THE TEN AT 10:
1. Georgia needs to get the humiliating loss to Alabama in its rear-view mirror as quick as possible because facing Tennessee is definitely going to require all of its attention and concentration.
Though the Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1 SEC) have won five straight against the Vols (2-3, 0-2), anyone who watched those games knows full well that several of those could have gone the other way.
In fact, based on the current trend, there’s no reason to expect the margin in Saturday’s game to be more than a point or two. During its current streak, Georgia’s wins over Tennessee have come by 27, eight, seven, three and three points. And that last victory at Neyland Stadium, as most will recall, came largely as a result of Pig Howard losing control of the football before he crossed the plane of the end zone in 2013.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt expects nothing different this time.
“It’s going to go down to the wire,” he said. “It’s not going to be any different than in year’s past. We’ know they’re very talented, we know they’ll play hard as heck, we know their fans are loud. It’s going to be very difficult to hear anything, let alone signals. Sometimes it gets so loud it’s hard to hear each other on the headsets because the noise goes right in the mic. It’s one of those kind of places. We’ve got to deal with the noise, we’ve got to deal with the talent base. We’ve got to make sure we execute under those kinds of circumstances.
2. Georgia defensive back Dominick Sanders used the phrases “moved on” or “moving on” eight times in a span of just over two minutes during interviews after practice on Monday. That’s according to my colleague Seth Emerson, who counted.
“We’re keeping our head straight,” said Sanders, who had four tackles and a pass break-up in the Bulldogs’ 38-10 loss to Alabama. “We’re not gonna let one loss bring us down. We’re gonna maintain our work ethic, keep it high, keep our goals where they’re supposed to be. Now we’re just moving forward to Tennessee.”
Yes, make that nine with “moving forward” as well.
“Just moving on is the main thing,” Sanders said. “Obviously we didn’t win the game. It’s hard to move on from that, but we’ve got Tennessee this week so that’s what we’re worrying about.”
3. And this is yet another huge game for Tennessee coach Butch Jones as the natives are starting to get a little restless in Knoxville. A season that started with such promise is on the verge of unraveling.
For the Big Orange Nation, it’s difficult to tell which is worse, the Vols’ record (2-3, 0-2 SEC) or how they got there. Tennessee had double-digit leads in all three games it lost to Oklahoma, Florida and Arkansas.
Only six teams have held leads of 13 or more points in all of their 2015 games. Temple, Navy, Baylor, LSU and Florida State are all undefeated.
“I know everybody hurts,’’ Jones told reporters during UT’s media day in Knoxville on Monday. “I hurt along with everyone. But just like in life, you have to get up.’’
The bad news for Tennessee is it lost those games. The good news is it managed to get up double digits on two teams that are now ranked 10th and 11th in Oklahoma and Florida, respectively, by The Associated Press.
4. It sounds unlikely that Georgia will have receiver and kick-return specialist Isaiah McKenzie available in Knoxville. The 5-foot-8,170-pound speedster aggravated his chronic hamstring injury when he was tackled on a punt return against Alabama.
But that’s not the injury of most concern as the Bulldogs prepare to face the Vols. Starting center Brandon Kublanow did not practice Monday due to an ankle injury that knocked him out for the second half against Alabama.
That means Hunter Long could start for the Bulldogs. It would be the first career start for the 6-foot-4, 303-pound senior from Memphis.
“I prepare to be the starter every week,” Long told reporters after Monday’s practice. “Whether he tells me to go in or not, that’s what I do. Basically, I’m going to keep preparing like I have been and however it is Saturday, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Kublanow was limping badly on his right ankle when he left Sanford Stadium after Saturday’s game. But he said then that he was going to be “fine.”
On his Monday call-in show, Richt said Kublanow might practice on Tuesday.
5. Obviously, Kublanow is the starter for a reason. But it was Long who was in the came at center and had the key block that sprung Nick Chubb on an 83-yard touchdown run that enabled Chubb to tie Herschel Walker’s consecutive 100-yard-rushing streak. Chubb took a handoff up the middle between Long and right guard Greg Pyke.
Long forced his man left into a scrum of congestion that impeded linebacker Reggie Ragland from getting to the hole. But Long downplayed his role.
“If you’re going to give (credit) to me, I’ll take it,” Long said of the touchdown. “Nah, it’s all five of us. And (Chubb’s) pretty decent, too.”
