Step Back Non-Believers
Georgia vs. Florida
SEC Game of the Week
October 22, 2007
By Bob Epling
“Step back non-believers or the rain will never come.”
Class is in session Georgia Bulldog backers.
On Saturday, the beloved Bulldogs face the mighty Gators in college football’s classic border battle. The Dogs need a win almost as much as north Georgia needs rain.
Here are some ways to help make that happen (the win … not the rain – although we can hope for both).
First, let’s stop whining about the site of the game (including you Mark Richt).
Jacksonville is a neutral site and a great setting.
Beat the Gators a few times and see how fast the city turns Red and Black again.
Yes, Florida has won fifteen of the last seventeen in the series, but Georgia won fifteen and lost five in the twenty seasons prior to that. Was Jacksonville moved north into Glynn County or something all those years?
No, it’s not the site … it’s that Vince Dooley left and Steve Spurrier arrived.
Georgia had the better coach then Florida gained the upper hand. Urban Meyer has a slight edge over Mark Richt, but that can change. The game belongs in Jacksonville.
Next, let’s hush about the scheduling (this year at least).
Yes, Florida has had a bye week before the big party in fourteen of the past fifteen seasons. Florida won all fourteen of those games. The Gators did not have a bye week in 2004 and … you got it … Georgia won 31-24.
Guess what? Last week Florida played the #7 team in the nation, and Georgia … had a bye week. Enjoy.
Finally, one last gripe (I mean bit of advice).
Georgia will turn things around in the series.
Obsessing about the game does the team no good. Obsessing about the game does the team no good. I said obsessing about the game does the team NO GOOD! (Sorry I may be obsessing about the game).
Now that we have that out of the way, what can the Dogs do on the field to break the drought (short of getting Tanya Tucker to sing)?
Here are five steps to success.
1. Start Fast: Georgia has developed a troubling trend of starting slowly in big games (Peach Bowl vs. Virginia Tech, Sugar Bowl vs. West Virginia, a number of games in this series). The Dogs cannot afford to play catch up with the Gators.
2. Win the Special Teams Contest: Georgia has a decided advantage with PK Brandon Coutu. Florida has an edge with Brandon James in the return game. UGA needs the better Brandon this week.
3. Avoid Self-Inflicted Wounds: Fumbles, dropped passes, questionable coaching calls mark Georgia failures in this series since 1990. The coaching staff and players must show poise.
4. Hit Tim Tebow: Georgia was the first team to be effective against Tebow last year and they did it by tackling him low. Georgia should make the sophomore sensation throw because the Dogs are beat if Superman controls the game on the ground.
5. Believe: The biggest change in this series is that Georgia no longer has confidence against Florida. For Bulldogs of the Dooley years, this attitude seems nearly unthinkable.
Until Georgia (fans, players, and coaches) actually believe the Dogs will win … well, sadly they probably will not.
Step back non-believers.
Or the rain will never come.
“Some may think I’m crazy for making all these claims … I swear before this day is over you folks are gonna see some rain.” (Lizzy and the Rainmaker, Tanya Tucker 1975)
Game Ball: Georgia
(Editor’s Note: Dr. Bob Epling is a Georgia grad who initiated the “Herschel … Walker” chant at the Texas A&M game in 1980 – yes, he did - just ask him! The Dogs were 9-0 against Florida during his undergraduate and graduate years - 1978-83 and 1987-89 - so he and his contemporaries do not accept that Georgia can lose even occasionally to the Gators).