“Just because it’s Tennessee. I don’t like losing to them.”

I’ve already mentioned where Booch’s mind was at yesterday, but I want to return to the subject at least tangentially, because one of the most fascinating things about Saturday’s game is what both teams bring to the table on the intangibles front.

If it’s an exaggeration to suggest that Jones is coaching for his job these days, it’s probably not much of one.  What does seem likely at a minimum, though, is that if Tennessee loses to Georgia, its hopes of winning the SEC East are snuffed.  0-2 in the conference and on the wrong side of tiebreakers with Florida and Georgia isn’t on the road map to Atlanta.  Any way you look at it, then, the Vols are under a tremendous amount of pressure to win at home.

Meanwhile Kirby Smart has to thread a needle delicately between making sure his team plays with the confidence it takes to win an SEC road game while avoiding the overconfidence that can be the expected product of an unexpectedly dominant win over a ranked opponent.  As I posted on Sunday, the good thing is that Smart’s been there and done that plenty while in Tuscaloosa; the not-so-good thing is that he’s in Athens now and that’s behavior that has to be learned.

Add in the wrinkle of the bizarre ending to last year’s meeting between the two…

The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff, meaning Georgia kicked off from its own 20 rather than the 35. The Volunteers took over at the Bulldogs’ 43 after UGA was flagged for being offsides on the kickoff. That left Tennessee with 6 seconds, which was just enough time for quarterback Joshua Dobbs to lob a Hail Mary pass to Jauan Jennings, who was remarkably open in front of several Georgia defenders in the end zone to secure a 34-31 win over the Bulldogs.

It made for one of the most drastic 10-second turnarounds in the history of college football ― certainly in Georgia annals at Sanford Stadium.

… and you really should have all sorts of emotions swirling around the field in Knoxville.  How each team reacts to the baggage they carry in will tell us quite a bit.

28 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

28 responses to ““Just because it’s Tennessee. I don’t like losing to them.”

  1. Granthams replacement

    Kirby’s focus on competition and physicality at practice should pay off in Neyland. Emphasizing those negates tendencies to let down, something the previous coaches struggled with multiple times.

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  2. Considering 2016 was just a throwaway season to our coaches and players, I’d say last years ending should have no bearing on this years game.

    Seriously, though, it looks like we have a team that is fully dialed in. No telling what’s really going on at UT but I say the Dawgs kick the shit out of them on Saturday.

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  3. 81Dog

    I hope we are taking the Alabama approach by buttoning our collective lips and not offering threats or taunts about what’s coming for the Vols this week. After the Vandy kid mouthed off, all I saw from Alabama players last week was shrugs and a focus on getting ready to play. No vows to make them pay, no dire warnings of retribution. Almost a bored, “yeah, whatever” response. Then they went out and laid. the. wood. Afterwards? Just another day at the office. If we can keep that kind of focus and not get sucked into “hey look at me” BS, we should be ready to play.

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    • cali_dawg

      Agree. Dawg nation is realllllly cocky coming out of Saturday, maybe because it’s been so damn long since we’ve won like that (and don’t get me wrong, it was a win we desperately needed and deserved).

      All this to say I wish as a team/fanbase we could speak softly and carry a big Chubb.

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  4. W Cobb Dawg

    “The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff, meaning Georgia kicked off from its own 20 rather than the 35. The Volunteers took over at the Bulldogs’ 43 after UGA was flagged for being offsides on the kickoff.”

    Penalties!!! Ya know, I give Kirby high marks for preparation in all aspects of the game. But what’s the plan for handling sec refs? It’s not as if hiring another staff member can make a difference.

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    • Brandon

      If I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t the SEC ref who wasn’t even involved in the play and took off out onto the field without his helmet on…. just a stupid lack of discipline and focus which is the only thing that gave them that .001% chance to pull it out. Hopefully those types of lapses are gone forever

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      • Otto

        It was and I remember a preseason story this year where Smart made a receiver run the steps after celebrating a play. I would love to know if something came out mentioning Tennessee while he was telling him to run the steps. I saw it as a step in the direction of changing the attitude of the program.

        I agree Grantham’s Replacement and 81Dog’s about the approach to this game further it wouldn’t surprise me if he showed the team the last few minutes of Tenn last year. Shut up, practice hard, do your job. If the team does that, chances are good they win. But as stated above that isn’t the culture Smart inherited.

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    • Russ

      Still a bullshit penalty call. The guy wasn’t taunting, he was behind the endzone celebrating a last second win. Watch any other game that ends like that and you’ll see the same celebration, or much worse, with zero flags thrown.

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  5. Macallanlover

    I appreciate the issue of making the team aware they cannot make the mistake of past UGA teams in this position, or even what may have happened, somewhat, to MSU last week in preparing for UGA. Clearly MSU had less reason to be distracted with UGA coming up than UGA does with a bad TN game on the horizon. But I really think this concern will be dealt with by Senior leadership and not require much intervention from Kirby. The return of Carter, Bellamy, Chubb, and Michel insured we will not have any letdown that will keep them from their mission. Any chance of that went away with the fast start UGA has had, and the rapid elevation to being in the championship discussion.

    TN just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to beat UGA unless we give it away with turnovers. That doesn’t mean the offense could not have a day off, or the TN defense couldn’t stuff our running game and keep it close, but our defense won’t have an off day on Saturday, and that seals TN’s doom as far as earning a victory. Not sure we feel as good Saturday night as we did last Saturday, but we get out of Knoxville with a W, just a question of how dominant a W it is.

