ATHENS - Officially, Missouri doesn't join the SEC until July 1. But head coach Gary Pinkel got his unofficial entrance to the conference on Tuesday, when he (along with Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin) were on the SEC coaches teleconference.
Missouri, of course, is of utmost curiosity to Georgia fans, since the teams open SEC play on Sept. 8.
Pinkel said the excitement about joining the SEC and the league opener against Georgia was "mammoth," and people were already talking about it in Missouri. Which is rare, he added. But Pinkel tried not to make the opener out to be the be-all end-all, pointing out they've had a lot of major games at Missouri in past years.
"Once you break the ice there (against Georgia), then there it goes, and every team that comes in here, they'll have their moment, and then they'll move on," Pinkel said.
Pinkel said they've started studying Georgia, but "not any more than any other team," because everyone will be new to them.
Pinkel also talked about their overall philosophy, being a spread offense that was used to playing in a Big 12 with similar styles.
"We have a scheme we believe in, so we're gonna run our scheme. But we're going to do what we always do, and adjust as necessary," Pinkel said. "We're not gonna make the statement that we do what we do and make others adjust."
Finally, Pinkel said he expects starting quarterback James Franklin to be ready for the opener. Franklin had shoulder surgery in March.
"He was in my office a half-hour ago, and his range of motion in that arm for having had surgery five weeks ago was remarkable," Pinkel said.
That being said, Pinkel added, it was still "possible" that Franklin may not be ready to play, so they were preparing the backups just in case.