For the players, the Florida-Georgia game begins on Jacksonville's Hart Bridge
It's an age-old tradition that current and former players speak of often, in awe and with fond memories.
The bus ride to the stadium over Jacksonville's Hart Bridge is one of the highlights of the Florida-Georgia rivalry, coaches and players say. It is, they say, when you realize the magnitude of the storied rivalry.
“You get charged when you come over that bridge and you see all the RVs and the passion and the tradition of the game,'' said Florida coach Will Muschamp who played college football at Georgia. "Growing up in the south, you understand the impact of that game. There’s no question that when you come over that bridge it charges you up. I get goosebumps talking about it.”
When junior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., first heard older teammates talking about the ride over the bridge, he thought they were hyping it just a little too much. Until he experienced it firsthand.
"They broke it down but until you experience it yourself, you can't really know what to expect,'' Hammond, Jr said. "You hear about it and then when it finally happens, you're like this is exactly, probably a little bit more, than what they were saying. You just take it all in. It's a rivalry game and you wouldn't expect nothing less.''
Gator OL Jon Halapio, a St. Pete Catholic grad, said when the bus hits the bridge, the reality sets in
"That's when it hits you that it's the Florida-Georgia game, right when you cross over that bridge and all you see is red and black and orange and blue, RV's everywhere, Georgia flags, Florida flags everywhere,'' he said. "That's when it really hits you that it's the Florida-Georgia game. I didn't realize the stories they (older teammates) were telling me until I went to an actual Florida-Georgia game my first year. It's probably one of the best games to play in all year. We've been waiting all year for this game. It's going to be a good experience this year.''