With the UGA-Florida game a week away, let the smack talk begin:
Urban Meyer gloated again this week about the Florida “payback game” against UGA in 2008.
Meyer, who was the Gators’ coach at the time, infamously called two timeouts in the final minute to make sure then-UGA coach Mark Richt got a good long look at the 49-10 scoreboard.
“We had two (timeouts); I wish I had three, but we had two,” Meyer told The Buddy Martin Show this week.
“The one thing I want to add is that we came down in the pre-game meal. I’ll never forget. Usually I come in and I speak to the team before we get on the bus and go. I came down, and as I walk into the room, all the players stand up and start going (wild). You could tell that team was on fire to play that game.
“And (the game) started, if you could remember, from the first snap (when two Florida defensive players) hit (UGA running back Knowshon Moreno), that this was going to be a long day for them (Georgia).”
Why did Meyer want to get payback at Mark Richt? Because the year before, Richt allowed his entire team to run on the field after UGA’s first score to celebrate together in the end zone in what was dubbed “The Gator Stomp.” The No. 20-ranked Bulldogs upset No. 9 Florida by the score of 42-30.
Meyer said he’s never discussed that end-zone celebration directly with Richt. But the former Florida coach admitted he obsessed about it for a long time:
“My biggest fear was that when your manhood gets challenged like that, are you going to do something to retaliate? The biggest thing was … I talked to our players non-stop about ‘Do not get involved.’ Every reporter was asking our players ‘What was going to be the payback?’
“If you watch the video tape … and it’s been a while (for me). It was brought up this year, so I watched the tape and slowed it down. I remember seeing some (of the Florida defensive players) right in the middle of that melee. That was incredible. If you throw a punch, you get thrown out of the game, and maybe the next game … That showed incredible restraint, because I think they were shocked as well (by what Georgia did).”
Yet Meyer also claimed to The Buddy Martin Show that he didn’t plan the payback in advance for the following year’s showdown between the SEC East powers:
“I really didn’t. It was more about winning that game. If you remember, it was (2008). We had a heck of a team, and so did they … I want to say we were both ranked in the top (10). It was a highly-anticipated game, maybe in the history of that game.
“I remember coming over that bridge (to Jacksonville’s stadium), and traffic was stopped. We were almost late for that game. It was incredible – the anticipation for that game. (Georgia) had three first-round draft picks on offense with A.J. Green, Knowshon and Matt Stafford. We obviously had a great team as well.
“We prepared. (Moreno) rushed for (188 yards) against us the year before. We finished every (Florida) workout with something (about that game). Rivalry games are very important to us, and this game is a huge game for Florida. We worked on getting ready … for that game the entire year.”
Next Saturday, No. 10 UGA plays No. 7 Florida in the annual rivalry at 3:30 p.m.