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  6. Russ

    I expect this team to go in focused and blocking out all the chatter. Defense will clamp down while the offense finds their rhythm. I think we’ll win handily, and if the Vowels quit, it could be ugly.

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  7. The Truth

    “10. Tennessee: So the Vols won, and the defense finally showed up. But boy, oh boy, does Butch Jones have problems on offense when the best his team can do is muster 14 points at home against UMass.”

    This from ESPN’s SEC Power Rankings this week is why I just can’t see us losing this week. I’ll go out on a limb and say our D is better than UMass’s.

    A 6-turnover type day is the only thing that I can see as our undoing.

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  8. Greg

    Gonna be loud there, loudest stadium I have ever been to…and the quietest, all in the same day ..:>) (hobnail boot game). Worry the freshman QB, want be the same as ND.

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    • Cojones

      Yep, and I’m sure the Coaches and Seniors will remind them that the noise made in Sanford last week will be turned upon us this week. Our attitude may be “Let ‘er rip” and use it to spur this suddenly revived horse that used to be dead and well-beaten.

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    • Greg

      Shat.. won’t (not want).

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  9. What does seem likely at a minimum, though, is that if Tennessee loses to Georgia, its hopes of winning the SEC East are snuffed. 0-2 in the conference and on the wrong side of tiebreakers with Florida and Georgia isn’t on the road map to Atlanta.

    Andy Staples has been talking about this on his podcast. If you make the assumption that they lose to Alabama again; losing to Florida AND Georgia would mean they need both teams to go 4-4 in conference play to have a shot at the East which ain’t gonna happen. Not a good spot for Butch to be in this weekend. Hopefully he hasn’t learned his lesson and doesn’t give the ball to John Kelly on red-zone possessions.

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    • Otto

      Butch must win Saturday to keep any hope of winning the East alive. If he drops games to UF, UGA, Bama, and then Kentucky, he is gone.

      People talk about Bert being on the hottest seat but he is riding a big buy out. Arkansas may elect to keep him a year to get the buyout down. Sumlin despite the win over Arkansas has the hottest seat. A&M can find a way to buy him out and hire a new guy.

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  10. CPark58

    I’m picking Tennessee to cover because well, we’re Georgia, but I’m predicting UGA finally put Butch out of his misery with an epic, behind-the-woodshed, scorched earth, ass whooping that sends him into mid-major obscurity and leaves Knoxville in apocalyptic ruin. At least I hope.

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  11. DawgFlan

    The seniors coming back, and the attitude on display through the first four games have pretty much convinced me that this isn’t a team that will lose focus. The culture has changed. We have the leadership and healthy competition among players, the units are playing more cohesively each week, and there has not been any extra-curricular distraction. Kirby has this team’s respect. As PTC Dawg has been saying – Kirby’s on this mother.

    We can’t beat UT bad enough, but I see a 2+ TD difference and 250+ yards on the ground. I hope Chubb get 150+ of them.

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    • We can’t beat UT bad enough, but I see a 2+ TD difference and 250+ yards on the ground.

      Only if Booch uses John Kelly as stupidly as he did against Florida.

      Which is certainly within the realm of possibility.

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      • Macallanlover

        But it would be futile, even if he tries to ride him. Not taking anything way from how angry Kelly runs, he is a load, but anyone thinking they can use one back and wear our front 7 down is simply wrong. Will be break some tackles and get his yardage, maybe escape on along one? Probably can happen, but all day? What else do they bring? You cannot run him into the middle of that hornet’s nest 30 times, and if you do, who will be worn down the most after 20 carries. They have to have success with their QB to move the ball consistently, one stud back isn’t going to beat us.

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  12. Minnesota Dawg

    From the UT perspective, this game is eerily similar to the setup for the 2015 game with UGA. A shocking and last minute loss against UF, followed by a poor showing at home…with additional controversy surrounding a rumor related to an off-the-field altercation within the team (then it was Jones accused of hitting one of his players). UT was heading down the toilet and Booch was as good as gone if he lost to UGA. We all remember how that turned out.

    Of course, from the UGA perspective, we’ve had a few changes since 2015…so hopefully, this isn’t “same ol’ Georgia.”

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  13. AusDawg85

    As the Senator is alluding to, I don’t think this game is as much about Booch’s coaching as it is Kirby’s. Booch and crew know the stakes, know what they have to do. They just have to focus on execution that has been lacking.

    Kirby is changing culture. Attitude. The Process. He showed it’s working with a big travel game and low expectations. He showed it’s working against cupcakes. He showed it’s working with a big home game against a ranked opponent riding a wave of momentum. Now he has to go on the road in what really needs to be a “must win” game for the Dawgs. Win or lose, I want to see how we react as a team to this setting. I expect we’ll all be very pleased. I’m beginning to believe….#throwawayseasonswork

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  14. Jared S.

    I think we found out last week what kind of team we have.

    In years past the MSU game would have been the let-down game. We were coming off two convincing wins against clearly inferior opponents and an exhilarating road win against a very good team.

    This won’t be a let-down week. We’re gonna beat UT like they stole something.

    UGA 42-10.

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  15. Beating UT is top priority but following closely behind is that I’d really really like to see Chubb go up there and get some redemption. I have to wonder where his mind is and I hope it’s on a mission instead oc apprehensive. For himself and for the program…that would be really awesome!

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