UGA's Tereshinski Has Team-First Mentality

When D.J. Shockley went down with a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his knee Saturday against Arkansas, the injury didn't just affect Georgia's quarterback depth, it also had a lingering effect on the special teams.

Shockley's injury elevated Joe Tereshinski to the starting quarterback role against Florida in Jacksonville but it also took away a personal protector in the punting game and a potential long snapper. Tereshinksi, it seems, is one of these guys who will do anything to get on the football field to help his team win.

"He's a tough son of a gun," said Georgia Coach Mark Richt Sunday evening on a teleconference call. "Joe is a very tough kid. He ran ran a lot of option in high school and he threw the ball well. He's athletic enough that he can run down to cover a punt and he can block as a personal protector. He's skilled enough to be a long snapper and tough enough to even think about doing it. He's the kind of guy that whatever it takes he will do it for his team and do it with a lot of enthusiasm. He's truly a Bulldog."

The season numbers for Tereshinski, a third-generation Bulldog football player, are 13 completions in 23 attempts for 207 yards with one interception. He's been sacked three times, all in the Arkansas game. He was 5-9 with an interception good for 91 yards against Arkansas with 43 of those yards coming on one play. He has seven carries for one net yard rushing. Until his injury, Shockley had produced 1,538 passing yards good for 12 touchdowns and 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Whereas Shockley is a dynamic runner, a true dual threat, Tereshinski is more of a pocket passer and far less a threat to run the ball. Even with the differences in what they can do with their feet, Richt said not much will change in Georgia's offense this week.

"I don't think it will be a whole lot different," said Richt. "He [Tereshinski] really does have a lot of reps in practice and in meetings. As far as everything we've been doing this season it's certainly not too hard for him to comprehend or anything like that. I think what is important is how everyone plays around him. He's like any quarterback … if you protect him he'll have a chance to find his guys and his target. If he gets it to them, the guys have to catch it. If we give him some type of a running attack it will certainly help him. There's a lot more to this game than Joe Tereshinski."

Richt said he looks for his team to rise above the loss of Shockley. He thoroughly expects his team to rally around Tereshinski and play well against the Gators.

"We're not a one-man show," he said. "It's not good to lose your starting quarterback so we're going to concentrate on what we can do instead of what we lost."

Richt said that Shockley is definitely out of the Florida game. The Bulldogs have a week off after that to prepare for Auburn, the game that Richt has targeted for Shockley's return.

"I would say he is probable for the Auburn game," said Richt. "I don't think we'll see him this week."

Richt said that Shockley is very disappointed that he won't be able to play Saturday but even if he can't play, he expects his quarterback will be doing whatever he can to help Tereshinski and to motivate the team.

"This game is going to be tough not to play in," said Richt. "It's one of those games you want to be a part of. It's part of the reason you come to Georgia … to play in this game. He's not going to get to play and it's going to hurt him but it will give him more incentive to rehab. He'll certainly help us keep everybody motivated throughout the week."

GEORGIA INJURY UPDATE: Richt said that defensive tackle Kedric Gholston is probably out for the Florida game but he expects tackle Gerald Anderson to be ready to go.

"We expect Gerald [Anderson] to play this week," said Richt. "Kedric is very doubtful. I don't think we'll see Kedric. We expect Tony Taylor to play."

GEORGIA DEFENSE: Georgia has the fifth-ranked defense in the SEC. The Bulldogs rank fifth against the run (109 yards per game) and fifth against the pass (183.9 per game). Georgia is second behind Florida (plus-13) in turnover margin (plus-nine) and third in the SEC in scoring defense (13.7 points per game). Not bad for a defensive unit that lost its three best players (David Pollack, Odell Thurman and Thomas Davis) to the National Football League.

Prior to the season, it was thought the loss of Defensive Coordinator Brian Van Gorder to the National Football League would be a huge loss for Georgia, but the Bulldog defense hasn't missed a beat with Willie Martinez calling the shots. Richt said things are pretty much status quo.

"I'd say were very much the same in scheme," said Richt. "Coach Martinez and Coach Van Gorder worked together a long time and their train of thought is very much alike. There is a difference in personnel of course. We're thinner than we've been in a while and hopefully we'll have enough healthy bodies to really get after it."

Georgia ranks 14th nationally in total defense, a category that is dominated by the Southeastern Conference with Alabama fourth (255.43 yards per game), Florida fifth (271.86), Auburn eighth (277.43) and Tennessee 13th (291.67).

Richt said that he's not surprised that there are so many good defensive teams in the league. He doesn't see that there is a lack of offensive talent in the league, just that the defenses are playing fast and quite physical.

"You've got a lot of really fast guys, strong and physical football players that match up well against offensive teams," he said. "I think the coaches are doing a great job of catching up to some of the things that offenses are doing. As I watch film and games, I do believe that the teams playing man coverage are probably … they're letting them play, let me say that. They're letting the corners play, letting the linebackers play. There are some extremely physical guys playing the man coverage depending on how tightly you want to call those things. I would just say the defensive players are being allowed to play physical when it comes to the man coverage."

SENIOR LEADERSHIP: When Georgia lost seniors such as quarterback David Greene, David Pollack and Freddy Gibson, a lot of experts wrote off the Bulldogs this year. Richt said that Georgia's rise to fourth in the nation can be attributed directly to the leadership he's gotten from this group of seniors.

Everybody knew who David Pollack was and who David Greene was and a few of the other guys," said Richt. "Just national name guys that everybody thought were good leaders which they were. We only had eight seniors on scholarship last year and they did a good job but this year we have closer to 18 on scholarship. There's strength in numbers and their good leaders. The seniors, I think, have done a fantastic job of leading us."

Richt seems to take pride in the fact that his team flew pretty much under the radar in the preseason. There wasn't a lot of mention about Georgia or a vast collection of superstars. He likes the way the team has banded together and is playing with an all-for-one mentality.

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