Pregame observations: Georgia at Missouri

Faurot Field in Columbia, a few hours before kickoff.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Pregame notes and observations from Faurot Field, as No. 16 Georgia opens SEC play at Missouri. Check here for continuous updates.

7:25 p.m.: Final thoughts

We’re a few minutes from kickoff, and the stadium isn’t full, though a number of fans are still streaming in. As I was saying to a colleague, this still doesn’t quite feel like an SEC school, even though it’s been in the SEC championship game twice in the previous three years. Maybe it’ll have to beat Georgia here for that to happen.

Will that happen tonight? My pick all along has been Georgia, and there was nothing to change that yet. But it’s still very, very early in the season, and not enough information on either team to feel very confident about that pick.

Oh, and it looks like Ole Miss will go down at home to Alabama, meaning the Rebels will be 1-2 next week when the Bulldogs roll into town. So Hugh Freeze’s team will either be very, very desperate, or demoralized. Or both.

As for the Bulldogs, we’re about to find out.

7:10 p.m.: Jacob Eason set for second start

There’s still no official announcement, but based on warm-ups it would be a shock if the freshman wasn’t under center for the first play. (Barring the Wildcat formation, of course.)

Eason took snaps with the ones, including Nick Chubb, and was first in order during drills. It would be a rather startling change-up to start Greyson Lambert after all that.

This would be the second straight start for Eason, who went every series until midway through the fourth quarter last week. So far there’s no indication on whether he’ll share time again with Lambert, but the guess here is Eason is set for most of the reps, with Lambert the fall-back. It’ll be interesting to see if the game remains close and Eason stays in for the four-minute offense and other situations.

One non-quarterback note: Lamont Gaillard seems set for his third straight start at right guard, based on warm-ups. The starting offensive line remains the same as the first two weeks.

6:45 p.m.: Another sign Eason is starting QB

Eason is taking snaps from starting center Brandon Kublanow in warm-ups. Greyson Lambert is taking snaps from Billy Seward, who’s been the second-team center during practice. (Brice Ramsey was taking snaps from Lamont Gaillard, the right guard who is being groomed as next year’s center.)

UPDATE: And Eason is going first in throwing drills now.

6:40 p.m.: Jacob Eason takes the field …

As the holder. He’s had that role all season, and for what it’s worth he will again.

6:15 p.m.: Still no quarterback starter named

Presumably the coaches know. But there’s been no official announcement yet. When a team communications person entered the press box he asked me who was starting. He did not seem to be playing coy.

“Guess we’ll find out together,” he said.

6:05 p.m.: Notable players not on trip

The travel roster is limited to 70 players. Here are some additional notes:

  • WR Shakenneth Williams and Shaquery Wilson are not here. (On the other hand, freshman receiver Tyler Simmons is here.)
  • Besides Ben Cleveland and Chris Barnes, offensive linemen Pat Allen, Sage Hardin, Sam Madden are also not here.
  • DB Shattle Fenteng is not here, despite playing on special teams the first two weeks. But freshman Mecole Hardman is here, an indiciation he’ll at least see his first action of the season on special teams.
  • Chauncey Manac, a true freshman who has yet to play this season, is not here. Neither are fellow OLBs Shaun McGee and Keyon Brown. 
  • Freshman ILB Jaleel Laguins, who did play in the opener, so he’s not a redshirt candidate, barring an injury.
  • DL Jonathan Ledbetter, who Kirby Smart confirmed earlier in the week would not play, is indeed not on the trip.
  • Another defensive lineman not here: Michael Barnett, a sophomore who has not played yet.
  • The only quarterbacks on the trip are the three scholarship guys. No Parker McLeod or Sam Vaughn tonight.
  • Likewise, the only kicking specialists here are William Ham, Rodrigo Blankenship and Marshall Long, along with Brice Ramsey. No Mitchell Wasson or any other kickers or punters tonight.

5:52 p.m.: A specialist note

Junior long snapper Trent Frix is here, after missing last week’s game with some sort of leg injury.

5:50 p.m.: Tailback notes

Junior tailback Sony Michel is here, as expected, along with Nick Chubb, Brian Herrien, Elijah Holyfield and Brendan Douglas. Redshirt freshman Tae Crowder did not make the trip.

5:45 p.m.: Early Travel roster notes

Freshman receiver Riley Ridley did not make the trip, as expected. Ridley was in an arm cast during Wednesday’s practice.

Freshman offensive lineman Ben Cleveland and Chris Barnes didn’t make the trip either. That’s a good sign of redshirts to come. The other freshman O-lineman, Solomon Kindley, is here.

5:30 p.m.: Scoreboard watching

Georgia’s not here yet, so we’re still watching other games, including Ole Miss-Alabama. Brent Musberger and the rest of the SEC Network crew was in here observing the first half.

The obvious question is the impact on Ole Miss for next week. If it wins, does it take renewed confidence into the match-up with Georgia, and is that good or bad? If it loses (especially after blowing a 24-3 lead) does it demoralize the Rebels, thus helping the Bulldogs, or does it make the 1-2 Rebels a much more desperate team? Who knows.

There’s other important news for a looming Georgia opponent: Tennessee has lost star cornerback Cam Sutton for what head coach Butch Jones called a significant period of time. In other words, he won’t be playing in two weeks when the Volunteers visit Sanford Stadium.

Meanwhile, more scoreboard watching:

  • Nicholls State leads Incarnate Word 14-6 at halftime.
  • North Carolina leads James Madison 35-21 at halftime.
  • Illinois is getting blown out by Western Michigan, 24-7. Why is that interesting? Because North Carolina won big at Illinois last week, but now that win doesn’t look as good, does it?
  • South Carolina is beating East Carolina, 17-6: Good for SEC East.
  • Kentucky is tied with New Mexico State, 28-28: Bad for SEC East, but maybe just bad for the Wildcats and Mark Stoops.

4:55 p.m.: Hope for the O-line

There’s a lot of concern out there right now about Georgia’s offensive line. Well, I received an interesting e-mail on Saturday afternoon, and thought I’d pass it along.

You can read it here. 

4:25 p.m.: Nicholls State update!

Here’s an early score that should give Georgia fans some encouragement:

Midway through the first quarter, Nicholls State 14, Incarnate Word 0.

We’ll keep you updated.

4:00 p.m. (ET): Welcome to Missouri

Important note: We’re going with eastern time, because … well because we decided we were going with eastern time.

Weather note: After a rainy Friday night and a cloudy morning, it’s blue skies and balmy temperatures in Columbia this afternoon. The turf should be unaffected by last night’s precipitation, and it’ll be a nice night for a ballgame.

Quarterback note: No, we still don’t know officially who Georgia’s starter will be. The pregame flip card says Greyson Lambert or Jacob Eason. It seems Eason got most of the first-team snaps this week in practice, so he’s the favorite to get the nod.

Personnel note: This is the first game in which Georgia is limited in its roster – a 70-man travel squad for SEC games – so when the team arrives in a bit over an hour we’ll have some more interesting notes.

Crowd note: It was a pretty good tailgating scene on the way in. Not that many Georgia fans yet, but a few were on our plane yesterday and I know more were coming in this morning.


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