GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview Saturday’s game for the Florida Gators against the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville.
Andrew Spivey and Nick Marcinko break down what the Gators’ defense needs to do in order to slow down this Bulldogs offense.
Andrew and Nick also give you their three players to watch in the game on Saturday, plus we pick the score of the game.
Previewing the Florida Gators vs Georgia Game
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, back with Nick. Nick, just one day away from the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. A game that I’m starting to feel less and less confident this game is going to stay in Jacksonville long-term. Georgia’s just crying about it. I hope so. I hope for anything that it stays, but I’m getting to the point where I’m beginning to wonder.
Nick: The statement, the “joint” statement that was released didn’t seem too in favor of the game staying in Jacksonville. I think ultimately what that decision is going to come down to is money. I think money talks now, more than it ever has. I just think they’re going to look at it from a financial standpoint, and whichever side brings the teams more money is ultimately which one is going to be chosen. That’s my opinion.
Andrew: Why don’t the city of Jacksonville just start handing out some NIL deals. Then both schools will be okay.
Nick: Exactly. In this day and age, that wouldn’t surprise me.
Andrew: What is it? The TIAA Bank Field? Isn’t that right? Isn’t that what they are now? It feels like it’s changed a hundred times. Let’s talk to them and get them on board for an NIL deal to keep this game in Jacksonville.
Nick: I think the people of Jacksonville want it.
Andrew: We talked about this on Monday’s podcast. I love it. I love this game in Jacksonville. I get the people who say have it at home. I get it. I really do. I just love this game in Jacksonville. I don’t know how else to say it, besides I love it in Jacksonville.
Nick: I’m with you. I hope they keep it there. Maybe they’ll work something out to where it’s like home, home, and then neutral. That could also be cool. I think ultimately, if they do decide to do the home games, they’re just going to stick to home and home. I think if they move away from Jacksonville, I don’t think they’re going back.
Andrew: I think it would be too much of a hassle.
Nick: Yeah. That, and like I said, it’s a money thing. If more money is being presented with the game in Athens, the game in Gainesville, if that’s bringing more money to the table, they’re not going to go back to Jacksonville. Although I think that would be cool. I think it would be cool if they did a home, home, and then a neutral site. I think that would be awesome. Georgia’s been complaining about let’s have a game in Atlanta. Maybe they work something out there. Ultimately, I think it either stays in Jacksonville or goes to home and home.
Andrew: Yeah. I don’t see this game being moved to Atlanta. You’re talking to the guy who loves Atlanta. I would love for it to be in Atlanta. I love the city of Atlanta. Catch a Hawks game after the game maybe. I just think it’s one or the other. I think it’s Jacksonville or nothing.
Nick: That new Atlanta stadium is pretty neat. Have you been?
Andrew: Oh yeah. In the SEC Championship game. It’s beautiful. I will say this though. From our seat in the press box, and I’m not complaining whatsoever, but that afternoon sun is terrible coming through those windows and hitting you in the face.
Nick: I went and watched Oklahoma versus Joe Burrow in the College Football Playoff. That was something.
Andrew: There was no stone unturned when it came to that stadium. Let’s get into it. It’s a big one. There’s no way around it. Obviously, Florida goes into this game, let’s see. I don’t know if the spread has changed. It was 21 or 22, I believe.
Nick: I could be making this up, but I think it got up to 24.
Andrew: It might have. It’s at 23 now. As we’re recording this on Thursday at 2:00, it is a 23-point swing for Georgia. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they don’t cover.
Nick: Georgia doesn’t cover, or Florida doesn’t cover?
Andrew: Georgia doesn’t cover.
Nick: I agree with you there. We’ll get into our predictions later in the game. Andrew, this is a game where Florida has a serious challenge on both sides of the ball. You’re looking at Georgia here. They have the second-best offense in the FBS, just total offense. Then on defense, they’re the fourth in the country as well.
