Time Out ....Again?

It certainly was more clever than the rules breaking mockery of a celebration that Georgia pulled off a year earlier. Last season when Urban Meyer called two time outs at the end of the game, with the score 49-10 in favor of the Gators, he did something within the rules and sent a nice little message to the program on the other sideline. That message...well, I bet we see it again this year.

All Mark Richt had to do was let his team celebrate like any other team that scores and nothing would have happened. Instead he told his team to run on the field and celebrate their first touchdown and almost caused a riot among players on the field. Don't be crazy you say? Joe Haden said this week he hid behind linemen because he had no idea what the whole team was running out there for.

Instead, Richt had to use some illegal tactics just to figure out a way to pump his team up. Is he really that lacking in motivational skills?

If anyone believes that play had anything to do with deflating Florida and Georgia finally winning the game they are dead wrong. The Gators, riding on the fact that the Bulldogs had to kick off from their own 20 got the ball on a short field and drove for a touchdown on the very next drive. Tim Tebow's injury that day had more to do with Georgia winning than any illegal celebration.

All it did was help fire the Gators motivation for a national championship run. It was condescending, it was negligent, and it was over the line. In the end, it was just what the doctor ordered for the Gators.

Time Out

A year later, they heard those words twice and I am sure it stung. Up by 39 with just seconds left on the clock, Urban Meyer called two time outs so he could "get more playing time for Emmanuel Moody". We all know Meyer hasn't worried about that too much.

So, why did Meyer do it? Well, because of Mark Richt and his thug motivational tactics a year earlier.

Now, there are poster sized signs in the locker room at Georgia with Meyer calling a time out on them hanging around for his guys to see and get motivated. Funny thing is, it makes you wonder if they have to carry those signs into the end zone for the motivation to work. Maybe they should have run in the end zone at least once at Tennessee when the paltry Vols (3-4) made them look silly three weeks ago.

I remember the Dawgs came into last year's game still swaggering from the season before. Any semblance of a swagger ended a little after halftime as a 14-3 half time lead for the Gators saw 35 more consecutive points jump on the board before the game was over. Now Georgia comes in with a (4-3) record and are trying to muscle up some courage from a picture of a guy standing on the sideline forming the letter T with his hands. You would think they would be afraid of the "T" right now.

Certainly the Dawgs have talent, they always have, and enough talent to beat Florida. This used to be a rivalry that was always a war, one that was always within three to seven points at the end and quite frankly Georgia seemed to win them all.

My how the tide has turned. The Gators are going for their 17th win in 20 tries on Saturday. They are trying to beat Mark Richt for the seventh time in his nine year tenure as the head coach at Georgia. It looks like a tenuous task at best for Georgia to prevent it, even if the Gators aren't firing on all cylinders.

The Gators are struggling on offense, by Florida's standards anyway. They lead the SEC in total offense, rushing offense, and passing efficiency. They are struggling putting points on the board and inside the 20-yard line. The Dawgs are ninth in the conference in red zone defense and 11th in pass efficiency defense, so maybe this is what the doctor ordered.

The other side of the ball is different. Florida is tops in the SEC in defense, however they mimic the offense in one category in that they are sixth in the conference in red zone efficiency defense. There is only one problem for Dawg fans, the Gators have only allowed three touchdowns from inside the red zone all year and teams have only been in the red zone 13 times in seven games. One further comparison shows Florida has been in the red zone 35 times and Georgia just 17.

The two programs seem like night and day right now, again it isn't for lack of talent as Florida and Georgia square off in recruiting the same players more times than not.

Georgia has won three times in 19 years over Florida. In 1997 all three starting linebackers were out of the game and Georgia ran all over them. In 2004, Ron Zook was fired five days before the game and he was minutes away from going undefeated against the Dawgs in his three years, even having that on his shoulders. In 2007 Tim Tebow, couldn't run and wouldn't run the ball because of a hurt shoulder and the offense was strapped during Tebow's Heisman Trophy campaign.

These may sound like excuses, but they are facts and certainly things that led to fluky wins by the Dawgs. Is it too much for two straight decades of humiliation for the puppies?

Newsflash for the Dawgs....the Gators enter Saturdays game healthier than they have been all year. Only left tackle Matt Patchan, receiver Carl Moore, and safety Dorian Munroe are missing from the two deep projected at the start of the season. Given the history of the last two decades, it doesn't appear Georgia has much of a chance.

Whether the Gators win Saturday or not it has been two decades of dominance by a team that used to be the whipping boy to Georgia. Georgia leads the series 46-38-2, Urban Meyer wants to catch up in the next eight years.

If the Gators do win, Meyer is probably hoping he has three time outs left at the end of the game and you know he will use them.

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