Pregame notes, observations and tidbits from Sanford Stadium as Georgia prepares to take on North Texas at 12:20 p.m.
There was kind of a cool moment just now: Pat Dye, as previously announced, as inducted into the school's Circle of Honor, along with fellow former Georgia athletes Marissa Catlin and Lori Strong Ballard.
Then after Dye was recognized, drawing polite applause from the half-filled stadium, he was joined by Fran Tarkenton. The Hall of Fame quarterback clasped hands with Dye, and the public address announcer revealed that this was the first time Dye and Tarkenton were together on the Sanford Stadium field since their championship season.
Tarkenton, you may remember, was very critical of Mark Richt following the 2010 season. Then again, he wasn't the only one at that time.
Here's an updated weather report: There have been isolated raindrops, but it looks like any heavy rain will hold off until later in the game. It remains overcast.
For what it's worth, Corey Moore has been announced as the starter at strong safety. But that's going by the traditional 3-4 alignment, which Georgia doesn't use very much, and thus also didn't include Josh Harvey-Clemons, who will play most of the game in the star position.
On the offensive line, the announced starting five was the same that started the opener, with Kolton Houston at right tackle and Dallas Lee at left guard. two weeks ago Houston started at left guard with John Theus at right tackle.
A couple sights during pregame warmups:
- Todd Grantham is literally going down each of the six lines and shaking hands with every player, offense, defense and specialists.
- Mark Richt shared a moment and a hug with injured freshman cornerback Reggie Wilkerson.
- Aaron Murray looks like he got a haircut, almost close to a buzz cut.
North Texas is going with green pants, white jerseys and green helmets. Although I'm not really sure it qualifies as "mean" green, more of a dark lime. If that makes sense.
As expected, receiver Jonathan Rumph (hamstring) is out of uniform and will not play. Rumph has missed the first three games of the season.
Otherwise, Georgia is in pretty good shape, having mostly healed up over the bye week. Jay Rome, Kenarious Gates and Keith Marshall are all out there warming up.
Meanwhile, freshman Paris Bostick is in uniform, as the team continues to explore whether or not to play him this year. It was announced over the summer that Bostick would redshirt because of turf toe, but he's recovered well, and it's being debated whether or not to play him at inside linebacker. He was recruited as a safety.
The other notable injury is to one of the cheerleaders, who is in a walking boot. She has a week to get ready for the LSU showdown.
It's a cloudy day here in Athens, so the lights are on here at the stadium, and probably will stay on. The forecast calls for rain during the game, so the conditions could also get interesting.
Obviously, Georgia's goal for this one will be to get up early and be able to rest the regulars, especially if it gets to the point where players are slipping and sliding out there. My expectation, based on what I've been able to glean from North Texas research, is that Georgia's offense should be able to move the ball and put up points. (North Texas has given up at least 21 points the past two weeks, and it doesn't have much weight on that defense; One of its starting defensive tackles is only 248 pounds.)
The issue is whether Georgia's defense will be able to hold North Texas in check long enough to put the game out of reach early. The Mean Green are averaging 31.5 points so far, and the Bulldogs are still feeling their way on defense.
Some other things to keep an eye on:
- Aaron Murray's first touchdown pass will be the 100th of his college career. He's currently second on the SEC all-time list, chasing the mark of 114 set by Florida's Danny Wuerrfel.
- Murray also enters the game with 10,723 career passing yards, which is 152 behind Wuerrfel for fifth on the SEC's all-time list. Fourth on the list is former Georgia QB Eric Zeier (11,153), and first-place is another former Georgia QB, David Greene (11,528).
- Tailback Todd Gurley had 286 yards through two games, which would - over a 14-game pace, should Georgia make the SEC championship game - put Gurley on track to break Herschel Walker's school and SEC single-season record. Walker set the mark with 1,891 back in 1981, and Gurley would be on pace for 2,002. Yes, it's ridiculously early, but I point this out because Gurley got those 286 yards against two top-10 opponents, and games like North Texas are when players pad their stats.
- For those who keep track of whether ESPN might bring GameDay to Athens next week, my understanding is the Georgia-LSU game is on the short list, but nothing's been decided. ESPN first wants to make sure Georgia and LSU win, and then will decide on whether it wants to originate from another Georgia game. They could also be considering Ole Miss-Alabama, as well as several non-SEC sites.
- Lest we forget, this game also marks the return of place-kicker Marshall Morgan, who was on suspension the first two games.