If it is the Thursday before the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, then you probably need, well, a cocktail. Allow me to help.
This is the week for which Cocktail Thursday was made. If you follow Dawg Sports on Twitter (and if you're on Twitter and don't follow Dawg Sports honestly what do you have to say for yourself?) then you may have seen my reaction to an article on the Florida 247Sports site this morning.
Dusting off a strategy that resulted in a 19-14 loss two years ago is the most Will Muschampingest thing ever. http://t.co/q5jKHvRaXW— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) October 30, 2014
In it, the author noted that Florida players have made it abundantly clear that their offensive strategy for this weekend's game against Georgia is to keep the ball on the ground and play physical football, to assert their will over the Bulldogs. You may have even seen that, all joking aside, I am inclined to believe that this was the proper strategy for Florida to undertake.
All kidding aside, running the ball is Florida's best bet. Treon Harris can't complete 30 passes all to Demarcus Robinson.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) October 30, 2014
I do not expect freshman Gator quarterback Treon Harris to do well assaulting the Bulldogs through the air. Instead, I think if Treon Harris is going to successfully assault anyone, he will have to do it using his legs. I don't want Treon Harris to assault people, I'm just saying if he is then a run heavy strategy is the way to do it.
Some debate exists over who first said it, but a wise football coach once noted that when you throw the ball three things can happen and two of them are bad. That goes triplicate for throwing the ball with a freshman quarterback. While Harris has done a good job of coming in and energizing the gator offense this season (the Gators have scored on 31% of drives on which he's been behind center), relying on a freshman quarterback in the SEC to throw you to victory is really just a game of waiting for the inevitable crushing interception. Or, as Bulldog fans who remember Aaron Murray's freshman effort in Jacksonville will recall, figuring out which of the freshman quarterback's interceptions was the most crippling (it was the third one, by the way). It's not a matter of if, it is a matter of when a freshman quarterback will torpedo you if you force him to throw the ball 30 times a game.
So now that we have established that Will Muschamp may not in fact be a total blithering idiot when it comes to matters of offensive strategy, the question becomes what this means for the Georgia Bulldogs this Saturday. I think the answer is that the Bulldogs defense, ranked 12th against the run nationally and third in the conference, is going to have to man up. They are going to have to play against the run a lot more like they did against everyone except Arkansas on the Razorbacks' first drive in Little Rock.
If the Bulldogs come out lackadaisical or rusty following a bye week this one has the potential to get a lot more interesting than any of us would prefer. And as anyone who's ever watched the Georgia/Florida game with me when it's not going well knows, a close Georgia/Florida game is not a healthy experience.
But if the Bulldogs come out with a fire in their collective belly, put the Gators behind the 8 ball early, and force the freshman QB to throw it, then things should be a lot of fun.
So what should one drink on an unhealthy occasion while trying to foster a fire in the belly? There's really only one answer: Fireball whiskey. As you may have heard, some European agencies have pulled this high proof vomit flavorant from shelves because it contains higher levels of propylene glycol than they're comfortable with. Propylene glycol is a food additive that we Americans consume lots of but which Europeans aren't comfortable with because it causes "allergic reactions" and "not being sober". Whatever. Do a shot of Fireball before watching the 'Dawgs get belligerent against the Gators.*
Also feel free to do one tonight, as we use this thread as the open comment thread for the Thursday night action between Florida State and Louisville at 7:30 on ESPN, in which Jimbo Fisher has pulled off the amazing task of getting Georgia Bulldog fans to somehow root for Bobby Petrino and Todd Grantham. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world. Until later . . .
*Astute readers will also note that Fireball was one of the main ingredients in our cocktail before the Arkansas game. I'm repeating it for two reasons. One, I'm not sure how long the stuff can be stored before its flavor degrades (even more). Second, and more importantly, I remain suspicious as all get-out and don't want to change things up too much. So sue me.