The Bulldogs are officially through ‘Bloody Tuesday’ and have reached the halfway point in the week before this Saturday’s matchup against Florida. Georgia is coming off the bye-week and players received time off, as they usually do, the weekend prior to the Florida game. Despite the change in schedule, Coach Smart told the media that his team showed “good energy” at practice and that the players really respect the rivalry and its intensity.
One of the players who understands the significance of this rivalry is Jamon Dumas-Johnson. Although the Georgia star is from Maryland, Dumas-Johnson used to watch this game growing up, understanding the significance of the rivalry. Last year, the linebacker had one of my favorite quotes of all time from a Georgia football player leading into the game. When asked what he remembered from Georgia’s 34-7 victory over the Gators, the linebacker told reporters that the defense remembered leaving points out on the field and that left a bad taste in their mouth.
In the modern era of college football, the intensity of certain rivalries have been questioned. This is largely due to players’ decision making on where they attend college being based on how much money they can receive through NIL. That certainly does not appear to be the case between Georgia and Florida, however. With many Bulldog players having grown up in the Sunshine State, this rivalry is bitter and personal.
Fast forward to this year, Dumas-Johnson took the podium yet again to discuss Florida’s offense and the challenges the Gators present to the number one team in the land. Number ten attributed Florida’s success to their two headed monster at running back in Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne. He described Florida’s backs as good players who can open up the passing offense for Graham Mertz to get the ball to Ricky Pearsall and Eugene Wilson.
Dumas-Johnson described Florida’s team make-up as similar to Georgia. He told the media that they have physical lineman and good backs just like the Bulldogs do. Florida has some coaches who have spent time at Georgia, and they harp on many of the same details that Georgia does as well.
Heading into the SEC East clash, Georgia will need to rely upon the likes of Jamon Dumas-Johnson to light a spark amongst his teammates. This rivalry means everything if you call yourself a Georgia fan. It’s unacceptable to lose, and while the Gators present a difficult challenge, they are an obstacle in the way of Georgia’s main goal. It’s time to hunker down and take care of business.