First thoughts on you-know-what

It’s going to be my usual short week at the blog, so there’s no sense in waiting to jump in with a few posts about the Cocktail Party.  Besides, I think we made excellent use of the off week to stew over how much sucks about Richt, the team, the season, etc., didn’t we?

Speaking of stewing, for those of you who haven’t quite gotten your fill of that yet, this week is going to be something of a disappointment, as I’m going to take the approach that a blow out loss isn’t a given and that it’s not insane to consider the possibility that Georgia could win this Saturday.  (For those of you who disagree, Vegas is waiting for your call.)

So here are a few tidbits I started assembling over the weekend.

  1. Based on the schedule, Florida should be favored.  Hey, I just said I’m not crazy.  Florida and Georgia have played two common opponents this season.  The Gators won both; Georgia split.  (And didn’t look better against Missouri.)  Both lost to their West opponents, but Florida certainly but up a better fight in its loss than Georgia did.
  2. Based on the stats, this should be a competitive game.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Both teams have defenses playing better than the other team’s offense.  And if you notice, Florida’s offensive line is playing at about the level that was expected before the season started.  The one area that looks lopsided, unfortunately in Florida’s favor, is special teams play.
  3. A look at what McElwain’s up to on offense.  One thing you have to say about this year’s Florida offense is that unlike what we saw during Agent Muschamp’s era, there appears to be a sense of purpose.  You can read this Ian Boyd piece to get a picture of that.  Yeah, that use of the tight end stuff makes me exceedingly nervous.
  4. Forgetting Will Grier.  Boyd’s piece was written before Grier’s suspension.  Treon Harris is now the man.  And, yes, I do remember last year’s game.  If you think that’s still really important, I suggest you double down in Vegas and place a bet that Florida doesn’t throw the ball more than six times this Saturday.  Otherwise, you might want to take a look at Harris’ 2015 stats to get an idea of what Georgia has to do to stay in the game.  And make no mistake about it, figuring out how to contain Harris is Pruitt’s biggest job.
  5. Remembering Treon Harris.  I’m kicking myself because I didn’t save a link to a post about Harris’ tendencies.  (Richt says there isn’t much of a difference between Grier and Harris.  Who knows, he might even believe that.)  I can’t find it now.  Maybe it’ll turn up this week and I can share it with you when it’s rediscovered.  In the meantime, here’s the big thing you need to know about Harris’ passing:  he loves to roll to his right.  And he’s good when he is allowed to do just that.  Stop that, though, and he’s much less effective.  How do I know?  Well, first check out his situational stats.  His first half passer rating is 237.22.  In the second half, that drops to 117.76.  Why?  Maybe it has something to do with a halftime adjustment LSU made.  Keeping Harris in the pocket and pressuring him there is paramount if the Dawgs are going to keep the Florida offense in check.  So, yes, the pass rush is a big deal, but keeping contain is even bigger… which is one lesson you have to hope the defense learned from last year’s debacle.

I’ll stop there.  I’ll have more to chew on as the week progresses.

121 Comments

Filed under Gators Gators, Georgia Football

121 responses to “First thoughts on you-know-what

  1. roswelldawg

    We lose by 30 points. You heard it here first.

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  2. Will (The Other One)

    I can’t bring myself to click on the link about TE usage. I know if I do, I’ll just start yelling “why can’t Schotty do that?” at the screen, over and over.

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  3. Mike

    I think comparing stats might be a bit misleading, particularly on offense as both teams are without arguably their most important offensive weapon. Will Grier for Florida and UGA’s Chubb. I do think this might be a defensive struggle, a 20-17 kind of game. If it is, somewhere Muschamp might be smiling.

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    • I agree with you that, barring a rash of turnovers, this one looks like a low scoring affair.

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      • D as in Dawg

        This is why I’m a bad fan, I guess. I will go to my death bed never possessing this kind of optimism. Our D has been torched and our offense atrocious at picking up a first down against our last two opponents that weren’t the worst team in the SEC. I’m not just hating, but I don’t see how we hang with this team. I hope I’m wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ll take a full serving of I told you so if I am, but I’ve seen nothing in this team, especially without Chubb, that tells me they can stand up to the Gators this weekend. Perhaps attending the game for the first time last year is affecting my psyche.

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        • You define optimism as operating under the assumption that Georgia won’t get blown out? And you’ll never feel otherwise, for the rest of your life?

          I don’t think that makes you a bad fan. I just wonder why you’re a fan at all. What’s the point?

