ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt addressed the media Sunday evening on his weekly teleconference, spending most of his time discussing the atmosphere he expects for Saturday’s game at Missouri -- the Tigers’ first game as an SEC member -- and the challenge Mizzou’s offense presents.
We’ll run through some of Richt’s key comments on those subjects here today, but let’s begin with some injury updates following Saturday’s season-opening 45-23 win against Buffalo:
On John Theus, who left the game with a left ankle sprain:
"I’ve not spoken to Ron [Courson, Georgia's director of sports medicine]. We have a staff meeting at 6:15 tonight, so we talk about all that stuff. I’ve not heard a thing other than what I heard yesterday, which was hopefully it wasn’t too bad of an ankle sprain for Theus. But it was an ankle."
On Malcolm Mitchell, who missed the game with an ankle sprain:
"Malcolm Mitchell, I don’t know how he’s progressed."
On Ken Malcome, who left the game with a hand injury:
"Ken Malcome, he said he hurt his hand. I don’t know how bad that is. So I don’t really have a report on injuries right now."
On what he expects from the atmosphere at Missouri:
"I’ve just started to watch some of their video from the game they had this weekend and you can see the energy on the field, big-time. I’m assuming the crowd is a part of the energy. It’s not TV copy, there’s no sound, you’re just watching them play football and you’re watching them play with an awful lot of energy and enthusiasm. So I’m sure that as hard as those guys are playing and running around that there’s all kinds of crowd involvement there, as well."
"Overall Connor did a good job. I can think of one play where he missed a tackle out there in space, but you know just about every safety in America is going to miss a tackle here and there when you’ve got too much space with a back. But he does a great job of knowing what to do, getting lined up. He is a sure tackler when he fits up into the responsibility of doing that. And I think he’s got good ball skills, too. So we like what he’s doing. We’re thankful that we’ve got him and that he’s playing well and we hope Corey continues to push hard for playing time. But right now we think Connor’s more ready to play."
On Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s comment that Georgia plays “old man football:”
He said old man or old school or what did he say? Old man? [Laughs]. Well, I don’t know what he meant by that, but the bottom line is we’ve got to get after it and do what we do well and they’ll be trying to stop everything that we’re trying to get accomplished.
"We’ll know when the time comes."
On how Todd Gurley performed against Buffalo:
"There weren’t a whole lot of opportunities for him to pass protect, but obviously as a runner he’s been impressing me and the rest of our staff and the team with how he’s been doing. He pretty much played in this game the way he played in the scrimmages. He’s got a knack for breaking tackles and he’s got more speed than you’d think for a big man. So big, fluid athlete. You saw him on the kickoff return, saw him on the 55-yard touchdown run do some things that were really impressive and hopefully he’ll keep it up. It’s early yet, but I’ve really been impressed with him so far."
On whether Gurley might start vs. Missouri in light of Malcome’s injury:
"Well, he’ll definitely get the ball, that’s for sure."
On the historical significance of the UGA-Missouri game:
"It’s a huge game for them, no doubt, and it’s a huge game for us, too, though, because we’ve got our goals and they’ve got their goals. Shoot, to me it’s the biggest game of the year, no doubt. So we’ll see. I know they’ll be ready. They’re very impressive with what they do and they’re very impressive, even their body types you see. They’re very muscular, lean, fast, good change of direction and play with a high level of energy like I said. I haven’t looked at their offense this year yet, but I saw them a year ago. So they’re very, very good at what they do. Shoot, I think they might have score a couple of touchdowns on punt returns or something, so they score in a lot of different ways and they just get after you. It’s a monster game."
On what he thought when UGA-Missouri was initially placed on schedule for first SEC game:
"I didn’t really think much about it until we just looked at the schedule. I wasn’t really in the middle of what was going on other than just waiting for them to tell us who we were playing. What do I think about it? I think that to play Missouri at Missouri in the opening game in league play is not the best draw, but it is what it is. We’ve got to play it. We’re going to get after it and I know they will, too."