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FULL STORY on the upcoming “Passing of the Collar”

Uga IX (“Russ”) To Retire; “Que” to Assume Title of Uga X Mascot at Georgia Southern Game

ATHENS  – Uga IX, affectionately known as “Russ,” is officially retiring as Georgia’s bulldog mascot at age 11, after working 25 games as an interim mascot from 2009-12, then another 38 games as Uga IX from 2012-14.

 

The University of Georgia will formally introduce his successor, Uga X—heretofore known as “Que”—at the Georgia-Georgia Southern football game on Saturday, Nov. 21.

 

”Uga is cherished by University of Georgia fans worldwide,” said President Jere W. Morehead. ”We are grateful for Russ’s dedicated service, and we look forward to welcoming Que as our new mascot.”

 

The half-brother of Uga VII, Russ compiled an overall record of 44-19. He served as an interim Bulldog mascot for a total of 25 games, working nine games during the 2009 and 2010 seasons after Uga VII and VIII passed away. Russ roamed the sidelines at all 14 games during the 2011 season. He then served for two wins at the beginning of the 2012 season before being promoted as Uga IX prior to the Florida Atlantic game on Sept. 15, 2012.

 

Que will assume his new title after a successful three-month audition in the role as UGA’s mascot.  He made appearances at the Countdown to Kickoff event in July, as well as Picture Day in August, before presiding over all seven of Georgia’s 2015 football games thus far.

 

“We are thrilled to have Que join our long line of mascots and he has already proven to be up to the task of serving as our official mascot,” said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity.  ”We tip our cap to Russ, who served admirably as UGA IX and has been a great mentor to Que, UGA X.

 

”We also thank the remarkable Seiler family for their continued support of our program in such a special way.”

 

The continuous line of Georgia Bulldog mascots has been owned by the Frank W. “Sonny” Seiler family of Savannah, Ga., since 1956.

Marshall Morgan Named SEC Special Teams Player Of The Week (from UGA)

ATHENS, Ga. — For the second consecutive week, a Bulldog has earned the Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week award following the announcement of senior Marshall Morgan winning the honor on Monday.

Last week, junior Reggie Davis was named the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week following his performance at Tennessee.

This marks the fifth SEC weekly award for the Bulldogs this season, including sophomore Isaiah McKenzie also earning the Special Teams Player of the Week following the win at Vanderbilt.  Morgan earned the award three times before during the 2013 season.

Morgan, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., connected on three field goals and for the first time since 1995, Georgia won without scoring a touchdown as it posted a 9-6 victory over Missouri.

Morgan made a game-winning 34-yarder with 1:44 left and this marked his second career game winner to go with a 42-yarder to win at Tennessee in overtime in 2013.  Morgan, who owns the SEC record for the most made PATs at 206, is tied with Tennessee’s Jeff Hall for fourth on the SEC all-time scoring list with 371 career points.

Following an open week, Georgia (5-2, 2-2 SEC) plays No. 13 Florida (6-1, 4-1) in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, October 31.  CBS will televise the matchup at 3:30 p.m.  This will be the Bulldogs’ fourth appearance on CBS this year.

Led by Morgan, Dominant Defense, Dogs Trip Tigers, 9-6

ATHENS, Ga.—It might have been an ugly win but, nonetheless, it was a win tonight for Georgia (5-2, 3-2 SEC) over Missouri (4-3, 1-3 SEC) on Homecoming by the mere score of 9 to 6. All the game’s scoring was via five combined field goals, resulting in only the second Georgia game (besides a 12-3 win over Kentucky on Homecoming of 1995) since 1956 when the Bulldogs were victorious without scoring a touchdown. It also marked the first Georgia game since 1977 (a 7-6 loss to Clemson) when both teams scored in the single digits.

“I’ll take that every day, just so long as there’s a victory at the end of it,” said an “ecstatic” head coach Mark Richt following the game. “I’m thankful and happy right now. It’s not going to be pretty all the time, but the victory is pretty.”

It looked like a victory could elude the Bulldogs when senior placekicker Marshall Morgan missed a chip-shot, 26-yard field goal with the score tied 6-6 and 5:40 remaining in the game. However, as it was for nearly the entire contest, Georgia’s defense was dominant against the Tigers on the ensuing possession, soon forcing a punt.

