Mississippi State Week - Tuesday News and Notes

ATHENS - News and notes from Georgia's practices.

INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Jarvis Jackson moved from questionable to probable Tuesday, according to Richt. Verdun Wheeler will remain the starter at weakside linebacker this week regardless of Jackson's status, linebackers coach John Jancek said.

Jackson missed the Louisiana-Monroe game after having surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament on his right hand. He will wear a cast covering his entire hand.

"I mean, it's a problem, but anything to help the team," Jackson said.

Jackson will be limited in terms of tackling and getting off blocks and his playing time will depend on how effective he can be, Jancek said. The only bonus to the cast would be if Jackson could use it as a club, which, of course, is illegal.

"I'm not supposed to," he said, "but it's probably going to happen."

LATE NIGHT: The official kickoff time for Saturday's game was announced Tuesday as 9:12 p.m., making it the latest regular season game in school history. The previous record was a 1997 game against Vanderbilt, which kicked off at 9:09.

TOUGH ROAD: Saturday's game against Georgia starts a Murderer's Row for Mississippi State's Bulldogs. Mississippi State plays No. 3 LSU the next week and at No. 5 Florida the following week

"I'd much rather play these type of games," MSU coach Sylvester Croom said. "Right now, you're not thrilled about it because we're not at that level talent-wise, but one day we will be, and I'd much rather play those guys. This is what you call the big time."

The problem for Croom is his Bulldogs aren't quite ready for the big time, he said. When asked this week how his team matched up with Georgia he responded, "Matchup? I don't know if that's a good word to use in terms of matching up. We've got a long ways to go to get to where Georgia is."

FATHERLY ADVICE: Richt opened his Tuesday press conference by promising to be more positive. He chided himself Sunday for being in a foul mood after Saturday's 44-7 win over Louisiana-Monroe, and he got some outside advice Monday in a note from his father.

"There was a note on my desk, and there was a card in the note and it said something to the effect of, ‘One of the essential qualities of leadership is a positive attitude.' Love, dad," Richt said. "So, thanks dad."

TOP TACKLER: Linebacker Danny Verdun Wheeler was listed as the Bulldogs' leading tackler against Louisiana-Monroe with 11 stops, but film review revealed linebacker Brandon Miller had 12, Richt said. Miller was credited with nine immediately after the game.

Miller's new season total of 17 tackles leaves him tied for second on the team with safety Tra Battle, and, on top of that, "he's one of the sweetest guys we've got," Richt said.

"He's a great, great kid," said Richt, who recounted stories of Miller showing a family around the Butts-Mehre building and giving a woman a ride to her car at a Valdosta amusement park.

THIS AND THAT: Place-kicker Andy Bailey has been cleared to return to full action after a shoulder injury. ... The Bulldogs are favored by 15 over Mississippi State on Saturday... Georgia is ranked second in the country by Scout.com in recruiting for the class of 2006. The Bulldogs, who are just behind Texas, have 20 verbal commitments for that class. ... The Bulldogs are 3-1 in Starkville. Their only loss there came in 1951, when Mississippi State won 6-0. Georgia's last trip resulted in a 38-19 win in 1996. ... The Bulldogs scoring defense ranks 10th nationally, giving up 11.7 points per game.


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