Gator Country’s podcast is back and this edition of the podcast we are joined by former Florida Gators tight end Ben Troupe to talk about the Florida Gators game against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talked with Troupe about what it was like to leave his home state of Georgia to attend Florida and what it meant to be a Florida Gators football player.
Andrew and Nick end the podcast by discussing the latest injury report for the Florida Gators and also who might return for the Georgia Bulldogs this week.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? This is once again your man, Andrew Spivey, looking clean as always. With my man, Nicholas de la Torre. What’s up, Nicholas?
Nick: I don’t know why I keep telling you these things, and then I hear them nonstop.
Andrew: Because it’s cool, man. It’s hip. I’m the man.
Nick: I’m slowly bringing you into the year of 2015, almost in time for 2016 to turn around.
Andrew: That’s fine. Maybe you’ll get me right up to 2016 as 2016 get here, and I can be cool and hip as always.
Nick: That’s on me. We’ll get it fixed.
Andrew: We’ll get it fixed. That’s right. Will Muschamp, get it fixed, my man. It’s Georgia week. I’m freaking so fired up. I swear this might be my favorite week of the year, even more so than Tennessee, just because it’s like a 100% right fist to Georgia every time. I love it. I absolutely love it.
Nick: For people our age though this rivalry doesn’t really, I hate to say it’s not a rivalry, because Florida vs. Georgia is a huge game, but almost our entire lives Florida’s just dominated Georgia. Maybe that’s partly because Mark Richt has been the coach for most of the time we’ve been alive.
Andrew: Zing! Mark Richt, you suck.
Nick: You know what I mean? Since I’ve been alive I think Georgia’s won seven times, out of 27.
Andrew: For me it’s that same way. Growing up it was like Georgia was our little sister. It was bad. It was like it didn’t remember them ever doing anything, and then probably the game that stuck out to me that just really pissed me off for Georgia fans was when they went on the whole field in ’07.
Nick: The Gator Stomp in ’07.
Andrew: It’s like, the Gators just won the championship the year before. You’ve never won a championship. What are you doing? Then Urban, you knew Urban had to get something back at him. Time out after time out. The play that set that whole game up in ’08 was when Spikes just destroyed little Knowshon Moreno.
Nick: That was a hit. Even though I bring up that you and I have really never seen Georgia be that successful in this rivalry, the rivalry is built on a mutual hate. Hate’s a strong word, but we’re going to go past dislike to a mutual hatred, and that goes from the players to the coaching staff. Steve Spurrier hated Georgia, the players, the coaching staff, the fan base. The stadium is split right down to the very last ticket. It’s just a special game.
Rivalries like this, the Red River Shootout, rivalries like this are what make college football special, and it’s moments like that. Like Mark Richt sending his entire field onto the field to celebrate a touchdown to Brandon Spikes saying things that I don’t even know if HBO would put on a show to Knowshon Moreno after he hits him. It’s stuff like that that really makes this rivalry special, and I’m glad to see that Florida has a coach who’s not afraid to embrace that in the media, because he gets it. He understands what this rivalry means to Florida, what it means to Georgia, what it means to the SEC, and what it means to college football.
Andrew: If you think I don’t like Mark Richt, today’s guest, former Gator tight end Ben Troupe, played in the NFL, had a good career. If you think I don’t like Georgia, he despises Georgia, and he’s from Georgia. He’s a Georgia native, and he despises it. One thing is cool though. Yesterday Ben and I talked. Ben called me a true Gator. That meant a lot to me. He said, “You are from Alabama, and you are a Gator.” He said, “That means you know what it means to have to fight to be a Gator,” and that’s right. That’s right, Ben. I do. I’m fired up and strapped up and ready to go. We’ll get into Ben here in just a second. He’s going to come on.
Quick little programming announcement. Ben’s going to write for us. He’s going to have a weekly column with Gator Country, be joining the likes of Fee Bartley and PD and Kevin Camps and the rest of the good guys that write for us on the side. Really getting back to what Gator Country’s all about, and that is being the best news and coverage for Gator fans.
Nick: I think we always were. Having this extra voices, especially some former players in Fee and in Ben, giving their perspective. Ben’s a guy who went through a coaching change. He committed to Steve Spurrier and ended up playing for Ron Zook. He’ll give us a little perspective on what these guys are going through just as far as switching coaches from Will Muschamp to Jim McElwain.
Andrew: Maybe we’ll get a rant between us too.
Nick: I would assume that we would, knowing you and how you can rile people up.