Aided by a crucial 8-yard pass completion from quarterback Greyson Lambert on 3rd down and 7, and several key runs by sophomore tailback Sony Michel, Georgia positioned itself for another Morgan try with 1:44 left. For the game, Lambert completed 23 of 32 passes, but for only 178 yards and was intercepted once. Filling in for the injured Nick Chubb, Michel gained a workhorse-like 87 yards on 26 carries, and also made four receptions.

“I told him, I love him no matter what,” Richt replied when asked what he said to Morgan just before his game-winning attempt. “There’s so much pressure on these kids. I told him, ‘I believe in you, so relax and focus on your job and your fundamentals, and let it rip.'”

And, indeed Morgan let it rip, nailing a 34-yarder to give the Bulldogs a 9-6 advantage.

“That’s what you crave for,” Morgan answered when asked if he ever visualized kicking a game-winning field goal. “I mean, you obviously want to blow [the opponent] out but, as a kicker, that’s when people may realize that we do make a difference.”

Still, Missouri had one more shot on offense; however, the Tigers had been absolutely stagnant on that side of the ball all night. Whereas Georgia had its scoring opportunities, reaching the opponent’s side of the field on nine of 13 possessions, the Bulldogs’ defense gave the Tigers little opportunity to move the football.

After allowing Alabama and Tennessee an average of 449 total yards and 38 points the previous two games, Georgia remarkably yielded just six first downs tonight, and 164 total yards of offense. And, more than half of Missouri’s yardage was generated on a 12-play, 84-yard drive just before the end of the first half, resulting in the second of placekicker’s Andrew Baggett’s two field goals.

“I knew we were going to get a stop,” senior linebacker Jake Ganus said regarding Missouri’s final possession. “I am so confident in our defense and the way we were playing. The crowd got into it, which was nice, so it was fun.”

On its final drive, Missouri lost seven yards in four plays, turning the ball over on downs.

Defensive standouts included Ganus, who tallied a team-high 9 tackles, including a sack. Linebacker Davin Bellamy recorded 6 tackles and a sack, and linebacker Leonard Floyd made 5 tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss. Georgia, which entered the game having recorded just six sacks in six games on the season, totaled four tonight of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. For the game, Lock was also only 11-of-26 passing for 143 yards.

As they say, a win is a win is a win, and for Georgia, tonight’s much-needed victory, coupled with Florida’s loss to LSU, puts the Bulldogs back in the driver’s seat, controlling their own destiny to capture the SEC East. After an open date this week, Georgia faces Florida in Jacksonville on October 31.

“We’ll enjoy this victory for a bit and start focusing on the Florida game,” Richt said. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing through pain and now thankfully we’ve got a little time to heal up and get some rest.”

DAWGTIME’s Halftime Tidbits

Missouri 6, GEORGIA 3

OFFENSE

  • Excluding the kneel down on the final play of the half, four of Georgia’s five offensive possessions had reached Missouri’s side of the field, but resulted in just three total points.
  • Before throwing an interception on the game’s first offensive play, Greyson Lambert had been intercepted just once in 124 passing attempts this season.
  • After having a disadvantage in time of possession for all of their first six games, the Bulldogs held a better than 18 to 12-minute advantage in time of possession in the first half.

 DEFENSE

  • Four of Missouri’s five offensive possessions reached Georgia’s side of the field, but resulted in just six total points.
  • In the first half, the Tigers were limited to four first downs, and 25 total offensive plays for 127 yards.

 SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Before Missouri’s Andrew Baggett missed his second field-goal attempt of the game—a 38-yard try—he had made 9 of 11 field goals on the year, including 8 of 8 below 40 yards.

Georgia’s Secondary: More So “Getting Better” Than Seemingly Regressing?

During practice this week, Georgia's secondary prepares for Missouri and quarterback Drew Lock.

Athens, Ga.—Entering its game against Missouri today, unranked Georgia (4-2, 2-2 in SEC) is seemingly reeling, especially its defensive secondary, after the Bulldogs back-to-back struggles against the offensive attacks of Alabama and Tennessee—both games ending in defeat.

Ironically, there had actually been talk of benching the quarterbacks of the previous two opponents—before the Georgia game for Alabama’s Jake Coker, and supposedly during the Bulldogs’ contest for Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs; nevertheless, both signal callers responded by terrorizing Georgia’s secondary with two consecutive quarterback performances against a Bulldog secondary unsurpassed in recent memory.

