.

Urb

October 28th, 2010
2:55 pm

Beware when Rainey gets the ball in open space. He will whip out his cell and start texting you dawgs that it’s time to……….