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October 28, 2007

It's A Celebration!

There are times when one is exposed to the pure Hobbesian environment, where the laws of the jungle, not the law of man or God, rule supreme. As an example, it is thought that if one enters prison, the smartest strategic action to establish oneself on the right side of the foodchain is to fight someone the first day simply to show the other inmates that you are not to be trifled with. And the more frenzied the beating the better. Far better to be thought of as crazed than considered polite and vulnerable. Show everybody you are crazy and they are less likely to try you.

Mark Richt, polite and kind, acted like the latest inmate to arrive Saturday. As you all know, Richt ordered his players to incur a celebration penalty after Georgia's first score. Knowshon dove over the goal line for the game's first score and the entire team came out on the field to jump up and down, give the Gator chomp, and dance, dance, dance! The celebration was unprecedented, drawing considerable criticism. It was shocking, bold, and just what the Dawgs needed to set the tone in a series that has come to represent fear and sad defeat to the Bulldog Nation.

It was not the most polite or "classy" action, for sure, but it was necessary. Just as the prisoner needs to establish his willingness for ruthlessness, the Dawgs had to show that they were ready to fight. This willingness has at times seemed absent in Jacksonville. The Dawgs either got rolled by Shiny Pants or got all the bad breaks against Zook or Meyer. The defeats were either noncompetitive or excruciating and heartbreaking. The celebration announced that the Dawgs were here to fight, openly and unabashedly. But frankly, I think the celebration was more about Georgia, not Florida.

Our prisoner doesn't just fight to scare other inmates, he fights to show himself he can, girding himself for the long sentence ahead. It was meant to get the Gators off their game, but more to get into Georgia's head. It was calling the Gators out for a fight and inspire some confidence. Confidence that the Dawgs have left back home on most trips to Jacksonville. It's hard to play shy after that kind of spectacle.

Other than a single terrible throw by Stafford, the team played its best ball of the year Saturday. The Dawgs played like it meant something. And it meant more than they will know. Finally, the Gators have to refer to series history, class, jean shorts, or anything else we had to resort to when the scoreboard cruelly trumped all arguments.

As for class, I can certainly understand some of the criticism. We aren't accustomed to Mark Richt letting his team loose. The celebration was brash, ballsy, and on some level, crass. These aren't words commonly used to describe Richt. But, when you've been dominated in a series by being flat, tight, and error prone, why not do something dramatic to loosen your players up? It's out of character, but it was a change that Richt felt he needed to avoid another inevitable loss.

And I really don't want to hear about class from a team who runs reverse passes when they are up by 24 in the fourth quarter. Go hit Stafford while he's kneeling.



C. Paul said...

Great post.

I've got no problem with fans of Florida (or other teams) taking exception to the celebration. I kind of feel like I would if I was on the other side.

But as you correctly state, that dance party was all about us and our needs.

And as I've said numerous times since Saturday night, there's nothing wrong with other teams, coaches, media banging on your coach after they win. Go Dawgs!!!

Anonymous said...

I think the prisoner analogy is a great way to describe the celebration. And it sure as hell worked. I wouldn't care less if they did it every game as long as we could back it up with the same type of performance.

Andrew said...

I concur with C. Paul and the probable issues I would have had, were I on the receiving end, with such a celebration.

That said, I think the class/no-class debate aside, the celebration was an obvious penalty, one for which Georgia served its time on the ensuing kickoff(s). Of course, there's an added level of severity in that it was an intentional penalty--which can be likened to a coach telling a player to go out there and take someone's knees out, etc.--but like C. Paul and Quinton both stated, it wasn't aimed at being a physically-injuring intentional penalty, but a reputationally-injuring one. And to that extent, I think it worked brilliantly (and should be taken slightly less seriously in degree than an intentional head-hunting penalty).

That is, it has worked to this point. I think the target on our back will grow if we can't keep backing this celebration up on the field--especially when we're in Jacksonville in coming years. But hopefully that won't be an issue anytime soon.

Glory, Glory to ol' Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Check it out. Some dude has made some hilarious bumper stickers and posted 'em on ebay. Honk if you sacked Tebow! Just hilarious!!! Being able to taunt the gators while I drive around the ATL... Priceless.


Unknown said...

Quinton - great article.

FWIW -- Ray Goff is the co-host of the Bulldog Brunch on WSB 750 am with Hondo Williamson. From listening to the show, Ray clearly didn't like the decision to celebrate on the play; although, he was diplomatic in discussing it and not "second guessing" Richt. Personally, I don't think Goff is a credible expert to discuss Strategic Coaching Models of Success for Beating the Gators. However, his comments interested me.

