‘Georgia needs to make Florida play from behind’

georgia florida 2012The key to Mark Richt’s Bulldogs pulling an upset in Jacksonville Saturday is starkly illustrated by some halftime numbers from last week’s Florida-South Carolina game.

After two quarters of play, the Gators had a grand total of just 29 yards of offense, 13 of those in the running game, and just two first downs. They also had already been flagged by the officials five times for 64 yards.

And yet Florida led the Gamecocks 21-6 thanks to the scores resulting from three turnovers.

As one sage sports observer I know put it this week, anytime a team has more points than yards, there’s something wrong.

But what’s wrong with the 2012 Florida Gators has been more than countered by what’s right: an aggressive, effective defense that likes to take away the ball and, best of all, superb, opportunistic special teams play. As a result, Florida has become the nation’s No. 2 team despite having merely an adequate offense that is most effective grinding it out on the ground to wear opponents down as the game goes on.

Kyle Christy may be the most dangerous player the Gators have. (Associated Press)

Kyle Christy may be the most dangerous player the Gators have. (Associated Press)

The Gators’ best and most effective player is punter Kyle Christy, the NCAA leader whose 50-plus-yard boomers often flip the field and keep opponents bottled up deep in their own territory.

So, what are the keys to a Georgia win over Florida?

No. 1 definitely is protecting the ball (especially on punt and kickoff returns) because, as Richt noted this week, winning the turnover margin has been Florida’s “formula for success,” and the Gators have only turned the ball over four times this season.

The other key for the Dogs was nicely summed up this week by a friend who’s a Gamecock fan: “Georgia needs to make Florida play from behind.”

In other words, the Dogs need to get an early lead so that Florida’s run-oriented offense is taken out of its comfort zone and Gators QB Jeff Driskel has to try throwing it more in catch-up mode. Mike Bobo needs to come out fast and furious, running his entire playbook: Mix the run and pass and don’t be afraid to test the Gators secondary deep early.

Aaron Murray has to come up big for Georgia to win over Florida. (Associated Press)

Aaron Murray has to come up big for Georgia to win over Florida. (Associated Press)

Basically, if Georgia is going to win this game, it’s going to be with the arm of Aaron Murray, who almost single-handedly beat Kentucky last week.

But even that probably won’t be enough if Todd Grantham’s defense doesn’t turn it around and play its best game since Mizzou. The Georgia front seven that has underperformed all season needs to contain Gators running back Mike Gillislee and, more importantly, Driskel, who is one of those running quarterbacks the Dogs tend to have trouble handling. If Grantham’s first-half game plan doesn’t include keeping a spy on Driskel to control those zone-read keepers, any second-half adjustments might be too little too late.

The hope here is that, having had their collective manhood challenged this week by their own Shawn Williams, who’s played the Pat Dye/Sheldon Richardson role in Georgia’s pregame motivation, Grantham’s troops finally will play like last year’s Top 5 defense rather than the “too soft” bunch we’ve seen most of this season.

Williams gigged the Georgia defense for its lack of emotion; if they come out breathing fire at EverBank Field Saturday, perhaps he’ll have earned himself a game ball before the first kickoff.

What do you think of Georgia’s chances in Jacksonville this year? Can the Dogs finally make it two in a row?

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

186 comments Add your comment

Desert Fox

October 25th, 2012
2:36 pm

Please CMB, please do not call the lateral pass the wide flanker. Thas never produced anything of significance and FL DB’s will snatch that up for a quick pick six.

P_The_Ricker

October 25th, 2012
2:53 pm

In recent years where UF was the underdog, or at least team struggling somewhat going into this game, both zook and meyer (especially 2003, 2005, 2010) had always come up with some new wrinkle to either their offensive or defensive scheme, or both.

With UGA coming in as the underdog and nationally recognized team as having more to prove……I’d love to see UGA come out with some new scheme or plays that we’ve yet to show this year. In the end however, I know Richt and Bobo too well, there will be nothing new brought and the team will likely come out stale……as it has the last 5 years.

Swami Sez

October 25th, 2012
3:11 pm

Its the same ole Georgia. Richt teams rarley come out and play slobber knocking smash mouth football. Always too many prima donna’s who think they are disrespected Gotta earn respect before you get any respect. So sad many people dont understand that these days..

WDE

October 25th, 2012
3:12 pm

Flat revisionist history much? I love it when you and the rest of the ‘demanders of championships” get on these blogs and regal us with tales of Dooley and Erk , face it if they were coaching in todays blog crazy world Dooley would have been run off way before he won a NC by all you strays demanding championships..hell half of the years Dooley coached his teams records were subpar compared to CMR and he was coaching in an era that the SEC was no where near as competitive as it is today and I say that as a huge fan of Dooley, Erk and my misspent youth.

chuck

October 25th, 2012
3:18 pm

Imagination is a problem for dawgs. Been running same stuff for thirty years. I am just saying don’t be so predictable.

