‘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

NC Dawg

October 25th, 2012
10:46 am

First! Go DAWGS!!

Absolutely, true Bill. Dawgs have to jump out front early.

EDawg71

October 25th, 2012
10:51 am

Be ready for any and all ‘trick’ or ‘gadget’ plays. Also, for God’s sake, can we EVER go after a punt to try for the block??? We certainly can’t field one, even playing to setup the return!

Jeremy Wallace

October 25th, 2012
10:56 am

If the team actually comes to play a football game, we might have a chance. If the team that has shown up for so many “big” games in recent past shows up, we don’t have a chance in @#$%! Here’s hoping for the former. GO DAWGS!!!!

GATA= Get After That @ss

October 25th, 2012
10:57 am

Why does bobo not adjust game plans from gameto game or quarter to quarter for that fact

Swami Sez

October 25th, 2012
10:57 am

Dawgs didnt play its best game at Mizzou. It was Vandy…..

Abnerish

October 25th, 2012
11:00 am

If last year’s defense shows up, we will win. Unfortunately, though, except for the Vandy game, that defense has not existed. I expect our defense to be run over and our o-line to be destroyed. So, I guess I expect a result similar to the South Carolina game.

Sandy

October 25th, 2012
11:01 am

Murray went 15 for 34 last year, 1 td, 0 int’s and Georgia won 24-20. Murray doens’t need to be a hero, just don’t be the goat.

Don’t turn the ball over, and force Florida’s anemic offense to drive 80 yards to beat you. Their offense ranks 102 in total offense, good luck Gators.

For Gators to win:
a) need 3 turnovers
b) need a special teams td
c) need to run for 250 yards

if Gators don’t do all 3, they lose.

Scott

October 25th, 2012
11:05 am

I often don’t agree with much of your analysis. I believe your on target here. I still believe that UGA has to rush for 100-125 yards to win this game.

Music City Dawg

October 25th, 2012
11:07 am

The Dawgs can win this game! If it had not been for SC’s turnovers FL would not have won that game. FL’s offense could not sustain a long drive against SC’s defense. I would also go after the punter. If UGA can block a punt, it changes the field position which is huge. Get the job done Dawgs!!! GATA!!!

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
11:07 am

UGA just needs to learn to beat FL

Sandy

October 25th, 2012
11:10 am

Georgia ran for 180+ yards last season, and won the turnover battle,and jammed 8 in the box to limit Florida to -19 yards rushing and sacked Florida when they tried to pass, look for more fo the same.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
11:10 am

Would love to see two in a row but I dont believe the coaches are motivated enough

Red Pants

October 25th, 2012
11:10 am

@Flat Tire

Thank you for your keen insight.

Sandy

October 25th, 2012
11:11 am

Can Florida stop the Muschamp losing streak? Muschamp has never been on the winning team in this game as a player or coach.

Andy

October 25th, 2012
11:13 am

I think we have a chance if the defense comes ready to play and take the ball away. We need the defense to step up and help the offense out by forcing some turnovers against the strong Fla. defense.

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
11:14 am

Tennessee and KY had an anemic running game until they went against our D and we made them look like a high powered running offense

FL has shown they can run the ball hopefully our Pillow Fighting Defense can change their perception cause they have been anemic for years

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
11:16 am

Red Pants

Thank you for your free round of kool-aid

Sorry but I dont par-take of that dreadful liquid

Vance

October 25th, 2012
11:16 am

The lack of a run defense, at least lately, and the effects of high winds on passing accuracy could go badly for our Dawgs. Driskell will have a field day unless our run defense shows up. I expect losses from this coaching staff in the big games, but I always hope for the best. I agree that turnovers will be crucial, but it could be an ugly day for UGA…again. Ugh.

BIG DAWG

October 25th, 2012
11:17 am

Andy

October 25th, 2012
11:17 am

That is, our defense needs to make the offense’s job easier by forcing turnovers. Hopefully, our offense will be able to hold onto the ball.

yep

October 25th, 2012
11:18 am

If GA can keep tabs on Driskel and get ahead early then GA has a great shot in my opinion.

gomdawg

October 25th, 2012
11:21 am

GATORS HAS THE WORSE OFFENSE WE HAVE FACED ALL YEAR , KENTUCKY OFFENSE IS BETTER THAN GATORS, LUCK HAS GOT FLORIDA THIS FOR , GUESS WHAT LUCKS GONE DAWGS WIN

GEORGIA 31 GATORS 17

Ga/Fl.Stillman dog

October 25th, 2012
11:25 am

If they loose CMR and staff need to Immediately be FIRED… This has the upset of the making for the SEASON. Dawgs have everything in place to beat teh GATERDS. I just hope the dumb coaches and players don’t screw it up.

