SPORTS | Jaguars, Gators and Bulldogs back to work after an off weekend


It was one of those rare football weekends in Jacksonville when neither the Gators, Bulldogs nor Jaguars played. Of course, Georgia and Florida are preparing to come to Jacksonville for the Cocktail Party later this week. And the Jaguars beat the New Orleans Saints 31-24 on Thursday night.

So, let’s size up where the Jaguars stand seven games into the season and preview Georgia-Florida.

First, the Jaguars, who have won four straight and gone from “needing some time away” before the trip to London to taking charge of the AFC South and vaulting back into serious playoff contention in the conference. 

To this point of the season, the Jaguars have failed to produce a complete game. Perhaps that is the best news so far. If the Jaguars play their best, they can beat any team in the league. Last season, the Jaguars made huge strides in the second half of the season as they became more comfortable in new offensive and defensive schemes. 

It is not reasonable to expect the same kind of improvement this year, but perhaps the return of some key players from injury can elevate the Jaguars’ play. 

Wide receiver Zay Jones, offensive lineman Walker Little, cornerback Tyson Campbell, and defensive lineman DaVon Hamilton could all return to the lineup against Pittsburgh on Sunday, or after the bye week. I’m any case, some help is on the way for the Jaguars.  

As for the annual Georgia-Florida game, it serves as a “prove it” game for the Gators and a necessary next step in the Bulldogs’ season. 

After beating South Carolina, Florida has a renewed sense of optimism about the season. The ultra process-oriented Florida head coach Billy Napier isn’t letting his team get too full of themselves. 

“We’re going to try and find out what we’re made of here in the back half (of the season),” Napier said. “It’s important that we keep humility.”

While Florida tries to stay humble, Georgia prepares for life without All-American tight end Brick Bowers, who had ankle surgery last week. 

Bowers is one of the most dangerous pass catchers in the country. 

Saturday’s game will also be a milestone for Georgia quarterback Carson Beck. The former Mandarin High School star will start his first Georgia-Florida game in his hometown.

Lead photo: Credit: AP Photo, John Raoux

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