Andrew: That’s right. I really want to get Brandon Spikes on and get Brandon Spikes riled up. If anybody’s got a connection to Brandon Spikes tell him Andrew Spivey is looking for him and wants to get him on our podcast, and that Andrew promises to bring the fire and be on fleek when we talk.
Nick: You’re just bringing all the words out today.
Nick: Now you’re not even using them in context. Just throw them out there.
Andrew: Just wavy.
Nick: I know these words. Go ahead.
Andrew: I know these words. Wavy, fire, fleek. I think that’s it. I’m not a very smart guy this week.
Nick: That lasted a little shorter than I anticipated it to.
Andrew: I couldn’t find the dictionary of 2015 cool words. It’s kind of out of it. Nick, I do think this is going to be a good game this week. I really do. It’s always a good game. I’m excited for it. I know you’re excited for it as well. Why don’t we just get on and get Ben on here? I know Ben’s waiting on us. Let Ben bring the heat.
Nick: Let’s do it.
Andrew: Let’s go to Ben Troupe right now.
Nick: We’re now joined by former Florida Gator, the state of Georgia product, Ben Troupe. Ben made a decision as a high school senior to leave home and come down to Gainesville, wear the orange and blue. Ben, how are you?
Ben: I’m great. Thanks for having me.
Andrew: I want to call you Mr. Georgia Bulldog, but I don’t want to start this podcast off in a bad way.
Ben: We want to keep it positive. Keep the vibes positive.
Nick: I don’t know if Ben’s the one you want to start picking a fight with this early.
Andrew: That’s right. Ben, you and I were talking a little bit yesterday, and a couple things stood out to me. You had the chance to meet with Coach McElwain from the very beginning. You were telling me that you got the positive vibe from Coach Mac from the very beginning. Take me back to that conversation and just a general feel of what you think of Mac as a football coach.
Ben: Coach Mac as a coach is great for the coach of the University of Florida. I think most coaches they’re just happy to have a position. They’re just happy to say, I’m the head man, everything runs through me. When I first met Coach Mac, he shook my hand, and he looked at me for a second like, I understand what this is. I understand what this means not just to myself, but to the alumni, to the former players. He gets it. I think most coaches really don’t get it. Coach Mac understands the University of Florida’s just not another school. It’s one of the most prestigious schools in college as well as college football. I like what he’s doing right now. I think Florida is going to be great for some years to come.
Nick: Getting back a little bit to this. You went through a coaching change while you were at Florida, Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, what is that like for a player to commit to somebody and then have a whole change into the program that they committed to?
Ben: You really go from being comfortable to a relative unknown. Coach Spurrier, he was the head ball coach. He’s a guy that was already very established, had sealed his place in college football rankings, not just coaching but his overall body of work. Ron Zook, even though he’s a good coach, you didn’t know who he was. Ron Zook told me the first time he met me he thought I was a recruit. I’m thinking the first time I met you I’m thinking, “Who is this?” He didn’t know me. I didn’t know him. You’ve got to think, most times you’re looking for a guy that comes with a little fanfare, a little notoriety to him. I didn’t know who Coach Zook was. I think Coach Zook was a guy who did the best he could, but he just couldn’t get the Ws when he needed to.
Mind you, people always say I get the recruiting class that drove Coach Spurrier to the NFL. I’m like, “No, it was Dan Synder. It was that five years, $25 million.” That’s what got him to the Redskins. It wasn’t me. At the same time, I always say this. If I had Coach Spurrier for four years I probably do get drafted. I don’t get drafted where I get drafted. Ron Zook was a great beneficiary as far as I’m concerned, because he helped me become the player I became.
Andrew: Right. Let’s move on to the bright side of this Gator’s football team. 6-1 right now. Coach Mac continues to say, “Expect that you’re going to be there. Don’t let it be a surprise to you.” What have you thought about the season, and what do you think about that comment in general? Expect to be great.
Ben: What I liked about the comment is he’s letting you know how he feels about himself, his coaching ability, and the talent he has around him. Most players are just happy to be there. When things like 6-1 happens they’re like, we’re already bowl eligible. He’s looking like, “No, we don’t want to be bowl eligible. We want to be in the thick of things.” Mindset has everything to do with football. Confidence has everything to do with football. I think he’s making sure those guys understand, you should expect this. You should expect to take LSU all the way to the wire to lose by a fake field goal. You should expect to be able to come back in the 4th quarter to beat Tennessee. That’s what you should expect to do. As long as there’s seconds on the clock, we can win.