The Rest of the SEC

October 25th, 2012
11:31 am

Hmmm… Great idea!

Should’a thought of that when they played South Carolina. If they’d have had a few touchdowns on the scoreboard before the game started, then that fiasco in Columbia might not have turned into such a dismal beat-down. ;)

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

October 25th, 2012
11:34 am

Scared to death that UGA will be out-coached!

Flat Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

October 25th, 2012
11:35 am

KY and FL’s offense are the same

KY ran all over us

FL’s D is light years better than KY

Jacket99

October 25th, 2012
11:37 am

Ga/Fl.Stillman dog

October 25th, 2012
11:25 am
If they loose CMR and staff need to Immediately be FIRED… This has the upset of the making for the SEASON. Dawgs have everything in place to beat teh GATERDS. I just hope the dumb coaches and players don’t screw it up.
—————————————
That’s just dumb. Coach Richt is a good coach and a great recruiter. His teams have put together consistently winning seasons, unlike Auburn or Tennessee. The only way Coach Richt will be fired is if UGA loses two or three in a row to Georgia Tech.

Chuck

October 25th, 2012
11:37 am

How about some imagination on offense. Let’s see the five wides. Maybe even see Gurley in the QB position with Marshall on one side and Ken Malcome on the other. Run it left, right, up the middle and throw in a few motion plays with Malcolm Mitchell. Got to be more imaginative and unpredicatable.

Dirty Dawg

October 25th, 2012
11:38 am

Wishful thinking and all that, but I recall a driving rain storm in Jacksonville – no not that one, the one in ‘68 – when a Mike Cavan-led offense put up 51 points on em while the Gators did zip. As I said, wishful thinking, but I’d rather do that than the alternative.

edumacated

October 25th, 2012
11:54 am

Get real folks. The gators almost pulled it off last year with a rookie head coach and a one-legged quarterback. Dawgs get beat on embarrassing special teams play, lack of QB contain on defense, and absolutely no running game on offense. Did I leave something out? UF 24 UGA 10.
Fire Mark Richt and the rest of those overpaid incompetent bums on his staff. This time don’t let Garner find a place to hide either.

JaxGator

October 25th, 2012
11:54 am

Ok

( Music City Dawgs) Even without the 21 first half points in the FL vs SC game the score would have been 23 to 11. So tell me how they would have lost? And saying without SC turning over the ball? Half of those fumbles were forced. That is something the Gators have done to everyone. Even LSU….. So you can’t take all the credit from the gators and say all the teams we have played this year have just had bad games when they play Florida. Can you?

Florida has come from behind and won away games. This field is half and half. What makes you think even if Fl gets behind they will lose. FL has shown that they are great under pressure.

If UGA is going to win this game they are going to need to shut down the run…. After what we have seen them do this year… well it doesn’t look good.

For those of us that follow this game every year and remember the upsets that have cost either one of the teams so much. We all know that this game can go either way. No matter how either of the teams have played so far this year. It is FLORIDA GEORGIA!!!

GO GATORS!

DIT

October 25th, 2012
12:04 pm

It’s so basic for the Gators. the don’t have to throw the ball against our defense. Mark my words, they will be running the ball between the tackles until our defense can stop them. Look for the gators to have 250+ yards in rushing.
Murray has to have the biggest game of his carrer. Before jumps all over him for losing big games remember that the line has to block for him. He can’t have a career game if he is running for his life or on his back before the play can develope.

NC Dawg fan

October 25th, 2012
12:05 pm

Why is there so few people talking about the large number of deflected/blocked passes Murray has had at the LOS? This has been happening quite a bit and it does not seem like the O line has made any adjustments to get those D line hands down.

Rob

October 25th, 2012
12:07 pm

Whats sad is to see that there are still a few Bobo comments on this comment thread. Im sorry but wake up people Bobo is a great OC he has consistantly scored points and called the plays that need to be called to win games.

I agree that all UGA needs to do is protect the ball and run its offense like it has all year and it will be fine. Dont force it if we have to punt PUNT and let the defense face a mediocre offensive team. Only way this gets out of hand is turnovers and in recent history close grinding games seem to go to the good guys!

UGA 27- Fl 17

Gurshall- 85 yards TD
Boo-50 yards TD
Murray 20-31 275 2 TDs

Jarvis- 3 sacks and forced fumble
Shaun Williams- Early Int to spark the D

WILL BE CHEERING LOUD FROM CENTER OF A SEA OF ORANGE AND BLUE IN GATORS BOOSTER SECTION GOOOOOO DAWGS!!!

