Let’s face it, these are the strangest vibes going into Jax we’ve felt at least since 2004. And even then, it was strange only because we knew the Zooker was a dead man walking after he got Croomed. This year we’ve got Corch riding a three-game losing streak – and a rising from the dead Mark Richt sounding… well, sympathetic:
… Richt, speaking a day after the Kentucky win, drew the parallel between Florida’s potential makeover and his own team’s. He said he expects to see some “interesting twists” from the Gators given the open date.
“I’m sure they’re doing some soul-searching and trying to find some answers, too,” Richt said. “They have time to change their course a little bit. I’m sure that’s what they’re focusing on right now.”
I don’t know if that approach is gonna work on Saturday, but it’s a helluva lot better than bitching about the weather or stealing Grambling’s uniforms.
As I mentioned in a comment, Florida’s bye week doesn’t bother me so much tactically – if Meyer and Addazio want to give Trey Burton (on the season, he’s a true freshman who’s 1-2 passing with an interception) a bigger role at quarterback, fine; that’s playing into Georgia’s strength on defense and messing with John Brantley’s head at the same time – as it does in the way that former Gator offensive coordinator Dan Mullen describes.
“Any time you have a bye week, the biggest thing is you have the opportunity to get your guys healthy and get them back on track and if you need to make some tweaks it gives you a little extra time to do that.”
Jeff Demps hasn’t been 100%. The Gators also get Chris Rainey back (what a coincidence, hunh). They also got the chance to rest an offensive line that’s been badly banged up. All of that concerns me a lot more than seeing Trey Burton in the shotgun.
Another thing to consider about the Cocktail Party is that it’s an SEC East elimination game for both teams. The loser will be saddled with its fourth conference loss. If that’s Georgia, it’s means that the Dawgs lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to both the Gators and the Gamecocks (which, at 4-2 won’t have more than four losses at season’s end). If Florida loses, even if it comes back with a win against South Carolina, it will still finish behind a 5-3 Georgia (yeah, right), a 5-3 South Carolina or lose the tiebreakers to South Carolina and Georgia if all finish 4-4. With that much at stake for both, I doubt you’ll see either head coach resorting to further showy emotional appeals/fake juice to motivate their teams.