‘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

ga gator

October 25th, 2012
8:56 pm

1st qtr UF 6 UGA 7
2nd qtr UF 10 UGA 10
3rd qtr UF 7 UGA 3
4th qtr UF 10 UGA 3

Final UF 33 UGA 23

I-DOG

October 25th, 2012
8:56 pm

Sandy ,

I hope you are right that the Gators have to do all that to win. Unfortunately, I think all they have to do is

1) run the ball up the middle
2) chuck it deep occassionally
3) If they do get in 3rd and 10 or 15, just have the QB run to pick up the easy first down or even just hand the ball off on a draw play and it should go be enough to move the chains.
4) pounce on our punt return/kickoff return mistakes
5,) defensively, all the Gators need to do is load the box against the run as this will put Georgia in the shotgun formation for the rest of the game, even if the defense backs off. Bobo and Murray will be in throw mode and Georgia will abandon the running game completely.

Basically, I think all Florida has to do is play a solid game, not turn it over, and if they get in 3rd and long a QB sneak should get them the first down.

Chaz Henry

October 25th, 2012
8:58 pm

When will Grantham give the choke sign; before or after the game?

National Weather Service Predition

October 25th, 2012
9:00 pm

Windy conditions means team that can run and can defend the run better will win: UF 20 UGA 9.

I-DOG

October 25th, 2012
9:24 pm

WDE:

Agree that 6-1 is a good place to be (normally). HOWEVER, and this is very important…. this is the best combination of easy schedule and talented and experienced roster that UGA will see for another 15 to 20 years. This is the time to do something special. Auburn has their worst team in a decade, TN ain’t exactly the 90’s juggernaut, Alabama game in Tuscaloosa cancelled and replaced with Missouri, Vandy and a KY team that will go ‘OFER in the SEC. A tech team that isn’t exactly reminding anyone of the 1950’s version. Three cupcakes. Not one cupcake, not two of them, three glorified punching bags scheduled. A Florida team with the worst offense they have had in 25 years (though they have a good defense and know how to win games), and a South Carolina team that isn’t exactly the 85 Bears.

This is a historically weak schedule and we have a Three year starter at QB (on paper the best in the SEC). We have as good a running back rotation as anyone in the SEC, probably the deepest receiving group, and a defense with all juniors and seniors 9 of whom are slated to go in the NFL (though they are playing like a group of 3 star Sophmores to date).

If not NOW, WHEN? If Richt can’t have a special season under these conditions, when do you see it happening again when we start playing Clemson, LSU, Bama and then Auburn, TN, and Florida return to their normal? Any championships coming then?

Wouldn’t we be 5-2 and out of the SEC race already if we didn’t get a reprieve with the Alabama game being cancelled? Could we have won in Tuscaloosa with the effort we gave in Columbia, MO?

ga gator

October 25th, 2012
9:36 pm

I-DOG I agree with almost everything you said except that it is the worst Fl offense in 25 years; that would be last years team with Phat Charlie Weis as the OC and a QB that missed 4 games and played the rest of the season (including the Jax game) with basically 1 leg. The offense this year is scoring what it needs to win and man handling teams in the 2nd half.

I-DOG

October 25th, 2012
9:39 pm

WDE:

Even in the late 80’s, Dooley had some awfully physical teams. Sure, UGA couldn’t pass well and our corners were usually sub par, but I remember Munson saying “Lemont Tellis and Todd Wheeler are BURYING PEOPLE!!!). That was against TN in 1987.

When will our offensive line BURY someone. Tough to do when you are taking three steps back in pass coverage 9-10 snaps in a row.

UGA isn’t more talented than EVERYONE in the SEC every year. However, they are way more talented than every team they play this year other than USC and Florida. I think any neutral evaluator of talent would agree that UGA is at LEAST even with FL and USC and above KY, Vandy, Buffalo etc…

I’m sure we will win 8-9 games this year, but honestly what coaching staff couldn’t with this roster and this schedule? Cut the coaching budget by 90% and give me $400,000 to $500,000 to hire an entirely new coaching staff before the last Spring practice started and I could give you a coaching staff that could have won 8 games this year.

Silver Fox

October 25th, 2012
10:04 pm

Our team is great…our coaches are excellent…..the vast majority of those who post here are jerks with little or no knowledge of football….the only way most of you can rise above the crowd is by climbing on someone else’s back…

Ed

October 25th, 2012
10:17 pm

Based on what I saw against South Carolina and on past games against really good Florida teams, I’ll just be happy if we don’t soil our pants when UF takes the field. Just man up and fight for 60 minutes and I’ll be happy.

