Defense Survives Gators

Dawgpost.com
Posted Oct 30, 2004


After chasing Florida quarterback Chris Leak from sideline to sideline Saturday afternoon, Georgia senior defensive end David Pollack finally surrendered to fatigue.

Inside an Alltel Stadium tunnel, just outside the Georgia locker room, Pollack found a large green motorized cart used to transport equipment and injured players. He climbed in, leaned his back up against the cab and unfolded his 6-foot-3, 261-pound body into a restful pose.

After a game in which he become Georgia's all-time sack leader, nobody was all that eager to displace him from his perch.

''We talked about the seniors playing the best games of their life,'' Georgia coach Mark Richt said after the Bulldogs' drought-breaking 31-24 win over Florida. ''I thought David Pollack had one of his better games.''

Pollack collected the 30th and 31st sacks of his career Saturday, breaking the record held by Richard Tardits (29) since 1988. In addition to keeping Leak on the run when he wasn't dropping him to the turf, Pollack drew a pair of holding penalties on Florida guard Steve Rissler in the first half. Pollack figured that total paled in comparison to the total of infractions that went undetected.

''It's frustrating to me,'' Pollack said of the jersey-tugging, ''but all I could do was keep playing hard.''

''There's not a game we've been in where he hasn't been held,'' Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said.

VanGorder was more concerned about his defense holding together against an unconventional Florida offense, especially after senior free safety Thomas Davis left the game midway through the second quarter with a sprained right knee and right ankle. With sophomore Tre Battle moving into that position, VanGorder was reluctant to use the safety blitz packages he deploys so freely with Davis.

''We were like sitting ducks out there at the time,'' VanGorder said. ''We missed so many tackles. It's the first game where I've been here where it just didn't seem like we had good jump.''

The Gators took advantage of the inconsistency, rolling up 458 total yards with a mixture of quick screens to wide receivers, shovel passes and wrap-around draw plays. Florida even lined up in the Emory & Henry formation former coach Steve Spurrier used for trickery - in which a center and two guards line up on the ball and the tackles split wide to the sidelines with a pair of receivers.

More often than not, however, the Gators were effective with a more direct approach. Leak completed 22-of-34 passes for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns, often creating plays after the pocket collapsed.

''We survived them on defense tonight,'' Richt said.


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