When we’re looking at this year’s Georgia team, I don’t see the same Georgia team I saw last year, at least not defensively. I don’t see that kind of elite talent. Obviously, they have fantastic talent, but I don’t see the 15 defensive players being drafted. I don’t see that kind of talent. However, the stats don’t lie, to a certain extent. This team ranks towards the top of the country in almost every single defensive statistic. This is going to be a challenge for Billy Napier, and definitely his hardest challenge of the year.
Florida sits at 4-3. They’ve had three losses, all to ranked teams, all within the top 20. This is a game that’s not going to be easy for the Gators. Although this may not be the dominant Georgia team we saw last year, this is a team ranked #1 in the country, and they’re ranked #1 in the country for a reason.
Andrew: Yeah. I will say this though. Maybe I’m wrong in saying this, but when you look at Georgia’s schedule overall, it hasn’t been the toughest schedule to face offensively. Again, I’m with you. This is a very good Georgia football team. I’m saying simply that I don’t know that I know they’re not as good as they were last year. You look at it. Oregon, their offense has picked up as of late. Sanford, terrible offense. South Carolina, their offense is awful. Kent State, offense awful. You look at Missouri, offense is pretty bad. Then Auburn’s offense and Vandy’s offense is atrocious. So, they face one so-so offense in Oregon.
Nick: That was in Week 1 too though.
Andrew: They won 49-3. I don’t know that they have been fully tested. Obviously, they have this game against Florida. Then they have the Tennessee game up next at home. That’s going to be a challenge for them as well. I think that’s going to be an epic showdown. We’ll get into that next week. I don’t know that Georgia has been challenged. They definitely have not seen a quarterback like Anthony Richardson.
Now, this is the one-year anniversary of Anthony Richardson starting, as he started last year against Georgia. The game shouldn’t be too big for Anthony Richardson, obviously. It goes without saying that you’ve got to play a perfect game, or a near perfect game, to win this game.
The one thing that gives me some confidence, and maybe it’s stupid confidence. Maybe. Maybe that’s the word to use. I think Florida can score some points. Can they stop the Georgia offense? That’s where I get concerned about is the offense of Georgia with Darnell Washington and Brock Bowers, those guys. That’s Ventrell covering those guys. That’s Amari Burney covering those guys. Georgia has taken advantage of Florida in those matchups of the linebackers the last few years. Can Florida stop this Georgia offense that’s ranked second in the country?
Nick: Yeah. You already hit on something that I wanted to touch on during this podcast. That’s the Georgia Bulldogs tight ends. They have two to three tight ends that are really dangerous, really vertical threats. They can block well.
That to me is kind of, this is very specific, but that’s the key to the game defensively, in my opinion, for the Gators is can you limit those tight ends? We’ve seen this season Ventrell Miller struggle in coverage, Amari Burney struggle in coverage. Just the linebackers in general struggle to cover tight ends, and this is a game where if you’re not on your game, you’re going to get exposed. Brock Bowers can beat you deep. Darnell Washington can beat you deep. These are guys that are so versatile too. They can do a lot of different things from the tight end position.
To me, that’s the area on defense that I’m looking at. Obviously, you want to play well in the front four. You absolutely need to get pressure on Stetson Bennett. If you let Stetson Bennett sit in the pocket and let the players around him do the job for him, they’re going to blow the Gators out of the water. You have to get pressure. You just have to play well in coverage. You have to cover these tight ends. If you can’t, it’s going to be a long game.
Andrew: I agree. I just think that you’re looking at this game, and there’s several matchups. The linebacker versus the tight ends is the #1 key. Obviously, Florida is, I’d have to go back and look, heading into the bye week they were the worst team on 3rd downs. You look at that, and you know where Georgia’s going to go. They’re going to go to Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington when it’s 3rd and 5 needing a 1st down. That’s where they’re going to go.
