HOOVER, Ala. — Mark Richt is fairly entrenched at Georgia these days, going on his 12th year as head coach. But in 2000, when he was an up-and-coming offensive coordinator for Florida State, both he and Gary Pinkel — who was the head coach at Toledo at the time — both interviewed for the Missouri job.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Although Richt eventually landed the top job at Georgia, it’s not like he turned down the Tigers.
“Missouri, I believe, (thought) Coach Pinkel was the best man for the job,” Richt said. “Obviously, they were correct.”
Both coaches have had their share of success since But when Missouri plays Georgia on Sept. 8 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, it not only will be a history-making event — the Tigers’ first Southeastern Conference game — it will be a chance to see which school is better off.
By the looks of things, the Bulldogs — who finished 10-4 last season and were predicted to win the SEC East by the media this week — aren’t taking their September foray into Columbia lightly.
“We’re extremely excited to play Mizzou,” senior receiver Tavarres King said. “We think those guys are phenomenal. We’ve got something special coming for us.”
King said he doesn’t know much about MU, aside from what he’s seen on film. But what he’s seen, apparently, has been impressive.
“I feel like they are very fundamentally sound,” he said. “I feel like they are very well coached. I think they’re DBs are very good. There’s some guys that can make plays.”
Georgia defensive end Abry Jones also said he has been studying Missouri film and said he has respect for the Tigers’ infamous run/pass balance.
“I’ve been watching the Tigers a little bit for the past few years,” Jones said. “I don’t really know to expect. I think they can have success (running or passing). It depends on how fast we can stop one of (those aspects) and try to make them one-dimensional.”
Both players believe the Tigers will kick up their effort a notch for that game because of the circumstances.
“It’s their first game against a SEC opponent in this league,” King said. “Their level of play is going to be a little higher than normal due to that. They’re going to feel like they have something to prove.
“That game is going to be a high-energy game, I think. Their fans are going to be rocking … that place is going to be crazy. Our fans will be there — I think they said it’s already sold out. It’s going to be huge.”
Even though Georgia will come to Missouri with respect, the preseason SEC East favorites will also be coming to get what would be a crucial win against a division opponent.
“It’s going to mean a whole lot to their season,” Richt said. “But it’s going to mean a whole lot to our season, as well.”