Lough: This one's forgettable

Columnist
Posted Oct 30, 2005


JACKSONVILLE - As the temperatures dropped, and the chances dwindled, and hope evaporated, one thing likely went up.

The temperature of Mark Richt's ears, because it's a safe bet they were heating up just a bit.

More than one person will liken this game to that of Georgia's performance - physically and instructionally - against Boston College in the Music City Bowl a few years ago, among the most forgettable of the Richt era at Georgia.

Plenty of folks - my hand's raised - picked the Bulldogs to beat the Gators, and some offered the warning to remember that Florida still had Florida players.

The Gators showed as much. That said, Georgia - even a man or two short - is a better team, one that will feel knawing when it revisits at this game, one that got away and one it let get away.

Georgia should've scored more than 10 points, especially considering it held Florida scoreless the final 53:51 of the game.

Figure this out. The running game racks up 177 yards - though it remains baffling the Bulldogs can't consistently have a single 100-yard rusher - and Georgia gets all of 10 points.

Note that for all the chatter back forth about offense and reputations, Florida has held Georgia to 14 points or less in seven of the last 10 meetings.

The same who bellowed forth from that Georgia would win no matter what will now find the same time and energy to offer excuses.

Those who laughed at and derided Urban Meyer fail to recognize the adjustments he made, to his game plan and to his team's confidence and outlook.

The Gators didn't look like a team that was reeling and lacking confidence. They punched first, hit, and held on.

And Georgia was groggy for awhile on both sides of the ball, slow to attack on defense and lacking cohesivness on offense. Georgia has preached team unity this year, and Saturday was yet another example. There were plenty of hands in this one.

There was a warning to worry less about Joe Tereshinski individually and more about what Tereshinski and the other 10 on offense were instructed to do on a regular basis.

To be sure, it was difficult to figure out what the plan was at times. Tereshinski is mobile enough to send on a run, but not enough to float the pocket, that pocket from several passes were batted down?

One surprising thing from at least this seat was an apparent lack of Tereshinski plays. One would've thought Georgia'd find a number of plays that were in his wheelhouse, that were likely to work fairly well. He's good enough to have some money plays.

Instead, he again seemed unable to find a consistent groove or rhythm, a problem afflicting the entire offense.

There wasn't too much to be inspired about, saving the totals in the running game.

Florida quarterback Chris Leak was hit more by teammates after big plays than he was by Georgia's defense, which might be the most stunning development of the day, considering substantially lesser defenses have had him aching mightily on Sundays.

No, Leak wasn't relaxing on a couch and throwing deep all day, and yes, he was in the shotgun - something the Bulldogs should've done as they wasted time late in the game - but he still found open receivers despite little pressure.

One had to be encouraged with the toss sweep that worked well - interesting to watch the linemen pull and move and change up the blocking schemes. Of course, one could also say it wasn't called enough.

"The way things started," Richt said, "they looked like they could've gotten about 50-0."

That's an accurate appraisal and an amazing one. Georgia's offense took a half to get going, and it still wasn't enough. Georgia's defense took only about two or three Florida possessions to get going, and it was too late.

Who in their right mind could've predicted that?

Defensive lineman Gerald Anderson said Florida's offense didn't reinvent anything to lead to the sharp start, that the Gators changed almost nothing, they simply executed better than they had been.

Then, in a quality summary of the whole day:

"I can't explain it."

Worry not, Gerald, for you're not alone.


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