Georgia At Missouri: The Q&A

April 14, 2011; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Alec Ogletree (9) returns an interception in the first half of the Georgia spring game at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

I wrote almost everything I could think to write about tomorrow's Mizzou-Georgia game in yesterday's BTBS preview. I wrote a few more words in Q&A's for Dawg Sports and Senator Blutarsky.

From Dawg Sports:

3) Everyone around here has primarily been talking about Mizzou's offense, but who should we be most concerned about on the Tigers' defense?

You probably already know his name: tackle Sheldon Richardson. He was a Top 5 recruit according to Rivals in the 2009 recruiting class, and after struggling with injuries through much of his first post-JUCO season last fall, he has looked mostly dominant in the last five to six games.

I've long held that nothing makes your defense look better than a dominant defensive tackle (I have held that theory since basically the night Ndamukong Suh dominated three Missouri offensive linemen at once, all night long, in a loss to Nebraska), and Richardson's a good one. Really, the entire front seven is at least solid.

The Tigers have three strong ends, Richardson, and three solid linebackers. Depth is a concern at tackle, and there are still some unanswered questions at the safety position, but Richardson in particular is good enough that he's allowed to shoot his mouth off from time to time.

4) Some folks think Gary Pinkel and Mark Richt are generally a lot alike. How hot is Gary Pinkel's hot seat? Is is merely kind of hot or is it smoking hot? Could you please give some examples of things Gary Pinkel has lost control of? Thanks in advance.

Gary Pinkel was Mark Richt before Mark Richt was Mark Richt. After a terribly disappointing 2004 season, Pinkel's seat was quite hot, and Mizzou fans remained annoyed about 2004 well into the subsequent rebound. Even now, he's TOO STUBBORN!!! and CAN'T WIN THE BIG GAME (OTHER THAN THE ONES HE'S WON)!!!

Luckily, even the most intolerant Mizzou fans now know they cannot legitimately call for his head. So instead, they call for the offensive coordinator's head every time Mizzou punts. You have BLAME BOBO, we have FIRE YOST. (They're too scared of the former Marine who holds the defensive coordinator position to call for HIS head. So they just call for Yost's head every time opponents score touchdowns, too.)

From The Esteemed Senator:

By the way, I asked Bill, who, it should be mentioned, has been generous to a fault in the time he’s spent responding to our questions, in a follow-up to rank the conditions he listed in his summary. Here’s his answer:

"If’s" In Order (from most likely to least likely):

1. If Mizzou outdoes the Dawgs in the turnovers and special teams departments…

2. If Kendial Lawrence produces better per-touch averages than Todd Gurley

3. If Mizzou scores touchdowns in the redzone instead of field goals…

4. If Tiger defensive backs don’t get burned deep and allow easy points…

5. If the line battle skews neutral when Missouri has the ball and toward Mizzou when Georgia has the ball… (least likely because of the OL, not the DL — still pretty optimistic about the DL)

Today, I figured turnabout was fair play. Below is a Q&A going in the opposite direction. Senator was nice enough to respond this morning, and I should be getting responses from Dawg Sports soon, as well. I will update the post when I get them. After the jump is my exchange with the Senator.

(By the way, it still feels really weird being an official conference rival of UGa. A lot of my favorite bloggers either went to the school or talk about it a lot, and I have read/enjoyed their work for years without ever thinking about how it connected to Mizzou. Every time the Senator talks about Mizzou, my first response is "Why is he talking about us? Oh, right." I'll get used to this eventually. Anyway.)

1. You wake up Sunday morning reflecting on a 14-point Georgia win. First of all, how did the game likely play out in that scenario? And second, would such a result change your expectations of the season as a whole?

Senator Blutarsky: A 2-TD win likely means that Georgia won the turnover margin battle and that the defense showed up to play. As I expect Georgia to make a run to return to Atlanta this season, I don't think such a result would have much impact on my expectations.

2: The flipside: you're reflecting on a 7- or 10-point Georgia loss. How did that play out, and how does that affect your season expectations?

Pretty close to the mirror image of my answer to your first question: turnover problems and a defense that had problems handling the Missouri spread. As for how that would impact my expectations, it would depend on who was missing in action. Georgia started 0-2 last year, so I'm not necessarily going to panic. I will say that if Ogletree returns and your Tigers are still able to move the ball successfully, I am going to be seriously bummed out.

3. On a scale of 1-10, rate your confidence in Mark Richt. At this stage in his tenure, have your expectations of him gone up or down at all? Do you think he is capable of building the program to a point where a national title is possible?

Call it 7.5 and that's rebounded significantly from where it was at in the late stages of 2009. There's a bit of luck to national titles, but I think Georgia's on better footing towards that than it was a couple of years ago. Still, in a league where the road to the MNC runs through 'Bama or LSU, Richt's got a tough row to hoe.

4. As a flock of Dawgs descends on Columbia, what is something Missouri fans should know in advance? What should they say to get along? What shouldn't they say?

Expressing a strong dislike of the color orange is a good place to start. That covers Auburn, Florida and Tennessee. You'll sound old school SEC East right off the bat with that.

As for topics to avoid, I'd suggest laying off the thug talk. Georgia's had its share of behavior issues, but they're nothing particularly out of line compared to many other big time programs. Unless you're particularly sensitive to scooter issues.

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