The sad part about it is a lot of these players have come up through losing coaching. You lose so much that you start accepting it. You don’t even realize you’re accepting it. I think he’s making sure he let’s people know, this is what I tell my players. This is what I’m telling the media to let you guys know. You shouldn’t be surprised when we go out there, and we play the way we play, because that’s how we’re preparing. I think that’s what he brings to the table is a mindset.
Nick: I think that’s interesting that you say that where you can accept losing and not even realize that subconsciously you’ve accepted a different standard for yourself then even maybe when you committed to come to Florida.
Ben: Yeah. I go back to my years when I was with the Oakland Raiders. It’s crazy. You go out there to a great tradition, but they lost so much that it’s almost like the new players come in and the old veterans say, “We lose. Don’t get too high or too low about it.” What happens is you’re coming from a program like with Florida that you’re used to winning. I’m like, “What type of atmosphere is this?” It starts from the top, and it goes down.
Transitioning from Steve Spurrier to Zook, which is pretty interesting. Steve Spurrier never talked about winning, and he always won. Zook always talked about winning, and he didn’t. It’s a parallel of Spurrier expected to win. He would always say, “If we play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re going to be very successful.” Every time we lost, we didn’t play well. Zook said, “We got to do this. We got to do that.” We would lose, because he was so frantic on trying to make sure that we, I guess, personified what he was trying to put in us.
I think with a Coach Mac he’s like, “I’m cool, calm, collected, because look what I put on the field.” Most teams lose their starting quarterback, it’s over. Treon Harris almost beat LSU. No turnovers. What he did walking off the field, shaking every player’s hand, he’s letting them know, I got your back. I know what you’re capable of doing. Win or lose, I’m going to stand up for you. When the players know you’ve got a coach that’s going to stand up for you, they’ll run through a big wall for you.
Andrew: I think it’s like you said. Coach Spurrier is borderline cocky, and cocky’s a good thing. I think that’s where Mac is. Mac is borderline cocky. If my team does what it’s supposed to do, we win. We win. I think that’s the biggest difference for me. Let’s talk real quick. You’re from Georgia. What does this Florida Georgia rivalry mean? For me, as a fan of this team that covers this team, it’s the second best game besides Florida State. Do you agree with that? What do you think about this?
Ben: I do. The in state rivalry Florida State game is like playing your little brother. You’ve got to play the in state rivalry, but Florida Georgia really embodies everything about the two states, not just the schools. Georgia thinks they’ve got the best hands. Florida thinks they’ve got the best hands. Florida thinks they’ve got the best high school football. Georgia thinks they’ve got the best high school football. It’s a never ending conversation, and we get to settle it every year. It’s like a Florida Georgia BCS championship game every year in October, or the first weekend in November. It’s like you get to say, “We can put it all to rest, all the conversations. 364 days come down to this one day.” It’s like the crème de la crème.
You get to say, “The mere fact that I can’t go to Georgia, Georgia can’t come to Florida. We’ve got to meet at a neutral site that you got somebody counting the tickets to the very number. If they get one more ticket then us that’s cheating. They should not get more tickets than us.” At the same time, it’s like Thanksgiving dinner. We’re the spread. We’re what everybody’s coming to see, and we get to put on a show. The greatest thing you get to know is you’re a part of something that’s so much bigger than you. All they make the players do is play. I hear about all these parties and different things. I got to go to the Florida Georgia Golf Classic, and it’s the same way. You got all these Georgia people. I got all my Florida stuff. They’re looking at me. I’m looking at them. I’m like, “What? Just make a move. We could do it right here on the back 9, or whatever you call it.”
I think it just embodies what we as football fans love. Football is in our DNA, and this game says it all. You got 90 and 80 year old fans of each team that hate each other. It’s a genuine love/hate. It’s like I can’t stand red and black, but I always bring out some. I’m like, it’s not going to help ya’ll win. It don’t matter who run out with ya’ll. Ya’ll going to lose.
Andrew: I think that’s pretty interesting. I feel like Florida, Florida State they hate each other, the two teams hate each other, and I think it’s the same way with this Florida Georgia rivalry. I feel like it’s no respect between the two, and Coach Spurrier kind of even hyped that up a level, because he continued to take shots at that. The coolest thing for me is coming over that bridge and seeing that stadium. Briefly give us a description of what that means, and how does that get you fired up?
