It is such a different environment in Jacksonville for the big game. The city has been the host of the event for so long that that town gets divided during the week in a big way. For David Sharpe, it has always been a celebration.
"It's great. I've always watched the Florida-Georgia game growing up, so actually playing in it is a big accomplishment. (It’s) a big week for me and my family, having all my family there.
“When I was in high school we would cook out, watch it, everybody comes over. It's a big game for us."
“Pretty much everyone I know in Jacksonville comes out to this game.”
The Gators surprised everyone last year and blew the doors off of the Bulldogs.to the tune of 38-20 where the score was much closer than the game actually was. The Gator ground game found a new high rolling up over 400 yards on the day in a game Florida wasn’t expected to win.
"It was great,” Sharpe said. “The atmosphere, you know actually beating Georgia too at the same time, it was great. It was a great experience."
"It was crazy. Everybody expected us to lose, so that's always great when you surprise everyone."
That game has past and now the Gators must concentrate on this game at hand. There is no doubt they know it is a big rivalry game and one that means both sides will be gunning hard.
“This is a rivalry game so it’s always special, everybody’s fired up to play them,” he said before talking about head coach Jim McElwain’s thoughts on the match up. “The meeting yesterday, a big rivalry game for us this week. We’ve gotta come with an attitude.”
The success in the running game last year doesn’t matter anymore. The Gators are having issues running the ball this year and it is something they are working hard on.
"Just take a bigger emphasis on it in practice, running harder, trying to move them guys off the field so we can actually get some yards this week,” Sharpe said, “It's a big emphasis on that this week."
Last year’s game gives Florida a bit of confidence heading in with regard to running the ball.
"Oh yeah. Oh yeah, it gives a lot of confidence,” Sharpe said. “We know that they're expecting it, so that makes us practice even harder for it."
There is so much at stake in this game. The winner controls their own destiny in the SEC East. The loser will need some help moving forward.
“We definitely gotta win this one, this is a big one,” he said. We gotta win the rest of them. We definitely want to go to Atlanta.”
“We just take it one game at a time. The next game is the biggest game. We’re just taking it one game; we’re worrying about us, we’re not worrying about Georgia.”