Outcome vs. Gators is for Dawgs to decide

David Greene

JACKSONVILLE – "Georgia is gonna beat Florida this year." These words were heard everywhere around Athens. Like the last two seasons, the Bulldogs have a more talented team than the Gators. Like the last two seasons, the Bulldogs have more wins than the Gators. Unlike the last two seasons, the Gators actually had to play a game the weekend before the largest outdoor cocktail party; and they lost – to Mississippi State. Yep, everything was looking good for a Bulldog victory.

Then Florida head coach Ron Zook was fired.

While some Bulldog fans fear this will give the Gators a reason to play even harder, most of the Georgia players and staff disagree.

"We're just trying to stay focused for our team, we're not really worried about what's going on down there," said senior flanker Fred Gibson. "If they get their thing together, then they get their thing together. We're trying to go to Florida and win a ballgame. Everybody here wants to win, so we're just trying to stay focused and leave their problems down there to them."

The bottom-line for the Bulldogs is this – Florida will play Georgia hard every year and they don't need their head coach to be fired to motivate them.

"I really don't think it'll make that much of a difference as far as how the players will come out and play," said senior quarterback David Greene. "I don't know if there has ever been a game where you come out and you don't give your all. It's not like you get extra excited about something. I don't think it'll be any different."

While Greene does concede there are probably a lot of distractions in Gainesville this week, he doesn't think it will affect the Gator's game.

"Obviously it's a different kind of week," said Greene. "You'd be going through a whirlwind, especially with the media. I'm sure all their players are getting bombarded with the media. There could be a lot of distractions down there, but I think when it comes time to playing the game, there are no distractions at that point."

Other fans see Zook's firing as a blessing for the Bulldogs, because they predict the Florida players will come out flat and defeated. This theory doesn't ring true with the Bulldogs either.

"You hate it for those guys as coaches, but we can only control ourselves," said quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo. "Those kids down there are still going to play hard. They're going to show up and compete. We got to make sure we handle our business and we're ready to compete. I don't think our players think anything less; I think they expect Florida to play us hard."

Ultimately this game comes down to what Georgia will do, not what everyone else thinks Florida can do.

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