I think the concern for me is more so not just the linebackers covering it, but the help. That’s where I’m hoping Kamari Wilson, Miguel Mitchell, some of those guys that are youngsters, can go in there and help. We kind of know what the vets do there. Florida’s going to have to do some bracket coverage on these guys. It’s going to have to be a pass them on kind of thing, and that concerns the you-know-what out of me. This team is terrible with communicating overall. I’m just concerned. I’m very concerned about the defense, the style of defense they’re going to play, because to stop it, and is it going to allow for big plays?
Nick: Right. I was just about to touch on that as well. Patrick Toney in this game, you said it earlier. It’s going to have to be perfect. Honestly, on both sides of the ball. The Gators are going to have to play a perfect game to pull this off. That starts defensively. That starts with Patrick Toney. He’s going to have to be aggressive in this one, Andrew. Kind of like what you mentioned. Is that going to allow for big plays? Possibly. But do I take my chances on Stetson Bennett throwing a deep ball rather than a 10-yard crosser wide open? Absolutely.
I just think Toney is going to have to be aggressive. He’s going to have to work in some double teams, especially on these tight ends on 3rd downs. He’s just going to have to knock Stetson Bennett off his rhythm. To me, that’s the key as well. I think you have to be aggressive. You have to blitz. There’s certain packages that you need to put out there to just try confuse Stetson Bennett.
Andrew: Yeah. I think in a way, kind of where I’m at and what concerns me, you’re asking Toney to get creative. I agree. How creative can you get with this group? That’s what concerns me.
Andrew: You’ve got two weeks, or you’ve had two weeks basically. Some of these guys have had five years and haven’t gotten it. I am confident that Patrick Toney could get these guys going and could draw up a gameplan to stop them. I’m less confident in the guys actually being able to stop it, if that makes sense.
Nick: Yeah. What Gator fans across the country have to hope for is that something changed during this bye week. There was improvements in multiple different areas. We’ve seen that come to fruition occasionally. Was this a time, Andrew, like during the bye week, was this a time for Patrick Toney to sit down with his team and really analyze who needs to be on the field for us to win this game?
That to me is another thing. This bye week gives you time to make those switches, those transitions personnel wise. That’s another thing I’m looking at. Who are we going to see on the field on 3rd downs come Saturday? Is it going to be the same guys, or are we going to see more Kamari Wilson? Are we going to see Miguel Mitchell kind of in the star role? Where are these guys playing on 3rd downs?
Andrew: Yeah. Again, it’s a situation, and listen, I am one of those that says, let’s see the freshmen. Can it get worse with Kamari? Can it get worse with Miguel Mitchell? At the same point, some of those guys are not ready for the whole playbook, so do you have to dumb down the playbook? When you have to dumb down the playbook, how creative can you get against this Georgia team? I say this. Excuse my language, but you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. If I’m Patrick Toney, that’s my thing.
I’m at the point where I’m like, let’s throw the freshmen out there and let the freshmen make the mistakes and learn from them, because I know what I’m getting in guys that are in Year 5, Year 6. I know what I’m getting from them, and they’re not coming back next year. Let’s see guys that are going to be back next year, that’s going to be playing in this game and hopefully playing in this game when it means something. Not that it doesn’t mean something. That’s not the right word. With someone on the line. Hopefully next year or the following year this is to go to Atlanta. You need this game, so get these guys ready.
Also, I’m one of those that I never want to give up a game either. It’s tough. It really is. Best thing I can say is this. The offense just needs to score every possession.
Nick: Yeah. You kind of hit on it. There’s a fine line between I’m 100% trying to win this football game, which of course the Gators staff is, but then you look at the other side. Well, if he’s not making the play, if the starter isn’t making the play, why not try throwing out Kamari Wilson? He may not play great. He may not play great. In fact, I would probably bet he doesn’t, but there’s a learning curve in the SEC. You have to go through the motions to pick it up. It is so hard to jump right into this game and be successful right away. It is so difficult.