He pointed out how easily the situation could've resulted in a fight, and there was a certain old school "not the way we used to do it" aspect to his comments. That said, he definitely bristled at the column by Terrence Moore of the AJC ripping Richt for the penalties. Goff basically said (heavy paraphrase), "Mark Richt's approach to football, his relationship with the kids, his professionalism, character and his priorities in life create a situation where regardless of what you think of the call, you can't question his motives. He wants to win, and he wants to win a way that UGA people can be proud of."

Hell, I agree with that 1,000 percent.

Hunker Down said...

Innovative and unprecedented. Georgia will own it for all time. Only Gators and possibly Gnats did not enjoy the hell out of that celebration.

It worked and it's repercussions may be felt for several seasons to come - in a good way. The look on Tebow's face said it all.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I see it like this -- suppose 4 weeks from now we have run the table and found our way into an SECCG. We look back for that defining moment that catapulted our team from fair to good, and I don't think we find it in the late 4th quarter Vandy fumble or the game-winning Coutu FG. Instead, I think we point to the celebration in the first quarter of the UF game. We may look back on this call as the thing that turned the season around this year. It may be to us what the Michael Johnson catch against Auburn was in 2002. After that point, our guys believed and there was no stopping us. Here's hoping this leads to something better than a Chick-Fil-A Bowl. I'm dreaming big -- is BCS really out of the question?

Crane said...

As Only Nixon could go to China, Only Richt could call a team "You Got Served" Moment.

Though from reading today I understand Richt ordered a Excessive Celebration, he did not tell the guys specifically where to go and what to do.

A small but I think plausible deniability situation.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't care less what goon sportswriters or hypocritical Gators have to say. First, the writers. Most haven't had a problem with the celebration. Two of those that did (and were linked in this post) are certifiable idiots. I have explanations for both of their "opinions."

1) Bleacher Report Gator guy.(Sorry, I didn't get his name. I usually try not to devote precious brain space to memorizing names of halfwits.) This guy called it the most classless move in college football history. WOW. Opinions this void in logic are what happen when you let any Joe Blow that lives under the overpass sound off. The website even has an ad at the bottom that says,"At Bleacher Report, anyone who follows sports can be a sportswriter." You know Bleacher Report, maybe, just maybe, we have enough idiots spouting uninformed op-ed in the media without you empowering the rest of Vista Villas trailer park to do so as well. Of course, if you take 100,000 people and ask them their opinion of the celebration, you can find one buffoon who thinks it akin to sacrificing someone's first born. I rest my case.

2) Terence Moore. As far as Terence goes, I just figure he ran out of race-based sports stories and had to fill his weekly spot with SOMETHING...horseshit or otherwise.

3) And what about all the Gator faithful screaming for class? I don't care what they think, because the chickens have finally come home to roost. They have consistently been one of the most classless programs in any sport, and they are pissed that someone finally shoved their nose in it. It's ok for them to run up scores, call players "stupid MFers" (as Urbie did in this game), and Lord knows what else, but let someone else celebrate and it's time for the NCAA to break out the death penalty. You know what? I love that they hate it. Every time I hear a Gator complain about it, it brings a smile to my face. Eat it Florida. Eat it and like it.

Anonymous said...

Can we have some positive LOLcat pics now that we have won? Nothing like happy catz, messed-up syntax and a Dawgs victory.

JasonC said...

Goff and Meyer make a good point that it could have easily escalated into a fight (or fights). However, I think that is where we see the influence of the normal CMR come into play. They played with passion, but they never lost their cool. And as much as I hate to give Gary Danielson credit, he said after the first few drives when both teams tallied 15-yarders, the key would be which team could keep the excitement and passion yet play under enough control not to make mistakes. Georgia did that for the most part and got the win.

Smitty said...

Oh who cares what Ray F-ing Goff thinks. I think we've seen enough of what he can do to a program. Makes me sick to listen to his opinions on anything on the radio. He was the best thing to ever happen to Florida.

Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter at this point. We won 42-30. We did what we did and took our penalty for it. As long as Richt is in control of what goes on as far as celebration and what not I'm all for it. I'm not interested in our team winning any popularity contests with the media (oh, by the way, Ohio State rah rah rah, if we're in the SEC we're four and four).

Holla said...

re: #3,

I think it's ridiculous to even begin to compare that celebration with deliberately trying to hurt another player. Excessive celebration does not break any rules of how the game is played. It happens after the play is over. It's not part of football proper, but is rather an etiquette issue.

Georgia was telling Florida and themselves (and I agree with pwd that it was more themselves), "Hey, we are not the same Georgia. None of us were on those teams that got killed by Spurrier, etc. We are not swayed by history. We don't care. We are here to play and we are not afraid. We're not waiting for the other shoe to drop. We're not cautious and hopeful that somehow you find a way to give the game to us (which you won't). We are here to take it from you, and we're going to do it because we can."

