Dawgs react to Gator trash talking

ATHENS, Ga. - A Georgia team preparing to play one of its biggest rivals, Florida, with a berth in the SEC championship game on the line, did not need extra motivation this week. Even so, Florida players chipped in with some trash talking Tuesday, one day after former Florida receiver Jabar Gaffney set the tone.

"Georgia knows they can't win when they play Florida,'' said Gaffney, now a rookie receiver with the Houston Texans, after visiting Florida's practice Monday. "Everyone around here knows we are going to beat Georgia.''

On Tuesday, Florida offensive guard Shannon Snell and freshman running back Ciatrick Fason picked up where Gaffney left off.

Said Fason, who has 19 yards rushing this season: "It's something about the orange and blue. They're just scared to play us.''

And from Shell: "I think this will put a statement on our season when we beat Georgia and take them out of the BCS. They've still got to play Ole Miss and Auburn. One of them is going to knock (Georgia) off. They can put that up as bulletin board material if they want.''

Earlier this season, Georgia has taken advantage of game-week predictions from former Auburn coach Pat Dye, who said Georgia was not man enough to beat Alabama, and from Kentucky players who last week spoke of their plans to tear down the goal posts after beating the Bulldogs.

"I don't know why people keep saying that stuff,'' said quarterback D.J. Shockley Tuesday. "It's more of a motivation to us. Coach (Mark) Richt tells us every time something gets in (newspapers). We have to go out and prove ourselves once again knowing people have doubts about us.''

Added senior Terrence Edwards: "That's more motivation for us to go out there and beat them. This is a classy program and we're not going to respond to those comments.''

Second surgery for Gary: Receiver Damien Gary had a second surgery on his left leg for acute compartment syndrome Tuesday. Due to continued swelling in the lower leg, the wound was not closed, as had been planned.  Instead, Gary will have a third surgery later in the week at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens. At that time, the wound will be closed with a skin graft.  Gary had an emergency surgery Sunday to relieve pressure in the leg. He is expected to miss the rest of the regular season, but Richt said he thinks Gary could return for a bowl game.

A scare for Edwards: Edwards aggravated a hand injury Tuesday and was held out of the rest of the day's practice. Edwards wore no protective wrapping on the hand after the practice, though he pointed to some swelling in his palm.  "I'm not worried about it; I just tweaked it again,'' Edwards said. "I'm just going to go on doing what I've been doing.''

 Clemons doubtful: Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is making plans to be without linebacker Chris Clemons, who suffered a sprained ankle in last week's win at Kentucky and was on crutches Monday.  "Even if he's able to play, it would be a very limited role,'' VanGorder said.  One combination VanGorder looked at Tuesday had redshirt freshman safety Thomas Davis lining up at outside linebacker beside regular starters Tony Gilbert and Boss Bailey. Freshman Tony Taylor may be the more likely fill-in starter; Taylor played behind Clemons in the Kentucky game.

 Stinchcomb expects to play: Offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb says he expects to play after participating in light contact drills. "I'm going to pick up the pace a little (today),'' Stinchcomb said.

 Gibson fitted for new cast: Receiver Fred Gibson caught some passes with a big bulky cast protecting his surgically repaired left thumb, but after practice he was fitted with a smaller cast. Gibson says he can play against Florida, though he said he might have to catch balls against his body.  "(The thumb) is going to be sore, regardless,'' Gibson said.  Gibson will not be used on kickoff returns this week.  

Georgia lands commitment: It won't help this week as it tries to find a replacement for Gary, but Georgia found some help at receiver when it landed a commitment from Stephenson High star T.J. Gartrell. Georgia earlier had a verbal commitment from Stephenson High's star running back, Kregg Lumpkin.  The 6-foot-2 Gartrell is rated as a four-star prospect by BorderWars.com and is listed as the No. 32 receiver in the nation.  Gartrell is the son of Stephenson High coach Ron Gartrell.

Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com

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