In Alabama’s 38-10 win over Georgia, Coker completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Not known as a running quarterback by any means, Coker added 28 yards on the ground and a touchdown on six carries. For Dobbs, he had been limited to 9-of-19 passing for 110 yards and an interception as the Volunteers trailed by three touchdowns late in the second quarter. However, from that point on, he picked apart the Bulldogs’ secondary, completing 16 of 23 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns. In Tennessee’s 38-31 comeback win, Dobbs added 118 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, becoming only the second SEC quarterback the last 20 years to rush for 110+ yards against the Bulldogs (151 by Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010).

It was against Tennessee, the Bulldogs’ secondary not only struggled in their pass coverage, as was the case against the Crimson Tide, but missed on numerous tackles, as well.

“[The secondary] will learn to support the run, and tackle in space better,” head coach Mark Richt said this week regarding his secondary’s tackling woes, while adding, “But, we haven’t given up a lot of big [passing] plays—we’ve given up a couple here and there.”

With “Big Plays” being defined as plays covering 25+ yards, according to this week’s UGA media notes, the Georgia defense did only allow a couple of big passing plays “here and there”: merely two in the first four games of the season. However, that number has more than tripled in just the last two games, allowing two big passing plays to Alabama, and three to Tennessee for a total of seven on the season.

After an admirable performance during the first month of the season, the question arises if Georgia’s pass defense has regressed the last two weeks.

“I don’t really want to speak [regarding the Alabama and Tennessee games],” said sophomore safety Dominick Sanders. “We’re working as a secondary, and learning from our mistakes.” He added the secondary is learning from its mistakes in practice by executing and communicating better, while making sure “everyone is on the same page.”

Sanders, who last season became only the second defensive back in UGA’s modern era (after cornerback Tony Flack in 1982) to start all of Georgia’s games as a true freshman, has started all six games this season. He has tallied 29 tackles, including two and a half for loss, and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and five pass break ups. Sanders is also one of an astonishing seven freshmen or sophomores on the two-deep for the Bulldogs’ four defensive back positions.

“[The secondary] is a pretty young bunch there,” Richt said. “There’s some freshmen playing, and starting—backing up for sure.”

The young bunch includes sophomores Malkom Parrish (6 starts) and Aaron Davis (5), and true freshman Rico McGraw (2) at cornerback. Besides Sanders, other safeties include true freshman Johnathan Abram (3) and, the only non-freshman or sophomore on the two-deep, junior Quincy Mauger (6). Still, despite the secondary’s inexperience, and its recent lowly performances, Georgia’s head coach is optimistic regarding the young group.

“They’ve been pretty solid, I’d say,” Richt said of the secondary’s preparation this week for Missouri. “They’re growing, and I think they’re getting better.”

At quarterback, the Tigers start Drew Lock, who recently became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Missouri in 20 years. In relief of veteran Maty Mauck, the youngster has performed average at best, completing 57 percent of his passes for 512 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Lock, whose 107.5 passing efficiency rating ranks 105th of 114 qualifiers in the FBS, will face a raucous Sanford Stadium crowd tonight against a Bulldogs team desperately seeking a victory.

But, as demonstrated, the last two quarterbacks Georgia confronted were faced with adversity, as well, and each generated a career performance against the Bulldogs’ befuddled secondary. Still, the Georgia defensive backfield is not looking back on Alabama’s Coker or Tennessee’s Dobbs, but focused upon Missouri’s Lock.

“Looking back at [those games]—it’s over with now,” Sanders declared. “We have to come back, and perform better.”

Dawgs Continue to Prep for Mizzou (from UGA)

ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia football team continued preparations for Saturday’s game against Missouri with a two-hour workout in full pads on the Woodruff Practice Fields.

The Bulldogs (4-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) will play host to the Tigers (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Sanford Stadium. The game will mark the culmination of UGA’s annual Homecoming week on campus.

The Bulldogs have dropped their last two games after a 4-0 start. Before Tuesday’s practice, Georgia head coach Mark Richt was asked how he deals with external criticism.

