ATHENS — For all the debate and consternation over the fate of the game against South Carolina, and it was all justified, the effects of Hurricane Matthew may not be over for the Georgia football program when the game is done on Sunday. Assuming it is done on Sunday.
The hurricane may hit Jacksonville on Friday night and Saturday, which would be the first hurricane this big to hit that city since 1894. Evacuations have been taking place.
Georgia is scheduled to play Florida at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field on Oct. 29. So there’s little doubt that officials at both schools will be monitoring the situation closely.
If something has to happen with the Jacksonville game, things could go should go a lot smoother in negotiations. Georgia’s Greg McGarity and Florida’s Jeremy Foley have a long and productive relationship, perhaps a little bit better than McGarity and Ray Tanner, the South Carolina athletics director.
Foley is retiring at the end of the month, set to be replaced by Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin. It’s ended up being an eventful final run for Foley, with the Florida-LSU game on Saturday being called off because of the Hurricane.
This is obviously just speculation, and clearly everyone hopes that Jacksonville escapes major damage. If it does get bad, however, there will be time to judge whether the game needs to be moved, and explore alternate sites. McGarity, Foley and all involved will hope that doesn’t have to happen.
Meanwhile, Georgia has several players from the coastal Georgia and South Carolina areas that could be hit by the storm:
- Freshman guard Solmon Kindley is from Jacksonville. His mother said via text message that they live inland enough that they have not been evacuated as of Friday morning.
- Junior quarterback-punter Brice Ramsey went to high school in Kingsland.
- Sophomore defensive end Michael Barnett is from Dorchester, S.C., which is in the lowcountry of South Carolina.
- Senior linebacker Ryne Rankin is from Orlando.