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          • Russ

            I wonder about a lot of the people that are constantly pessimistic. I’ll admit, during the games I can get pessimistic, but somehow, someway, I always talk myself back into believing that we can win the next game. Isn’t that the definition of a fan (short for “fanatic”)?

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            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Well there pessimistic, then there’s the Munson Pessimist. One is real, even when the sun is out it might rain kinda pessimism.

              A Munson Pessimist is one who really wants the win, thinks it might happen but is forced by custom not to talk about it till the thing is over, there.

              Not sure how this affects BIG converts to Dawgdom.

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              • Uglydawg

                “A Munson Pessimist is one who really wants the win, thinks it might happen but is foreced by custom not to talk about it till the thing is over”
                You nailed it, Scorp!
                That should get serious consideration for the Lexicon.

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            • D as in Dawg

              I would say being a fan is more defined by who you root for, not who you believe will win. I believed we could beat UA and would beat UT. I’m still believing, just based on more information.

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          • D as in Dawg

            I’m referring to having optimism at this point in this season having, presumably, watched the same UGA and UF football teams during this season and then taking into account our recent propensity for big game bed wetting. The kind of optimism I have took a nose dive after UA and UT. The fact that some can be so optimistic at this point is much harder to grasp than what I feel at this point.

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    • @gatriguy

      Wrong. Neither 20 or 17 can be obtained via field goals.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      I don’t think Grier was substantially better than Harris. Now, if Harris goes down, Florida is SOL.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      Considering Muschamp gets to see his lackluster D take on an Ole Miss team that has a healthy Tunsil back on their line, I don’t think he’ll be smiling much Saturday.

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  4. @gatriguy

    If Richt is aggressive, a la 2011, then I think it can be a four quarter game. If he pulls his usual Field Goal Jesus routine again, he’s going to get trounced.

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  5. Puffdawg

    Will the real Lorenzo Carter please stand up? Time for him to step it up and show us what he’s made of. And hopefully Floyd can set an edge this year. For me, those two guys are the most important keys for this game. If we’re going to have any chance, I wager it’s because our defense wreaks havoc, particularly those two guys. We need to make Harris miserable and force him into mistakes. Is Jenkins going to be back?

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    • Macallanlover

      This is the biggest mystery to me, we started the season with more studs at this position than we could get on the field at one time. Attempting to get them all out there at one time, we misused one of them, and the other two have been no shows for all but one game (granted, one has been injured for 2-3 games). Carter does need to show himself,would love to see Jenkins to 80+%, and Floyd should want some revenge for what happened to him last year.

      The vulnerability to the TE is the greatest concern and I hope Pruitt has figured a way to get the LBs some help in coverage.

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  6. There’s no reason we can’t win. But agree we have to be aggressive. Play to win.

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  7. DawgPhan

    Any chance we get a couple of guys back this week?

    Hopefully the time off allowed everyone to get healthier and ready for the game.

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  8. DawgPhan

    Will never get the “I hope I am wrong” crowd.

    doesnt make a lick of sense to me.

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    • I don’t know…maybe a run of 1-19 in a series will do that to a person.

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      • DawgPhan

        But just own that you think we are going to lose. The “I hope I am wrong” is just a hedge for it. And if you are a fan of a team and feel the need to hedge your pessimism, why not just be optimistic?

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        • Oh I am a fan. And I fully expect to lose. I don’t see how the team that played MO could improve enough in 1 off week to win this game. Throw a pretty talented Defense at our incredibly inept OC and that is a recipe for disaster.

          Here is as far as I will hedge: Georgia has a chance to win if Florida never scores. The game will be over as soon as Florida scores its first touchdown.

          That is how much faith I have in our totally unimaginative and grossly overpaid NFL OC.

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      • PTC DAWG

        History…dwell on it.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      I fully understand it this season though. New QB, new OC, plenty of new WRs, lots of freshmen and sophomores getting time on defense: it’s a recipe for serious variance in performance. SCar isn’t that good this season, but the Dawgs looked top-5 worthy vs them, without even connecting on a deep ball. Then on the flip side you get the offense vs Mizzou or the defense vs the Vols.
      So best of luck predicting things until the performances normalize a bit.

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  9. Spike

    Is Penn Wagers making a guest appearance? I want to know before I place my bet..

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  10. RocketDawg

    I have personally had my fill of the so called “fans” and “realist” who keep calling for us to lose and bitch about how everything sucks. If you are that miserable go to Wal Mart and buy a Bama or LSU shirt so you can peacock around and brag to your buddies.

