December 24, 2011

What about Mizzou?

As a native of Columbia, Mo. senior tight end Aron White is already getting plenty of questions about his hometown and the University of Missouri.

In the ever-changing landscape of college football, Mizzou, along with Texas A&M, will begin competition in the Southeastern Conference next fall.

For White, that knowledge is bittersweet in that he grew up a huge Tiger fan and still has a number of friends and acquaintances playing for the Tigers today.

But although he'll have embarked on the next phase of his life, White is anxiously awaiting that first meeting between the two schools, which sources tell UGASports will take place on Sept. 8 in Columbia.

"I've had people ask me about it and I said you want to play them early, because it's going to get cold and they're going to have the advantage if that does happen later on in the season," White said. "I've also got friends back home who go to Mizzou and friends I went to high school telling me, 'Oh, we're going to go to the Georgia-Mizzou game and we're going to sit together' and I'm like of course I'm going to go, and I'll be in my red and black. They can say whatever they want, but I'm definitely a Bulldog through and through."

White said the thought of Georgia hooking it up with Missouri already feels quite surreal.

As a youngster, White saw numerous games at Missouri's Faurot Field, buying general admission seats to watch the hometown team play.

"It's funny because leaving Columbia I never thought I'd ever be going there to watch Georgia play. I remember there was one year when there was a possibility of us playing them in a bowl if certain things happened and I got really excited," White said. "But definitely the game is going to be exciting. My friends down here ask me about Missouri and my friends up there ask me about Georgia. It's cool to have that because I've called both places home."

White said he gets asked to compare Columbia and Athens all the time.

"Both are about 100,000. Columbia might have more people than Athens, but Columbia is probably more suburban than Athens is for sure. Their economy is growing probably a little bit more than Athens and probably a little more upscale, but they're both college towns and both centered around the Universities," White said. "That's one of the reasons I came down here because there are so many similarities. I felt kind of like I was in a little Columbia when I came here."

While Columbia may be more cosmopolitan than Athens with its small-town feel, when it comes to the respective stadiums, White said there's really no comparison.

From a size standpoint, 71,004-seat Faurot Field is considerably cozier than Sanford Stadium, which tops 95,000.

"If Columbia is more big-time than Athens, then Sanford is definitely more big time than Faurot Field, although I love Faurot Field," White said. "I used to buy general admission, sit on the hill and a couple of year's back they put in that big, huge Jumbotron. The stadium is really nice," he said. "Faurot is definitely a special field to me, but size wise it definitely doesn't compare to most SEC schools which have bigger stadiums. But you can get a little ruckus in there. It's definitely not something to be taken lightly."

On the field, White says adjustments will need to be made there as well.

"Anytime you switch conferences, you're going to have to adjust to a different kind of football and SEC is known for its speed and its size. I think that up front and in the trenches is where they're going to have to make their biggest adjustment," White said. "I don't think they see a lot of guy's week in and week out who run a 4.6 that are 300 pounds that are 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, whatever it is. It's definitely going to be a big adjustment for them, but at the same time it's going to be an adjustment for us because they're going to spread the ball out and sling it because that's what they do."