Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blog Swap, Georgia Week

This season we're exchanging posts with blogs that represent each of our major opponents. For Georgia, we are doing the swap with Get the Picture, our favorite Bulldogs blog (if we're allowed to have one. The opinions expressed below are those of Senator Blutarsky, the proprietor of Get the Picture, who is old enough to remember a time when the Gators didn't own UGA. Our thoughts are posted on his site. This post will remain at the top of the blog throughout the day Thursday. Look for newer posts immediately below.


Greetings, Gator fans. I come in peace.

As if I have a real choice in the matter… When your school has been on the butt end of a 2-15 skid against a major rival, it's more than a little cheeky to show up and start laying the smack down. I'd rather have you guys laughing with me than at me.

About that 2-15 – it's one of the strangest records in modern sports. Those are numbers you'd expect to see generated by a bottom dweller (and as weak as Georgia was in the mid-90's, things were never that bad), not a team that's been in the SECCG three of the last five years. You know what hurts the most? It's not the beat down in Athens, believe it or not. Or the @#)(*^% Lott timeout. It's knowing that the Zooker carries a winning record as a head coach against Georgia. Mark Richt and Sylvester Croom sport the same lifetime record against Ron Zook. Who says the cosmos doesn't have a sense of humor?

Besides, I have a small confession to make. I don't hate Florida. Don't get me wrong; every year, it's the game on the schedule that I most want to see the Dawgs win. But it's not the game I hate to lose the most (that's reserved for those despicable insects on North Avenue in Atlanta). My feelings are tempered by the fact that our fan bases share the greatest running tradition in the conference: the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. It's hard to detest anybody that's part of that. (Except for Georgia's president, Michael Adams, who would prefer that we limit ourselves to milk and cookies before the game.)

Every year, there is something deeply satisfying about heading down to Amelia Island on a perfect fall Thursday and seeing all the cars from the greater Atlanta area decked out with Dawg and Gator (more than you think, really) regalia flying down I-95. And then there's tailgating on game day amid tens of thousands with mixed allegiances and varying degrees of attractiveness. Going into Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (wish they'd pick a name and stick with it) and seeing the stands split fifty/fifty in orange and red gives me a thrill every year. Win, lose or draw, the whole experience is nothing short of a total blast. I should know – I've been to every game in Jacksonville since 1979.

We're lucky to have it. Long may it run.

Moving on, looking at this season, I thought that Georgia and Florida would both go through growing pains as a result of having the two youngest teams in the conference. The differences between the two right now are that I prefer where youth is being served a whole lot more on your team (defensive back seven) than on mine (offensive line) and that the Gators have more playmakers on offense than does Georgia.

If you want a brief rundown on Georgia's key strengths and weaknesses to date, here you go:

· The Dawgs don't turn the ball over much on offense (no running back has fumbled the ball this season), but they don't get many takeaways on defense, either.

· Matt Stafford struggles with his fundamentals at times, especially when he throws the deep ball. When he takes the time to set and is focused, he's the best intermediate passer I've ever seen in a Georgia uniform.

· Knowshon Moreno is the real deal at running back. He's your biggest concern on defense, in my opinion.

· The offensive line is about what you'd expect, considering that only two starters took a snap in a D-1 football game before this season. A work in progress, in other words.

· On defense, the Georgia's line has been erratic and the linebackers have trouble lining up and playing good assignment football consistently. Those are not the attributes you want to see in your defense when it faces a spread option attack. I have a nagging feeling that I'll be nauseated more than once or twice watching the Gator offense make hay with misdirection plays against a Dawg defense that finds it easy to get sucked into places it has no business going. Watch a replay of the '06 Sugar Bowl if you doubt me – it's kinda like porn for spread option aficionados.

· Special teams have been pretty decent, particularly with regard to punt coverage. That should make for an interesting matchup with Brandon James' return abilities.

If the semi-recent history (post-1990) of this series is valid in one respect, the key to win for Georgia is to put up 30 or more points on the board. Without a bunch of turnovers (unlikely, given both teams' stats), that's going to be a tall order, unless Georgia somehow manages to utilize its off week preparations as effectively against the Gators as Tennessee did against the Dawgs. Georgia is going to have to play its best offensive game of the year to have a viable shot. Auburn won because it kept your offense off the field. The Dawgs have to figure out a way to do the same thing.

I will say that the last time our two schools faced off against each other when Florida was the defending national champion, things went pretty well. Maybe we'll catch lightning in a bottle twice. After all, it's not like this Gator team is invincible. They put their jorts on one leg at a time, just like everybody else.

Anyway, best of luck to you guys. If you're in the neighborhood on Saturday, come look me up. I'll be the guy in the red shirt with a beer in hand doing a little good natured woofing. I'll have a cold one waiting for 'ya.



Anonymous said...

Nice one. I've been wandering through the enemy blogs to see what y'all had to say. Noble of you to give our side some space. I think you picked a good UGA rep for your swap. Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Boy, the self absorbed snifflers from the Sea of Blue could take a lesson from Sen. Blutarsky.

Decades of domination does count for something. Maybe it's because UGA is often in the mix for something meaningful and Kentucky rarely is that Sea of Blue doesn't get it while the pain and impact of Gator victories is so ruefully remembered and acknowledged.