ATHENS — Greetings from the scene from the latest (expected) bloodletting: Georgia comes in unbeaten, ranked fourth in the country (expected to be higher by Sunday) and just plain rolling, while Missouri … is not. Check here for regular updates, notes and observations.
The 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee just did the calling of the Dawgs. He is one of many former Bulldogs here for the homecoming game, joined by Geno Atkins, Randall Godfrey and Garrison Hearst.
There are also a few recent Georgia players here, such as Keith Marshall, Damian Swann, John Theus and Amarlo Herrera. It is apparent that while they’re eager to see UGA win this game, they were also quite happy with the result of the Georgia Tech-Miami game.
Defensive back updates
Looks like it’s status quo: Aaron Davis is mainly working at star, with Tyrique McGhee maintaining his left cornerback spot. Malkom Parrish is coming on dime formations, as he has the previous three weeks.
Deandre Baker remains the right cornerback, with JR Reed and Dominick Sanders at safety.
Georgia will be in that nickel and dime a lot this game, with Missouri airing it out a lot. If Missouri is playing from behind, it will air it out a lot.
More on inside linebacker
Judging by warm-ups and pregame introductions, we’ll see a lot of Monty Rice.
While it looks like Juwan Taylor will be the main first-teamer, as he was last week, Rice was working alongside him in warm-ups, and both were announced as co-starters along with Roquan Smith.
Trenton Thompson and Reggie Carter out
As expected, Trenton Thompson and Reggie Carter aren’t in uniform. Both will miss their second consecutive games.
It looks like Taylor was going second in the inside linebacker drills, after Smith, so Taylor seems in line for a second straight start. Natrez Patrick remains suspended.
The crowd cheers …
As Auburn throws incomplete on fourth down at LSU, seemingly dooming Auburn to the loss. The game was being shown on the video board.
Yes, it probably doesn’t matter too much to Georgia’s postseason fate. But apparently the fans like seeing Auburn lose.
Trent Thompson and Reggie Carter updates
If Thompson and Carter were with the team during the Dawg Walk, I didn’t notice them.
Thompson (knee) and Carter (undisclosed) were not at practice at least from Monday until Wednesday, after missing the Vanderbilt game. Neither had been ruled out as of the beginning of the week.
Conceivably, players could not be on the Dawg Walk and still play. But, generally, guys who are going to play are with the team at the hotel the night before and on the bus to the stadium.
There will be action here at Sanford Stadium in a few hours. Meantime, the last 24 hours have been interesting on the national front, which is obviously relevant to Georgia’s aspirations.
Clemson and Washington State losing on Friday night dwindled the amount of unbeatens to 11. And Clemson’s loss means that Georgia, with a victory, presumably would move up a spot to No. 3 — assuming nobody leapfrogs the Bulldogs, or Alabama doesn’t lose, or the voters don’t push Georgia over No. 3 Penn State, which is idle.
It’s all fun to talk about, and rankings bring status. But the reality is the four-team playoff means the long-term outlook is more interesting. Clemson’s loss, for example, may not end up mattering if the Tigers win out.
It’s hard to see Georgia not making the playoff if it only has 1 loss, though if it comes in the SEC Championship Game that could matter. The scoreboard-watching therefore becomes much more interesting in that case. Or it could if Georgia goes 10-2 and then knocks off Alabama.
So while people may understandably be watching the unbeatens, it is the 1-loss teams that also bear watching. Auburn still could be a factor. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Clemson, too. The way things are going, there aren’t going to be four unbeaten teams to easily slot into the playoff, so they’re going to pick some 1-loss teams. And the more teams out there that not only lose once, but get a second ‘L,’ will help Georgia’s case.
That is, of course, projecting way out. But we have some time to kill before players come into the stadium here, so … whatever.