Will Muschamp is hoping the Georgia-Florida rivalry, which resumes next Saturday, works out better for him as a Gator.
The first-year Florida head coach walked on at Georgia in 1990, redshirted that season and then played four years at safety, starting as a senior in 1994. In his five years in Georgia’s program, the Bulldogs were 0-5 against the Gators, with three of those losses by 30 points or more.
“There weren’t many good ones, that was for sure,” Muschamp said this week.
When Muschamp was a senior, the game was played on Florida’s campus due to reconstruction of Jacksonville’s stadium that accompanied the arrival of the NFL’s Jaguars. The Gators won 52-14 in Gainesville and 52-17 the following year in Athens, and those remain the only Georgia-Florida games played on campus since the inception of the Southeastern Conference in 1933.
“I don’t think there is any question the game needs to be in Jacksonville,” Muschamp said. “It’s a great environment and a lot of fun to be a part of.”
A different look
Georgia is 4-1 in the SEC while Florida is 2-3, but it’s not the first time the Bulldogs will enter this game with a two-game lead in the East race. The Bulldogs held the same edge three times from 2002 to ’05 and lost two of those meetings.
“We’re all looking at that,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said of the standings. “Our No. 1 goal is to win the East, and that’s the thing when the season begins that we know we can control. If you win that, then you get to play for the SEC championship, and that’s a prize worth fighting for.”
Said Muschamp: “I think it’s pretty obvious that we need some help at this point.”
On record pace
Bulldogs sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown for 4,702 yards in 20 career games, for an average of 235.1 yards a game. If Murray maintains this pace, stays all four years and the Bulldogs play 13 games each season, he will throw for 12,225 yards.
The SEC career mark is 11,528, which was set by Georgia’s David Greene from 2001 to ’04.
Opening a season with losses to Boise State and South Carolina was difficult enough for Georgia, but the Bulldogs lost a starting inside linebacker in each game. Alec Ogletree broke his foot against the Broncos, and Christian Robinson suffered a foot injury against the Gamecocks.
Yet the Bulldogs, with junior Michael Gilliard and freshman Amarlo Herrera as their replacements, rebounded to win five games in a row.
“If you had told me that before the season began, I wouldn’t have predicted that,” Richt said. “We would have all been nervous.”
Odds and ends
The Bulldogs bypassed practice Thursday and went swimming at the Ramsey Center, which once was an August tradition but did not occur this preseason. ... Next week’s Georgia-Florida game will be televised by CBS for the 15th time in the 16 years that the network has been the primary broadcaster of SEC games, with the lone exception coming in 2002, when it had an evening kickoff on ESPN. The only league rivalry CBS has televised all 16 years is Florida-Tennessee. ... Richt on injured left tackle Trinton Sturdivant wanting to return for a sixth season but as a tight end: “I think he and I need to have another conversation.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...