HOOVER, Ala. — The Missouri state motto is “Show Me,” and former Clemson starting quarterback Kelly Bryant is ready to do just that after changing Tiger stripes via his transfer last season.
Missouri plays at Georgia on Nov. 9, and Bryant said on Monday at SEC Media Days it’s one of the games he’s looking forward to most this season.
“When I was going to high school Clemson had played Georgia, and hearing some of the guys that were still on the team my freshman year, they were like, Georgia is the loudest stadium they’d ever played in, they couldn’t really hear each other on the sideline, communication was hard,” Bryant said.
Georgia beat Clemson 45-21 in the teams’ most recent meeting, in 2014 in Sanford Stadium.
“I already knew that about Between the Hedges,” Bryant said, “and that it’s one of the toughest stadiums to play in college football, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Former Georgia coach Mark Richt also recruited Bryant, hosting the dual-threat QB on a visit with other members of the 2015 class — a year before the Bulldogs signed Jacob Eason.
Bryant, now working under the direction of Missouri offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, indicated the talent around him in Columbia isn’t too different than what surrounded him at Clemson.
Missouri was just a couple of plays away from a 10-win season last season, while Dabo Swinney’s program caught fire in the College Football Playoffs after surviving close calls with Texas A&M and Syracuse during an undefeated regular season.
“I feel like my guys match up well,” Bryant said, asked how Missouri and Clemson might match up on a neutral field.
“It would definitely be a great matchup on both sides, because you have great athletes on both sides of the ball.”
It’s not as much of a stretch as it may seem: Athlon ranks Missouri No. 23 in the preseason despite a postseason bowl ban that is currently being appealed to the NCAA.
Bryant, who completed 66 percent of his passes and led Clemson to a College Football Playoff appearance in 2017, said it was tough transfer last season.
“Of course it was tough, because actually the next day was my birthday, so it’s a birthday I’ll always remember,” Bryant said. “In the moment it was definitely tough.
“That comes with playing at a program like Clemson, or anywhere …. so now I feel like I’m in a great spot mentally, physically and spiritually, so I already knew it was a business decision.”
And now it’s Missouri that means business.
“We look at it like a 12 month pregnancy,” Bryant said. “Whatever we’re doing right now, that’s how the baby is going to turn out.
“We have to do everything to get it right, there can’t be any days where it’s ‘I wish I would have done this, I wish I would have done that.’ So we know the urgency that we have.”