Gibson, after all, actually knows something about beating the Gators.
Gibson and other members of Georgia’s senior class are 0-3 on the football field against Florida, which has won six straight games and 13 of the last 14 games in the rivalry. Richt also is 0-3 against Florida as Georgia’s coach.
Gibson, however, says one of the highlights of his four years in Athens was his prominent role in a basketball win over No. 2 Florida in 2002. Gibson scored six points in the final minute of the game. He gave up basketball after his sophomore season but said he still pulls out the highlight tape of that 2002 game.
Gibson laughed Tuesday when recalling standing at the foul line and doing the Gator chomp with his arms to mock Florida’s fans.
“That’s why they hate me so much,” Gibson said. “I got in a lot of trouble. I love that game. We won and I shot the free throws that sealed it. That’s one of my favorite memories.”
Gibson has 32 catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns this year, including six catches for 169 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 20-14 win at Arkansas.
Gibson, who made a brief verbal commitment to former Florida coach Steve Spurrier before signing with Georgia four years ago, says he wants to add a Florida football memory to his list of favorites.
“Georgia has to get past those Gators,” Gibson said. “We’re going to make a big difference this year.
“It would feel great to beat the Gators in Jacksonville,” he said. “You just watch the game Saturday and you’ll see.”
Florida announced Monday that coach Ron Zook has been fired, effective with the end of the regular season.
“I know they’re having a lot of problems down there now,” Gibson said. “It’s got to be devastating for those players to be in that situation right now, but we have to focus on what we have to do to beat the Gators.”
Even though No. 10 Georgia (6-1 overall, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) is favored to beat Florida (4-3, 2-3), Richt said Georgia should be the underdog until it ends the Gators’ hold on the rivalry.
Richt sounds ready to try anything to end Georgia’s luck against Florida.
Richt has moved the team’s headquarters from Jacksonville, where Saturday’s game will be played, about one hour south to St. Augustine, Fla.
Richt also suggested Tuesday that Jacksonville, which has hosted all but two games in the rivalry since 1933, may not be a fair neutral site. Richt said he would support having the game played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta every other year.
“I’d love to continue the game in Jacksonville to maintain the traditional value of the game, but it would be nice to have a game in Georgia as well,” Richt said. “It’s a neutral game but it’s in their state. It would be nice to have one in our state.”
The game is under contract to remain in Jacksonville through 2006, and Georgia athletic director Damon Evans has said he is open to hearing what Georgia fans have to say about the future of the series.
Georgia’s last win against Florida was in 1997.
Georgia’s senior class has a 38-9 record since 2001. The class won the 2002 SEC championship and returned to the SEC championship game in 2003. The seniors have at least one win over every conference opponent they have faced — except the Florida Gators.
“It doesn’t feel good,” Richt said. “It’s a big monkey on our back and we want to knock it off. We’re working hard toward that.