Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.
4 Tennessee players who will challenge UGA
While it’s tempting to spend the entire week reliving the big win over Mississippi State, there is a game coming up Saturday that requires our attention. Georgia travels to Knoxville to square off with Tennessee, which slipped by Massachusetts 17-13 last weekend. Tennessee is 3-1, but would be 4-0 if Butch Jones did some things differently.
But Jones’s coaching ability — or lack thereof — isn’t what we’re talking about now. (We’ll get to that later this week.) We’re talking about Tennessee’s players, specifically which ones could provide a major challenge for the Bulldogs on Saturday.
4. Trevor Daniel, P — With the performance of Cameron Nizialek, Georgia fans are learning the value of a fantastic punter. Tennessee has that too in Trevor Daniel, one of the best punters in the SEC. Daniel has averaged 47.6 yards per punt this season with a long of 70 yards. If Georgia’s defense continues its dominance, Tennessee will be punting a lot, and Daniel will answer by pinning the Dawgs back and giving his defense a long field to work with.
3. Marquez Callaway, WR — Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady hasn’t covered himself in glory this season, but he has found some success when targeting Callaway. He’s second on the team in receiving yards with 198 and leads the team with 3 receiving touchdowns. If Tennessee’s passing game is able to pick up the pace against Georgia, Callaway will probably be a reason why.
2. Emmanuel Moseley, CB — Considering how good Georgia’s stable of tailbacks is, when QB Jake Fromm is on top of his game, as he was against Mississippi State, the offense is well-rounded and difficult to stop. So one solution for opponents is to keep Fromm off his game. Emmanuel Moseley is the Tennessee player with the best opportunity to do that. The senior cornerback leads the Volunteers with 4 pass breakups, and he’s shown an ability to make tackles in the open field with 13 solo tackles, second-most on the team.
1. John Kelly, RB — John Kelly has proved to be Tennessee’s best player this season. He leads the SEC in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. With 450 rushing yards, he has 75 more than Missouri’s Damarea Crockett. His 6 rushing scores tie Nick Chubb and two others for the league lead. Kelly is the biggest threat to Georgia’s defense and the most likely Tennessee player to put up points. If Georgia can stop him, chances are Tennessee’s offense won’t put up a lot of yards or points.
Butch Jones is fake news
Between that Hail Mary loss to Florida and a terrible showing against Massachusetts, Butch Jones’ seat has gotten mighty hot. Perhaps hot enough to get him sacked if Georgia dominates the Vols the way it dominated Mississippi State.
And it’s pretty clear Jones senses that. In his Monday news conference, he did his best to circle the wagons and throw some shade at the Tennessee media for not acting as public relations for the football team or something dumb like that. He even got a “fake news” reference in there for good measure.
— Heather Williams (@WCYB_Heather) September 25, 2017
Yeah, Butch. The negativity surrounding the program is some construct created by the media and not a result of poor game management and a lackluster start to the season. And I’m sure it’ll be real easy to convince people of that and save your job if the poor results continue.
If I may appropriate The Wire: This is Tennessee, Butch. The gods will not save you.
A work in progress
Georgia has one of the top defenses in college football, but coach Kirby Smart doesn’t want his players to buy into that thinking. With a quarter of the season in the books and the defense standing head and shoulders above any other unit on the field, Smart is still preaching on what the defenders need to do to get better. From Seth Emerson of DawgNation:
“We still have not played our best,” Smart said of his defense. “We still have guys that do not strike blockers the right way and do it the right way consistently. We have a couple guys that turn down hits. I know, to you guys, we’re looking at stats and the numbers, but there are several plays in that game that are this far from being the other way [if] we don’t do it right, and we’ve got to make those plays.”
Nick Chubb’s return to Neyland
Knee injuries have plagued Georgia each of the last two times it visited Neyland Stadium. Justin Scott-Wesley and Keith Marshall were lost for the season there in 2013, and Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending injury there in 2015.
If you think Chubb is worried about returning to the place where his college career was nearly derailed, think again. But he doesn’t seem to be relishing the opportunity to return to Knoxville and take care of unfinished business either. He just wants to put in some work. From Chip Towers of DawgNaytion:
But now he’s heading back to Knoxville. So will he be feeling any trepidation? Will there be any funny feelings or extra motivation?
“Nah,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to it.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he believes that’s authentic.
“Nick’s not the kind of kid that thinks about things like that,” Smart said. “Nick will be out there ready to go Monday, ripping and snorting, running the ball. … He’s not the kind of guy that gets into things like that. Nick’s into toting the rock and punching people and that’s what he’ll be thinking about.”
Your obligatory Jacob Eason injury update
Here’s an update on Jacob Eason’s status heading into the Tennessee game, courtesy of Emerson:
Eason dressed for the game last Saturday against Mississippi State, though he wasn’t cleared to play. Smart did not say Monday whether Eason would be on the 70-man travel roster for the game this Saturday at Tennessee, but he indicated it was likely. This early in the week, it is unclear if Eason will be available to play.
“We don’t know. Possibility, yeah. We’re going to bring him out there and see where he is, just like we did last week. We think he’s closer, just because last week he improved as the week went on. We expect the same thing,” Smart said. “We’ll find out a lot more today, based on practice and the reps he’s able to take.”
Return of the nooner
Five games without a noon kickoff to open the season was a pretty good streak for Georgia, but all good things must come to an end. The Oct. 6 game against Vanderbilt in Nashville will kick off at noon ET (11 a.m. CT) and will be televised on either ESPN, ESPN2 or the SEC Network.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 25, 2017
— L U K E F O R D™ (@lukeredx97) September 25, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 25, 2017
The New Steg. Go Dawgs! pic.twitter.com/eN1KfYnajM
— Mark Fox (@coachmarkfox) September 25, 2017
My man needed a job.
When you lied on your CV about having previous sheepdog experience. pic.twitter.com/fecGfhE9YD
— Paul Bronks (@BoringEnormous) September 25, 2017
Miss a previous edition of Good Day, UGA? Get caught up here.