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Post Initial thoughts about Florida

Wednesday October 17, 2007


Two of the big matchups in this game concern me.

Auburn and LSU showed that a defense that can attack the spread option and cause disruption behind the line of scrimmage can have success against Florida. I’m not so sure that it’s a blueprint that Georgia can follow. The first issue is pressure from the defensive line. Geno Atkins has helped in this area, but a good push hasn’t really been the hallmark of the Georgia defense this year. I’d like to see Atkins start in Jacksonville; he’s the closest thing Georgia has to someone capable of getting to Tebow before he gets going. The defensive front did play better against Vanderbilt, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Then when you get past the defensive front, assignments come into play. One way to test the experience and discipline level of a linebacker is to throw some misdirection at him. Georgia’s patchwork linebacking corps struggled with Vanderbilt’s option and reverses last weekend, and Florida’s spread option is orders of magnitude more complex. Marcus Washington’s return might help, but smart, fast, and disciplined play from the linebackers as well as big hitters like Rashad Jones will be put to the test.

Then there’s the matchup on the other side of the ball. Knowshon Moreno might be Georgia’s most consistent and exciting weapon on offense, but Florida’s rushing defense is their strength. It’s actually a bit odd – the Gators are average-at-best when it comes to sacks and tackles for loss, but they are Top 15 in the nation against the run. If they have a relative weakness on defense, it’s against the pass. Georgia’s best chance might be through the air, but they have struggled with inaccuracy and drops. Sooner or later Stafford is going to start hitting receivers down the field, and it might as well be in this game.

In Florida’s two losses, Auburn and LSU attacked Florida differently. Auburn wasn’t able to run the ball, but their protection held, and Brandon Cox was able to pick off chunks of yards through the air. LSU was more effective running the ball, but they used their own spread approach involving heavy use of the quarterback in the running game. Depth might have come into play at the end of the game as Jacob Hester was able to power into the heart of that Gator run defense.


7, 13, 24, 26, 14, 17, 7, 37, 7, 14, 23, 10, 13, 13, 31, 10, 14.

Those are the point totals put up by Georgia against Florida since 1990. It’s an average of 16.5 PPG including the two wins, and it’s closer to 15 PPG under Mark Richt. While the high-profile offenses of Spurrier and Meyer have defined Florida over that time, the Cocktail Party has more or less been determined by Georgia’s (in)ability to put up points. So while the coverage leading up to the game dwells on Willie Martinez and the game plan against Tebow, some attention should also be paid to the creativity and resourcefulness of Richt, Bobo, and the rest of the offensive staff to get what they can from the personnel. Even if the defense is somewhat effective in its approach, it’s asking a lot to expect a win in this game if the Dawgs can’t break the 20-point mark.

Georgia has scored over 20 points in regulation only once in five SEC games this season.


The merits of the Jacksonville location came up for discussion over the summer as they always do. There was no doubt then that the location of the game was in the heads of Georgia players and coaches. The question will almost certainly be put to the Dawgs again over the next week. Watch the quotes we get on the subject for a look into the frame of mind with which the team will approach the game.

2 Responses to 'Initial thoughts about Florida'

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  • […] The first is what I’d call the historical one, which Groo has done a nice job of outlining here.  The essence is that since 1990, Georgia’s two wins have come in the only two games where […]

  • Groo, I realize you guys love Jax. But with two teams so close in talent and playing for the SEC East year in and year out (that was not the case in Dooley’s years or Spurrier’s years for the most part, but it will be under MR and UM) I don’t think it’s wise to give any edge to the other team EVERY year. These teams are as close in talent year in and year out as ever. And no matter how much you guys want to say it has no impact, we travel almost five hours more to get to the game than they do. They never have to leave campus until gameday. We have to make travel arrangements like it’s a road game. That may be a small advantage, but it IS one. The day off was much bigger, and I have no idea how the SEC figured that giving it to UF almost every year was fair. And despite what you wrote, it’s pretty obvious that the Dawgs talked about it all week long and it had little to do with the outcome of the game THIS TIME. But talk about or not, it will cost us and has cost us a few games. I’m certain of that.