Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ga/Fla: 21 years of bitching excuses

We've had 21 years as a program to turn this series around. At times though it seems as if we're more concerned with coming up with excuses as to why our fate is what it is. Ugh. Some refer to some sort of curse that exists in Jacksonville. Depending on how the game is lost, we tend to blame specific coaches, certain players, referees, lack of a bye week, all of the coaches, not enough beer, too much bourbon, travel times, all of the players, accommodations, one specific play call, injuries, lack of focus after a bye week, weather, location, humidity, gas prices, every single play call, bad luck, poor preparation...

There's a little salt left in the shaker. So let's look at a few of these and analyze them.

Steve Spurrier changed the landscape of college football, and in so doing the series in Jacksonville as well. He returned to avenge past heartbreak and absolve the demons of coaches Graves through Pell. Florida fans are half right when they believe that college football didn't exist before 1990. Because it didn't exist in Gainseville. The WLOCP was as lopsided as many other rivalries we currently enjoy such as against South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Vandy. They may have won on occasion, but no success was sustained or largely enjoyed.

Analysis - Give me a ______ break! Once the Visor entered the picture confidence shifted, talent was thick under the scripted helmets and the series quickly went south of the border. Spurrier changed the WLOCP seemingly forever. But while Spurrier is guilty of changing the scope of the series, he's been gone for 10 years. The gators have had two other coaches since he left (three by the time we meet again this Fall) that we had no greater success against.

Ray Goff
Dooley was a four letter word in Gainesville. He could beat them as easily as he brushed his teeth. When Goff took over it's pretty well documented that the program took a step back. Actually two. And a half. Goff couldn't keep up with his Jacksonville nemesis on the recruiting trails much less on the field. Despite nearly winning the game twice*, he'll always play the part of the bumbling idiot to Spurrier's evil genius.

Analysis - This headline went out with the 1995!! The WLOCP is the a great example of how Ray Goff was in over his head as the head coach at UGA. I know he desperately wanted to win that game but the challenge was too much. Still, you can't blame a coach who hasn't been on the sideline for 15 years.

Shockley's knee
In 2005 the Dawgs were rolling. Leading up to the trip to Jacksonville, Georgia was 7-0 after a 23-20 win at home over Arkansas. But the win was costly as DJ Shockley went down with a sprained knee. That meant Joe Tereshinski III would start under center against the Gators. And as a result the playcalling was scaled back. Still Georgia had chances to win it but couldn't get passed Corch's first Florida squad, losing 14-10.

Analysis - Ok, I get it. But C'mon, really? This excuse has some merit. There's no question Shockley had the talent and resolve to win this game in his only season as a starter. But the truth is we should've won without him.

Spurrier chided Goff publicly for all the great recruits Georgia got that all of a sudden couldn't play against his mighty reptiles. In many ways I think this has always stuck in the craw of many Dawg fans. It has festered to the point that it's believed that somehow the Gators will always have better, faster players. Georgia is a rich state, but Florida is even richer. And for many of the last 21 years the head coach at Florida has had his pick of them.

Analysis - Still bogus. I simply point to one year: 1997. Donnan had great talent with Champ, Bobo, Ward, McMichael and Edwards on offense; Seymour, Stroud and Champ on defense. But I would argue that Florida was faster and equally deep with the likes of Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse, Jacquez Green and Mike Peterson. Talent has been a push most years since 1990 and it has swung in our favor nearly as often as it has theirs. Talent will never be an excuse.

I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. Repeat with me this time: Talent will never be an excuse.

Lastly, the city itself. It is much closer geographically to Gainesville than it is Athens. It necessitates a legitimate road trip for the Dawgs...while they get to sleep in their own beds the night before in most cases. It's a matter of logistics and the Dawgs get the scraps in this meal every year. You just can't have one team with that much of an advantage and expect the series not to tilt in one's favor.

Analysis - Ocean front property. In Kentucky. Cheap! Really folks. If you've ever believed any of that crap, find the nearest steak knife and give yourself a labotomy. The distance between Athens and Jacksonville hasn't changed since Herschel never lost to them and the travel arrangements never affected Terry Hoage's play on the field. That's weak sauce. Scrape it off your plate and grow a pair.

Ok. Better stop there. Think I blew a gasket. Gonna lighten the load some tomorrow and put the last 21 years in the rear view mirror. At least as much as my blogging acumen will allow.

* CORRECTION: As 1992 Dawg points out in the comments I omitted the fact that Goff beat Charley Pell's Galen Hall's cheatin' ass in 1989 17-10. Guess I've been too focused on 1990 and beyond. Sorry.


Dawgmjs said...

"That's weak sauce. Scrape it off your plate and grow a pair."

Preach it B! Preach it!

1992 Dawg said...

You mention Ray Goff "despite nearly winning the game twice". Actually he did win the game, his 1989 team beat the Gators in his first year if memory serves me correct. I know big deal right? But considering the records of Donnan and Richt against them, it's par for the course. I personally think it's a mental block. Our guys go down there "hoping" to win, and find a way to lose. Florida comes in "expecting" to win, and for the most part has.

Bernie said...

Thanks guys. I re-discovered Goff's win in Jacksonville in some research the other night, but completely lost it again in focusing on 1990 and beyond. Correction made.

SSB Charley said...

Actually, I think it was Galen Hall. Charley Pell was fired in 1984.

Bernie said...

Damn. Not that I would ever apply for a job as a gayturd historian, but it's quite apparent I wouldn't make a good one.

Corbindawg said...

Bernie, I agree the Florida game is the most important on the 2011 calendar. But if Florida Fans are going to scream 18/21 or whatever, I think a fair retort is "Ray Goff and Jim Donnan vs. Steve Spurrier."

That long streak is overplayed and if we are going to care about how long it is we have lost to them consistently, we need to blame Goff.

Now, the last decade is a different story. No legitimate reason for any loss this decade except in 2005, 2006 and 2009...2005 losing Shockley and having JT3 was a major blow. Not sure we should have won that game anyway sans DJ; our only TD was a pass by Thomas Brown. 2006 and 2009 they just had superior teams. Every other time has been bed wettting.

Dawgfan17 said...

The only way to get the series back to being one we are competative in is to win at least 2 out of 3 at some point. Win one and it just looks like a blip that happens now and then. Win 2 in a row or 2 out of 3 and the mindset suddenly changes completely. If the series is ever going to change under Richt it has to start this year. They have a new head coach, an unproven qb, and lost their best player to North Alabama. Not to mention the results the last couple times UGA has played a Muschamp led defense.