DAWG with two bags over head

October 25th, 2012
10:22 pm

Slim and none Bill with Richt at the helm.

chipper

October 25th, 2012
10:48 pm

Dogs will be down by 21 before the end of the first quarter, and more if they turn the ball over inside their forty.

Billiam

October 25th, 2012
11:03 pm

I feel like we are gonna lose. I have no confidence anymore. I think all of you, deep down, feel the same way. Go Dawgs and all, but, I still see us losing another big game. Glory, Glory, good people!

[...] Videos courtesy of CBS, prsonmike, jrsigl, sicemdawgs.com, cbdilger, AP, Ga8torFan , Image courtesy of Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Old School

October 26th, 2012
12:32 am

CMR keys to victory…plug up wholes on leaky defense, use both arms to tackle, teach DBs not to bite on play action, don’t leave giant wholes for FL qb to run through on busted plays, teach o-line to block and pass protect, start over on special teams, again, don’t throw pick sixes, etc. Am I leaving anything out? Don’t mean to be so cynical fellow dawg fans but these mistakes are repeated game after game and year after year and are manifested all the more against ranked opponents. Here’s hoping these issues don’t make the trip down to Jax with the team. If our seldom seen A game doesn’t show up then get ready for a repeat of the SC post game radio show with the same pitiful embarrassing mantra from our leader.

The Diesel

October 26th, 2012
1:54 am

Weather forecast is calling for wind and rain.Hope the game don’t come down to the Dawgs needing a FG to win…..

[...] dominant defense will get a test from Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Quick success for Georgia will be critical if the Bulldogs are to pick up a signature win. Florida will lean on running back [...]

Reality

October 26th, 2012
8:14 am

So one of the Bulldog players tweeted about rushing the field again after a touchdown? In a nutshell, that’s everything that is wrong with Georgia football.

By the way, your last best hope at an outside shot at winning this game –an exceptional passing performance by Murray– is apparently going to be obliterated by the weather.

This is a very special Gator team having a very special season, and windy, weird weather is only going to favor their brutally physical style. Suggest you Dawg fans bring a change of clothes for the drive home.

tell me again

October 26th, 2012
8:44 am

Latebreaking news: The honey badger and 3 ex LSU players busted for running a pot factory in their apt. Found a leaf grinder, paraphanalia and 10 bags of high grade weed. Yeah, LSU and others run very clean programs and never recruit bad boys. It’s just us. Right.

tell me again

October 26th, 2012
8:47 am

It’s not really going to be a surprise if UGA wins. We have a better offense and our D is just as good if they play. I can see a lizard skin pair of shoes come Sunday. GO DAWGS!

Reality

October 26th, 2012
8:56 am

@tell me again, yeah, just like you had a better offense than South Carolina and your D was just as good if they played.

Your defense is actually not better than Florida’s, and yardage against cream puff opponents early in the season says nothing about your offense. Your quarterback is a great passer, but so is Tyler Bray. Bray was muttering to himself after the Florida game. Your offensive line is actually not that good.

And you left out Florida’s deadly weapon: special teams. UGA doesn’t belong on the same field with Florida when it comes to special teams.

Dawg Tired

October 26th, 2012
9:07 am

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

Does a “snowball in hell” sound familiar?

Dawg Tired

October 26th, 2012
9:08 am

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

Or how about “slim and none?”

Dawg Tired

October 26th, 2012
9:10 am

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

Of course, there is also the old “anything is possible.” I’m not sure that even applies here.

Dawg Tired

October 26th, 2012
9:11 am

I’ll be at the movies so I don’t have to watch the carnage.

joe jenkins

October 26th, 2012
9:42 am

please i hopw we dont lose this one…i hope murray has the game of his life….gurley and marshall has to get back on track….

joe jenkins

October 26th, 2012
9:47 am

We should be the more fresh team…because we didnt show up vs kent….we had the week off before…..quit playing ball after the ist quarter against the chickens…….so i hope we unleash all of this saved energy on fla…..i hope big john sack driskell on the first play of the game

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

October 26th, 2012
10:32 am

Do you suppose CMR will blame the weather?

Defender121

October 26th, 2012
10:32 am

Dawgs 31, Gators 28.

dale

October 26th, 2012
10:32 am

I’m calling BS on the Red&Black full page boasting the Gators. That looks like an inside job.

