- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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One thing Missouri couldn't afford heading into its first season in the SEC was to be down in the trenches.
Well, the Tigers received some not-so-good news Tuesday, as they lost two offensive linemen, including projected starter Travis Ruth.
Ruth, who was expected to start at left guard this fall, has been diagnosed with a torn left triceps tendon and will undergo surgery Thursday. He'll start rehab soon after. Ruth brought good experience and versatility to Missouri's line after he started seven games at center in 2011.
Missouri also lost redshirt freshman offensive lineman Taylor Chappell, who tore the ACL in his left knee. He's set to undergo surgery within the next two weeks. Chappell entered fall camp as the team's No. 2 right tackle, but was taking most of the snaps in practice with the first-team offense because of starter Justin Britt's broken foot.
Through a release from the school, head trainer Rex Sharp wasn't calling either injury season ending, but that there's no timetable for either's return.
The Tigers were already working with an undersized line compared to the ones they'll face each week, but that wasn't really of much concern to the team heading into the fall. What was a concern was losing bodies up front, and now Mizzou has lost two for an unknown amount of time. The Tigers were already without their projected starting right tackle in Britt, who is expected to be back for the start of the season.
The good news is that Missouri has some bodies to throw in along the line, but it's pretty inexperienced.
Georgia focuses on special teams
The Bulldogs' special-teams unit certainly wasn't great last year. More kicks were missed and more coverage was busted than expected. Well, the coaching staff is looking to make sure those mistakes don't happen again.
Things really got underway on Tuesday when the Bulldogs went through their first two-a-days session of the fall. The morning was devoted to special teams, where the coaches got a look at a handful of kickers and punters, including freshmen Marshall Morgan and Colin Barber. Both were a part of the Bulldogs' 2012 recruiting class and will compete for starting jobs this fall.
While place-kicking duties still need some work, coach Mark Richt said he was pleased with how Barber punted the ball.
“I thought our extra points and field goals were not what they need to be yet,” Richt said. “When they hit it really good it looked great, but there was a little inconsistency and not as deadly accurate as you want. A lot of it is getting used to going full speed with the live rushers and new holder and just being in Sanford Stadium.
“As far as the punting, I thought Colin had some balls with some outstanding hang time. I think he understands that part. His operation time was pretty good.”
It's important that Georgia find a consistent kicker, as the Bulldogs missed 15 field goal attempts, including 14 by Blair Walsh.
Tennessee TE Rivera hurts knee
With Rivera temporarily out, junior defensive lineman Joseph Ayres is helping out with depth by working with the tight ends. The Vols had already moved freshman Justin King from linebacker to tight end, which will help with numbers as well.
“With Rivera out, we’re thin at that position,” Dooley told reporters. “We have a lot of defensive lineman. Just like Justin King, I think Joe Ayers can give us a little value, especially as a bigger, physical guy to help us block.”
Bama's Black injures shoulder
Alabama is without one of its top freshman receivers, after early enrollee Chris Black went down with a shoulder injury Sunday. Coach Nick Saban told reporters Tuesday that Black is "very, very questionable" at this point. Black has been on the field lately, but hasn't participated in drills.
"He's going to be re-evaluated by a doctor tonight," Saban said. "We're not sure about what his status is."
For more on Alabama's Tuesday practice, check out ESPN.com's TideNation.
10hDavid Ching and Edward Aschoff