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(Perry McIntyre Jr./UGA)
Missouri QB Drew Lock (3) is likely the best quarterback Georgia will face this season.

Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: Missouri Tigers

Cy Brown

Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: Missouri Tigers

We took a break for a few days but today we’re diving back into our 2018 opponent previews with a quick look at the Missouri Tigers.

The 2017 season was by no means an outstanding one for Mizzou, but it could have been much, much worse. After going 4-8 in Barry Odom’s inaugural season, the Tigers finished a respectable 7-6 last year after a dismal start that featured five losses in the first six games. But after their 53-28 loss to Georgia in mid-October, they rattled off a six-game winning streak to cap off the regular season followed by a loss to Texas in the Texas Bowl.

This season will be about making sure the Tigers making sure they play like they did in the second half of last season much more often than they did in the first. The good news is that although the SEC East should be slightly improved, it’s still an incredibly weak division. It’s Georgia at the top, then everyone else. And with Drew Lock, one of the top quarterbacks in college football, under center, they have the firepower to make some noise and surprise some folks.

Offense

There’s a new offensive coordinator in Columbia: Derek Dooley. Maybe you’ve heard of him. The former Tennessee head coach and son of Georgia legend Vince Dooley stepped into an ideal position at Mizzou. Dooley inherits the top offense in the SEC from last season, and he’ll be charged with marrying a pro-style that will help Lock prepare for the NFL with the run-and-gun offense that the Tigers found success with during the second half of last season. They lost J’Mon Moore at receiver, but between Emmanuel Hall, Johnathon Johnson and Albert Okwuegbunam they should be able to more than make up for that loss in production. The running back tandem of Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III will be one of the best in the SEC. Missouri has all the players to be one of the best offenses in the SEC again, it’ll just come down to Dooley’s play-calling. He’s never worked as an offensive coordinator before, but a QB as good as Lock, considered a Heisman contender by many, can hide a lot of coaching deficiencies.

Defense

This Missouri defense will be strong through the center, but still has work to do on the edges. The Tigers have become known for producing a prodigious amount of talent along the defensive line, with seven defensive linemen drafted in the last six years. DT Terry Beckner Jr. should make it eight in seven years next spring. Along with Walter Palmore, Mizzou will have one of the best DT tandems in the SEC. They also have a trio of talented linebackers in Cale Garrett, Terez Hall and Brandon Lee. In the secondary, DeMarkus Acy and Adam Sparks are coming off strong seasons, especially the second half of last year. As of now, there’s no obvious star at defensive end, but with the players the Tigers return at tackle, whoever slots in at DE should have plenty of opportunities to make big plays.

What to expect Sept. 22

The trip to Columbia could be tough on the Dawgs. It’s easy to forget, but there were a lot of white knuckles during the first half of the game between the Tiger and the Dawgs last year in Athens when Lock tossed three touchdown passes including two 63-yarders. Georgia’s talent won out in the end, and I expect that to happen again this season. But that doesn’t mean that the Tigers can’t cause a lot of heartburn beforehand. Missouri has a good chance to go 3-0 to start the season. If that happens, Georgia will be met by a rowdy crowd in Columbia that will hope the Tigers can pull off the upset of the season.

FPI Projection: Georgia has a 78.3 chance to win

Opponent Previews: Austin Peay | South Carolina | Middle Tennessee

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Georgia to hold “Fan Day” on Aug. 4

If you’re looking for a way to check out the Georgia football team before the 2018 season rolls around, the third-annual “Fan Day” event is your best bet.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, the Bulldog football team will hold an open practice at Sanford Stadium from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. That isn’t all. Following practice, Kirby Smart and players will be available to sign autographs on the field. And if you want to get there a bit earlier and make a day of it, you can take a photo with Uga X beginning at 3 p.m.

Check here for all the info you need on “Fan Day.” And check out the full schedule below so you can set itinerary accordingly.

Fan Day Schedule – Saturday, August 4, 2018
12 p.m.                        Ticket distribution for photos with Uga X
2:30 p.m.                     Gates Open – Gates 2, 4, 6 and 9
3 p.m.                          Uga photos in Athletic Box on North Side (Ticket holders must be in line by 3:30 p.m.)
3:30-5:30 p.m.             Open Practice
5:45 p.m.                     Player autographs on the field (45 minutes)
6:30 p.m.                     Event Concludes

Demetrius Robertson cleared for fall practice

There’s some good news on the Demetrius Robertson front, just probably not the news you were hoping for.

According to Chip Towers of DawgNation, the former 5-star WR transfer from Cal has been cleared to practice with the team when camp begins next week. However, it remains to be seen whether he will be granted immediate eligibility and be able to play this season. Here’s Towers with more info on the possibility that Robertson is granted immediate eligibility.

NCAA rules stipulate that a player transferring from one FBS institution to another must sit out a year before being eligible to play. But UGA is expected to seek immediate eligibility via NCAA Bylaw 14:5. That rule states that the year-of-residence requirement for transfers could be waived if it can be demonstrated “that the student-athlete’s transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control and directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.”

Neither UGA nor Robertson have revealed what those mitigating circumstances are in his case. Published reports citing a serious illness in Robertson’s family could not be confirmed. Robertson cited only “personal matters” for seeking a transfer.

Stay tuned to DawgNation for more on this story, folks. It ain’t going away until we have a firm answer on the status of Robertson’s eligibility.

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