“We all have frustrations,” Richt said. “I just go back to the things I can control and I focus on that. I don’t focus on things I can’t control. So the thing I can control is how we prepare for the next one. That’s what I think about it. That’s what I focus on. I focus on our staff and on our team and what do we have to do to win the next one. It’s just like in the middle of a ballgame, if there’s a pick six or a penalty or whatever, something that’s not really great, my goal is not to go find the guy and wear him out. I mean, I may talk to him a little bit about it, but my goal is to say, ‘OK, well, something bad happened, where are we now and what do we have to do to win?’ That’s kind of how I treat the season as well.

“Everybody has injuries or guys banged up or they have got somebody who has got an issue off the field or whatever it is, so now you have to manage it and try to find a way to keep everybody focused on the job at hand. And most every coach and player to a certain degree finds comfort in the grind of it, in the routine of it. This is what we’re going to do this day, this day, this day, this day, this day. In order to get all the work in, we have to do it a certain way. I think it’s a little therapeutic sometimes, too, when you’re licking your wounds a little bit.”

Saturday’s game will be televised by the SEC Network, with Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer in the booth and UGA alumna Maria Taylor reporting from the sideline.

Nick Chubb knee injury update (from UGA)

10-10 Georgia at Tennessee24University of Georgia sophomore tailback Nick Chubb suffered a significant left knee injury on the first play from scrimmage in Saturday’s Georgia-Tennessee game in Knoxville. According to UGA Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Ron Courson, the injury involves damage to multiple ligaments and cartilage; however, the damage does not include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Neither does the injury involve arteries or nerves.

Courson said all the damage is repairable and a full recovery is expected following surgery and rehab.  Chubb is currently in the hospital for observation and surgery would be expected sometime in the next two weeks.

Dogs Roll Over On Rocky Top

Coach Richt and his players are confident they can turnaround a 2015 season which is seemingly spiraling out of control.

KNOXVILLE, Ga.—Following a four-touchdown loss to Alabama at home last Saturday, and facing essentially a “must-win” game on the road today in Knoxville, the 19th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs let a seemingly commanding 24-3 lead over Tennessee late in the second quarter evaporate to lose to the Volunteers, 38-31. For Georgia, after suffering last week its worst home loss in 20 years, allowing the Tennessee comeback was the Bulldogs’ second-worst blown lead ever—in their entire 122-season history, trailing only the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl when Georgia led Stanford 22-0, but lost 25-22.

On the first offensive play of the afternoon, the Bulldogs were dealt a detrimental blow in the game, which may impact the entire season, when sophomore sensation Nick Chubb injured a knee on a two-yard gain out of bounds. Chubb would not return to the game.

“[Chubb] was in pain, physical and mental pain knowing that he wasn’t going to be able to finish out this game,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said following the loss.  “I really don’t know for sure [the extent of the injury]. We are optimistic that it won’t require surgery, but we can’t tell 100 percent.  I don’t want to give too much information because I don’t know for sure.”

Despite the loss of Chubb, the Bulldogs were rather impressive in all three facets of the game for roughly a 20-minute stretch during the first half. Georgia scored touchdowns on a 96-yard fumble return by linebacker Leonard Floyd, a 70-yard punt return by receiver Reggie Davis, and a 28-yard touchdown pass from Greyson Lambert to Malcolm Mitchell.

For the contest, Lambert finished with 279 yards on 15-of-32 passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Filling in for Chubb, Sony Michel added 145 rushing yards on 22 carries. But, it would be a critical fumble by the sophomore tailback which would fuel the Tennessee rally.

After the Volunteers scored on a touchdown pass from Joshua Dobbs to Josh Smith, resulting on a drive where Tennessee converted two fourth-down plays, Michel fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Five plays later, Dobbs passed for his second touchdown with 28 seconds remaining until halftime, pulling the Volunteers to within a touchdown, 24-17.

“We made a lot of mistakes, and I feel like I made the biggest mistake to turn this game around,” Michel said of his fumble. “I kind of want to take this game upon myself – I feel like we lost this game because of me.”

Michel’s fumble may have contributed to the Georgia loss, but it was the Bulldogs’ defense which was severely flawed, beginning late in the first half and especially down the stretch. After Tennessee’s first seven offensive possessions resulted in merely three points, five of its next seven drives produced touchdowns.

For the game, the Georgia defense allowed 519 yards, 332 of which were yielded after the three-and-a-half-minute mark until halftime, on a whopping 90 plays. The yardage allowed was the most by the Bulldogs since Jeremy Pruitt became their defensive coordinator beginning in 2014.

