Underdog Gators feeling confident vs. Bulldogs

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Florida's Chauncey Gardner Jr., (23) and Jeawon Taylor celebrate during the game against Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium earlier this season. The Gators are not worried about being underdogs to Georgia, they say. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

Being a double-digit underdog, and coming off consecutive home losses, doesn’t seem to have shaken Florida’s confidence.

If anything, some of the Gators are coming off as maybe a little bit too confident heading into their game against No. 3 Georgia, especially sophomore cornerback Chauncey Gardner Jr.

Gardner doesn’t seem all that impressed with true freshman Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and star senior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the best running back combination in the SEC.

“You say they have a great quarterback. I get it,” Gardner said. “He’s throwing simple passes. I get it. Anybody can throw a slant. I get it. We’re just playing football. If you call him the best quarterback, so be it, but he has to play Saturday.

“We’re going to see what his best attribute is. If he can beat us with his arm, whoopty doo. But we’re not focused on what he can do, what he can’t do. We’re just going to go out and focus on us and just play football like the past three or four weeks.”

Gardner doesn’t seem overwhelmed by the ability of the two talented tailbacks, either. (By the way, they’ve combined to rush for 1,180 yards and 14 touchdowns).

“It’s just another running back crew,” Gardner said. “We’ve just got to do what we have to do, what we’ve been doing all year. They put their pads on, we put our pads on. They’re seniors. I guess that makes them higher up? That makes them the best duo, I guess. But, they’ve got to play football. Just go out there and compete and have fun.”

Gardner and sophomore wide receiver Josh Hammond said the Gators don’t look at themselves as big underdogs Saturday. They expect to compete with the Bulldogs, and win.

“The thing about this team, we have a lot of focus, a lot of mental prep,” Gardner said. “A lot of teams go in there, ‘Oh they have this, have that,’ but our team is not focused on what they have. We are focused on us. This game feels like a championship game to us.

“If they are the best team, so be it, but they have to play Saturday. We’re going to see them Saturday. If you all feel like they are the best team, pick ‘em, do what you’ve got to do. But we’re going to go out there with our defense, with our offense and play this game and win the game.”

Hammond points to the recent history of the rivalry. The Gators have won three in a row and 21 of the last 27.

“Our seniors have never lost to Georgia, so I think that mentality that they bring, being that they’ve never lost to Georgia, that brings a lot of confidence to us, just knowing that Georgia isn’t a team that we lose to,” Hammond said. “I think that’s the message in the locker room right now: They might be the No. 3 team in the country, but they can’t beat Florida. That’s our mentality going forward and we’ll come out and be ready to play.”

 

28 COMMENTS

  1. I like this mental attitude on Defense, which still is the foundation of our team. Confidence in having beaten UGA before is helpful. A few more turnovers on the D side of the ball would be of great value in vanquishing the Dawgs from the Penal Colony to the North.

  2. We can only hope that they don’t “play football like the last three or four weeks”… When a sophomore who is afraid to tackle does the trash talking for the locker room, one wonders where the real leadership is. And yet…GO GATORS!

    • Have you seen how the defense has performed the last 3-4 weeks? That is what he was talking about. His unit. Holding UGA to much lower than their season average of scoring is definitely something Gators need to win. We also need some more turnovers and of course a drastic change on the other side of the ball.

  3. Being underdogs; we’ve got them right where we want them. Being that the game is at a neutral site, this could be our bowl game but I surely hope not. Gardner and Hammond talked the talk, now they have to walk the walk. Hope they do it. I know the fans at the game will do their part with a lot of noise when georgia is on offense.

  4. Michigan scored 33, Kentucky 27, Vandy 24, and the rest 20 and less. This “D” is capable, although injuries may be the downfall. Other than Michigan, nobody really thrashed us. If we can stop or slow down the run game, there might be a chance.

  5. If we stack the box and make their QB beat us, we have a good chance. If he does beat us, then they deserve to win it, but make them earn it. Our D usually does well against big name RBs, its the lesser known ones that can thrash us, perhaps because we are not prepared mentally?

    Remember a few years back when no one gave us a chance? What did we have, like 350 yard rushing or something? Rivalry games are just different. And I really do think we are in their heads. If Toney and Cleveland are 80% healthy or better, and Franks can find the #2 option just a few times to keep drives alive, I think we win.

    Go Gators!

  6. I always approach every game the Gators play as if we are going to win so I like our guys positive attitude. It’s much better than if they were going around hanging their heads as if they didn’t believe they stood a chance to win. Like most die hard Gator fans, there’s nothing I like better than beating the Georgia Bulldogs! After that, finish off the year by beating those ‘Noles!! Go Gators!! I will be yelling hard on Saturday.

  7. Glad our D is confident. That’s how we play UGA, all out hard confident every play. This is a good UGA team as they went into South Bend & beat a very good Notre Dame team & beat the crap out of UT in Knoxville. Hope we can score close to 30 somehow on UGA & we could get a W. Go Gators!

  8. This feels like a Championship Game because it is. Beat Georgia and we’ve still got a chance to win the East. But this is it – a put up or shut up last chance.

    I love the fact we’re 21-6 in the last 27 against Georgia, who BTW, is almost always considered a better team than the Gators.

    Let’s whip another Georgia team this weekend! Can’t wait!

  9. We’ve lost two straight SEC games by a combined three points. The odds just started coming back into line after we won so many close games. If we keep this one close we have a good chance. My prediction gators come out with a victory

  10. It’s stupid that what Gardner said is being labeled as “trash talk”. It was the UGA receiver who said UF has no chance of winning. All Gardner said was basically echoing what they’ve seen in the film room. Stop the senior RB’s and make the freshman QB beat you. Maybe he can beat you, and if he can, then good for him. But you’d much rather take your chance w/ a freshman who is efficient but rarely asked to do much, than with 2 future NFL RB’s. Now the key is actually making that happen, and it’s gonna have to start w/ a few early stops and a few sustained drives from the offense, or else it truly will be a very long day.

  11. I find this comment contradictory: “Anybody can throw a slant. I get it” Apparently the Gator QB can’t or the OC rarely calls this play or dumps off to backs coming out of the backfield, to neutralize defenses stacking the box

  12. You poor delusional people!! Believe me, you’re not ready for the Dawg team that’s coming to town. There are three other backs every bit as capable as Chubb and Michel and the Dawg defense didn’t get their reputation by standing around with their hands in their pockets. There is going to be a lot of Gator blood left on that field Saturday. I get a fuzzy, warm feeling just thinking about it!

  13. Maybe Mac needs to take a page from the Vince Dooley playbook and start poormouthing the Gators. Remember how Vince used to talk about how good that Gator team was and how his team didn’t quite measure up and they were hurt and on and on and on. And then the Dawgs would come out and beat the Gators. Seemed to work pretty well for ol’ Vince.

  14. Missouri put up a bunch of points on Georgia by throwing downfield. Since we are sticking with Frank’s can we at least use his strengths. I say throw downfield. If we catch it 6 pts. If they catch it all we lost is not putting a punt coverage team in that was decimated by credit card fraud. If no one catches it try again. Spurrier style. He’ll the ole ball coach said he just wants to train high schoolers to pitch and catch it. Why not Florida field instead?