DIT

October 25th, 2012
12:07 pm

Sorry for the typos. One day I will learn that my big fingers are no match for a small droid key pad.

Rob

October 25th, 2012
12:08 pm

** UGA 28- fl 17

Reality

October 25th, 2012
12:11 pm

You Dawg fans just have no idea how good Florida actually is. This is probably going to be ugly.

I can’t even imagine the comments on this board next week.

Outer Banks Dawg

October 25th, 2012
12:12 pm

Chuck,

You’re an idiot. We need both TIght Ends in the game and Merritt Hall at Fullback. 5 wide means you have no blocking. Florida front 7 will live in our backfield.

Any chance we have is to protect Murray and establish the run. Our offensive line is depleted, so put in 2 tight ends and the full back and make Florida load the box to stop Gurley. Then hit either A) one of the 2 wide receivers matched up one on one on the outside, or B) one of the 2 tight ends down the middle of the field, or in the flat, or C) full back outta the backfield or D) tailback outta the backfield

If we are gonna win in the SEC, we gotta run power football. Use the tight ends to bolster the line and keep the linebackers honest. Run the football out of power formations behind the fullback… not 4 wide receiver spread draw.

I’m not saying you can’t mix it up, but you have to establish the time of possession and eat clock. Ball Control… Keep your defense resting and their offense on the sideline. Wear down their defense. Shorten the game. Spread passing cant do any of that.

Please forward to Mike Bobo…

Go Dawgs!

DIT

October 25th, 2012
12:14 pm

@Reality – I could not agree with you more. Especially if we come out and play we have the past 2 games. However, a true will always have that hope that some how, some way this team can wake up up, pull their heads out and play to their potential. Until they do, they will get beat!

NC Dawg fan

October 25th, 2012
12:15 pm

USE OUR TE’S!!!!!

Truthiness

October 25th, 2012
12:23 pm

No reason to believe everything we’ve seen so far magically disappears. UGA has not won this year in the trenches, especially on defense, but has had enough good athletes to off-set that liability. Not against good teams, though. Not against SC, and not against FL. Add special team mishaps, Murray’s long proven inability to lead the team to the big win, and our coaching staff’s general bewilderment, then only a 7 point spread looks mighty surprising.

OrlandoDawg

October 25th, 2012
12:24 pm

GA vs FL BABY! throw down the gauntlet! Time is at hand! Take no prisoners! Hide the women and children! It’s ON BIG TIME! GO DAWGS!

DIT

October 25th, 2012
12:25 pm

Yes, must use the TE’s much more and more screen passed and delayed passes out of the backfield. Drop the long bombs other than to showcase. Quick 10 to 15 yard tosses and let the receivers get more yardage after the catch.

SC Dog fan

October 25th, 2012
12:28 pm

If the dogs show up, sure, they can hang with a vulnerable Florida team. Even grab an early lead. But you just never know whether it’s going to be the version that showed up live and in color to play Vandy or the version that got mailed in through the postal service for Kty and SC. The coahing staff seems to have no traction in this area. It’s always just a roll of the dice. Come on sixes!

Settle Down Dawg Fans

October 25th, 2012
12:32 pm

It’s not the end of the world if we drop the next couple of games. We could still win 9 and go to a bowl.

Heck, 9 wins equals a .75 overall regular season win percentage. Not too shabby! ;)

ARdawg

October 25th, 2012
12:32 pm

Smite the Philestines

how2fish

October 25th, 2012
12:35 pm

Well its UGA vs the gators and so many are wringing their hands and peeing in their sleep, answer me this who has more to lose in this game? …Answer the gators they are no.2 and if they loss they have mostly lost any chance of the SEC EAST and any chance of a MNC…since as so many of the UGA “fans” think we just sux period and have no chance to win this we can just go and leave it all on the field, if we lose no biggie we suxed anyway. I don’t agree I think we can play with these guys and beat them if we play a smart turn over free game and keep A. Murray upright and able to throw, our offense is better and the gators can’t win a shoot out with us and if they can’t pressure Murray he can open up the running game cause if he can’t pass we sure aren’t running on this defense they are the real deal…lots of if’s but it ain’t over yet that’s why we play the games….Go Dogs!

WDE

October 25th, 2012
12:36 pm

@ARdawg and smite them with the jawbone of a Gator!

TossSweep

October 25th, 2012
12:37 pm

Can’t allow two Spurrier teams beat us the same year.

ilovegators

October 25th, 2012
12:38 pm

@ JaxGator correction, even if they take away 21 points…. we still get 3 field goals. So thats 31-11. Take away the roughing the snapper & the bogus offsides penalty, that takes away SC’s 2 field goals. True final score 31-5. “