6. Captains for the Tennessee game as chosen by the UGA coaching staff based on their performances in the last game are Chubb, outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, defensive end Sterling Bailey and linebacker Jake Ganus.
Against Alabama, Chubb had 146 yards on 20 carries and, perhaps more significantly against Bama’s defense, no lost-yardage plays. Ganus had 10 tackles, Bailey had nine and Jenkins had six with a tackle for loss and forced fumble.
Chubb, by the way, has a good shot of breaking Walker’s record against Tennessee. The Vols are last in the SEC in total defense (414 ypg) and 11th against the run (171.6).
7. Curiously omitted from the Bulldogs’ list of captains was inside linebacker Tim Kimbrough. The 6-foot, 226-pound junior from Indianapolis led Georgia with a career-high 13 tackles. The performance came in the first start of his career.
No word yet on whether Kimbrough will get another start on Saturday against Tennessee. But he certainly did nothing to discourage.
“I like playing on the road, like to quiet the crowd,” said Kimbrough, who leads the Bulldogs with 33 tackles on the season. “They run a lot, so we’re going to prepare for that.”
8. Georgia lost to Alabama on the football field this past Saturday, but the Bulldogs tied the Crimson Tide in cryotherapy this week.
UGA on Monday proudly announced that it had acquired cryotherapy chambers to help its players recover from workouts. That puts the Bulldogs on an even playing field with Alabama, which actually adopted the technology back in August.
Theoretically, the chambers are meant to replace the long-used method of recovery, which is to soak in a tub of ice and water. But that requires a cold commitment of 15 to 20 minutes.
Using cryotherapy, the cool-down treatment lasts a maximum of three minutes, UGA says. The athlete stands inside the chamber during treatment on an adjustable platform, which ensures his head remains outside the chamber. The Impact Cryotherapy chamber is filled with nitrogen vapor, which drops the temperature to a range of (minus) -120°C to -140°C and temporarily lowers the temperature of the skin’s top layer.
Once out of the chamber, the body immediately reheats.
“Our student-athletes in all sports train extremely hard and recovery is a critical part of our overall program,” Ron Courson, UGA’s director of sports medicine, said in the school’s news release. “Whole-body cooling is new technology which provides an outstanding recovery option. We are excited about the capabilities with this new technology … not only just with recovery but with treatment and rehabilitation as well.”
9. The Georgia men’s basketball team began preseason practices on Monday at the Stegeman Coliseum Training Facility. The Bulldogs are looking to continue their upward trend under coach Mark Fox after producing consecutive 20-win seasons for just the third time in 103 seasons of competition.
The biggest concern in regard to making that happen is replacing the considerable contributions of graduated post players Marcus Thornton and Nemi Djurisic. They averaged 23.3 points and 12.5 rebounds between them during last year’s 21-12 season.
Sophomore Yante Mann (5.0, 4.3) is expected to assume one of the starting roles and Georgia has numerous players competing for the other spot. But Derek Ogbeide is one freshman who already has created a lot of buzz. The 6-8, 240-pound forward out of Atlanta’s Pebblebrook High School has demonstrated in preseason workouts the ability to give the Bulldogs a physical defensive presence in the paint.
DawgNation’s Caitlyn Stroh recently profiled Ogbeide, who has literally lived all over the world.
10. This & that: The No. 8-ranked Georgia men’s golf team slipped to sixth place on Monday in the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at Pumpkin Ridge Golf
Club. Fourth after the first day, the Bulldogs finished Monday at 4-under 284, giving them a two-round total of 12-under 560. Wake Forest has the team lead at 546, followed by Southern Cal at 548, Duke at 550, Stanford at 552 and Texas at 559. Georgia is tied for sixth with TCU. Junior Greyson Sigg signed for a
4-under 68 and senior Lee McCoy added a 2-under 70. … The No. 5-ranked Georgia women’s golf team and freshman Bailey Tardy are atop the team and individual leaderboards following two rounds of the Windy City Collegiate Classic contested on Monday. The Bulldogs completed the day at 14-under 562, two shots ahead of No. 6 Northwestern. Tardy was 7-under 137 over her two loops at the Westmoreland Country Club and is tied with Northwestern’s Hannah Kim entering Tuesday’s final round. “Sometimes when you play 36, you’re ready for the day to end,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “The way we played today, I would have voted to play 45 or even 54. We obviously played very well, with eight rounds of par or better on the day.”