Like you said, we got guys in Year 5 that can’t make plays, that haven’t made plays consistently. There’s such a fine line between do I play the younger guy for this player growth, player progression, or do I stick with the veteran who may give us the slightest chance more to win this football game? There’s a fine line. I think, obviously, we’re not going to see Kamari Wilson play every single down. Trey Dean is going to play. That’s my opinion. Hopefully, we see more of a rotation, kind of get Kamari in there. That’s what I want to see. Andrew, I think we’re probably on the same page there.
Andrew: Yeah. I want to see guys that learn. I want to see some improvement, and I think the only way to improve is if you play the young guys. I just think that you’ve got to figure out a way with the young guys to get creative. Maybe you could turn them loose and let them go. Just say, play balls to the wall. Turn them loose. Turn Princely loose. Turn Tyreak Sapp loose. Turn those guys loose, and let them go.
Nick: Yeah. I’m looking at PFF stats right now. Kamari Wilson is the third best. He has the third best tackling grade on the team. That’s behind Devin Moore and Donovan McMillon, who have not played a whole lot. He’s tackled well in open space this year. He’s had a couple of mishaps here and there, but I think ultimately, he’s played pretty well, especially as a true freshman.
Andrew: Yeah. I agree. What’s the overall, when you look at the defense on PFF, and you were telling me about it, what’s the overall missed tackles?
Nick: Let’s see. Rashad Torrence leads the Gators in missed tackles with eight. The team has 74 missed tackles this year.
Andrew: That’s too many.
Nick: Andrew, let’s play a guessing game right now. I just gave you #1. Who do you think is tied for #1 missed tackles on the team?
Andrew: Who did you tell me?
Nick: I told you Rashad Torrence. Who’s tied with him?
Andrew: Okay. You told me Rashad. Trey Dean.
Nick: Correct. Third is Brenton Cox.
Andrew: That doesn’t surprise me.
Nick: No. Our eyes do not deceive us. PFF is something that breaks down every single play, and it gives you an overall grade. It doesn’t mean everything. It’s just something fun to look at, and it’s interesting. They give you tackle rates. Actually, Devin Moore is the #1 rated tackler on our team, and he’s played 167 snaps. Honestly, in my opinion, Andrew, the kind of cornerback room has regressed since Devin Moore has been out. It just feels that way. It just feels like they’ve taken a step back. Maybe it’s because they’re missing Devin Moore in that room.
Andrew: I think it’s a couple things, to be honest with you. Obviously, having Jaydon Hill back has allowed a little bit more depth, but I think you take the foursome of Devin Moore, Jaydon Hill, Jason Marshall, and Jalen Kimber. I think you take those four over the other four. While Devin Moore has had his ups and downs, he’s been in position to make plays. Has he gotten beat a couple times? Yes, he has, but it hasn’t been the boneheaded plays, in my opinion.
When I say the boneheaded plays, I mean the not turning their head around. There is nothing in this world that pisses me off, Nick, than a DB who don’t turn his freaking head around. It’s about as bad as an offensive line that doesn’t fire off the football. I can’t stand it. I hate it. I need an offensive line that’s firing off the football, and I need to see a defensive back who’s going to make the play on the ball. Your job is not to cover the guy and make sure he don’t catch it. Your job is to get the ball. As a defender, get the ball.
In this game, turnovers may win this. If Florida can get a couple turnovers, turn them into some easy scores, you got a chance. If you let them have 80-yard plays like Hendon Hooker and Tennessee did, you’re going to get blown out of Jacksonville.
Nick: Yeah. I said this in the roundtable. You just can’t turn the ball over, and you have to create turnovers. The Gators just aren’t winning this game if they lose the turnover battle. It’s just not going to happen. They need to make Stetson Bennett uncomfortable. Guess what? He hasn’t looked uncomfortable this year. He’s done a really good job of taking care of the football. It’s not going to be easy. They’re the #1 ranked team in the nation for a reason. It’s not going to be an easy task.
