Best account I’ve seen yet of the pregame skirmish that occurred before Georgia-Florida this past Saturday comes from Palm Beach Post reporter Jason Lieser.
I didn’t see but the very tail-end of the incident myself as it happened right around the time they were preparing for the pregame toss. But according to Lieser, Florida safety Matt Elam instigated the incident by bumping Georgia’s Devin Bowman. Apparently a bunch of Georgia players then responded to the taunts of Elam and teammate Dominique Easley, including Todd Gurley, Malcolm Mitchell, Corey Moore and Arthur Lynch.
Liesler reports that Florida strength coach Jeff Dillman interceded and ended up shoving Moore. That drew Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and some other assistant coaches and referees into the fray. This is the part I saw and skirmish quickly dissipated with both sides squawking as they went their separate ways.
Gators strength coach Jeff Dillman, who later had at least one very animated conversation with a ref, was involved as well. Dillman shoved Georgia safety Corey Moore, then got in the face of a Bulldogs assistant.
The whole affair was over in less than a minute and no penalties were assessed (though officials would make up for that later).
Georgia coach Mark Richt claimed on his Sunday conference call he knew nothing of the incident until seeing a vague reference to it on the TV broadcast replay.
“You know what, I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I watched the TV copy of the game and they showed a little bit of that. You could tell there was some chirping and all that, but I don’t think anybody got physical or anything like that.”
Informed for Dillman’s shove and when it happened, Richt said: “I’d have to look at it. I’m not really worried about that right now.”
Grantham acknowledged the incident after the game but claimed he was merely telling the Georgia players to get out of the way. “I was telling our guys to get off the field,” he said.
The “chippiness” carried over into the game, where the teams combined to be flagged 24 times, including several personal foul penalties.
“That was one of the most intense games I’ve ever coached from start to finish,” Richt said. “. . . You want intensity with discipline. But I didn’t want to slow anybody’s ability to keep their blood hot.”