NCDawg

October 25th, 2012
3:27 pm

Flat Iron… I’m not sure the next 4 years will be down years… however, if the Dawgs can’t win this one then the staff has to go because their “fixes” are not working and it is time to try another approach. I do not think it is because they do not care… I just think that they are too close to the problem to see it… whatever it is. Have you ever tried to fix a problem and after you beat your brains out, someone comes in and fixes it quickly? It’s not because you are stupid… it’s because they have a different perspective. It happens all the time. I am hoping that we don’t have to go the new coach route but if that is what it takes…well that is what it takes.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
3:31 pm

P_The_Ricker

the only thing new will be some stupid remark if we lose like….

well we lost but hey we beat them last year so we are closing the gap; if you sign this coaching staff to a 20 yr contract extension we will make sure

Settle Down Dawg Fans

October 25th, 2012
3:32 pm

WDE is right. We’ve never been that good, and we never will be.

6-1 is a winning record. Don’t worry — be happy!

Dirty Dawg

October 25th, 2012
3:37 pm

Silly…hell, I didn’t even have anything ‘profound’ to say, let alone profane. Maybe Bill just don’t like me.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
3:38 pm

WDE

Im not a demander of championships

Im a demander of respectable UGA football

as in……

Beating FL 2 or 3 times in a 5 yr span
Beating every SEC East team in the same year; something Spurrier has accomplished at SC
Not being blown out by teams every year we have had 9 blowout losses in the past 4 yrs
Beating top 20 teams; we havent beaten a top 20 team in 4 yrs
Beating top 10 teams we cant even dare do that

Sure I want a national title but with talent weve had for over a decade we should be at least playing in the SEC championship game almost every other year

Dirty Dawg

October 25th, 2012
3:40 pm

7576Dawg…you ay have something…we’ll know for sure if Florida calls time out to ‘ice’ our guy before the extra point…now that would be nerve-wrenching.

WDE

October 25th, 2012
3:42 pm

Settle Down Dawg Fans there is no “we’ troll..your as much a Bull Dog fan as I am young and good looking.

P_The_Ricker

October 25th, 2012
3:42 pm

Flat Tire,

you mean something like….”well, we lost as a team today. we got embarrassed as a team”.

think he may have already used that one after the SC game.

Swami Sez

October 25th, 2012
3:43 pm

Lets Face it ……. Getting blown out by South Carolina should NEVER happen.

keith

October 25th, 2012
3:45 pm

we have a poor track record of being “up” for big games

Good People

October 25th, 2012
3:47 pm

Mark Richt is “Good People”.

NCDawg

October 25th, 2012
3:48 pm

For those of you that are wondering why your post got filtered… it didn’t. These boards eat 1 of every 5 or 6 of my posts. They aren’t filtering you… just deal with it… I’ve lost post that took a long time to type and I was pretty upset but I know it isn’t because it is getting filtered.

WDE

October 25th, 2012
3:48 pm

Flat I was meaning to ask about all the talent you make it sound like no one else has any? Our state puts what 70 – 80 players in D-1 schools every year and at most we could only get 20-25 of them, and most of them want to play where …the SEC so do all the best from all around the country…bag the we have all the talent and can’t do anything with it everyone in the top tier of the SEC has talent and it could be argued that several have more than UGA…and oh woe is us and our terrible coaching staff we won 10 last year and the SEC East we could lose this game and still go 10-2 I’m thinking that’s a pretty good run any two years at any school.

Good People

October 25th, 2012
3:49 pm

Chuck Dowdle is “Good People”.

Good People

October 25th, 2012
3:50 pm

Todd Grantham is a Choke Sign Giver.

Good People

October 25th, 2012
3:54 pm

Howdy Doody is “Good People”.

WDE

October 25th, 2012
3:55 pm

@Swami Sez your correct sir it never should.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
4:09 pm

WDE

Get a clue

UGA has put more players in the NFL than any other SEC school since 2001

Since 2001…….