Ben: It’s like your dreams and nightmares coming to life. You’re like, I dreamed of playing in this game, but for some reason all you see is Georgia fans when you come over the hill. I’m like what? The Florida fans are there. It’s funny. It’s like Georgia has more fans that can’t get in the game. They’d be all around our buses. I’m like, “Ain’t ya’ll on the wrong side?” It’s like they’ve got to do every little thing they can to try to get under our skin. It’s the greatest feeling in the world, because you know you’re a part of something that people dream of being in. You’re a part of something that people watch, not just in the state of Florida and state of Georgia, all over the country. The biggest cocktail party, meaning no matter what that game is always going to be prime time. Florida could be 0-6, 0-7. Georgia could be 0-6. It’s still going to be a prime time game, because it means that much to the culture of college football.
Florida vs. Georgia is huge. It’s one of those things where when I was growing up in Georgia I never thought I would go to college, let alone the University of Florida. Next thing you know it’s like you’re walking in the stadium and some 75 year old Florida fans says, “I hope you’re ready.” I’m like, “What?” “I hope you’re ready.” He’s letting me know I hope you know what you’re stepping out into. It’s like an energy you can feel. It’s incredible.
Nick: I asked Brandon Powell about it. He grew up in south Florida. He said he had some friends who went to high school in Georgia, so for him Florida Georgia was like you talked about earlier, who has the best high school talent? Who’s got the best high school kids in the country? Is it Florida, or is it Georgia? He didn’t really understand the rivalry and the fans and what it was like. It is something that you can be told, if you’re a freshman, like Antonio Callaway. Can you tell him what to expect, or do you have to walk out there onto the field, see how the fans are split, feel the tension and the hatred from the fans? Can you be told what to expect this Saturday, or do you have to live through it to know what it really is?
Ben: You can be told, but it still doesn’t amount to when you feel. I could try to warn somebody, and a Georgia fan will do something I didn’t say they were going to do. I can’t tell you everything they’re going to do. It’s 2015. It’s social media crazy. I don’t know everything, but what I can tell you is this is the one game you hear cheers and boos the whole game. You hear cheers from one side. You hear boos the other side. I say it takes the other team getting a big lead to hear nothing but cheers, to make the other side get silent. You’ve got to experience it. I got to start my freshman year. I got Charles Grant lifted me up off my feet during a play, and after the play he put me back down. I’m like, “Did you just lift me up off the ground?”
I know the Georgia teams as well as I know the Florida teams. You got the Quincy Carters of the world and the David Greens and the Randy McMichael. It’s like these guys be loaded. What the other guy that played for the Patriots all those years? Marcus Stroud. That’s cheating. You got Marcus Stroud and Richard Seymour right beside each other with Kendrell Bell behind them. We still beat them. It’s funny. I went to the Atlanta Sports Academy in Georgia, and the quarterback coach was Quincy Carter. I said, “You’re Quincy Carter.” He said, “You don’t know me.” I said, “We whooped you all in 2000.” He said, “Who you?” Yeah, you want to talk to me now. He didn’t think I knew who he was. I said, “I know who you are.”
I think with a Callaway it’s like you’re out of breath. It’s equivalent to they should make every fan that they could just run out with the team. All the energy you have, that’s why they let you run out, and then they do the national anthem. If they let you play right after you’d be out of breath. It’s like all the energy you got. It’s engulfing. You look back and say, “Is this a dream?” Then somebody come smack you in the face like, you’re here. This is not a dream. Wake up. Let’s go. Let’s go play.
Andrew: Ben, you know I don’t like Mark Richt. You said something a minute ago that was pretty cool. You said all their fans were outside. Here’s my reasoning behind that. Why would you want to go in and watch Mark Richt fall on his face again? He doesn’t win championships. I said this to you yesterday. When you told me you wanted to be a Gator I said this, “Why would you go play for a 9-3 football coach who’s okay with being mediocre?” I want to win championships, Ben.
Andrew: I want to win championships.
Ben: Mark Richt will forever be a good coach and good leader of young men. He will never ever make it to the elite category, because for one, and Bobby Bowden said this, and I believe it. Why isn’t Florida State in the SEC? Because it’s too hard to win there. It’s too difficult. I believe that is why Florida State is in the ACC. The reason why Mark Richt is at Georgia is because two things. One, Geogia and the state of Georgia, every major sports team for the state of Georgia, whether they know it or not, they have accepted mediocrity, whether it’s the Bulldogs, the Hawks, the Falcons, it don’t matter. They’re good enough to get there, not good enough to win it. The problem with that is as long as Georgia got a shot during the season the fans go crazy. There’d be more Georgia fans jumping on the fire Mark Richt bandwagon than Florida ever has, and he’s a good coach. He really is, but 2001 they lost one game, to us.
