My dad and I must have taken 15 laps around the stadium. 15 laps around Everbank stadium searching for the perfect seats at a price he could swallow. After all, it wouldn’t be every year he could take a 10 year old son to see his undefeated and #5 ranked Dawgs beat their biggest rival. The dawgs had every advantage. An emerging sophomore QB in David Greene surrounded by a great group of receivers. Our defense was elite on every level with David Pollack, Boss Bailey and Bruce Thornton. But this was Jacksonville. The fans would be split 50/50 and whatever your record was prior to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party really doesn’t mean crap. In a low scoring game, I watched a crucial deep ball bounce off the hands of Terrance Edwards. To be honest, I would never look at Terrence Edwards the same and I would never look at Jacksonville the same. That 2002 game has always represented what Jacksonville means to me. So much to lose and we lost it to the team I hated the most.
But the rare feeling of beating that same team is as euphoric as a Georgia season can get. The culture is changing, the recruiting is changing and with that, it is time for the feeling of Jacksonville to change. I expect Kirby to begin a campaign on Saturday. A campaign that defines the new normal for Georgia fans and their annual trip to one of the worst cities in America. Year one was an extremely tough test for Kirby without the talent pool he was accustomed to. Year two provides no excuses, as this Georgia team immensely talented and deep. The beginning of this year has been an excellent peak into what Georgia could become. We sit on the most fertile recruiting ground in the country. We are starting to see the result when those players are captured and then trained with urgency and discipline. It’s time for Kirby to begin to assert himself and start to pull away from the Georgia of the past, not only in the SEC East but on a national stage. Hopefully it will make me fear Jacksonville just a little bit less.
A Good Problem to Have
I’ve heard a ton of positive things about Jacob Eason’s attitude since his injury and the relinquishing of his starting position. The transfer noise has been out there but everything I’ve heard makes it sound like he is completely focused on this team and will make a decision at season’s end. Eason is still an uber talented kid and tremendous backup option to have should this season require a long run. I wanted to take a look at the differences I have seen in Eason and Fromm
· The much stronger arm- Inherent skill that shows itself in some big moments. No way Jake Fromm has the arm strength to complete the deep ball that Eason did against Tennessee last year in the final seconds.
· Big Game Experience- the fact that Eason has already played Florida once in invaluable. Fromm didn’t seem to be shaken when playing in South Bend but the Gators defense will be another test.
· Full Year in the System- Eason has been under Jim Chaney for almost 2 full years now. He should have the full grip of the offense
· Big Play- Eason has a knack for the big play in a big moment
· Footwork- Fromm has NFL type footwork. Even with a strong pocket, Fromm’s footwork stays extremely active to put him in an excellent position to make his throw while alluding pressure.
· Consistent- It seems that you kind of know what you are going to get when you throw Fromm out there every week. He will probably make 1-2 terribly dangerous throws. But he won’t miss receivers, he will play with great accuracy and he will put you in the right play pre-snap
· Running Threat- Fromm’s compact frame serves him much better in the run game and he has actually become a true run threat in the redzone which should open up even more lanes for our talented RB group. Kid just needs to learn how to slide
· Just a Gamer- something about Fromm being out there just gives me confidence every week that we will win. Yeah, that may be because we have a top 3 defense. But I also think Fromm is just a winner, he knows what it feels like to be successful and he is not afraid of it. He really reminds me of Kirk Cousins. His frame and arm are a bit unassuming. But his technical skill, accuracy and control of the mental side of the game give him a huge advantage
I love both of these guys at the QB position but I think Georgia is currently in a good place with Fromm at the helm.
Time to Move on
I just divulged my personal dislike for Jacksonville. I refuse to go to Georgia Florida anymore without tickets to the game and a cushy spot in St. Simons. So while it is personally not a good option for me, I also think this game being played in Jacksonville has run its course for this rivalry. I know, I know, you and the bros have your yearly GA/FL tradition and you’re not ready to give that up. Even though it normally ends in a loss, it’s the familiarity and nostalgia of it all. Enough is enough. First of all, this game puts Georgia at a huge recruiting disadvantage. It is another home game lost every year, another opportunity lost to host some of the best in America at Sanford Stadium. You may count that as a minor setback. I count that as a huge problem. A simple trip to Athens, even in an insignificant game can sway almost any recruit. If Kirby is going to make a long run, recruiting needs to be a #1 focus at all times. I don’t know how much we are being paid to play in Jacksonville and I really don’t care. The biannual revenue for a new found home game against Florida would put us in an excellent spot to recoup any losses from backing out of Jacksonville. The city offers nothing. I was forced to stay in Jacksonville for a week and a half in 2013 when we played in the Taxslayer bowl. Following that experience, I’ll do anything to avoid it. I look at Jacksonville the exact opposite way I look at Nashville. Nashville provides a great opportunity to visit an awesome city every two years. Jacksonville provides a great reminder on how terrible non-coastal Florida living really is. I can picture a red takeover at the swamp. I can picture beating Florida in Athens as the sun starts to set on an October day and the fans chant “it’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog”. A home and away Between the Hedges and at the swamp would be something really special in the SEC.
Florida getting Kadarius Toney and Tyrie Cleveland back is a big deal. It should open up their offense a bit more and take some pressure of Felipe Franks. Florida can be really creative with Toney and Cleveland is a legitimate deep threat. The talent is there but Franks really has a long way to go as a passer. He has 4 TDs this year. One was a Hail Mary against Tennessee and two were literally uncovered against Kentucky. I think Florida will have a difficult time establishing the run game against Georgia. I count Notre Dame as one of the best rushing offenses in the country and we were able to hold them to 55 total rushing yards. Getting Trent Thompson back as well as David Marshall’s availability will bolster our run defense and force Franks into some uncomfortable passing downs. On the offensive side, Georgia will be in for a test. The loss of Jordan Sherrit is a big one for Florida’s defense. I expect Georgia to creatively establish the run game, as Florida’s defense will be keying on it. I really think Fromm can open this aggressive defense up with play action pass, RPO and read option. I think Florida will play their best game yet and the rivalry factor spots them some points. But ultimately, it’s a bad Florida offense against an elite defense. Dawgs 31 Gators 17
Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
Last Week: 1-4. Yeeeeeesh
Overall Record: 46-41-1
Followed up the glory of a 4-1 week with the despair of a 1-4 slide. Bucky was sad. But Bucky is back and ready to repair the savings. Let’s get it.