I do think the Gators somewhat keep pace offensively. There’s a reason why we’re talking so much about the defense today. The defense just has to be there. If it’s not there, if we see the same defense we’ve seen against LSU, Tennessee, it’s just not going to be pretty.
Andrew: Here’s the thing. I have confidence in the offense to score. Obviously, this is a really good defense, fourth in the country. Like I said, I think it’s a little skewed because of who they’ve played. I think Florida can score. I’ve said that. I think Billy Napier with two weeks to plan a gameplan for this is going to be good. You saw it against Utah. I have faith in Billy Napier and this offense to move the ball and score.
Do I have faith in them to score 50, to get in a shootout? No. Not at all. I don’t have faith in hardly any offense to score 50 like that. It’s tough. It really is tough. We can go back to the LSU game. When you put up 35 points with nearly 400 yards of total offense, you should win that football game most of the time. That’s kind of where I’m at with it.
When you look at Georgia, they’ve only allowed seven sacks on the year too. They’ve been pretty good at protecting Stetson Bennett.
Nick: Yeah. Their offensive line, they’re always good. They’re always filled with NFL talent. Like I said earlier, they’re good on both sides of the ball. They’re ranked second in the country in total offense. Stetson Bennett, is this his 18th year in college football?
Andrew: He’s got his doctors.
Nick: Yeah. It would not surprise me if he comes back for another year, just because I think now you can just make up years of eligibility. It’s insane.
Andrew: People are like, you know what, he’s really not that good, so just let him keep coming back. Every year it’s like, you know what, I’m here. I keep winning, and it’s just like, man, where are you at? Can you leave?
Nick: It’s a Georgia offense that’s scoring 41 points, almost 42 points a game.
Nick: Like me and Andrew are saying, we believe that Billy Napier is going to be able to move the football, but do we think that he’s going to score 42 points? Probably not. We haven’t hit the 40 point mark this year, if I’m not mistaken. A big factor in that is Billy Napier isn’t going to run an up-tempo offense. He just isn’t going to do.
Andrew: He can’t.
Nick: Exactly. That’s where I was getting. At least not this year. He’s just not going to do it this year.
Andrew: Let me tell you a funny story real quick.
Nick: Go for it.f mine who has a high profile:
That goes with what you were saying. He would love to run up-tempo. He just simply cannot, or this defense would be even worse than it really is.
Nick: Yeah. There’s a few factors when you look at this. The first one being if you score too quick, that means your defense is on the field more, which is the exact opposite of what Billy Napier wants.
The other factor is if you go up-tempo, that’s going to allow for more turnovers. What’s the one thing you cannot do if you’re this Florida Gator offense? You can’t turn the ball over. Why? Because the defense is not going to help you out. A lot of times, you turn the ball over on the other side of the field, okay, whatever. The defense can get us out. That just has not been the case this year. The turnovers this year are just so much more important than any other year, because the defense just is not getting a stop.
Nick: In my opinion, those are the two factors. You don’t want the defense on the field more than they have to be. Two, you can’t turn the ball over. I believe that if you go up-tempo the chance of you turning the ball over or having a miscommunication is higher. You just can’t do that. You can’t turn the ball over. Napier, he’s just not going to go up-tempo this year until he gets a better defense. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t think it has anything to do with the offense. I think the offensive line would probably do great in up tempo.
Andrew: The few times that they do go up tempo, because they go up tempo for a play or two.
Nick: They do it on the goal line usually, I think.
Andrew: Yeah. In the LSU game they did after the Montrell run. They do it a play here and there. They’re really good. They’re really good at it. It’s a situation where you know that this team can do it offensively. It’s just a defensive standpoint that they can’t do it. Again, it sucks, because you’re limiting it, and you know that you’ve got the players that can do it, but it is what it is. It’s a way to hide your deficiencies the best you can.
Obviously, the bad thing about it is when LSU goes down and scores as quick as they did, or Tennessee does, then your offense is back out there so quick. You’re playing with a worn-out offensive line. There’s pros and cons to it. Again, I think going forward we’ll see a completely different tempo offensively, and I think we’ll see a completely different defensive mindset going forward.
