Georgia football players can count on a history lesson as part of their preparation for this week's game at Tennessee.
The Bulldogs were impressive Saturday in a 44-41 win over LSU at Sanford Stadium, but they were even more stout during a 45-16 shredding of Nick Saban's visiting Tigers in 2004. Georgia followed that resounding triumph with a lackluster 19-14 home loss to Tennessee in a game that ultimately delivered that year's SEC East title to the Volunteers.
"That is going to be a game we bring up and a situation we bring up," Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Saturday night. "Obviously we've got to enjoy this win, but we've got to refocus. A lot was put into playing three top-10 teams, but in this league every game is big and every environment is hostile.
"We're going to Knoxville, and I've been to a lot of games up there where it's been rowdy."
CBSannounced Sunday that it would televise the Tennessee-Georgia game at 3:30 p.m. The Bulldogs, who climbed to No. 6 in the latest Associated Press poll, are seeking their fourth consecutive win over the Volunteers and their 10th in 14 seasons.
Several hours after the CBS announcement, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said sophomore tailback Todd Gurley would be day-to-day after spraining his left ankle in the second quarter against LSU. Gurley spent the second half in a walking boot, and Richt was asked Sunday if he was relieved.
"Yeah, it's no surgery or nothing like that," he said. "You've just got to kind of let it get as much treatment as you can and get it ready as soon as you can."
The 2004 Volunteers contained quarterback Erik Ainge, tailback Gerald Riggs, receiver Robert Meachem, defensive end Parys Haralson and cornerback Jason Allen. This year's Tennessee team does not have as many All-SEC candidates, but first-year coach Butch Jones has two assistants quite familiar with this week's foe.
Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek was Georgia's linebackers coach from 2005 to '09, and secondary coach Willie Martinez had the same role in Athens from 2001 to '09 and was defensive coordinator as well his final five seasons.
"I enjoy seeing those guys and like them very much," Richt said. "I consider them good friends, but we just go compete. We're looking at tape. We're not looking at a coach's picture in the media guide."
Richt said his Bulldogs will not be effective in Knoxville unless they are really locked in on both sides of the ball. He was pleased with the way the defense played on first and second down, but it was a different matter on third down, as the Tigers converted 10 of 15 opportunities.
Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is expecting another big challenge this week as well.
"I don't think Tennessee really cares how many freshmen we're playing, and they don't really care that we won this game," Grantham said Saturday night. "They're going to be excited. It's an SEC East game, and they've got a chance to get back in the race.
"Next week is a big game because of what we did today, and I think we have to understand that moving forward."
Odds and ends
Senior quarterback Aaron Murray was named Sunday as the Walter Camp offensive player of the week nationally. ... Richt said left tackle Kenarious Gates (ankle) will be fine.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...