LSU 2 National Championships
FLORIDA 2 National Championships
ALABAMA 2 National Championships
Auburn 1 National Championship and 1 other Undefeated season that they should have played for a National Championship

Sorry but if you would stop listening to the Pied Piper talk about
Dream Team I and II;
Blackouts and Red Outs,
Car Commercials;
ENERGY VAMPIRE Books;
And garbage like Were Going To Have Some “”"Cutting Edge Football now”"”" that Mcgarity has taken over my other job duties

You might realize UGA should be better than just back dooring the SEC championship game everytime and never beating FL unless they are just awful

Settle Down Dawg Fans

October 25th, 2012
4:09 pm

WDE is crabby people. :(

Good People

October 25th, 2012
4:17 pm

Nick Saban is “Good People”. :roll:

SC Dog fan

October 25th, 2012
4:50 pm

WDE has some good poitns. I can remember being pretty peeved with Dooley too, 1980 and 81 excepted. Not always the greatest record and pretty predictable offenses. It used to drive me and my Dad nuts when we were 3d and inches and Goff or Lastinger would turn and pitch the danged ball back a good 10 yards to the tailback. Lord in heaven how that never worked! But they sure loved to call it. I can’t say, however, I ever saw an Erk Russell defense get b-slapped like this one. Erk would have bled out on the sideline before he let that sort of thing happen.

Sunbury Ga dawg

October 25th, 2012
4:56 pm

Man, im sorry guys but no koolaid for me. I love my dawgs but this is a big game against a ranked opponent and that usually means we get beat down and embarrassed. SOFT until they prove other wise
beating GA tech isn’t enough!

Recruiting guru

October 25th, 2012
4:59 pm

The blogs are not affecting recruiting, those one-sided but kicking s on national tv are though………maybe another one coming in two days…..then what? when we fired Donnon we made the right choice, we brought in a guy who took us to another level. but now we need to take another step…..how many one sided beat downs before we get the point. up until 35-0 Sc game i was a die hard richt supporter. no more.

Resumes please

October 25th, 2012
5:03 pm

The team takes on the attitude of their coach……….
We look lost out there, just watch and see….richt looks lost, Defense looks lost, same special teams that sparked the rout in the sec championship game looks lost.
do you notice how well blair walsh is doing as a pro……wonder what happen, maybe he got coached up?

Gee Golly Batman?

October 25th, 2012
5:06 pm

To much talent to look so bad.
Dawgs if you are reading this and decide not to show up for the game. please take the G off your helmet. it makes all the other real Georgia boys look as soft as you do out there. Please! it’s hard to explain to little children why the team that represents their state always loses the big game.
Making me look soft because you are looking soft!

Swamp Thing

October 25th, 2012
5:09 pm

We have “Coach Boom – AKA Coach Muschomp” – you have laid back smiling CMR. You figure it out. ARDawg – While you was watching Florida-LSU, and Fl-USCe, how many jorts and mullets did you see? I am a 28 year Gator Booster and season ticket holder – live in Jax – been to 32 of these games. How many have you been to? I’ve seen the good and the bad..Keep your eyes on the game and not those great looking Gator women.

Reality

October 25th, 2012
5:14 pm

@Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville, the statement that “UGA has put more players in the NFL than any other SEC school since 2001″ MIGHT be true (you’re tied with LSU for most currently active players), but your players are more evenly distributed over the period. The second half of the last decade has really belonged to the Gators, LSU and Bama.

For example, roughly two dozen Gators from the 2006 and 2008 NC teams are in the NFL now. I can’t remember UGA having a year where a dozen players got drafted.

You do have a lot of elite talent on your defense. But I haven’t seen any evidence that you have the same depth that Florida, Bama and LSU have. Florida is stronger and better conditioned this year, but they are also liberally rotating in the number 2s on the D line.

Skokie Dog

October 25th, 2012
5:14 pm

Bill, I don’t see U.Ga. jumping out to a big lead in this game. It seems more likely that halftime will roll around before our coaching staff notices that the game has begun. I think the Gators will win this game easily, much as I hope I’m wrong about that.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
5:30 pm

Reality

Sorry but here is the reality

NFL Drafted by each Team Mark Richt era :
___________________________________

College – Alabama – Florida – LSU – UGA
2012.…….8..…………2.…….5.…….7
2011.…….5.………….4.…….6.…….6
2010.…….7.………….9.…….6.…….5
2009.…….4.………….3.…….6.…….6
2008.…….0.………….2.…….7.…….4
2007.…….3.………….9.…….5.…….5
2006.…….5.………….3.…….7.…….7
2005.…….4.………….3.…….3.…….6
2004.…….4.………….5.…….0.…….4
2003.…….5.………….8.…….4.…….7
2002.…….4.………….8.…….5.…….8
2001.…….3.………….4.…….3.…….7
Total…….52.….……60.…….57……72

Brilliant!

October 25th, 2012
5:41 pm

It would be an advantage to have Florida’s defense line up behind Georgia’s quarterback. However, even if the Gators agreed to this unique stipulation, I don’t think that the officials would allow it.

Still… Kudos for thinking outside the box!

