Figuring out Florida

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Figuring out Florida

It is officially Georgia-Florida week, with the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party set for Saturday, October 30, of course at 3:30 p.m. on CBS. Georgia opens up as 14-point favorites but there’s always more excitement and anxiousness than a normal regular-season SEC matchup.

It has not been easy to fully grasp Florida’s season so far. The reigning SEC East champs are unranked, sitting at just 4-3 on the season, with inconsistent play through seven games. They have played close with Alabama at home and also gotten demolished defensively by an LSU team that has already given up on head coach Ed Orgeron.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is not concerned with the difference in rankings and the two touchdown advantage that Vegas has given his squad.





“This game is not about rankings,” said Smart in a presser on Monday. “It’s never been about rankings. It’s a rival game. Our kids understand that one of their losses was to Alabama, in which they played a really good game at home, and they had an opportunity to win. And then it was two road games. So, it’s not about records and I don’t think it ever is. It’s a lot more about what we do, not about records.”

One category Florida has done well with this season is offensive explosiveness. The Gators rank second in total yards per game in the conference, averaging just over 500 per contest. Auburn is the only team Georgia has faced that averages more points per game than Florida.

Smart has coached many times against Florida head coach Dan Mullen. The two have faced off three times in this rivalry and multiple times as well as assistants around the SEC. Smart pointed out Mullen’s ability to work with whatever is around him, specifically at the quarterback position.





“He does a great job of utilizing the skillset of the players he has,” said Smart. “At Mississippi State, he had different kinds of quarterbacks, he has proven he can win with all kinds. Whether it’s a running quarterback, a dual-threat quarterback, everybody has all the classifications. He plays to the skillsets of his players and that includes his quarterbacks, he’s done that Dak (Prescott), with (Kyle) Trask, with Tim Tebow. He’s done a tremendous job of packaging what they do well.”

Florida currently sits with a quarterback controversy of their own with some Gator fans calling for Anthony Richardson to start over Emory Jones, who has started every game so far this year. Both are mobile and can move out of the pocket but Jones does lead the SEC in interceptions with nine picks.

Florida will probably use both for a significant amount, something that Georgia will prepare for so they can be ready to face either guy.

“They’re explosive, Florida has a very explosive offense,” said senior defensive tackle Jordan Davis. “We have played explosive offenses before and Florida comes in with that challenge of having two QBs and not knowing which one. We have a scheme for both, we have a scheme for everybody. We are just going to go in there and hopefully, we can stop and contain them and do our best.”

Georgia should not need any added motivation to beat Florida. This game is still the biggest rivalry game on the schedule and considering the way the Gators dominated Georgia last year, the Dawgs will likely come out fired up. Focus and discipline will be key storylines to watch early for Georgia against the inconsistent Gators.

For Kirby Smart’s full Monday presser:





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