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3 Things That Worry Me About Florida

Florida v Georgia Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday nights kick off. Scratch that. Normally I start this post with things I’m comfortable with. But because it’s Hate Week, here are three things that I was worried about by this particular annual match-up before the season even started:

1) It’s Florida.

2) It’s Jacksonville, where good Bulldog football seasons go to die.

3) It’s Todd Grantham. How long can we continue to beat this guy? He’s going to win one eventually.

Your Georgia Bulldogs are still in the top 10, still in control of our destiny, and looking to wreck someone else’s season along the way. Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch on AM radio, so here’s what I am worried about this Saturday in Duval County with backing vocals by Gary Danielson:

1) Big uglies facing some big challenges. Big Country Ben Cleveland is out. Andrew Thomas is still gimpy. Solomon Kindley isn’t 100%. Plus I’m sure there are other starters that are banged up or have something nagging them. With no idea if we’re going to run or pass, and apparently a different strategy at every possession, we’re going to need guys to step up. And by step up, I don’t mean Cade Mays coming in late to blindside someone and draw an unsportsmanlike penalty.

Florida defensively is only so-so against the run. And surprise, surprise, they give up more rushing yards per attempt on 3rd down than on 1st down. But they will dial up run and gap blitzes like nobody’s business. Speaking of which, the Gators are top 20 in the nation at the sack thing, and they’re #6 in passing yards allowed, good for first in the SEC.

2) Will Georgia punter Jake Camarda shrink like a violet? To be honest, I’m worried if he doesn’t. But the punting has been… not clutch. Early in the season, he was usually booting it into the end zone instead of pinning opponents deep. Yet as we’ve gotten into the meat of SEC defenses, the punting has been more of a shanking, giving up valuable field position.

The Georgia defense has been bend, don’t break. See, then adjust. Sometimes this allows a 50 yard drive, but throughout last year and most of this season, the ‘Dawgs hunkered down and could stop opponents before a scoring threat appeared. (They’ve still been good at limiting the damage, notably against LSU mostly giving up field goals). But if we’re punting out of bounds at the 40 yard line, you can’t expect our defense to hold up forever. And, weird as it sounds, how many times has our punt coverage had to tackle someone? If they’re shanked, or if they’re in the end zone, we don’t have much experience against shifty return men (and Florida has them). And in this game, special teams can be big.

3) Stay.In.Your.Lane. Or said better, keep your assignment in space. The few times I’ve been able to digest my food properly before watching Florida football (we all know that watching UF on a full stomach needs an FDA warning), I’ve seen the Billy Gonzales/John Havesy offense consistently try to get outside. But they are getting there via the misdirection.

The Gators aren’t as talented as us, but if you hold classes in the state of florida, you are bound to have athletes and speed. Thus Florida seems to actually want to take advantage of the talent at hand, and they are getting the ball outside quick via pitches, hot throws, bubble/tunnel screens and more. But with the misdirection, they are trying to pull in your corners and outside help, only to get their playmakers the ball in 1-on-1 situations. If the Georgia defense isn’t disciplined, this will be the Dan Mullen version of Treon Harris played over, and over, and over, and…

4) BONUS WORRY: Gators Eat Boogers. Not really a worry, but I had to work it in. This cannot be said enough.

What worries you about the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? Leave them in the comments below. And as always…