Reality

October 25th, 2012
5:44 pm

I can’t argue your numbers; I was looking at “currently active” lists, which show a substantially different pattern (Alabama 30, Florida 31, LSU 37, Georgia 37). If your point is that Richt and his staff(s) have done less with more, that’s certainly true.

On the other hand, you can look at your own numbers above and it looks like there’s probably a tipping point for a championship-caliber team that’s somewhere around eight draftable players in a class. I don’t have any point; it’s just a curious observation when you look at your numbers above.

Reality

October 25th, 2012
5:48 pm

The key to success for both teams is probably “weathering the storm”. In Florida’s case, it’s withstanding a possible onslaught of deep balls from Murray. In Georgia’s case, it’s hanging onto the football with a bunch of guys swarming you who put in a lot of practice time and emphasis on stripping it away.

Swamp Thing

October 25th, 2012
6:00 pm

“Play From Behind” – C’omon Bill – We were behind TexA&M, behind Tenn, behind LSU – why is our record 7-0 – because Coach Boom is another SOS on the sidelines, and makes adjustments. I’ve asked you this many times and never received an answer – so this post will probably be banned to – How much do you get paid when every fool like me posts on your comments? Nice job – I’d like to have it – but I’d be a Gator for Life.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
6:04 pm

Reality

Theres an obvious problem when the last time you beat a top 20 team was 4 years ago with that much talent

BigJim

October 25th, 2012
6:14 pm

Mark Richt: 2-15 against ranked teams, since 2009! PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tater Salad

October 25th, 2012
6:18 pm

Dawgs ae gonna Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooseeeeeeeee………

Gator88

October 25th, 2012
6:19 pm

I like to think I’m a pretty realistic Gator fan, but honestly I don’t see Georgia having much of a chance in this one. Georgia hasn’t played anyone but SC and we all know what happened. FL has played a tough schedule so far and seems to get better and better.

This Gator team is built like any other we have seen. Tough as nails and will beat you down until they take over the game.

Aside from all of that, all of the Gator strengths go agains GA weaknesses; tough running game vs. poor run defense, overachieving upstart vs. underachieving favorites, great run defense for the gators vs. poor rushing output for the dawgs. The one GA strenght; the passing game, faces a tough FL secondary and a relentless pass rush.

I’m sorry, but bearing something unforseen you guys are in big trouble. It’s too bad in a way since Mark Richt seems like a nice enough guy, I sort of feel bad for him.

Tater Salad

October 25th, 2012
6:23 pm

UGA’S LOS are fat puds ad are not athletic enough to whip gater.

Gurshall Girdle

October 25th, 2012
6:37 pm

Game will be close until late in the 2nd quarter. That’s when Aaron becomes Errin and throws a pick 6 that changes the entire game in Florida’s favor. Gators will dominate on both sides of the ball in the 2nd half and GA, finally, will realize it’s time to prepare Mark Richt for his retirement party at the end of the season. Forget about the effect on this season’s class of recruits….don’t want to hear it….we have had great classes of recruits since Richt arrived and yet the product on the field simply = GREAT POTENTIAL, but MEDIOCRE RESULTS. Even our Sugar Bowl victory is hollow to some degree b/c it had no bearing on the National Championship and came against a woefully outmatched Hawaii team.

BigJim

October 25th, 2012
6:42 pm

AD McQuackity loves Richt…and his 2-15 record against ranked teams! Both of them should be fired, immediately! If you want a good AD, hire Stanford’s! They win the SEARS cup every dang year!

CC

October 25th, 2012
7:50 pm

Piney Woods Pete

October 25th, 2012
8:06 pm

University of Florida 45, University of Georgia 13

It. Will. Be. Ugly.

pop

October 25th, 2012
8:24 pm

hey defense you dont like all the fans calling yaw softy the step up and stop the run and help the team win the game what u players say about that text back if u aint a softy and tell the dawg nation what u gonna do sat

I-DOG

October 25th, 2012
8:44 pm

agree 100% that Georgia needs to get the lead early in the game. That is easier said than done since South Carolina and Kentucky made it look pretty easy to score touchdowns on Georgia on their first posession. I would be shocked if FL does not score a TD on their first drive.

The only way we don’t completely abandon the running game as we have done this season when the going gets tough… is if we have a good lead or if the weather conditions are so bad that throwing isn’t really an option.

Bobo and Richt give lip service to being committed to the run, but they really aren’t. They think pass first and we will line up in the shotgun and thow the ball around unless we are averating 8 yards a carrry on our first 5-6 totes.

Georgia needs to make Florida play from behind’

October 25th, 2012
8:51 pm

That is what it will feel like after the gators take uga to the woodshed.