The problem with going to a team like the University of Georgia is no matter what you have nothing to pull from. You can’t say, “You remember when we won?” We didn’t. “Do you remember we went to the national?” We didn’t. Florida has something. Florida says, “We haven’t been since 2008 or since 2006.” Georgia says, I wasn’t even born in 1980, so I’ve never seen Georgia win it. It’s one of those things as long as you’ve got to something to pull from the past it elevates the future. Georgia can say, “You remember when we were 12-1?” Georgia is the almost king, almost, if this would have happened. If that would have happened. Nobody wants to be a shoulda, coulda, woulda.
No matter what Mark Richt can’t stand when he don’t win the big one, because he knows that’s the first question. Whoever that reporter is, “I’m Ben Troupe from GatorCountry.com, and I want to know why you.” “I don’t want to talk about it.” He don’t like that. You got to think. Peyton Manning never beats Florida, and whenever you ask him about that he’s like, he deviates to something. “I was first pick in the draft. I’m Mr. Papa Johns commercials.” Why didn’t you ever beat Florida? They’re going to avoid those questions, because you’ve got to think nobody coaches at major universities who just say, we’re a good team.
Unfortunately with those seven national championships that the SEC won, Georgia wasn’t a part of that conversation, and they never will be. The problem with that is until you win a big on you’re just another team. If Georgia loses, nobody goes crazy. When Florida was going through what we went through the last few years, the NCAA was in an uproar, because they expect greatness from us. They’ve seen it before. Georgia they’ve never seen it. You’ve got to show it first.
Andrew: That’s right. Mark Richt is always and will always just be another football coach.
Nick: Speaking of that, real quick, Ben you were involved in one of Mark Richt’s not being able to win a big game. I think it was 2002. Georgia came in #4. It was you, Gus Scott had an interception that game. What do you remember from that 2002 game where you guys upset them?
Ben: The reason why we won that game is because Taylor Jacobs got hurt in the first quarter, because if you remember that year Taylor Jacobs and Rex Grossman they were on a tear. What happens is when you take away your #1 receiver, your go to receiver, now you got to spread the ball around. We beat the University of Georgia with a go screen. If you notice how many screens. I’m going to tell you who the linebacker was. The linebacker was Thomas Davis. He was playing safety then. We beat them with a go screen, and the reason why the screen kept working, the linebacker still doesn’t understand if you line up inside of me you can’t make the play. He lined up, and then the coach would go, “Move over.” He would slide over an inch. I’m shaking my head before the play, this boy does not understand. You are the only one to make this tackle, but you got to run through me to beat it.
We beat them and Rex Grossman he set the Georgia Florida game record for completions. He had like 30 of them. It was ridiculous. That’s the difference. You’ve got a team like Georgia, who’s supposed to win, against a depleted Florida team, first year head coach. Can’t do it. If we’re coming in loaded like that this isn’t even a game, and what I really remember about that game is Terrence Edwards dropped a wide, I’m talking about he ain’t never been that wide open in his life. He dropped it. The reason why he dropped it, he found Grossman was going to smack him, and Grossman wasn’t even in the screen. Terrence Edwards was on Facebook one time trying to talk about the Georgia Florida rivalry. I said, “You shouldn’t even open up your mouth. You know good and well. What would you know about it? In order for it to be a rivalry the other team has to win sometimes. Ya’ll haven’t won in so long.”
That game was great. It took a team effort to really win the game. Georgia looking at the sidelines they can see us putting up the go screen signal, and they still couldn’t stop it. I ain’t never seen nothing like it.
Andrew: Let’s just blame it on Mark Richt, because quite frankly it’s Mark Richt. He’s just not a very good football coach. Ben, you’re my new favorite guy. I love anybody that doesn’t like Mark Richt like myself. Nick and myself have got to get off this podcast. Real quick, Ben, give me a prediction for Saturday. If you say Georgia Bulldogs I am coming to New York to get you.
Ben: Never that. Florida could be going up against New England Patriots, I’m going to pick the Gators. It don’t matter who they’re playing. I see us winning 30-20, 20-17. I see our defense really making that young quarterback and Georgia throw some picks. I know they’ve got some 260 pound, a running back or something. I put Jon Bullard and those guys against him any day. I see us winning 30-20, 30-15, something like that. I’m looking forward to seeing Mark Richt’s face. They put the camera right on him when they know the game’s out of reach. I don’t know what the year was after they scored a touchdown, and the whole team went in the end zone.