“Number one [Jalen Hurd] for them is a big man,” Pruitt said of the repeated missed tackles on the Tennessee running back. “And, when you let him get going, you have to bring your feet.  We didn’t do that on occasion.”

The Bulldogs didn’t “bring their feet” in attempting to tackle Hurd, and especially quarterback Dobbs, while occurring more so than just “on occasion.” Hurd rushed for a hard-earned 80 yards on 21 carries, while Dobbs was absolutely spectacular, producing one of the greatest performances by an opposing quarterback in Georgia history. The junior quarterback rushed for 118 yards on 18 carries, while completing 25-of-42 passes for 312 yards. He was responsible for all of Tennessee’s five touchdowns—three passing, two rushing—the final of which came on a 5-yard run with 5:48 remaining in the contest, breaking a 31-31 tie.

Trailing 38-31, the Bulldogs had two shots on offense in an attempt to tie the game. Resulting in a punt, the first drive featured a dropped pass by Davis from Lambert which assuredly would have been a touchdown. Beginning at its own 1-yard line, Georgia’s final drive reached Tennessee’s 22-yard line, but a Lambert pass intended for Malcolm Mitchell on the final play of the game fell incomplete in the end zone.

The Bulldogs’ loss snapped a five-game winning streak over the Volunteers, while giving Tennessee the edge in an all-time series which had been tied 21-21-2 entering today. More so, the 38-31 defeat most likely eliminated any opportunity for Georgia to eventually capture the SEC Eastern Division—an annual goal the Bulldogs haven’t realized in three seasons.

Still, its head coach remained optimistic.

“I don’t know yet, it’s a wild league,” Richt replied when asked about this loss impacting his annual goal. “A lot of teams are capable of beating each other.  We are definitely not losing hope by any means of our goal to get to Atlanta. We know our big thing is to get better.”

For any chance of Georgia getting to Atlanta for December’s SEC Championship Game, the league will indeed have to become “wild,” while the Bulldogs certainly must get better—much better—than what they’ve exhibited in disappointing and discouraging performances the last two weeks.

DAWGTIME’s Halftime Tidbits

GEORGIA 24, Tennessee 17

OFFENSE

  • NICK CHUBB suffered what looked to be like a critical knee injury on the first offensive play of the game. The last time Georgia played in Knoxville in 2013, three Bulldogs suffered game-ending knee injuries, two of which (Keith Marshall and Justin Scott-Wesley) wound up missing the rest of the season, and another (Michael Bennett) would miss the next two games.
  • After gaining just 15 total yards on its first 11 offensive plays of the game, the GEORGIA OFFENSE gained 143 yards on their next 11 plays.
  • At the half, SONY MICHEL has already rushed for 124 yards on 13 carries—the second 100-yard rushing performance of his Georgia career, and the first since September of last season.

DEFENSE

  • LEONARD FLOYD’s 96-yard fumble return for a touchdown marked the third fumble return for a score of 90+ yards in UGA’s modern era: Damian Swann returned a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown vs. Georgia Tech just last season and, a dozen years ago on this same field, Sean Jones returned a 92-yarder at Tennessee.
  • After the Georgia defense either forced a turnover or Tennessee to punt for six of the Vols’ first seven offensive possessions, Tennessee scored TOUCHDOWNS on their final two possessions of the half.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • REGGIE DAVIS’ 70-yard punt return for a touchdown marked Georgia’s sixth kick return for a score—3 kickoffs, 3 punts—in just its last 17 games dating back to last season.
  • Georgia’s COLLIN BARBER and Tennessee punter Trevor Daniel have combined for a 46.9-yard punting average on seven punts in the first half.

Although A Loss Is A Loss, Two In A Row Renders A Season Lost

Athens, Ga.—Following the Bulldogs’ 38-10 thumping they received from Alabama at Sanford Stadium, and with a road date against Tennessee looming this Saturday, it seemed wherever I turned this week, I heard or read—ad nauseam—a similar statement I recall from last year following Georgia’s 18-point loss to Florida, and maybe even in 2013 after its 15-point setback to Missouri: Beginning in 2006, for 10 years now in a row, Coach Richt has lost at least one game each season by more than 14 points.

Ugh, I say!

