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Florida Gators still feeling the sting of Georgia Bulldogs celebration

Gators coach Urban Meyer calls Georgia’s storming of the field in 2007 “a bad deal” and says the incident will forever be in his mind.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Gators coach Urban Meyer calls Georgia’s storming of the field in 2007 “a bad deal” and says the incident will forever be in his mind.

HOOVER, Ala. — Is it over, or just simmering under the surface until Nov. 1?

Florida coach Urban Meyer may still be upset over Georgia storming the field in a wild end zone celebration during its 42-30 victory in October 2007.

In a book scheduled for release in September, Meyer is quoted as saying: "That wasn't right. It was a bad deal. It will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. We'll handle it. And it's going to be a big deal."

During Thursday's SEC Media Days, Georgia coach Mark Richt reiterated what he said at the time: He regrets the incident. "In hindsight, I shouldn't have done it," he said. "I won't do anything like that again. It could have easily turned into a big stupid brawl and everything else."

Georgia players backed Richt.

"It was just a one-time thing; it wasn't planned," defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. "Guys saw other guys running out, so everybody else ran out. I saw everybody else do it, so I did it. I didn't want to be the last one when the cameras looked on the bench and I was the only one sitting there."

As for the Nov. 1 game in Jacksonville, the Bulldogs expect the Gators to have something up their sleeves.

Their attitude? Bring it.

"We know they are going to be gunning for us after the celebration last year," Owens said.

(For Richt's full transcript, go to blogs.tampabay.com/gators.)

CHANGING TIDE: Alabama will open against ACC-favorite Clemson, a game that is generating preseason buzz. But coach Nick Saban and the Tide players are taking a different approach from most teams this time of year: Keep the expectations low.

"Coach Saban says don't worry about SEC and national championships; if you have a team full of champions, championships will come," senior offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell said. "If you have a team that plays collectively, championships will come. And for the first time since I've been here, I feel we have a legitimate chance to win the (SEC) West."

DRAMA CONTINUES: Brandon Blankenship, an attorney for former Alabama booster Wendell Smith, claims Phil Fulmer has been served with a subpoena to testify about a lawsuit against the NCAA, something the Tennessee coach tried to avoid four years ago when he did not attend this event and spoke only by phone, incurring a $10,000 fine from the league. "I have not seen a subpoena," Fulmer initially said, then later acknowledged receiving "a piece of paper," but said he didn't realize what it was.

Florida Gators still feeling the sting of Georgia Bulldogs celebration 07/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2008 3:32pm]
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