Ben: When Urban Meyer kept calling time outs. That’s what the Georgia Florida rivalry does. This team was blown out. The game was over. Time out Florida. You’re going to soak in this. Deal with this. Hate us. We give Georgia every reason to despise us. They give them every reason to despise them, but to make it keep all the way frank with you I couldn’t imagine an NCAA football season without us having them on the schedule. Georgia does something to us. I used to like the color red. I like the color black. I just don’t like them together. I like them separate. I see it being a good game. I hope it’s a good game. Treon’s going to definitely throw the ball more than five times this year. I see him being able to handle Georgia. It’s our year this year. I don’t see it being their year this year at all.
Andrew: Definitely. Ben, we appreciate it so much. Looking forward to having you on Gator Country. We will talk to you soon.
Ben: Appreciate it.
Nick: Thank you, Ben.
Andrew: Nick that was some good stuff from Ben. He’s a good guy. I think only he rivals my passion against the Bulldogs. For you, you know that is something a little on the wild side.
Nick: My favorite part of that interview was when Ben took a shot at your Falcons and your Hawks, because the entire state of Georgia has settled for mediocrity, including your Braves.
Andrew: Yeah. It was such a good interview with Ben that I was trying to get him fired up. Also, let me just say this. Ben’s a friend of mine, but I’m scared shitless of the man. That’s a former football player. I’m not talking shit to that man. No. No. Not talking shit. Ben, when you do listen to this, don’t take shots at my boys. What are you doing, my man? Mark Richt is the man. Let’s keep all anger headed to Mark Richt and to Butch Jones. Here’s my thing. This is what stood out to me about that interview, and Ben said it best. Remember that time we, oh never mind. Remember that time, oh never mind. Georgia never ever do they have anything to brag about. What do you brag about? You beat Florida? Okay. What’d you do when you beat Florida? Nothing.
Nick: That’s tough. I was talking to somebody, and they were talking about Mark Richt being on the hot seat. I said, that’s tough, because every year you know you’re going to be good. You hope you’ll be better than good, but every year you know you’re going to be good with Mark Richt. Are you going to win a championship? He hasn’t been able to in more than a decade. If you fire Mark Richt, what happens if you get like a Muschamp hire in? Now you don’t know you’re going to be good anymore. I think maybe they’ve fallen into, Mark Richt I think is a good football coach, regardless of not being able to win a big game. I think he is a good football coach. Jeremy Foley’s not an AD that’s going to settle for good. Ron Zook won 8 games every year. He made it four years, gone. Not even four years, three and a half years. Gone. Florida’s not going to settle for good. Florida wouldn’t settle for Mark Richt has done there.
Andrew: That’s because there’s a difference in the program in general. Florida is represented on winning championships. Georgia is just okay with being mentioned. Every year is this is Georgia’s year. This is Georgia’s year. Alabama fans would have sacrificed Mark Richt to any other school in America and paid him the rest of his contract to get him out of town. They wouldn’t even care for him. Someone brought up this rumor today. Mark Richt should go to Miami, back home. Go. Go. They’re okay with it. Then you only have 40,000 disappointed fans or 20,000 disappointed fans every week instead of 90,000 when you get beat by some rinky dink school that you shouldn’t get beat to. Go ahead. Go ahead, Mark Richt. Go ahead.
Nick: I think what really makes this rivalry special.
Andrew: Hold up. If you’re going to talk about rivalry raise your voice. Bring some energy to this podcast, Nick.
Nick: What really makes this rivalry special is what Ben talked about. That 2002 game when Florida beat a then perfect Georgia team. 2002 Georgia’s 8-0, beat Florida. This is our year, again. Games like that, those huge games. The Gator stomp when Mark Richt sent his entire team out onto the field to celebrate a touchdown. Urban Meyer smirking across the sideline. Letting Mark know, we are crushing you right now, and I’m going to use all three of these time outs. You’re going to sit here, and you’re going to enjoy it. I’ll meet you in the middle of the field. Spurrier saying we hung a half a hundred in Atlanta. It’s these kind of games, these kind of little sayings, just little things like the way Urban’s looking. Like Ben said, when the camera shoots to Mark Richt, and he’s kind of sitting there with the look on his face of a guy that knows that he just has to eat it. He just has to accept it right there in that moment that his football team is not better, and the other coach is rubbing his nose in it.