You put 'em out there like that, and then you HAVE to back it up.

It was an unusual thing to do, and I'll bet the NCAA will crack down on it somehow (though I'm not sure what more they can do). And we'll always be the team that got away with doing it.

But none of it amounts to anything close to telling someone to 'sweep the leg' or anything like that.

Just my opinion, and really I don't mean to argue with fellow Dawgs about this. We won!

Scott said...

Terrance Moore is an idiot and should go cover high school basketweaving or the North Avenue Trade School. I liked the celebration and loved the outcome!

And Newt... thanks for the link. I bought one!!

Anonymous said...

The best part of the entire episode was watching Meyer go from a period of confusion to disbelief to a pathetic attempt to emilute the dawgs enthusiasm to rally his own team. It looked contrived and desperate.

INdawg said...

I have to admit, when the team poured on to the field I thought it was a big mistake. It would energize the swamp lizards. Sure enough, the Gators responded by scoring on 3 plays. But the true test of the Dawgs came in their response to that touchdown. The Dawgs smashed'em in the mouth by scoring a touchdown in only 2 plays. It was then that I knew the game was REALLY on! What a wild and fun ride....

Bottom line, I could care less what the Gators or the media who continue to fawn over Meyer and Tebow think. It was a glorious win.

I have secured the DVD recording in my firesafe box. During the slow, boring months after the G-Day spring game and before summer camp, I will carefully remove "Precious" from my vault, place it into the DVD player and re-live this game while I roll on the floor amongst the press clippings from this game--chortling and snickering with delight. Is it wrong to name a DVD?

Andrew said...


I'm with you on that. I'd just heard others outside the game--nowhere in publication yet--mention that, despite its many differences, it was, very generally speaking, an intentional penalty, and hence could be grouped into that same category as taking out knees, etc. You brought up another credible reason why I think that's nonsense.

NCT said...

Intentional penalties: Are we going to start crying about the classlessness of an intentional delay-of-game? What about desperation pass interference calls? This was not a chop block or helmet-to-helmet or roughing the kicker or late hit (well, not in the technical sense, anyway).

If we didn't know Richt, we might be concerned. But we do. So we're not.

Unknown said...

"This guy called it the most classless move in college football history. WOW."

Wow indeed. That shot on Stafford when he was obviously down was more classless than an excessive celebration penalty. I'd also have to say the couple of times a 3rd defender would jump in on a Tebow sack and make it a point to hit the shoulder was a bit more classless.

And the most classless move is college football history? Off the top of my head I'd have to give that to Oklahoma's President for seriously asking the Big 12 commissioner to petition the NCAA to redact the Oregon game over one bad call.

I look forward to next year in Jacksonville. I wonder if Florida will start to notice a pattern when Tebow just happens to be banged up again at that point in the season.

Anonymous said...

I wish it had never been said that CMR asked for the celebration. Like many, I've said on more than one occasion that this team lacked the emotion needed to be great (Moreno excluded). When the screen filled up with players in white, I thought it was just about the greatest thing I had ever seen - pure unbridled enthusiasm and attitude, a loud F you to the team that seems to always come out on top; I only wish it had been their own idea. And while in the back of my mind I couldn't help but think how badly it would play out should we lose the game, from that point forward there was no doubt in my mind that the guys were there to win, and we wouldn't be complaining after the fact about them not showing up.

Urban Meyer calling anyone classless is the biggest joke I've heard in a long time. Watching the coaches on the sideline throughout this game showed me who really lacks class. Guys want to play for teams that win, granted, but given the choice at two elite programs, I'd much rather play for a good man who laughed at a kickoff from the 7 than one who called me a stupid MF all day long. One thing was immediately clear - Meyer was so taken aback by the display that he looked lost all day long. Someone above said he looked desperate - that's spot-on. CMR? Cool as always...

The whole 'act like you've been there' thing? You all do realize we haven't been there in a long time, right? Anyway, I can't complain for weeks on end about no emotion, then criticize the same guys when they do show emotion. Not to mention they manned up and won the game, overcoming two pretty serious lapses in judgment (9 and 7, I'm looking at you). Here's hoping this season takes a turn like the end of last season - who will call CMR anything but genius then?

Unknown said...

Our best shot at a BCS bid is for us to win out and for UT to win out. That would lock us into a BCS at-large likely in either the Sugar or Orange (although Rose or Fiesta would technically be possible).

If we win out and UT loses another game, then we have to beat LSU (or Bama technically) to win the SEC and get an automatic bid.


Anonymous said...

Thank You!

--Vols Fan

Unknown said...