Nick: You nailed it. We’ve seen it at times. It hasn’t been a lot, but when the Gators have gone up-tempo, it’s worked. That’s a shout out to the Gators offensive line. These guys are dogs. They play four quarters. If anything, Andrew, it seems like to me several times this season the Gators offensive line has gotten better as the game’s gone on.
Andrew: That’s what good offensive linemen do.
Nick: Right. Tennessee’s the first one that comes to mind, but there’s several games. Tennessee, I thought the offensive line struggled in the first quarter, but they turned it on the rest of the way. Same thing against Missouri. We saw a struggling offensive line in the first half, and they just dominated in the second half.
Nick: LSU. USF. I thought in the fourth quarter, Andrew, against USF, USF knew we were running the ball every single play. Billy Napier was not going to call a pass play. He just wasn’t going to do it.
Nick: The Gators still ran down their throats. This offensive line, they get better as the game goes on. An up-tempo offense, in my opinion, would be extremely beneficial. Like I said, Napier has said, we’ve said it, it’s just not going to happen this year. Not to the extent that probably a lot of people want to see it at.
Andrew: Right. For me, that’s a great offensive line or a good offensive line wears down their opponent and gets better as the game goes on, because the defenders just start leaning on you. You’re able to just push them around a little bit. They get sick of it. They get sick of Austin Barber talking smack while he’s driving them ten yards down the field, or Cybo.
To me, that’s a big thing too. Cybo’s off the injury report. He’s going to play this week. That’s big. Not that Richie Leonard played bad against LSU. He didn’t. By no means did he play bad, but that’s your leader. That’s your offensive line leader, Cybo. You want him in the football game in big situations and in big games.
Nick: Yeah. Not only is he the leader and probably the best Gators player, but he grades as the best offensive lineman in the country.
Nick: At least in run blocking. He’s the #1 run blocking offensive lineman in the country. That stands for itself. Richie Leonard is good. He’s really good, but O’Cyrus Torrence is one of those guys you just can’t replace.
Andrew: Right. Because when him and Austin Barber are in there together, you can pretty much say the right side of the offensive line is on lock.
Nick: Yeah. O’Cyrus Torrence is a guy that’s, at this point, obviously there’s a lot to go with the Combine and things like that, but at this point O’Cyrus Torrence is a first-round Draft pick.
Andrew: I agree. I don’t know how good he will be.
Nick: That’s really impressive for a guard in college football. If a lot of you follow the NFL Drafts over the years, it’s normally tackles that go off of the board early on.
Nick: That’s like the most important position in football, at least in the NFL. The fact that we’re even seeing O’Cyrus Torrence’s name being mocked in NFL first rounds, and it’s not like the 30th pick, it’s like 15th, 20th pick, is really impressive. Like I said, tackles are normally the priority in the NFL, but I think the NFL scouts are just taking notice to what O’Cyrus Torrence is doing this year.
Andrew: I’ll take him in Atlanta.
Nick: I’ll take him in Miami.
Andrew: I’ll take him in Atlanta any day of the week, for sure. Let’s go on. Let’s move. Let’s make some picks here. Give me your first guy to watch for the game on Saturday.
Nick: I’m going to go with probably the most obvious pick, and I’m going to go with Ventrell Miller.
Nick: Here’s why. We’ve kind of talked a little bit about him and the tight ends. I just think the tight ends versus the linebacker matchup this Saturday is such a key point to this game. Ventrell Miller can do it all, right? We expect him to be great in run defense, and he is going to be great. He’s easy. He’s a dog. He’s an elite run stopper, but I’m looking at Ventrell Miller. If I’m Georgia, and Ventrell Miller is in the game on 1st and 2nd down, I’m taking shots right at him. That’s where I need Ventrell Miller, or I’m looking for Ventrell Miller to step up. He’s going to have to be great in pass coverage, in my opinion, as well. Especially on early downs, 1st and 2nd. If he is, the Gator got a good shot of pulling off an upset.
