Georgia vs. Florida: Overcoming Fears in Jacksonville

The time has come yet again for all good Bulldogs to head south for the annual “Cocktail Party”.  That’s right! It is still the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”, and not the “River City Showdown” which is just an awful attempt to rebrand the game.   Long and short, here comes Halloween and here comes the Georgia/Florida game.  Anyone who reads this may not like the title to this post which assumes Georgia fans have a fear of Jacksonville.  In fact, it could not be further from the truth.  For example, year after year thousands of Dawg fans flock to the area to attend the game or even just to be close to the party at one of the nearby beach destinations.  No one is scared of Jacksonville, but you have to admit it has been a pretty spooky place for Georgia over the last 25 years or so.

Recently, I placed a 13 foot “Stay Puft” marshmallow man in the front yard to give my kids and the neighborhood a laugh and a smile.  However, my good intentions back fired because my three year old son, Tullis, is now having stay-puft-yard-1nightmares about the marshmallow man coming to life and wreaking havoc up and down our street.  This of course sounds funny to some degree, but I can relate. When I was a child around his age, I had a recurring nightmare about Lurch from the “Addams Family” TV show.  You remember Lurch don’t you?  Regardless, in my dreams Lurch would rise from behind the couch in our formal living room (a room in which no one ever lived) to come and get me.  I would cry and cry but Mom and Dad never seemed to come.  Often times I would wake up just before a plodding Lurch could grab me.  Sounds silly I know, but at 3 or 4 it was scary stuff.  Obviously, I out grew my fear of Lurch, and moved on to much scarier monsters like Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger. I can only assume Tullis will do the same with his fear of ole “Stay Puft”.  And there is my point folks.  It is michaelmyerstime for this fear, bad luck, bad mojo, or whatever you want to call in Jacksonville to pass.  We have to flip switch here, grow up, and move past all the bad vibes of the last 25 years.  This is what we hired Kirby to do, and I still believe he will help us do it.   All that being said, it won’t be easy, but I think we got a chance to change it this Saturday.  And here is what has to happen on the field to get it done.

  • Special Teams– Georgia absolutely cannot afford to have any more awful special team play. In fact, it will need to be pretty damn good.  No missed kicks, no fumbles, no stepping out of bounds, no busted coverages, and no shanked punts.  It is time to get this phase handled period!  If this poor special team play continues for Georgia they will not win.
  • Defense– Florida has had its struggles with offense as well. They have not really been effective all year.  Therefore, Georgia’s defense has a chance to keep the score low on Saturday.  I mean below 17 points low. They also need to create a few turnovers to help the offense.
  • Find Some Offense– Florida’s defense is legit. They will be the best that Georgia’s has played all year.  Their defensive backs are fantastic, and it is a bad match up for Georgia.  With a freshman quarterback in Jacob Eason, the Dawgs won’t win many of the match ups against their defense.  They have to have something new or some new fire to get points on the board.
  • Coaching – Saturday needs to be a day that our staff outshines the Gator staff. We need to be more prepared and bring something we haven’t seen.  We need good time management, and unpredictable play calling.   I know these guys have it in them, but I am waiting to see it happen.

So there it is folks, a path to victory and call to get past the “heebie jeebies” in Jacksonville.  It is not an easy one, but it is doable.  And besides, the best upsets come when no one expects them.  So have a Happy Halloween, but be careful down there if you go to game because some of their fans are a little scary.  Just check out these two ladies.

   Class  Personified

Georgia Football:  Growing Pains Hurt

I am not going to rehash the events of last Saturday.  We all know what happened, and it was a real tough pill to swallow.  It was just one of those games that someone had to lose, and it was our day to lose.  Sunday was awful for me, and I am sure it was hard for most Georgia fans.  I couldn’t even watch one college football highlight, and Saturday night I ignored the Clemson game totally.  It was all I could do to listen to the Bulldawg brunch Sunday morning.  Thankfully, the Ryder cup was on TV to offer a wonderful distraction.  But today  is a new day, and I am over it.  There is a lot to still be excited about this season, and I want to make sure our fans understand this to be true.  Please allow me to expound on the positives of Saturday and Georgia’s outlook moving forward.

 

  • The Team Showed Resilience– This team lost a bad one in Oxford two weeks ago. They were obviously able to put it behind them and focus on the future.  They came out, and played a good game with drastic improvements in many areas
  • Jacob Eason Keeps Growing– Yes he threw an interception, and he fumbled in the end zone. But quarterbacks throw interceptions especially freshman quarterbacks.  But you know what he can do?  He can make a big throw when everything is on the line.  I am really excited to keep watching him.
  • The Running Game Showed Up – I love Nick Chubb of course, but Sony Michel is20161001_uga_ten_055 a hell of a good football player.  We need to make sure he gets the ball as much as possible.  Maybe even put him in the slot as receiver from time to time.
  • The Future is Bright at Running Back – We have the running backs. All we need to do is improve some on the line, and things we will be great in the Smart Era
  • Tennessee is Not Great – They are currently the best team in the East, but they just aren’t that great. Regardless, several Tenn. fans have already acted arrogant to me this year.  I find it funny because while they should be happy to be undefeated they have no reason to be so confident.  I hope they keep Butch Jones awhile, and beating Georgia & Florida this year might ensure his job in Knoxville for few more years.  Tennessee better soak it in this week because they are about to drop two SEC games in a row.   I would love to see Tennessee go to SEC Championship with two losses because they will likely get a third loss in Atlanta.  Besides once Dobbs departs they will be the third best team in the SEC East which would should be next year.

 

Lastly, I want all our fans to realize that Georgia can still have a fantastic year.  No I don’t expect any championships, but I never did.  And you shouldn’t have either.  10 Wins would be fantastic for a new staff with this team.   It all starts this Saturday in Columbia, SC.  If the Dawgs pull this one out Saturday night you better look out because they just might win out.   Seriously, they could end up favored in every game moving forward.  Not to bring up old stuff, but I predicted this to happen in my preseason prognostication blog (link included).  Georgia doesn’t have any world beaters left on the schedule.  South Carolina, Vandy, Kentucky, Auburn, GA Tech, and of course the loathsome Florida Gators.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any of these teams are great.  Not one damn team, and Georgia can beat every single one of them.  Will they be hard games?  Yes, of course!  But they are winnable. And if Georgia can pull it off it would be a0692dc6113c5828de0da05974cfd6004cd8a34744dccf9f86a088da3184e38ae great year.  It could even lead to a great bowl game.  Especially, if they don’t have to go to the Georgia Dome and get beat by an SEC West team.  We can let the “Hail Mary Heroes” of last Saturday enjoy themselves this year, and I sure hope they enjoy their trip to Tampa for the Outback Bowl.  So keep your heads up Bulldog Fans, and try to remember the old saying, “No Pain, No Gain”.  Go Dawgs!

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