Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia Must Get to Grossman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia Must Get to Grossman

Article excerpt

At the moment, he's the Eliot Ness of college quarterbacks. Rex Grossman is The Untouchable.

If you're wondering how the University of Florida redshirt freshman could take a starting job from senior Jesse Palmer and put up Danny Wuerffel-like numbers in the process, look no further than his bodyguards. So far, Grossman has been protected by his offensive line -- Mike Pearson, Thomas Moody, David Jorgensen, Leon Hires and Kenyatta Walker -- almost as well as the Secret Service shielding the president.

Since Grossman basically won the position with a solid relief appearance at Mississippi State, he has completed 45 of 67 passes, with 10 of those air balls going for touchdowns and none being intercepted. During that time, opposing defenses have sacked Grossman all of two times and rarely gotten more than token pressure when he drops back to throw.

That is Georgia's biggest challenge, and maybe its only chance to win, against the Gators tomorrow at Alltel Stadium. The Bulldogs can't give Grossman another free pass like LSU and Auburn or the dominance Florida had in this series throughout the 1990s will continue unabated into the new decade.

Reality for Georgia is it's unlikely a still-healing Quincy Carter will have a career passing day. And its running attack has no Herschel Walker or Robert Edwards to lead the stampede. So rather than expect its offense to win a shootout with the Gators, the 'Dawgs have a better shot at an upset by bringing Grossman down a notch or two.

And that means turning UF's rising star into a quarterback fearing for his safety. In other words, exactly what Georgia's defense did in 1966 to Florida head coach Steve Spurrier when the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and the unbeaten Gators came to Jacksonville. Georgia got so much pressure from linemen Jerry Varnado, George Patton, Dickie Phillips, Bill Stanfill and Ed Chandler that day that Spurrier was thrown off stride.

The 'Dawgs harassed Spurrier into three interceptions. …

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