    Also don’t use the “my diploma says UGA” shit on me either. If that is the case then get behind the team and cheer for our boys or STFU.

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    • Insert DisneyDawg here

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    • dudemankind

      Stating that you think we have a slim chance to win must mean that you are not behind the team and cheering for our boys….. right? Whatever man. It sounds like YOU are miserable. How about you worry about yourself and let other folks be the way they want to be?

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      • Agreed, I’ve never read the definitive “Real Fans must be This” guidelines that RD espouses. I will cheer for our boys regardless but don’t piss on everyone and tell us it’s raining. Any fan of whatever pedigree you want can see that things are not trending-up and have the absolute right to be displeased by it.

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    • JonDawg

      Damn. Right.

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  11. UGA85

    No question about it to me that UF has more purpose on offense this year. Still, personnel wise, we match up very well. I don’t see any talent advantage for UF anywhere, except cornerback, over us. And we should have a huge advantage at offensive line. This game should come down to a coaching match up. I think we play better than we have yet this year in a very close game.

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    • Russ

      I’ve got that feeling as well (full disclosure – as noted above, I can always find a way to believe). I just think the off week will help, we’ll simplify the offense enough for Lambert to get some comfort, our 3-headed running back will grind out tough yards, our defense plays tough, and we pull out the victory.

      As an added bonus, Keith Marshall will do his best Richard Samuel impersonation by grinding out a 7 minute drive to end the game, converting a crucial 4 and 1 that breaks for the capping TD. Woof!

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  12. kevinsauer

    It’s been mentioned after the Bama game, but seems like every year we have our “not showing up” game and our “brain fart, blow it” game (got those outta the way early this year). But it also seems like we have that game where we come outta nowhere and just truck a team we had a. no business trucking or b. is a major rival.

    You could argue that USC was that game this year, but i would say it was too early in the season and expectations on either side hadn’t really set in yet. i think this is that game. i think we blow out UF. it would be the most Richt thing possible to polarize the fans.

    Pro Richt will have a lot to point to: SEC east, UF losing, rallying the team midway through the season, “showing up”.
    Anti Richt will bitch about consistent inconsistency and “where was this back on xxx” or “he can only beat their back up” or whatever.. they always finds something to be upset about.

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  13. Biggus Rickus

    I don’t foresee Georgia getting blown out. They have real talent deficiencies that should keep that from happening. I don’t see where Georgia’s points are going to come from though. At least not enough to win. It feels like a 24-17 type of loss, but the nice thing about a roughly even matchup is that a few lucky breaks can win the game for you.

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  14. ApalachDawg

    My predictions
    If we win the rushing battle and our D plays even a little better than last year – Score DAwgs 31 – turds 20
    If Treon becomes a Heisman candidate – Score Dawgs 17 – turds 38

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  15. Granthams replacement

    Today is the day I watch and listen to Munson’s 1980 Lindsey Scott call. At the end of it I am smiling and thinking Georgia can beat the gators. I want Georgia and Richt to win but both are soft and UF with the coaching change has an edge. My prediction = Georgia gets punched in the mouth, assumes the fetal position and soils itself.

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    • Chuck

      I’m beginning to doubt Pruitt on many levels, and this is one of the main things I thought he was bringing to the team — an expectation of toughness — that appears to be lacking.

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      • Dog in Fla

        Now if only the Oakland Raiders would contact his agent….

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      • Bobby Bowden Syndrome

        Don’t blame Pruitt. He was held accountable by Saban and Jimbo, but now he is a product of his new environment; Mark Richt who’s slogan is ‘Something besides winning that’s important here’…..so when you see a clunker on Saturday, blame the dude in charge.

        http://ugasports.blog.ajc.com/2014/09/19/ugas-mark-richt-something-besides-winning-thats-important-here/

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        • UGA85

          CJP looks better than CBS, but I agree that our defense has still been a disappointment. When a proven assistant regresses under CMR, it does beg the question of “Why”?

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          • Did you miss seeing all the true freshmen playing this season?

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            • UGA85

              I saw them, but I still don’t think that excuses or explains our defensive play against UT. I never thought I would see a CJP defense tackle like that, or be out-coached and out-schemed.

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              • So one game equates to a trend in your mind?

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                • UGA85

                  I guess not. But it does feel like a regression after last year. Our offensive incompetence this year has not helped, either.

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                • I’m not disagreeing with your assessment, by the way. I think Pruitt’s made a decision to go with the newbies come hell or highwater and it’s contributed to the rocky start.

