Tennessee Week: Tuesday's Rundown

ATHENS - Georgia hit the practice field on Tuesday to prepare for its upcoming road test at Tennessee.

1. It's Tennessee week. Georgia hits the road for an SEC test against conference foe Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday and any player, coach or fan knows the territory is hostile to say the least.

Mark Richt has been to Knoxville plenty of times so he knows the outcome is never guaranteed.

"Tennessee week is a big game. Going to Knoxville is never easy," Richt said. "Coaching in this league I've been there a few times now. We know it's going to be a great atmosphere with a lot of people screaming, and screaming for the Vols. Coach Jones has got them going."

Older players on Georgia's roster like Connor Norman and Garrison Smith have seen that sort of environment can either inspire a player or break him down in crucial situations.

"That stadium is one of the loudest stadiums I've ever played in so that definitely has a high effect," Norman said. "They have a great fan base and it gets really loud in there. We're definitely going to have to communicate well."

Smith has heard the Tennessee fan favorite "Rocky Top" before in his playing career, but it hasn't always been on trips to Knoxville. Georgia has blared the song at practices in the past to prepare its players for the ongoing sounds they will hear on Saturday. Smith won't mind it, though.

"We did that in the past, so yeah," Smith said jokingly. "I like that music. I took a music history class so I'm appreciative of all types of music."

2. Tennessee plans to take the field in a new uniform on Saturday. Richt of all coaches knows what that plan entails. Sometimes it has a great outcome and whoever came up with the idea looks like a genius. That's not always the case in his experience, though.

"When you win it's a great idea; when you lose it's a bad idea," Richt said. "When you lose they want you to burn them. You can't even give them away, especially helmets."

However, Georgia has experienced times where new uniforms have been the highlight of the night.

"When we first did it the night we played Auburn it was electric. They didn't even know," Richt said. "There's that element of surprise. There's a lot of steam in that locker room. Then you wear them again and get thumped and it's not such a great idea."

Tennessee could either reap the benefits or try selling a jersey that didn't quite pan out. That's all Richt is saying.

3. In a year that's been all about special teams as well as new faces for the Dawgs, long snapper Trent Frix made one of the biggest plays of the day against LSU. He was right there to break up the muffed punt Norman eventually recovered. Norman gave a lot of credit to the freshman for that game-changer.

"Trent did a great job. He's putting the ball back there and he's pretty athletic when he gets down the field," Norman said. "He did a good job of hitting the returner right when he bobbled the ball. He definitely made that play happen because he was right in his face."

Frix is the younger brother of former Georgia long snapper Ty Frix. Trent has played a little linebacker in his day too, so Norman says Ty always gives his younger brother respect on his ability to find the ball.

"He [Ty] could too, but Ty will be the first to tell you Trent's athletic," Norman said. "It's great to have him out there."

4. Along with special teams, defense has obviously been a hot topic amongst the Georgia faithful due to its youthfulness. Those players don't play like freshmen much anymore, though. They're having to grow up, and grow up in a hurry. That showed in the win over LSU on Saturday.

"Our defense is getting there," Richt said. "I thought we made a lot of progress on first and second down. I think we made a lot of progress in stopping the run. We started to make some good plays and we've still got to iron some things out in the perimeter."

5. Finally there's Todd Gurley's status for the Tennessee game. He's still day-to-day as Richt stated before, but he's getting around fairly well. While Richt doesn't yet know when Gurley will be back on the practice field, he hinted that Gurley hasn't been too reliant on his crutches lately.

"He's getting treatment as often as he can get it," Richt said. "I just don't know. You never know how fast a guy will heal and how quickly the swelling will go down. I saw him walking with his crutches over his shoulder, so that could be a tell-tale sign."

Richt did seem confident in Gurely's backups, though. He has a solid cast behind him consisting of Keith Marshall in the two spot, followed by J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas who have both had a few solid outings against conference opponents South Carolina and LSU. Depending on whether or not Gurley can go on Saturday, they'll be available to get the job done.

"I think Keith Marshall can carry the load," Richt said. "If Todd is not able to go, those three will. We'll have to figure out what we do at that fourth spot."


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