One other thing about today’s UT game: it’s the first time the Vols have been on the road this season.
Adding to Tennessee’s challenge is the environment, as the Vols will make their 2012 road debut today. Most of the Vols’ offensive players, excluding receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and left tackle Antonio Richardson, played at Sanford Stadium in 2010, when a 1-4 Georgia team pounded the flat Vols 41-14. Most of Tennessee’s defenders played at Florida, Alabama and Arkansas last season.
“I think the good news is most of our guys have been in these environments,” Dooley said. “It shouldn’t be as overwhelming as it’s been in the past. At least I hope it isn’t…”
Well, they’ve been in them. They just haven’t won in them.
As for the overwhelming part, that’ll be up to Todd Grantham’s defense. He sounds ready, at least.
“I think the matchup’s fine,” Grantham said. “They’ve got some good wideouts, we’ve got some good corners. We’ve just got to understand routes, alignments, what can happen to you and be ready to play. I think we’ll be fine in that matchup.”
And his players sound like they’re ready to get a little exotic on Tyler Bray’s ass.
“Some of the errors that he’s made recently had to do with him not seeing guys dropping out of coverage,” linebacker Christian Robinson said. “We are going to have to bait him into throwing some passes sometimes. If we can change it up while keeping sound coverage and don’t give up any big plays, then I think we’ll have a good shot at limiting them through the air.”
I’m guessing the defensive recipe involves a little heat, too.
The trigger man, Bray, is tied for first nationally with 12 touchdown passes and is ninth with 325.2 passing yards per game. But he has struggled at times against the blitz — he completed just 23 percent of his passes when Florida brought five or more rushers in the Vols’ lone loss — and Georgia knows it must pressure and confuse Bray to effectively defend the pass.
It all begins with stopping Tennessee’s running game. That opens up all kinds of fun for Grantham.