Andrew: Yeah. I agree. It goes without saying, Ventrell Miller needs to have another Missouri game.
Nick: Missouri game. Yup. Exactly.
Andrew: It’s not that easy.
Nick: No, it isn’t.
Andrew: It sucks that the pressure is on like that, but that’s just kind of where it is. You’ve got to have Ventrell playing that. I’ll go with another guy on the defensive side of the ball. I’m going to go with Brenton Cox. Again, it’s a situation with it’s always there, and that is if you can get pressure on the quarterback and disrupt the quarterback, it makes everything easier for your secondary. I just need to get pressure, and that’s Brenton Cox.
Nick: It’s a good pick. I like it. Brenton Cox, in my opinion, is starting to be one of those players where you always have to look for him. He’s always going to be kind of this gamechanger player, because he has the ability to get to the quarterback. He does. He leads the Gators in hurries by like six or seven hurries. He’s been in position to make the play. It’s just is he going to finish it? Is he going to wrap up? Is he going to set the edge? He's been so close this year. He’s so close to having a dominant season. Can he finish the play? That’s where I’m looking at Brenton Cox.
I’m going to go on the offensive side of the ball for this one. I’m going to go Ricky Pearsall. I’m going Ricky, because there’s no doubt in my mind that the Gators are going to run the football. They’re going to run it. They’re going to make Georgia stop them on the ground.
Nick: However, in my opinion, running the football over and over again is only going to get you so far against the #2 defense, or whatever they are. Yeah. #2 in the country. Best defense in the SEC. It’s only going to get you so far. The Gators, Billy Napier is going to have to get creative offensively. When I hear the word creativity, I think Ricky Pearsall, for a number of reasons. One, he can do a lot of different things. He’s a great route runner. You could throw him the screen ball, which I want to see them do. I want to see that Henderson screen with Ricky. You can even run him. We’ve seen him house a 76-yard reverse run.
I just think that if the Gators are going to stand a chance in this football game, they have to get creative, and they’re going to get creative by using their best playmakers, and that’s Ricky Pearsall.
Andrew: Yeah. I agree. I’m going to go with Etienne. Playing in brother’s stadium. Chance for Trevor to show off, show who he is, that he’s not Travis’ little brother. For all those reasons, I think Florida can get the running game going, and I think they’ll be successful. I think it all starts with Trevor Etienne.
Nick: That’s a good pick. I like that. We’re picking one more, right?
Nick: I’m going to go back to the defensive side of the ball, and I’m going to go Gervon Dexter. We entered into the season and Gervon Dexter kind of had the label as Florida’s best player. You have a chance this week to prove that it’s true. If you go out and dominate against the #1 team in the country, people are going to start talking about you again. I don’t think this season is on Gervon Dexter at all. He’s faced a lot of double teams, and the offensive line has paid a lot of attention to Gervon Dexter. He’s had good games, but I think for the most part he’s been pretty inconsistent. Gervon Dexter has to be great in this game. He has to be great in this game, if the Gators stand a chance on Saturday.
Andrew: Big time players make big time plays in big time games.
Andrew: Like you said, is his struggles all on him? No. Not at all. Like you said, he’s been facing double teams all year. He’s been basically asked to play more snaps than they would like him to, because of the depth. I think that, for him, it’s kind of one of those moments where you’ve got five games to decide whether you’re League bound or coming back to school. I think he should come back to school/
Nick: I do too.
Andrew: For Gervon Dexter, it’s a chance. It’s time to go. It’s time to drop it and go. I’m going to go on the offensive side of the ball, and I’m going to go with Justin Shorter. I think if Anthony can get outside the pocket, and Shorter can get open on those drag routes, he could have a game. I’m going Shorter. I think getting Anthony on the edge will be key, if the running game is going, so I like Shorter there. What’s your pick?