Andrew: Here’s Spurrier’s quote. This is the greatest quote of Spurrier in the history of Spurrier quotes for me against the Bulldogs. “Why is it during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game we have all the great players?” Why is that, Nick?
Nick: I loved when Spurrier said he would rather play Georgia early on in the year, because they have a bunch of their best players suspended for those first couple games.
Andrew: Guess what? Guess what the common denominator of both of those quotes were, Nick.
Andrew: Mark Richt was the head football coach.
Nick: Then again last year. There was just so many special moments in this. Going into the game last year you didn’t pick Florida to win, and you certainly didn’t pick Florida to win by running the ball 50 times for over 400 yards right down Georgia’s throat. We asked Brandon Powell yesterday, what worked last year? He said, “We ran two plays, and they were both a variation of power. We just ran power at Georgia all afternoon, and they did nothing. Florida just took their will.” There’s so many moments in this game, in this rivalry, in this series that it’s like the two bullies in school, and it’s who’s the bigger bully that year. There’s so much that goes into it as far as bragging rights. It’s big for recruiting. It’s always huge in the SEC East race, as it is this year.
Andrew: It is. My favorite memory of the game, and again I’m very biased in this, because I love talking trash, but Spike’s hitting Moreno and just standing over him and jawing. No telling what.
Nick: That set the tone for that entire. We would get kicked off iTunes if we actually had the audio for what Brandon Spikes was saying to Knowshon Moreno.
Andrew: I wish Morrison would do that to Sony Michel and just stand over him. Be like, sit down, boy. Go tell Mark Richt. Sit down, boy. It’d be awesome.
Nick: I’ve got a quote that I think really encapsulates the Florida Georgia rivalry. Georgia has not beaten Florida in at least four consecutive years since ’78. They won from ’78-’83. That means Florida had a couple senior classes from the late 70s to early 80s that never beat Florida. Since then, Florida has won from, Spurrier was 11-1 versus Georgia. Florida won from 1990-’96. Lost in ’97. Then went ’98, ’99, all the way to 2003. Florida has sent some senior classes packing. Jon Stinchcomb, after the loss that we talked about in ’02 with Ben Troupe said, “This is pretty unbearable. Every senior on our roster leaves the field today knowing we never beat Florida.”
Andrew: I love it. I don’t know what’s more special, Georgia people acting like that or Peyton Manning having to live his life knowing I’m 0-4 against the Gators. 0-4, Peyton. You garbage.
Nick: Peyton’s got a lot of Papa John’s money. I think it’ll help him sleep at night.
Andrew: I don’t care. Peyton Manning will always be the Gators you know what, and that’s continued to Tom Brady.
Nick: Quick note, as we shift into this game coming up a little bit. Georgia got Jordan Jenkins back at practice on Tuesday, or on Monday. He’s expected to practice all week. We will see if he is ready to go. That’s obviously a big piece for their defense. Florida really got healthy during the bye week, pretty much everyone is back. I think the biggest players that are back, I’m going to give you two. One of them is obvious, one is not obvious. One is C’yontai Lewis. C’yontai had two touchdowns in the first two games before breaking his hand. He’s got a soft cast on that now, so he’ll likely play with the cast, but will play which is nice. It’s been over a month for C’yontai. Happy for him. We both know him personally. Good kid. Happy that he’s going to be able to get back on the field.
The other one is Case Harrison. Case Harrison also broke a hand against ECU. He is a big part of those special teams. We’ve talked a lot on this podcast about Marcell Harris and Chris Thompson and the job they’ve done on punt return or on kick return. Case Harrison is a guy that will be right down there with him. Also is the backup holder, and if we remember the Mike McNeely play last year maybe the backup holder will have a role. Maybe he’ll have a play in the playbook this week.
Andrew: I’m going to go with Joey Ivie coming back. I think that’s very big for defensive tackle depth this week. Didn’t play in the LSU game. It’s going to be a war. It’s going to be a war on the St. John River. It’s going to be a war on the St. John River, and that’s exactly what it’s going to be. Joey Ivie coming back is big, but overall I’m fired up. I know Coach Mac. That’s the thing that I love about Coach Mac is he embraces this stuff like a fan, like you and I do. He is fired up to go see that red and black and blue and orange as the rest of them. That energy feeds off to his guys. You know it does. As a player to hear your head coach talk about how freaking fired up he is, talking about rivalry week. He’s the only football coach in America that will actually say rivalry week means more than another week, because it does. It does. That’s what McElwain talks about. Again, it goes to show you how much McElwain just truly gets the it factor of college football. Troupe said it best. He embraces tradition, and that’s what he does.