I have to respectfully disagree with you, Paul. Our best shot to get a BCS bowl is to win the SEC. Then we're guaranteed a spot. LSU is human. They can be beaten. Besides, if Tennesse does win out and manages to beat LSU, we're kind of screwed. I remember a year when LSU pulled a massive upset over Tennessee. The reverse could just as easily happen. Don't be afraid of the opponents. This is the SEC. Any SEC team can win on any given week.

Anonymous said...


Best case scenario would obviously be us winning out, going to the SECCG and winning the SEC title, but I'm not so sure what the 2nd best option would be. Citrus Bowl with an SECE championship or Sugar/Orange w/o one. That's tough.

King of Tigerland said...

Great W!

Kno Sho is a man, Stafford outplayed Tebow and Richt outcoached UF...the celebration after the first TD was what college football is all about in a huge rivalry game. Great W.

King of Tigerland said...

The game wasn't nearly as close as the 12 point end spread indicated....more like a 21 point blow out in reality...Urban Meyer is the coach who does the least with his talent and feels he does not have to adapt.

Great running game, Urban!

Only Bama fans (couldn't help it)who don't have much of it anyway pull the class card, it is the most pathetic word/arguement in college has been made irrelevant the way that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made "respect" into a joke.

Evan said...

Mr. Moore does not see the discernable difference between using psychology to a teams advantage and random buffoonery.

The effects of the excessive celebration being ordered are multi-fold.

1. First, and foremost, it immediately sets the Dawgs up as the alpha males. It makes a home field out of a neutral site. It may not be Sanford, but it set the precedent that on that night, it was OUR house. If they wanted it, they would have to go through a meat grinder in order to take it back.

2. Two, it gets inside Florida's head. There are many ways to get into an opponents head. Nobody says anything when time outs are called to freeze kickers. But it's the same thing. Unnerving the opponent and throwing them off of their game. Rhythm, habit, ritual are all parts of sports. Disrupting that rhythm, habit and/or ritual can be devastating for a player (remember turk wendell?), and since football is a sport where break down of a player leads to break down of part of the offense or defense, the total collapse of a team can often be attributed to one player having an off day. there are way more classless ways to get inside an opponents head. Look at Dennis Rodman, or the Steve Smith vs. DeAngelo Hall incidents for examples.

3. What's better to insult an opponent? Or to encourage, congratulate and hype up yourself and your friends? The spirit of the GA-FL celebration was far less vendictive than that which was thrown against Vandy. You turn the teams psychology from individuals playing at whatever level the aspire to simply because they think they're better than other folks to a coheesive unbreakable unit, team work and enthusiasm will get more done than sheer talent. Need sporting examples? Look at the 06 Boise state team. Now look at Michael Vick. One is possibly the most talented football player in the history of mankind, with an ego so huge he compares himself to superman; and he is a failure. Now look at Boise state 06, no one exceedingly talented but team work and enthusiasm and pressing every advantage they can. Another terrific example of what teamwork can acheive can be found in the movie 300.

4. Do you have any clue what this will do to recruiting? Every Blue chip in the nation saw that on the news. How could ANYONE say no to UGA after seeing that?

5. Or for that matter Richt's reputation. Richt has learned something this season, that stoicism and "class" can lead to playing without passion. You can play with your head and legs all day long, but if your opponent has the same head, strength and speed as you but also has heart, drive and emotion to bring to the table; who is more likely to win?

Anonymous said...

Who did Meyer call a MF and when did that happen during the game?

Anonymous said...

Fact: there wasn't a resulting fight from the celebration.

Fact: the Dawgs DID win and it did NOT come back to bite them in teh ass.

Fact: the move was about UGA and not UF. Richt did this for his team. Just like taking them to jump off the high dive during the heat of summer practice, this was a team-building move. And it worked.

Fact: recruits will eat this up. Richt was the coach that came up with this and caused Meyer to react to something. How many times have we sat back and had the tempo dictated to us?

The haters keep saying "What if, what if, what if?" Well, FU. It happened. It worked. It as awesome. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

speaking of recruits...does anyone know which recruits for UGA were at this game?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post.

The celebration might be questionable but that hit on Stafford could have been a career ender. Anybody, (Lou Holtz) who wants to justify that hit as retaliation is nuts. It was a dead play. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Florida and Terrence Moore had a problem with the celebration?

Gee, was Osama bothered by it, too?

We couldn't care less, gaytors.

By the way...did anybody else notice that after our celebration penalty, Florida got a late-hit penalty on the kick-off.

Know who they hit late?

Our kicker.

Nice job.

You stay classy, Gainesville.

Anonymous said...

Florida fans are calling us classless?

That's like a Denny's waitress complaining about the food at Outback.

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