The actions by Grantham don't surprise me but that fight in the lake was beyond disturbing. The guy could have drowned and the Cop did little to stop it.
Georgia’s Mark Richt has a reputation for being a nice guy, a Goody Two-Shoes. But when it comes to letting his players walk right up to the edge of starting fights, he washes his hands like Pontius Pilate and allows it to happen. Repeatedly.
Several years ago his team stomped on the “T” logo at midfield before a game at Tennessee. He also instructed his players to draw a celebration penalty after UGA’s first score against Florida a few seasons back. Both instances could have led to fisticuffs in the testosterone-fueled, macho world of college football. And something that occurred this past weekend could have led to a (bigger) fight as well.
Saturday afternoon, a number of Georgia players gathered at Florida’s tunnel before the Gators’ entrance onto the field in Jacksonville. According to The Palm Beach Post, Florida safety Matt Elam bumped Georgia cornerback Devin Bowman. That set off a string of events described by The Post’s Jason Lieser:
“What ensued was (a) sprawling altercation between the teams that preceded Georgia’s 17-9 win. Elam appeared to be the instigator. Florida DE Dominique Easley figured prominently. So did Bulldogs TE Arthur Lynch, FB Alexander Ogletree, RB Todd Gurley, CB Sheldon Dawson and WR Malcolm Mitchell. Several others had a role, but it is difficult to keep track of them all.
Gators strength coach Jeff Dillman, who later had at least one very animated conversation with a ref, was involved as well. Dillman shoved Georgia S Corey Moore, then got in the face of a Bulldogs assistant…
Elam ran back to the mess of players once he realized a fight was happening, and one referee tried to derail his course with an ineffective shove. It slowed him down long enough for several UF assistants and coach Will Muschamp to intercept him.
All of this took place while the coin toss was happening at midfield.”
Richt said Sunday that he knew nothing of the pregame rumble. When told of Dillman’s alleged shove of Moore, Richt said: “I’d have to look at it. I’m not really worried about that right now.”
“That was one of the most intense games I’ve ever coached from start to finish… You want intensity with discipline. But I didn’t want to slow anybody’s ability to keep their blood hot…
You don’t want to have a lot of penalties that can hurt you and can cause you to have to punt and let your opponent get in field goal range and make a field goal where they maybe wouldn’t have. You don’t want that. You don’t want to help the other team at all, but you know emotions were so high and the officials, they were at the heart of it. They knew what was going on and they were trying to do whatever they could to slow it down because they knew that our guys wanted to get after each other.”
Turns out, the players weren’t the only ones whose blood was running hot. A couple of the coaches looked as if they were thisclose to flinging punches (at their own players), too:
As for Richt, he tends to win when he lets his Dawgs off the leash a bit. But it still seems rather odd for the ever-cool Mister Christian to allow his players to woof as much as they do. Richt’s apparently not the complete man of peace he’s made out to be.
As for Dillman, the SEC office might want to check out tape from the game to see if a Florida assistant did indeed shove an athlete from a rival team. That’s a dangerous road to start heading down… regardless of the situation. Or the temperature of people’s blood.
UPDATE – The dumbassery wasn’t confined to inside the stadium. At least one pair of fans got into it outside the stadium before the game with one man sent to the hospital. (Audio on the clip is Not Safe For Work.)