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Kirby Smart is Georgia’s Own Spurrier: Revisiting How Florida’s Greatest Coach Gave Birth To The Ultimate Gator Tormentor

Travis Taylor #19...

You might have forgotten, but we find ourselves in much the same spot that we did last year. Here we are heading into the Florida game, and we have just watched Georgia’s offense play an uninspiring game against Kentucky.

For the second year in a row, Georgia’s passing game looked suspect at times against the Wildcats. At other times it disappeared entirely. Last year there was much distress in the fanbase as the Dawgs headed towards Jacksonville. Well, here we are again...

I realized something during the bye week between the Kentucky and Florida games last year, and a calm passed over the restless part of my soul where my fandom lives. What was that realization?

Kirby Smart is Georgia’s version of Steve Spurrier. He exists to torment Florida in the same way that Spurrier lived to torture the Bulldogs. As we turn our eyes toward that stadium on the shore of the Saint Johns, I encourage you to put your minds at ease.

I don’t know what’s happening in the quarterback room. I don’t know what the status of the injuries on defense are. I don’t know a lot of things. What I do know is that Kirby Smart will do absolutely anything to beat Florida.

Don’t worry about what last week looked like. The man is going to squeeze every drop of talent out of his football team this week, and I like our chances because of it.

Reprinted below is the story of how Smart came to be the World’s foremost Hater of Gators. When I think about Smart going up against Florida Head Coach Bozo The Clown Dan Mullen it’s quite the juxtaposition. Smart has been training his whole life for this.

...And That’s When Kirby Smart Knew He Hated Florida

Kirby Smart Hates Florida. He hates them with the fire of a thousand suns. He gives the media plenty of coach speak about how Florida is another game, and all league games are important. He tells the cameras that he and his staff must prepare their team the same every week. He says that great talent exists across college football, and anyone can beat you any day of the week. Despite all of that talk, Kirby Smart lives to beat Florida. He has made beating the Gators a priority, and celebrated the last two victories over Florida with a level of expression that the usually stern Smart rarely shows.

At this point it’s well known that Smart was a Safety at Georgia from 1995-1998. He recorded 13 interceptions for the Bulldogs and was an All-SEC selection his Senior year. Smart’s time wearing silver britches also coincided with some of the worst beatings in the history of the Georgia-Florida rivalry. Smart’s teams lost to Gators 52-17 in 1995, 47-7 in 1996 and 38-7 in 1998. Kirby and the Dawgs did get to taste victory in 1997, when they pulled an upset over the Gators by a score of 37-17. It would be Georgia’s only victory in 14 meetings against the Gators.

Steve Spurrier hated Georgia for beating him in his Senior season of 1966 when the Dawgs upset the Gators 27-10. The loss cost UF their first SEC Championship, and Spurrier never forgot. That loss kept him from becoming a champion, and was what caused him to make beating Georgia a priority throughout his coaching career. For years UGA had a lovely habit of beating Florida anytime they had a good season going for them, and that ownership created the monster that ended Georgia’s dominance in the rivalry.

Dan Mullen has tried to mold himself in the image of Spurrier, taking shots at Georgia throughout the off-season and turning up the heat in the rivalry. The difference is that Spurrier actually beat his rivals before going into troll mode. Mullen spent the summer puffing his chest out, and trying to get his program to look like it’s on equal footing with Georgia. Smart didn’t take the bait, and simply expressed that Georgia is a program that talks with its helmets.

Just like after last year’s loss to LSU, Georgia is walking into the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party with a cloud of doubt from the outside. Just like last year, they are going to beat Florida. If there is one opponent that Smart will change any internal philosophy or game plan to beat, it is the Florida Gators. Why?

Let’s go back to the infamous 1995 game against the Gators. Georgia and Florida played in Sanford Stadium due to the old Gator Bowl being renovated, and prior to the game Steve Spurrier found out that no opponent had ever scored 50 points between the hedges. With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, and the Gators leading 45-17, Spurrier continued to call passing plays for backup quarterback Eric Kresser. The Gators ran a flea-flicker, at one point on their final drive and moved the ball down to Georgia’s ten-yard line instead of running out the clock. With 1:10 remaining Kresser threw a touchdown on a slant to Travis McGriff. I found something rather fascinating when I watched the end of that game on YouTube yesterday. Do you know who McGriff jogged past just after he caught that final touchdown?

A true freshman safety by the name of Kirby Smart.

The Gators ran the score up to purposely embarrass the Dawgs, and that’s when Spurrier gave birth to the man who would go onto play the role that Spurrier once Kirby Smart knew he hated Florida.

There is no way in hell a Georgia team coached by Kirby Smart is losing to the Gators. At 3:30 P.M. on Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 the Georgia Bulldogs will have a plan for Florida, and it will be a good one. This game was won a little over 24 years ago, when Steve Spurrier unknowingly gave birth to the man who would bring the type of vitriol and hatred he had for Georgia to the Bulldogs’ side of the rivalry. Kirby would install the Air Raid the next couple of weeks if it meant beating Florida

Rest easy and enjoy the bye week, Bulldog Nation. This one is in the bag.