Hammond Aware of Saturday's Stakes

Rivalry weeks in the Florida football facility have a different feeling. Even with a new coaching staff and different rivalry traditions, the week of Florida-Georgia still feels different for the players. The neutral site and unique setting for the rivalry gives it a special atmosphere for the fans and players involved. The challenge for the Florida players is to not change preparation.

When the opponent is Georgia, the talk of "nameless, faceless" suddenly disappears for the Gators. There's no hiding that this one means a little bit more than the others.

"It's a rivalry game, and they're in the SEC East," Frankie Hammond said. "It does have a lot more substance than any other game because they're in our conference and in the way of our hopes and dreams of getting to a championship."

The goals for Florida and Georgia over the remainder of the season are different. The Bulldogs and South Carolina each have one conference loss. With the Gamecocks recently losing sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore for the reason with an injury, Georgia appears to be in prime position to return to Atlanta this December.

For the Gators, a berth in the SEC Championship is dependant on winning out and getting help. Florida has three conference losses and would need to win out and have Georgia and South Carolina each lose two more conference games for the Gators to reach Atlanta.

Hammond thinks a win on Saturday would "definitely jump-start us for the latter part of our season." Coming off three straight losses, Florida just needs some positive momentum.

"We're very aware (of the conference standings)," Hammond said. "We understand we have to win out and that losses will hurt us. If we handle our business and take care of Florida, we should be fine."

No matter what coaching staff is running the Florida team, it's hard to imagine any time in the future where highlights from the 2007 game won't be playing on televisions in the football offices during the week of the Georgia game. It has served as a reminder for the Florida players of the importance of the game.

Hammond was a senior in high school during the 2007 game, but he learned of the rivalry's intensity immediately after getting to campus.

"I know what some of the players went through. It definitely makes it that much more of a rivalry game and adds to the intensity. That was just unnecessary, and they went ahead and do it. We'll just stay professional, play football and move forward."

The Florida wide receivers are hoping for a boost with the potential return of quarterback John Brantley. The offense has sputtered under the direction of freshmen quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel and wide receivers haven't been able to make an impact.

The unit is hoping that will change if Brantley can play.

"Seeing him out there definitely plays a major role because he has the experience and can spread the ball around," Hammond said. "It creates some comfort for us receivers."

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