Athens, GA - After a 29-24 victory over Kentucky, the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1) begin preparations to take on the No. 3 Florida Gators on Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
While the Gators are currently first in the SEC East after defeating South Carolina, 44-11, this week, head coach Mark Richt knows that the division race isn’t over yet.
“We weren’t happy about our loss to South Carolina, but we knew that there was still a lot of football to be played,” said Richt. “We knew that if we got back to work and took care of our own business then there was a good chance we’d be back in the race. As it turned out, that happened relatively quickly. When we were playing South Carolina, we were in control of our own destiny, and by the time we kicked off against Kentucky we were in the same place. We were able to get the victory against Kentucky and we know what this game means for us and for Florida. I’d say that our guys are excited about the opportunity to play this game and have it mean as much as it means right now.”
As Georgia looks ahead to Florida, Richt feels that special teams will play a large role in the game.
“Florida has been fantastic on special teams,” continued Richt. “That’s certainly going to be a big challenge for us. We’ve had some successes here and there, but we need to have a big day on special teams or it’s going to hurt us. It’s just a matter of making sure we take care of our business and we give ourselves the best chance for success.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs will need to stop the run.
“There’s always the threat of the pass, but if you can’t stop the run, you’re done,” Richt said. “The goal has to be to get your opponent in some third-and-long situations so you have a chance to get off the field. The longer the yardage is on the third down, the better chance you have of getting the stop.”
While Georgia will need to work hard in practice, Richt knows the team will be motivated for the game.
“Usually, there’s not a whole lot that has to be said or done,” said Richt. “I think our guys understand how important this game is. I don’t think we’re going to have to figure out how to motivate anybody. It’s a big game; no one’s going to be able to act like it’s not. It’s a big game for both teams; both teams are going to want to win badly. We’ve just got to prepare well and play well.”
The Bulldogs own a 48-40-2 lead in the series, including last year’s 24-20 victory. Saturday’s game will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.