                  That’s an explanation, not an excuse. 😉

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                • UGA85

                  Is it possible that the coaches have agreed to throw in the towel for this year? We obviously don’t have a great team. Could they be coaching for next year? Doesn’t seem likely, but those numbers of freshmen playing make one wonder.

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                • I don’t think they’re throwing in the towel. I’ve said all along Richt’s been committed to a balancing act – he’s still got a shot at pulling off a trip to Atlanta.

                  But from everything I heard going into the preseason, the coaches made a definite commitment to getting the new talent plenty of game experience.

                  No doubt it’s been a bumpy ride so far, but if this class is as talented as the coaches believe, we could be looking at a different team by season’s end.

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        • W Cobb Dawg

          Got to agree. Either CMR does something to them, or he makes lousy hires. Change CJP and/or Schotty and the Richt paradigm would remain the same.

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      • doofusdawg

        Florida will start no freshmen and one true sophomore on defense… we will probably start four freshmen and two true sophomores.

        I just hope that Sony doesn’t tweak an injury… that would be brutal.

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      • Brandon

        YES! Because college football is a game played by coaches. Players have no responsibility to learn their assignments and execute them. If the players screw up it is ALWAYS because the coach is horrible. The quicker you learn this the quicker you will be able to comprehend many of the comments on this or most any other UGA football blog

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  16. AusDawg85

    SECe title (likely) on the line in JAX. Where have we heard this before? Seems whoever has the Heisman candidate wins, but don’t know how that applies when he’s sidelined.

    We really need to win first down on both sides of the ball. Time for our stellar LB corps to show-up and play big. Watching the NFL use the TE over the middle, it seems the best way to stop it is a strong pass rush as the TE is usually slower to release and separate from an ILB. Give both the TE and QB time to throw and it’s tough in any league. Blitz and hold the damn edges this year!

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  17. SAtownDawg

    I have no confidence that our offense will score more than 16 points so it all comes down to the defense…wish we had Sanders for the whole game but our young cornerbacks are coming on and most importantly, can tackle on the edge…unlike others, I liked Floyd at MLB but I guess with Jenkins out and Carter invisible he’ll have to play outside and he needs to have a big game…pressure Harris and maybe force a couple turnovers and I’ve convinced myself that we’ve got a shot….major cause of concern is whether the offensive coordinator can come up with a competent gameplan

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  18. McNease

    If UGA can establish a decent passing game then I think we win and maybe pretty handily. I don’t believe UF has a good OL, and Treon may turn it over 2-3 times. The problem though is I have little reason to expect Lambert to have a good game. If he’s mediocre then this game turns in UF’s favor. If he’s a disaster….well then this will feel like the 2009 game. This game feels a lot like the 2011 game when very few people expected AM11 to have a good game. He didn’t, but he wasn’t a disaster and managed to get the ball to #26. Lambert should try the same strategy.

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    • Bobby Bowden Syndrome

      McNease, you had a phone call from Bellevue Hospital adult inpatient psychiatric services. They said you left your playbook and whistle

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      • McNease

        “Gloom, despair and agony on me-e!
        Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!
        If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all!
        Gloom, despair and agony on me-e-e!”

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  19. Will Trane

    5 – 9 under CMR in JAX.

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  20. 69Dawg

    You guys confuse being a fan with being unrealistically optimistic about your team. I have seen us play every game. I have watched UF play every game. UF is the better team. I don’t care what you think about our talent verses their talent. This is a team game, there is no Herschel Walker or Tim Tebow this time it is just one football team against another. They are playing better then we are. Even in defeat against LSU they looked like they belonged there. Tell me again how we looked against Alabama and Tennessee. I love Georgia and I will pull for Georgia but I’m not crazy.

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    • UGA85

      Thank you. A reasonable assessment, based on our team’s level of play so far. I hope we will play better this week. But mere hope is not always the best strategy.

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      • McNease

        ” I hope we will play better this week. But mere hope is not always the best strategy.”

        I don’t understand this.

        a) how does a fan’s strategy affect the potential outcome?
        b) what other potential fan strategies are there besides hope?
        c) will NOT hoping they play better help them play better?
        d) is this strategy what my old roommate used to call “pessimistic optimism” where by predicting DOOM things go better?
        e) or is this “strategy” have nothing to do with the play on the field but instead is a fan coping strategy?

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        • UGA85

          “Hoping” for better play, without any objective sign that it could actually happen, may be delusional. I have no evidence that this UGA team could actually beat a good football team, but I still hope they do. Is this hope blind and without any basis in fact? Yes. Is this subjective feeling over objective evidence? Yes. And that is not always good strategy.

