Today, I’ll get you read for tomorrow’s Georgia game with some fun facts, x’s and o’s, and predictions.
First come the fun facts.
-Florida has won 18 out of the last 21, 11 out of the last 13, 5 out of the last 6, and the last 3.
-The all-time series is tied 38-38 since the venue of the game was moved permanently to Jacksonville in 1933 (not counting 1994 and 1995 when it was moved to each team’s stadium).
-The last Gator head coach to lose to Georgia in his first year was Charlie Pell. Since then, Galen Hall, Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Urban Meyer all beat Georgia in their first try.
-In the last three Florida-Georgia games, history was made. In 2008, Florida crushed Georgia 49-10, which was and still is the worst loss for Mark Richt. In 2009, Tim Tebow broke Herschel Walker’s record of rushing TD. Last year’s game was the first ever to have overtime not just in the Florida-Georgia game, but in any neutral site game involving two SEC teams.
-Florida is 2-0 when calling a timeout in the final 30 seconds (1993, 2008).
-The Gators are +11 in the turnover battle in the last 3 games against Georgia
OK, now onto the serious stuff.
The Gators could not like their chances in this game any more with the return of a slew of starters. Everybody’s been talking about how much the return of Brantley means. Sure, it helps, but not as much as Jeff Demps at top speed. To me, that’s our biggest advantage- maybe even our secret weapon. Georgia does not have much tape on Demps from this year, and the tape they have is from FAU, UAB, Tennessee and Kentucky. Of course, Demps is just as fast against the Wildcats as he is the Crimson Tide, but the defense is better and faster for Alabama.
The larger point is this: at some point, sheer volume wins. Georgia cannot stop Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Trey Burton, Frankie Hammond, Omarious Hines, Jordan Reed, Andre Debose (another big player making his return), Deonte Thompson and Mike Gillislee. Nobody can. Of course, when you only use three of them, anybody can stop them. So when Demps went out against Alabama, and Charlie Weis stubbornly refused to use Michael Gillislee, Trey Burton and Jordan Reed, Florida’s offense floundered. Rainey, Thompson and Mind you, it was stuffed the entire second quarter with Brantley, so it wasn’t Jeff Driskel’s fault.
So I beg of you Charlie Weis, please don’t be Steve Addazio and run Rainey 40 times and neglect Gillislee and Demps. I don’t think you will, but you have proven to be quite predictable with who the ball will go to. Spread it around.
To sum it all up, the first key is to spread the ball around. It’s like feed the fish- everybody needs their share.
The second key is hidden behind the otherwise superb play of the defense- force turnovers. The Gators have not forced a turnover in the month of October, which is humiliating for a team that only two years ago won 13 games with its defense and Tim Tebow. Georgia is not an explosive offensive team, nor do I expect them to look like one tomorrow. I expect lots of pressure on Aaron Murray, sacks, fumbles maybe- nothing but good things from our superior defensive front 7 that is somehow last in the SEC.
The third key is simple- great special teams. A big return, a blocked kick, etc, could change the game around in an instant. And please, oh please, just catch the punts.
The fourth key is better blocking. It doesn’t matter who’s taking snaps, if he doesn’t have time, the Gators’ offense will go nowhere. Sure, the Gators played Alabama and LSU, two great teams, but then the offensive line was manhandled by a horrible Auburn defense. It must be leagues better tomorrow.
The fifth key I have for tomorrow is the inverse of Addazio’s biggest focus- stay on schedule in the down and distance. The Gators need to force Georgia’s offense into as many uncomfortable situations in the down and distance as possible. That’s where more mistakes come, as opposed to third and 1. It will also force Georgia to be predictable with their play-calling.
Key number 6 is avoid penalties. It’s simple. No explanation necessary. AVOID PENALTIES. The Gators have excelled at beating themselves this year with stupid, unnecessary, pre-snap procedural penalties. It needs to stop. Now.
All in all, I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s game. From Malcolm Mitchell being ruled out, to Kwame Geathers and Shawn Williams being suspended for the first half, Demps, Brantley, Debose, Ronald Powell, Caleb Sturgis and Dan Wenger being ruled probable, plus, you know, 18 out of the last 21, I like our chances.
Florida 24, Georgia 10.