ATHENS — Greetings from Sanford Stadium on a beautiful afternoon for football. Once this one is over, the course of Georgia’s season will be decided:
If Georgia pulls off the (mild) upset, the drubbing at Ole Miss is forgiven, and the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. Their next two games being at South Carolina and Vanderbilt at home, it would probably set the Florida game up to be the de facto division championship. Win today, and all of Georgia’s goals are still there.
But if Georgia loses, this basically becomes a rebuilding year. It would trail Tennessee by basically three games in the division (two losses plus head-to-head), and the rest of the season would be about bowl position, and prepping for next year.
So with all that as backdrop – some observations as the teams enter the stadium and begin warming up. This story will be updated continuously.
3:15 p.m.: Offensive warm-up notes
Georgia practiced a few four-wide offensive plays. That led someone (I won’t say who) in the press box to ask “if they have four wides.” The answer is yes, but one of them was always a tailback.
Meanwhile, Nick Chubb did take snaps during warm-ups, and looked fine. It’s another thing to do that in the game, however.
It’s also notable that Elijah Holyfield – who has a more similar style to Chubb – was getting more snaps in warm-ups than Brian Herrien. But we’ll see what hapens when the game starts.
Also, Rodrigo Blankenship looked to be the main place-kicker in warm-ups.
3:08 p.m.: The starting tailback …
Will be Sony Michel, at least according to the pregame lineups announced in the stadium.
3:06 p.m.: Deandre Baker will …
Start at corrnerback, according to the pregame lineups introduced in the stadium. That’s not always foolproof, but it backs up what the media saw in practice this week. Juwuan Briscoe, who started the first four games, is in uniform but apparently will come off the bench.
3:02 p.m.: David Marshall not suited up
Details (that we have, at least) in this story.
2:56 p.m.: Nick Chubb is in uniform, but …
That probably doesn’t mean anything. This isn’t a road game so Georgia can dress more than 70. Sony Michel also went through warm-ups before the North Carolina game but didn’t play.
2:40 p.m.: Reeves-Maybin is OUT
Tennessee star ILB Jalen Reeves-Maybin will not play today because of a shoulder injury, Tennessee media is reporting. Reeves-Maybin did make the trip and was on the field warming up in shorts, but has been ruled out.
2:37 p.m.: Place-kicking update
Rodrigo Blankenship and William Ham are both trying field goals and extra points during warm-ups. Those are the only two. Brice Ramsey isn’t, and no other place-kicker is in uniform.
There’s no word yet on which one will be the place-kicker. Kevin Butler and Shane Beamer are out there and could still be making a decision.
2:35 p.m.: Ramsey suits up, but …
Brice Ramsey, who didn’t make the trip to Ole Miss because of a hand injury, is in uniform today, but apparently only to punt. He’s out on the field with the specialists right now, along with Sam Vaughn, who went to Ole Miss last week in Ramsey’s place as the No. 3 quarterback.
But in warmups right now, Vaughn is taking sanps along with Jacob Eason and Greyson Lambert. That would indicate that if something happens to the top two guys, it would be Vaughn going in.
2:15 p.m.: VIP note
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is in attendance today.
2:05 p.m.: Tennessee injury update
Tennessee’s defense, already dealing with injuries, will now be missing a starter because of suspension.
Cornerback Justin Martin, a junior who started last week against Florida, is reportedly suspended for this game. Martin had three tackles last week, and has 10 this season. He started six games last season.
Inside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin is doubtful to play because of a shoulder injury. He’s the team’s best defensive player, at least with cornerback Cam Sutton already out. And linebacker Darrin Kirkland is also expected to miss a third straight game with a high ankle sprain.
So that’s potentially four starters out for Tennessee’s defense, although Martin had replaced Sutton in the starting lineup. Tennessee could be (basically) getting another starter back: Defensive end Latroy Lewis, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the Virginia Tech game on Sept. 10, returned last week against Florida, making one tackle. Lewis came off the bench last week.
1:55 p.m.: Today’s referee is …
John McDaid. I don’t know who that is, which when it comes to officiating is usually a good thing.
1:40 p.m.: Program notes (because there’s nothing else to write yet)
Senior safety Quincy Mauger is the cover man on Georgia’s Gameday program, or at least the one given out on press row. Mauger may not start today. But also on the cover (in the corners) are Verne Lundquist and Scott Woerner. Maybe that means Lundquist will call a big play for Charlie Woerner?
Also in the program: The senior spotlight interviews are Greyson Lambert and Reggie Davis. When you think of last year’s Tennessee game, a certain pass attempt between those two comes to mind, doesn’t it? (Ducking.)
1:30 p.m.: Yes, they’re watching
A non-Georgia note, sort of: Yes, one of the televisions in the press box is set to the Miami-Georgia Tech game. A few people have peeked at it and taken note of Georgia’s former coach having a 28-14 halftime lead. The stadium television, meanwhile, doesn’t have any game on.