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Do you think Kirby Smart casually dismissed the Blind Squirrel comment or is he keeping it in a motivation box until the last Saturday in October? As for me…. I’m ticked!!! I wished we played Florida today!!!!! Go Dawgs!!!
– Jerry Blash
In case anyone didn’t hear the comments last week, or needs a refresher, Florida coach Dan Mullen was asked at a fan event how Florida can keep up with Georgia, and Mullen responded: “Listen, making it to one SEC Championship Game doesn’t make you a dominating program, you know what I’m saying? I mean, two out of the last three years we’ve still been to the SEC Championship Game. So even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.”
Here’s the thing: Kirby Smart and Mullen are actually good friends. They have lake houses near each other and spend time together over the summer. Their wives and children hang out too. There’s mutual respect.
So Mullen wasn’t trying to take a personal shot, and surely Smart didn’t take it that way. Mullen was trying to rev up his fan base and probably got caught up in the moment a bit.
That doesn’t mean Smart won’t plaster that comment over Georgia’s locker room for the two weeks before the Florida game. And I’m sure that won’t surprise Mullen, in his first season at Florida after coaching Mississippi State.
It’s readily apparent to everybody, including Mullen deep down, that Georgia is ahead right now. That was no fluke last year. Georgia should be and will be the favorite to repeat, and the recruiting speaks for itself.
Mullen may be able to change that dynamic – on and off the field – right away, or it could take a few years. But one thing that stands out to me is his history on the field against Smart-coached defenses: As I pointed out prior to the Georgia-Mississippi State game, Smart has tended to have Mullen’s number: 8-0 vs. Mississippi State, seven times at Alabama and last year at Georgia, with Mullen’s teams only averaging 7.9 points per game.
Mullen will get better players at Florida now than he got at Mississippi State. And when Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida, he was 2-0 against Alabama and Smart’s defenses, averaging 30 points and 342 yards.
So the playing field may even up soon. But Florida has some catching up to do.
Have a question for Georgia beat writers Seth Emerson and Chip Towers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.