Athens, GA - Riding a three-game winning streak, including Saturday’s SEC victory at Kentucky, the Georgia Bulldogs will turn their attention to Florida this week.
The Bulldogs are 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the SEC after knocking off the Wildcats 44-31 in Lexington. Florida, which was idle, is 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC with a three-game losing streak. This Saturday, Georgia and Florida will renew their rivalry in Jacksonville. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.
“We did a good job of staying together through the adversity,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “Our coaches and support staff did a very good job of staying unified and focused on what we could do to get better. The player-coach relationship was outstanding and the players’ relationships among themselves were outstanding. … We did a nice job going through that.”
Richt was asked if being back in the SEC East race (South Carolina leads at 3-2) was a motivator for the Bulldogs.
“We’ve got the mindset that we just need to focus on our preparation,” Richt said. “We need to focus on the process of getting better. That’s what started the string of victories. We ramped up the way we practiced, and the guys bought into that. We’re hanging our hat on preparation more than the emotion of being back in the race.”
Following Saturday’s game, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said, “Georgia is one of the most physical teams that we've played this year.”
“That’s music to my ears, quite frankly,” Richt said. “That’s one of the things we wanted people to feel about us. We wanted to earn respect, and it sounds we did earn their respect. I want people to look at our film and say, ‘These guys played in a hard, physical nature.’ I thought we played hard and I thought we played physical. We’re a better team than we were a month ago. I’m just thankful we’re getting some wins to go with it.”
Richt said tailback Caleb King’s two-game suspension is over and that he will be in the rotation for Saturday's game against the Gators.
“I can’t think of any reason why he won’t get back in the mix,” Richt said. “He’s played pretty well this season and he’s improved in a lot of areas. We are confident in his ability to play. I don’t know how many carries he’ll get. We’ll observe all the guys during practice this week. Once a young man carries out his discipline, he’s back in good standing with us. We’ll give him as many reps as we think he deserves based on his practice.”
Richt was asked about the challenge of facing Florida with the Gators coming out of their bye week.
“It’s a little more of a mystery than if we’d played them without an open date,” Richt said. “With an open date, you have time to make change, radical changes if you choose to do so. So we’re not 100 percent what we’ll see. But it’s hard to change everything. We have some basic idea. I’m sure Coach (Urban) Meyer and his staff will have some interesting twists for us to deal with. I’m sure there will be some things that are brand new to us.”