The annual-lopsided-loss statement was even directed at Richt this week during one of his press conferences, and the head coach responded rightfully so: a loss is a loss, no matter how big the loss.

“Well, I think that the good news is [the Alabama game] only counted as one loss,” Richt said. “I mean that was enough of a game where it could have counted as two. But, it was one loss.”

I’ll admit I’m one of the first people to point out flaws in the Georgia football program over the last decade—and, there have been plenty of them. However, I believe the big-loss-every-year assertion is just another, convenient way for an unsatisfied fan base to “pile on” its head coach without having enough knowledge to fully support the statement. In other words, by doing a little research, you can find that Richt’s lopsided losing tendency is not all that unique.

What other football coach suffered at least one lopsided loss on an annual basis?

There have been plenty of them, like nearly the entirety of the two coaching regimes at Georgia prior to Richt. Under Ray Goff and Jim Donnan for 11 seasons from 1989 through 1999, the Bulldogs lost at least one game, and more so two games, by more than 14 points every year except one (1992).

For all 22 seasons of the Wally Butts era (1939-1960), besides the undefeated season of 1946, Georgia lost at least one game by at least 13 points. And, Coach Butts is in the College Football Hall of Fame; there’s even a building on campus named after him.

Even Vince Dooley suffered at least one loss by 14 or more points 11 of 12 seasons from 1968 through 1979, including nine in a row (1971-1979). And, Coach Dooley is a legend, regarded as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the SEC.

Speaking of the SEC, from 2006 to the present, other schools in the same boat as Georgia is Auburn, which has won a national championship and played for another the last decade. The Tigers have lost a game by more than 14 points in nine of 10 seasons with the one exception being their undefeated national title team of 2010. South Carolina which, overall, has done rather well since Steve Spurrier’s arrival in 2005, has also endured a lopsided loss every season except one during the same time period. And then, there’s Missouri, a program which has nearly the exact same winning percentage as Georgia since the start of the 2006 season… As far as the Tigers’ consecutive seasons of losing at least one game by at least two touchdowns, I started counting backwards beginning with last year, got to 20 straight seasons, and decided to quit counting.

During his press conference, Richt added that even with a loss—no matter the margin—a lot can be accomplished by his team.

How many SEC teams have won the league undefeated in the last 10 years?” Richt asked. “I mean, that would be a good stat to check out. Not many. Not many. It’s just hard to go undefeated in our league, for sure.”

I decided to check out that stat as well, and discovered the head coach was indeed correct.

In the previous 10 seasons (2005-2014), only three times did an SEC team win the league undefeated, whereas it resulted on just four occasions the previous 16 years.

Despite the four-touchdown loss to Alabama, Georgia has a lot to play for. The Bulldogs still control their own destiny of possibly winning the SEC, and earning a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff. And, it all begins with a victory over Tennessee in Knoxville.

“We feel like we have to take advantage of this week,” offensive lineman Hunter Long said on Monday. “We have to come out and show that last week [against Alabama] was not us, and we have to show the country what we’re really about.”

What the Bulldogs absolutely cannot be “about” is suffering a defeat to the Volunteers. With another loss, any hope for a conference championship this season is likely dashed, while a possible spot in the playoffs assuredly disappears. And, with another loss, a portion of the Bulldog Nation, many of which are those I described earlier—those that have already began to “pile on” Richt—will simply jump ship.

Therefore, the question arises, considering the magnitude of this Saturday—a game which is actually more significant than last week’s meeting with the Crimson Tide—is Georgia’s preparation this week more intensified than before? Has the coaching staff demonstrated an increased sense of urgency?

“It’s just like every other week,” offensive tackle John Theus claimed. “The guys give it their all, and the coaches have been equally as intense.” Defensive tackle James DeLoach agreed with his fellow senior teammate: “Our coaches come hard each and every day, and I don’t think there was a difference compared to previous weeks,” he said.

With Georgia facing a must-win following a loss—no matter how lopsided—it was evidently business as usual this week in regards to its on-field preparation. However, as far as their off-the-field, or mental preparation for Tennessee, the same cannot necessarily be said; the Bulldogs fully realize back-to-back setbacks would devastate what was a promising 2015 season.

“Although I don’t think [preparation has been] amplified, we do know the importance of this game,” Theus added. “We are fully aware of that.”