Snoop Dawgg

October 26th, 2012
10:34 am

Snoop is prepared to see his beloved Dawgs get a historical beatdown. First, expect at least one turnover just from our coachless special teams. Special teams play at UGA is a bad joke.
Next, look for 5′11″ Aaron Murry to choke and throw at least one pic-6 as he always does against good teams. Add in a fumble by one of the freshman Gurshalls, then add the completely inept and indifferent defense and you have a recipe for disaster.

Pat Dye once observed that Georgia wasn’t “man enough” to be Alabama. That was five years ago. The Dawgs have regressed even further from the ideal during that time.

Prepare for another embarrassing beatdown on national TV in prime time.

Send your congratulatory letters to 30 Million Dollar Man Coach Mark Richt and his hand-picked staff.

cleveland

October 26th, 2012
10:58 am

The key to this game is not to go fast in the first half but to slow this gam down and make it close and to go fst in the final eighteen minutes and make FL paly fast in the second half. If anyone has watched the Gators play this year they ahve been even or behind at halftime andmade adjustment at half. UGA needs to make them have to play fst in the forth quater when they traditionally want to grind the game down. Driskell needs to be forced to throw in the forth quater to win. Ig UGA gets out fast and doesn’t maintain that it doesn’t matter. Teh sissue is forcing FL to throw in the forth quater to win.

pre game coaches meeting

October 26th, 2012
11:09 am

CMR: Hey guys what time is it?
CMB: It’s 3 minutes before kick off coach
CMR: Okay lets make this quick… Hey big guy I’ve got something for ya!
CTG: What is it coach?
CMR: (Throws a big white towel to Grantham)
CTG: Wow Coach! My own personal towel… it’s gota black oval “G” on it… Your the best coach!
CMR:Thought of a new wrinkle when sending out defensive signals and other signals to our players.
CTG: What do ya mean coach?
CMR: Well we will have one of our scrubbs holding up the towell in front of you when you give the choke sign and other signals. This should throw off the gators throughout the game and mess with their psyche. It should keep them guessing when you are or are not giving the choke sign.
CTG: Wow coach that is brilliant!
CMR: I know…. that is why they pay me the BIG bucks.
CMR: Hey Bobo, Florida thinks we will run the ball more so what is your plan?
CMB: Im thinking only if we get into third and long situations. Im going back to the draw.
CMR: Sounds like a plan!
CMR: Hey Garner…. get over here I’ve got something for you too.
CRG: Okay coach what it is?
CMR: Well McGarrity didnt allow recruits to attend the game. I already went ahead and ordered bucket loads of KFC for them. They are on ice in the locker room. You can have them if you want and you can share some with Todd.
CRG: Man…. coach this is like early Thanksgiving!
CMR:Yeah I know …. the holidays are quickly approaching and we already got a bowl game locked up somewhere. So all of you need to just relax. Our Bonuses should be about ready to kick in too after those contract extensions from last spring.
CRG: Coach Richt you are the best! I dont care what our fans say or think.
CMR: Well I’ve got to fix my hair and put on my shades…see you fella’s on the sidelines.

GaDawg

October 26th, 2012
11:23 am

Could you imagine a Georgia vs Florida football game in which every gator possession ended in either a lost fumble, or a pass interception? How about a game where the Dawg defense literally shut the door against an opponent holding them to 0 first downs, and negative yardage in all three phases of the game?

Could you imagine a Georgia vs Florida football game in which every Georgia possession ended in a touchdown? What if every pass was a completion, and the team lost not one fumble? How about a game where the team was so focused that it failed to commit a single penalty?

Wouldn’t you love to see a Georgia vs Florida football game that was such an impressive display of teamwork, and Dawg Domination that Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso were left totally speechless? How about a game of such notoriety that the American college football world would go out of its way to find the replay to watch the total destruction of the nations number 2 ranked team, while at the same time, see UGA set a SEC and NCAA, single game record, for missed P A T attempts?

Now, I don’t know about you, but I could, certainly, live with that!

John Lennon

October 26th, 2012
11:48 am

Yep… I wrote a song along those lines once.

People said I was a dreamer.

Strat Cat Dawg

October 26th, 2012
4:23 pm

We are capable not only of beating Florida but of beating them soundly. Whether we will do it is another question, the answer to which is: It depends on which Dawgs show up. I will not be surprised by any outcome of this game ranging from UGA blowing UF out to the other way around.

Bill Thomas

October 27th, 2012
8:38 pm

Hire Shawn Williams as “Motivational Coach” after graduation!