Nick: I think the tradition is what he’s really excited about. It went up today, but I wrote, it’s hard for a college football coach to kind of stop and smell the roses. There is so much pressure. We’ve talked to a couple college coaches on the teleconference last week. A reporter was asking, looking to write a story about how coaches who are friends talk to each other and stay in touch during the season. Pretty much all of them said, I don’t have time to. There is so much going on I don’t even have time to call my friends. When Jim McElwain walks out of Tiger Stadium, and is like, that was pretty cool. That environment, that is what I came to Florida for, to play on the road with fans that hate me like that, because they’re worried about me. They don’t hate me just because I have Florida on my chest or across my back. They hate me because they know I’m Florida, and I have a very good chance of coming in here and kicking their butt.
He has really stopped and smelled the roses. His you just don’t lose to Tennessee quote after the Tennessee game. He has really embraced all of the traditions, the rivalries, and everything that makes college football great, which I think the first thing that makes college football great is the rivalries, the unadulterated passion between fan bases. He grew up in Montana. They have a rivalry over there. It’s the battle of the great divide between Montana and Montana State, and Jim McElwain actually coached at Montana State four years, never won that rivalry.
Andrew: That rivalry is big up there.
Nick: It is. That just splits the state. Jim McElwain said the state’s got about a million people in it, and 500,000 like State and 500,000 like Montana. He said, that one day on Saturday the entire state is split. I think even more so than if he had been 4-0 as a coach in that series, I think having that taste of defeat in the rivalry does even more to him to make this game more important. Steve Spurrier, the Georgia game was the game he wanted to win every year, because they spoiled his senior season. Jim McElwain wants to win these rivalry games kind of in the way that Urban Meyer wanted to win the rivalry games and really made an emphasis of it on the schedule.
Andrew: You don’t lose to your rivals. If Will Muschamp had beaten Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida State and lost to South Carolina and Vanderbilt every year, Will Muschamp would have been thought about in a different light. If you beat the son of a guns you’re supposed to beat every year, and that’s your rivalry games, you’re loved in the fan base. For me, Coach Mac, laugh at Mark Richt one good time for me. You don’t have to do it in public. Behind the scenes, whatever, and you’ll be A okay in my book. Nick, let’s get out of here. We’re running over this. My blood pressure’s getting high. I hate Mark Richt with a passion, and it’s nice to be talking about the Gators destroying the Georgia Bulldogs this week.
Nick, everybody can check us out on GatorCountry.com. We’re going to have a lot of great stuff this week. Recruiting is still piling up. You’re bringing in the football content. Thursday Cassidy and Jenna and the rest of the group, Austin and everyone else, will be bringing the basketball news. You and I will have another podcast on Friday. It will be popping. I have something special planned for the folks. Nick, you know a little bit about what I have, but you don’t know the whole thing. It’s going to be awesome. Then Jacksonville on Saturday, and that means I get to write a championship celebration story Saturday night. It’s going to be a great week.
Nick: It is going to be a very good week. Want to thank Ben for coming on. He’s also going to be doing some writing for us. Just a ton of passion for the Florida Gators from him. I’m sure everyone enjoyed his interview on our podcast and will enjoy what he writes for us in the future. As always, this is a huge week. We are going to have a ton of content as always. Dan Thompson had a great breakdown that went up on Tuesday.
Andrew: Here goes his head. His head’s getting huge.
Nick: Great story. Make sure to check that out. Crunching the numbers. Really gives you some answers as to why Florida has been successful. Also areas where maybe they’re being successful despite those areas. Make sure you give that a read. It’s got some pretty pictures and graphs, if you don’t like reading. You can just look at the pictures. As always, NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. NickdelaTorre on Instagram. GatorCountry on Twitter. TheGatorCountry on Instagram. AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. Follow us. Everything you need to know. We will have one more podcast where I do my best to get us not kicked off iTunes on Friday. Then we will all see you in Jacksonville. I don’t care about the city of Jacksonville. It’s the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. I don’t care what you think it should be called, or what you want us to call it. It is the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. You all stay classy.
Andrew: That’s right. If you’ve got a tailgate you want Nick and I to stop by let us know. We’ll do our best to get by there. Mark Richt, I have one more little quote for you. You can be mean when you look this clean, because Andrew Spivey does. As always, Mark and Butch, you’re not very good. As always, go Braves.