While neighborhoods across the land are filled with the sounds of fall (crunching leaves) and All Hallow's Eve (BOO!), the sounds around the Georgia and Florida athletic offices have been muted. The memories of the end zone celebration are still vivid. But the words that may translate that recollection have been locked away, tight. The bad news is that the media has not been able to provide any fodder for the Bulldog Bulletin board. The good news is that the media has largely had to focus on the game itself.
While seeing Trinton Sturdivant shake, rattle and roll with 50+ teammates may be my most lasting memory of last year's GA/fla game, it was Knowshon's 188 yards and 3 TDs that contributed the most to the win. And another performance like that may be necessary Saturday.
This year's game is HUGE. We've heard/read the experts this week trying to decide if this is the biggest GA/fla game of all. I say it is, undoubtedly. Sure there have been others with similar implications and national rankings, but this just seems bigger. Maybe it's the anxiousness of seeing how each team will play after last year's drama. Maybe it's the fact that the game that has been circled on the schedule for both teams is finally here. At the beginning of the season there were hopes on both sides that this might be a #1 vs #2 match up. Both teams lost at the end of September within hours of each other, but have taken care of business since then. Florida in grand style, the Dawgs in more workmanlike fashion.
Some things that scare me a little:
- Meyer's special teams are always special; James returns kicks like it is a matter of life and death for him to reach the end zone; and if you hadn't heard, they blocked some kicks last week against UK
- Georgia's lack of pass rush is already exposed, but could be devastating tomorrow; the front four have certainly suffered through some injuries, but there's a time is a season when the excuses must take a backseat; that time was about a month ago
- these gators don't crawl, they SPRINT! Meyer recruits speed and this is his fastest.
- Meyer and the gators have something up their sleeve; if it's a gimmick, sobeit; but if they do I think it is likely something they are counting on to impact the game .....something to make you go - "hmmmmmm."
- Is there really, TRULY a chance we come out in red pants? The black jerseys - VERY cool against Auburn in '07, a side story against Hawaii and a disaster against Bama; if CMR uses the color of pants to geek us up against floriDUH ........isn't he stretching a bit too much?
- The Over/Under is well into the fifties, and most are betting that it goes over; I don't like our chances as much in a shoot out; the less we see of #15 the better
As I get a little closer to boarding Delta flight 1667 for Jacksonville, I realize there were a couple more things to clear out of the BDB closet. So real quick -
- Lemme thank Mac via Dad for this photo gallery of everything that is ......unique? .......about SEC football fandom. Editor's Note - the red-haired, bare-chested gentleman is NOT a Dawg, he's a Hog.
- John Daly, drunk at a Hooter's? Yep! Here's the proof. I guess he's really working that endorsement.
- Another thank you to my mother-in-law for an early birthday present that was delivered yesterday. She consulted my wife who consulted Nama and, long story short ....Bernie now has Cornhole! For my few readers unfamiliar with this game of skill, strategy and teamwork here is a preview for the movie that is coming to a screen near you! For some pics of Conner and Ainsley throwin' down, click here.
- For the first time in a LONG time, the DAWGS flew in and out of Ben Epps for the LSU game. It saves the team and the coaches a few hours as opposed to flying into Hartsfield. Hopefully that helps in the preparation for this SEC East elimination game.
- Leave it to CBS to find the ONE sober LSU fan in Death Valley towards the end of the game last Saturday and put him on air long enough for Nama to get out his iPhone - - - - - >
- And lastly, Knowshon needs 13 yards to pass the legendary Sinkwich on UGA's all-time leading rushers list. He needs 75 to pass 1,000 for the season.
SO! Deep breath. Here we go ....... I think it is fairly obvious that our offense matches up better against their defense than our D against their O. Martinez has fared pretty well against Meyer's spread attack, but this year's gator is much faster and their emotionally sensitive QB is healthier this year and has a more diverse supporting cast. Mainly, the gators aren't relying on Tebow's legs (and heavy shoulder) as much to get those yards on the ground. Moore and Moody are the more traditional size RBs, but have been nicked up a bit. So Demps and Rainey have filled in admirably, despite their size. Meyer and OC Mullen clearly attempt to get these speedsters in space and let them go to town. It would be nice to see a red-jerseyed LB dart through and lower the BOO-YAH on these guys.
If it turns into a shoot-out, I still give us a shot at winning. But I think to ensure a win we have to be the more physical team, control the chains and the clock. Let Tebow rest up for their match up against against Vandy next week and give Knowshon the ball early and often. Meyer says that #24 makes our O-line look better than they are, well let's smack 'em in the mouth and open up some holes that even the gator coach's ego could fit through. Stafford should fare well through the air, especially if the running game sets the table.
PREDICTION TIME- Walsh has made some big kicks, it's time for the biggest of his career. Dawgs handle the gators with a workmanlike effort that makes Meyer write another book in the off-season complaining that Jacksonville is not a neutral site for him anymore and outlines his reasons for moving it to Utah. We keep our aspirations for a trip to the SEC Championship game (and our dreams of anything bigger) alive. Make sure to tip your bartender!
This week's trivia brought to you by: The Corn Hole Outlet(.com), where non-athletes go to make their dreams bigger! Last year's Heisman winner is a one of a kind QB. And I'm sure replicating his tendencies and talents in practice to help your defense prepare is a daunting task. Who "filled Tebow's shoes" on the scout team for the Dawgs this week in practice? An extra bean bag if you can add what the Dawg players were chanting after this player's skills were displayed.
If you're in St. Simons, save a booth at Gnat's and some fried dill pickles for me. And as always, be safe.