by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer
ATHENS—Less than 24 hours following a Monday practice considered “outstanding” by Mark Richt, the Bulldog head coach was asked about his team’s practice sessions leading up to this Saturday’s meeting with Florida, particularly that of tailback Todd Gurley, who remained suspended as of the noon press conference.
“We’re giving him a good bit of reps,” Richt said of Gurley. “We want to rep him to the point where if he’s able to play, he’ll be able to play well.”
Later, during the individual player interviews, Hutson Mason mentioned Georgia’s outstanding preparation, in which he contributed to what the team has been able to accomplish thus far this season.
“There’s a high maturity level on this team, and there’s a high focus level,” the senior quarterback declared. “The one thing about this team, and the difference I’ve seen over the last couple years is that we practice really well, and I think that’s why we’ve had some success so far this season.”
The Bulldogs’ defense is preparing for quarterback Treon Harris. Harris is a true freshman who came off the bench to lead the Gators to a 10-9 win over Tennessee and was responsible for both of his team’s touchdowns in Florida’s last game against Missouri.
“He hasn’t thrown the ball a lot but when he has thrown the ball, he’s hit 67 percent of his passes,” Richt said of Harris. “When he has played and when he has thrown the ball, he’s done it very well.”
This Saturday, for what it’s worth, Harris will become the first freshman quarterback in the modern era (since World War II) whose first collegiate start comes in a Georgia-Florida game. I informed Bulldog linebacker Amarlo Herrera of this historical fact, and asked if the quarterback’s inexperience alters the defense’s mindset—even the slightest.
“We’re just going to go out there and play the same way we’ve been playing,” Herrera said. “None of [Florida’s] plays are going to change because [Harris] is playing. We’re just going to go out there and try to execute our [defensive] game plan.”
Another first for this Saturday—or, at least, the first time in a long time—is the fact both teams will be wearing their home, colored jerseys. The last time a Georgia-Florida game featured both teams donning solid jerseys was 1970. That same season was the last time a Georgia game against any opponent featured opposing solid jerseys (vs. Georgia Tech). Richt was asked if facing colored jerseys, while wearing them, could possibly be an issue.
“We all felt [Georgia wearing red jerseys; Florida in blue] was enough of a contrast,” Richt said. “I just think it’s enough of a contrast where we don’t need to practice it. I’m hoping our guys don’t think blue is red and the quarterback starts throwing to their guys,” the head coach added with a smile.
While some believed red versus blue jerseys wouldn’t be an issue, there were others who were not even aware of the looming change in uniform.
“Really?” Herrera asked when informed about both teams wearing solid jerseys. “I didn’t know that. That’s going to be a little weird though.”
Notwithstanding, the main question does not concern both teams wearing their home jerseys, but if a certain jersey—namely No. 3, Todd Gurley—will be seen in Jacksonville running against the Gators. As of Tuesday evening, there was still no word on Gurley; he remained suspended. However, from what we hear, don’t be surprised if there is news regarding the star tailback as early as tomorrow.