Here are the three things that I’m NOT worried about Saturday:
1) Uh, our punter? Cameron Nzialek has performed, oh, about 200% better than the immediate iterations of the UGA punting scheme. There are only a handful of teams and punters who have performed as good as our boys so far in 2017. When you only have to adjust gross punt yardage by subtracting all of 9, count ‘em 9 return yards (over 26 punts), then you’re doing something right.
2) Uh, Time of Possession? Georgia holds the ball on average for 33:52 a game. Florida holds it for an average of less than 30 minutes per contest. That’s a nice, full, extra possession right there. Our ball control is extremely good, with few punts, few turnovers, and eats up the clock with a power rushing attack. This is always a formula for success.
3) Uh, the weather? Initially the forecast was just plain autumn in Jacksonville. Now DaveTheDawg tells us that there’s a chance for some real weather as fronts collide. Am I supposed to be worried about this? I have no idea who would be affected most by precipitation. But this is near the least of my worries.
You may ask yourself: “Why is GlimmerTwinDawg starting each point with a question mark?” Simple, really. This is Florida. This is Hate Week. This is the WLCOP. This is Jacksonville. This is where many dreams have up and died. And since we are experiencing a dream season so far, I’m worried.
Here are the three things that I AM worried about Saturday:
1) The Florida Rushing Attack. On the surface, this seems silly. Florida is 3-3, and through six games has averaged 169 yards on the ground. Georgia’s defense only gives up 82 yards a game. This should be one in the good guys column, right? Not so fast, my fellow fans:
In 2014, Florida had played 6 games before the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Up to that point, they were averaging 169 yards on the ground. Then they decided to use some cheat codes and went full X-box on us, tallying 418 yards running all over the Georgia Bulldog defense. Oh, and in 2014, just like in 2017, an early season cupcake matchup was cancelled due to weather. I’m worried.
2) Crappy Florida Quarterbacks. In 2014, Treon Harris replaced entrenched starter Jeff Driskel for the Georgia game. He went 3-6 for 27 yards, rushed 6 times for 31 yards.
In 2015, Harris is again fighting for the quarterback spot, this time against Will Grier but gets the start against Georgia. He proceeds to throw 8-19 for 155 yards, and ran 10 times for 39 yards. Come 2016, Luke Del Rio is the guy fighting off competition from Austin Appleby, but Del Rio gets the nod against Georgia and completes 15-25 for 131 yards, and 4 “rushes” for negative 29 yards. Each year, it’s hardly enough to get worried about, right? Yet somehow the scoreboard didn’t get the message.
Now, we have embattled Feleipe Franks (less “e” in your name please) staving off Malik Zaire, but only because Luke Del Rio went down early in the season. Franks has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns (three – and that includes the hail mary against Tennessee), and is averaging less than 2 yards per rush. Is he a dual threat QB? Don’t really think so. But his crappy play thus far just hits way too close to home. I’m worried.
3) Chris Rumph. Florida’s co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line coach appears to be the real deal. I don’t follow coaching trees or coaching moves that much, still it’s hard to ignore his resume’. He’s been with big time programs for the last dozen years, and was part of Saban’s natty’s at Bama. And he’s certainly proud of what he’s accomplished in Gainesville. From floridagators.com website and his official bio:
Against Georgia in 2016, Florida shut down Bulldog standout running back Nick Chubb, limiting him to 20 yards on nine carries (2.2 yards per carry). Chubb entered the game with career averages of 110.8 yards per game and 6.7 yards per carry.
While this does irk me some, being so specific against an individual player, and one whom I carry a man-torch for, it really does speak to how the Gator defense handled a superior opponent. This was at a bad time for our offense in general and rushing attack specifically, but it only brought up the reminder that you can have a bad day to have a bad day. And that makes me worried.
4) Bonus: Munsoning. Does my head tell me all these things? No. We are superior at almost every position, and each position group is definitely stronger than the opposing number on the other side of the line. We have a balanced, efficient offense that can be very explosive. We have a Junkyard Dawg defense that Erk Russell would be proud of, and we get some guys back this week (hello Trenton Thompson). We have tremendous special teams, coverage units, strong legs, and smart minds that waive for a fair catch at the proper time. We have a disciplined approach, we Attack the Day, and our ‘Dawgs are flat out Choppin’! My mind tells me all these things and logic leads one to believe this should be a victory.
That doesn’t mean my heart agrees. Many of you are very confident, and enjoying the rush of being confident facing a hated rival. Which is an awesome feeling. Some of you, myself included, are still enjoying this season but more for the outcome rather than the run-up to every game. If you’re old like me*, you were around in some sort or fashion when the Georgia Bulldogs reached the very pinnacle of college football. Since then, and not very much before then, you’ve also had your heart broken So. Many. Times. We’re not afraid, we’re not scared, and we see the same team/staff/culture/performance/results that you do. We’ve maybe just seen the other side a little more. So forgive us our Munson, as we forgive those who Gator against us. We’re all Georgia Bulldogs, it’s a great time to be one, because it’s always great to be a Georgia Bulldog. Some of us just worry a little bit more.
What does your heart tell you? What worries you about the latest installment of the WLOCP, the fact that we’re in the midst of an 8 game winning streak, but a 3 game losing streak against the Gators, that Gary Danielson will be in the booth, and that we’re a 2 touchdown favorite? Tell us in the comments below. But no matter what, ever and always…
*I’m not DaveTheDawg Stonehenge old, I’m just Dead Sea Scroll old.