PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The task is tall. But maybe, just maybe, Florida will topple the SEC East’s Goliath when few expect more than a whisper of resistance.
“Clearly, Georgia has got to be the big, strong favorite,” former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel told SEC Country of the Gators’ chances against the Bulldogs on Saturday in Jacksonville. “But we’re clinging to the fact that sometimes in these big rivalry games, you never know what can happen.”
Wuerffel is right, many expect Georgia to romp and improve to 8-0 in what is becoming a memorable season under coach Kirby Smart. Florida, meanwhile, is 3-3 and has scuffled in coach Jim McElwain’s third year in Gainesville.
But the Gators have a history of foiling the Bulldogs in this rivalry, particularly since 1990. In that span, Georgia has claimed victory in the series just six times. Florida has won three straight meetings.
On Friday, SEC Country caught up with Wuerffel and other Florida greats during the former quarterback’s Desire Cup at TPC Sawgrass and received their thoughts on the game to come.
Steve Spurrier, Florida’s coach from 1990 to 2001: “We’ve got to play well. Georgia, obviously, looks a lot better than we’ve looked. Any day, something can happen. We’ve got to, hopefully, get in a low-scoring contest with them and beat them something like 17-13, if we can.”
Wuerffel, Florida quarterback from 1993 to 1996: “Maybe we’ll get a little spark. Maybe they’ll be a little more nervous, because they have a lot more to lose than we do, clearly. We’ll see.
“I think our defense has to play strong. We’ve got to try to contain them. They’re explosive, and I think if we can run the ball well, which we have done throughout the season, I think we can control some of that. And we’ve just got to have a few big plays, a few big strikes on offense and maybe some key turnovers. I think we’ve got to get some breaks. Play solid, get a few breaks. Hopefully, they’ll make a mistake or two at a key time, and we’ll have a chance.”
Terry LeCount, Florida quarterback/defensive back/wide receiver from 1975 to 1977: “They haven’t showed me anything this year that they’re comfortable in kind of making the upset. Not that it won’t happen, but this team has been up and down this year. We haven’t seen any offense with this Florida team.
“They have a really good defense. But if you watch the game a little bit, you can’t be on the field too long with your defense. We haven’t seen the offense do anything at all. If our offense can kind of establish some drive and keep the defense off the field, the game kind of can go either way. If they don’t do that, I think Georgia will wear us out.”