Nick: Wow. Let’s see. First of all, I wanted to comment on Shorter real quick.
Nick: He’s played in this game, and he’s done very well. You mentioned the drag route. He had two touchdowns, I believe both drag routes, last time the Gators won, last time the Gators beat Georgia. He’s used to this. He’s used to this moment. He’s used to the big time moments. I do like that pick.
My prediction. Look, I think ultimately I’m going to go with what I’ve been saying all along on this podcast, and that’s that I think the Gators move the ball. I think they move the ball fairly well. I just think that Georgia’s going to have their way with the Gators defense. But I think that the Gators keep this closer, a lot closer, than I think the majority of the media and the fanbase thinks. I’m going to go 34-24, Bulldogs. Pains me to make that pick, guys. I don’t think the Gators have the talent this year to pull it off. I do think Billy Napier keeps it very close though, and I think it’s a competitive game for the most part.
Andrew: What did you say the score was?
Andrew: 42-28 is my pick. Georgia.
Nick: We both pick them to cover the 20-whatever, 23, 24-point spread. Whatever it is.
Andrew: Yeah. I don’t see Billy Napier getting blown out.
Nick: Right. I’m with you.
Andrew: It hasn’t happened all year. He understands this game is important. He knows Kirby really well. I don’t see him getting blown out. Could I be completely wrong? Sure. Wouldn’t be the first time, and probably won’t be the last time. For me, I think he keeps it close. Wouldn’t surprise me if Florida went into halftime tied or down by a score. Wouldn’t surprise me. I just think Florida runs out of gas late.
Nick: Are there truly any surprises in this football game, Andrew?
Andrew: Always surprises. There’s always surprises. The dentist on the fake field goal with Will Muschamp. Treon Harris throwing three passes in this game and Florida winning. There’s always surprises in this game. I go back to a couple years ago, when Georgia started Bryce Ramsey, who was their third-string quarterback, but was also their starting punter. He just randomly popped up as the starter that game.
Nick: When you tune into this game, when you tune into Florida-Georgia, you just never know what’s going to happen. Anything could happen. That’s why this game is so exciting.
Andrew: That’s why this game needs to stay in Jacksonville.
Nick: Yeah. I agree. For both teams, this game is super fun, super exciting. It’s a great atmosphere. Anything can happen in a football game. It just feels like this game is different. There’s always surprises. Things are always happening. We’ve seen the Gators pull off victories where nobody thought they stood a chance, for multiple years in a row.
Andrew: Seen Georgia do the same.
Nick: And we’ve seen Georgia do the same.
Andrew: The Mark Richt celebration game against Urban that year. That was a game.
Nick: It’s just a wild game, and one that is just bound to be good. The best way to explain it is even if the Gators get blown out, going to that game and being in that environment, being in that stadium, is just one hell of an experience. Like I said, I mentioned it last podcast, I went last year, and I told myself I’m never not going back. I will always be at that game. That’s just how insane that atmosphere and environment is.
Andrew: I agree. I love this game. I do. I’ve said it forever. I love this football game. I love the back and the forth of the fans. I love the tailgate scene. I love this football game. I really do. It’s special, and it’s why this game needs to stay in Jacksonville. Neither here nor there. That’s not to be decided now, as we have this game on Saturday. We know it’ll be in Jacksonville. Make sure to check us out online at GatorCountry.com and on Twitter @GatorCounty. We’ll be there. We’ll be live at Gator Walk and then getting you ready for this game. Hopefully seeing a miracle pull out win by Billy Napier and this team.
Nick, if you don’t have anything else, we’ll get out of here. We’ll be back on Monday.
Nick: I’m good. Come and say hi, if you guys are in Jacksonville.
Andrew: Yeah. Make sure to come up and say hello. Let us know if you got a good tailgate going on. Nick and I will have to stop by.
Andrew: Thanks, guys. We’ll see you guys on Monday.