“The definition of insanity is if you keep doing what you’ve been doing you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting,” Richt said. “We had to do something different…”
Whatever you did, Coach, it worked. This game will always be remembered for what happened after Georgia’s first touchdown – with good reason – but Bobo, Searels and Martinez all deserve some credit of their own for the final result.
And, gosh, the coaches were able to do all of that without being paid a special bounty. I wonder how much Dink values a Florida win.
Here’s your bonus, big guy. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Looking back at my five keys to the game from this post, it turned out that I batted .800:
- Mike Bobo has to use the pass to set up the run. I’m happy to say that I was wrong, wrong, wrong about this. Georgia’s first scoring drive involved exactly zero passing plays. Whether it was because they thought UF’s front seven could handle Georgia’s running game, or because they were that concerned with their shaky secondary, Strong and Matteson surprised me by keeping both safeties back in coverage early on. Moreno and the Dawg offensive line made them pay for that decision. As a bonus, Florida’s safeties looked awful in pass coverage.
- Stafford needs to complete over 60% of his passes. Mission accomplished, with an efficient 11-18 game. He only threw into double coverage on a couple of occasions. The pick six looked like it was the result of a forced throw that he couldn’t get anything on because of the pass rush, but even on that play, he saw that Massaquoi had beaten the coverage. All in all, he did a fine job.
- Get the ball in the red zone. Georgia went four for four in the Florida red zone. All four scores were touchdowns.
- The defensive line must exert some degree of control on the line of scrimmage. Six sacks and minus 15 yards rushing for Tebow is a pretty good indication that the defensive linemen were able to impose their will. It was by far the best showing for Georgia’s front seven all season.
- On special teams, prevent Brandon James from making the big play. Georgia did a decent job with James until his last return late in the fourth quarter. Tebow’s fumble negated the effect of that.
Some other observations from Saturday:
- It’s getting hard to overstate what Moreno brings to the table for this team. He makes his quarterback and his offensive line better. He lets Bobo call the kind of game – heavy runs that set up play action passing – that plays to Georgia’s strengths on offense. He’s the best running back in a Dawg uniform since Robert Edwards.
- I keep saying it, but the job Coach Searels has done with the offensive line is remarkable. That was a very good Gator run defense that Georgia ripped for over 200 yards and while some of that can certainly be attributed to Moreno’s amazing cut back ability, there were some noticeably sizeable holes out there, too. And only one sack of Stafford was impressive as well, as the week before the Gator defense was able to sack Andre Woodson playing behind a much more experienced line five times.
- Giving credit where credit is due, it’s worth pointing out that Martinez did an excellent job putting together his defensive game plan. His blitzes and stunts were creative and disruptive at key points in the game. I don’t know any Georgia fan before the game that wouldn’t have taken Florida’s offense being limited to 23 points on the day.
- Sure, it’s taken eight games to figure it out, but Washington, Curran and Ellerbe are the starting linebackers. Please stay healthy, guys.
- I thought the biggest part of the game came early in the fourth quarter. Georgia was nursing a four point lead as Florida came rushing down the field behind Percy Harvin, who, by the way, I am definitely not going to miss seeing the rest of this year. The Florida drive got bogged down and then stopped on a fourth and two. Two plays later, Stafford hit Mikey Henderson on a 53 yard TD pass where Henderson simply wanted it more than the two defenders he tore away from (that’s not as easy as it sounds when you weigh less than 160 pounds soaking wet).
Speaking of that exchange of plays, it’s apparent to me that we’ve finally moved into the post-Spurrier era of the rivalry. It’s not just that Georgia has now split the last four games of the series. It’s also that this Florida team has a very different identity on offense. While Spurrier’s teams were known for their ability to throw the ball, the OBC always knew you had to have a strong running game to win in the SEC. Florida’s always had its share of power runners to balance the passing game. Even under the Zooker (who played with many of Spurrier’s recruits, don’t forget) that wasn’t abandoned.
But the Gators these days are a pure finesse team on offense. The only power runner they’ve got is Tebow. Saturday showed that relying on your quarterback to get the tough yards every week in the SEC isn’t the best long term strategy. It came back to bite Florida on the butt with that fourth and two call: instead of just plowing into the Georgia defense behind a big, experienced offensive line, Meyer felt the need to resort to some trickeration with an attempted reverse that the Dawgs blew up.
For the first time in a long while, Georgia matched Florida’s arrogance. There wasn’t a moment during the game when you sensed that the Dawgs were about to back down.
In other words, it’s a different world, Gator fans, and you better get used to it. I’m not saying that Georgia is about to rip off a long winning streak, but as I told one somewhat obnoxious Gator fan after the game, any 3-15 talk now is as much about living in the past as Dawg fans reminiscing about life in the early 80’s. The architect of most of that success doesn’t wear orange and blue any more.
Pain is an essential part of any good rivalry, dude. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)