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    • Dog in Fla

      You, Don Carlos & Captain Sinbad 🙂

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    • McNease

      The better team doesn’t always win, and the probabilities of the lesser team winning depend on the differences between the better and lesser. In your opinion how would you qualitatively assess those differences and subsequent probabilities?

      In my opinion I think the differences are not too great. UF has advantages in the secondary, DL, experience and QB. I think UGA has advantages at OL, LB and maybe offensive playmakers. I think the edge goes to UF, but the biggest problem, imho, in assessing this game is the very large probability range of Lambert’s play. He’s shown so far such a wide range of performances to date that predicting how he’ll play is difficult. And I think that with that predicting the game’s outcome is also very difficult.

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      • Biggus Rickus

        His performances haven’t been that wildly divergent. Or perhaps I should say that his performances have an inverse relationship to the quality of the defenses. He’s been great against bad defenses, bad against good ones, and slightly above average against the one mediocre defense. Florida has a good defense, so it stands to reason he’ll be bad. What degree of bad is the question.

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    • D as in Dawg

      Yep.

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  21. Hogbody Spradlin

    This is a good as anything I’ve seen around here:

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  22. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    For whatever reason, this game is Mark Richt’s kryptonite. He’s 10-5 against Tennessee, 9-6 against South Carolina, 9-4 against Auburn, 4-4 against LSU, 3-3 against Alabama, and a gaudy 12-2 against Georgia Tech.

    But he’s 5-9 against Florida and there doesn’t seem to be a unifying reason why. He’s lost with great quarterbacks and “what was that?” quarterbacks, 1st round NFL running backs and guys who couldn’t make a scout team, good defenses and not-so-good defenses. And he’s lost to coaches headed for the hall of fame and coaches headed for the unemployment line.

    My guess: Florida’s overall has had better coaching and slightly better talent. Still, I’d like to see Richt closer to 50% in this game. As many have noted, he’s due for some karma-ic good fortune. I hope he gets it this weekend.

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  23. charlottedawg

    No, ain’t gonna happen . I agree that we do have a game like this every year but it is never against Florida. They are to us what we are to tech and auburn whereas even their worst teams have had a chance to win going into the fourth quarter. And when they have the better team many times it’s a blowout.

    Richt has never blown out Florida and it’s not happening this year. If we win it will probably be a game where the defense just balls out, we get good special teams play and Sony puts the offense on his shoulders and we play keep away on offense.

    I really don’t see how our offense is going to do anything.

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  24. Florida needed a Belue-to-Scott type of miracle to beat Tennessee at home. We lost to the Vols in Knoxville. Neutral …

    The difference is how UF played LSU and we played Alabama. That’s why I’m very pessimistic about this week, but I don’t think either team is going to blow the other one out without turnovers or special teams.

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  25. My gut feeling is : I am absolutely sure we are going to lose. However whenever I am absolutely sure about anything, I turn out to be wrong. For example last year I was absolutely sure we would crush FU. I guess it’s God’s way of keeping me humble. So cheer up guys, we have that going for us.

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  26. dudemankind

    As long as we don’t try to kick field goals into 50 mph crosswinds or forget to defend against a fake field goal after the opposing team just watched us miss a field goal into a 50 mph crosswind……..we ought to be ok.

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  27. It’s winnable if we’ll actually take care of the fundamentals, GL makes good throws that include health dose of TEs, and we play strong STs. We can win a close one. I suspect we’ll see some good focus early that may get us on the board first. But get behind a couple TDs and I think we’re done. In fact, if GL has another bad game, I fear for the rest of the season.

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  28. W Cobb Dawg

    Time to quit the pussyfootin and win.

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  29. J.G.

    Apropos of nothing, here’s the solution to our punting problem: use Ramsey instead of Barber, & tell him to chuck it sixty yards. If we need a pooch-punt, tell Ramsey to chuck it twenty yards, but real high. Yeah, it counts as an INT, but Ramsey’s thrown plenty of those.

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    • I Wanna Red Cup

      I know you were being snarky, but I agree that we should try Ramsey as a punter. I do not believe he would do worse than Barber, and think of the fake possibilities. Just rolling him out there would at least cause FU to burn a time out.

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  30. TennesseeDawg

    After 100+ comments with analysis, we will still have to wait until the game is played Saturday to see who is the better team

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Are you trying to tell me that games are not played in the imaginations of blog commenters? You sir, are crazy.

      Like