Tereshinski will likely start if healthy

ATHENS – All that's standing between Joe Tereshinski and Georgia's starting quarterback job is his tender right ankle.

"I would be leaning toward starting him if he was 100 percent," Coach Mark Richt said Sunday.

Tereshinski isn't making any promises, but for a senior who's overriding virtue is toughness, Richt's statement as good as a guarantee that Tereshinski will be back under center when the No. 10 Bulldogs (5-0) face Tennessee (4-1) on Saturday in Sanford Stadium.

"I feel pretty strong, but one day you have a good day and the next day it's pretty sore, so we'll play it by ear," Tereshinski said Saturday night after watching a listless Georgia offense eke out a 14-9 victory against Ole Miss. "Everything is going good right now."

Tereshinski looked near full speed during warm-up drills before Saturday's game, Richt said.

"If that thing was bothering him, it would have been tough to do it at the pace he did it," Richt said. "I'm thinking he's going to be ready, but I just want to see it before we make any calls out there. We're going to watch him real close. I think Joe needs to be running feel speed to play in the game or at least to start in the game."

True freshman Matthew Stafford, who didn't start against Ole Miss but played the entire second half and led both scoring drives, will start if Tereshinski can't or will be the backup quarterback, Richt said.

"I like what Matthew did in this last ballgame," Richt said. "We see improvement every week on a lot of things. I think he went back to feeling comfortable back there again."

Stafford was 7-of-18 passing for 91 yards. Redshirt freshman Joe Cox, who started the game, was 4-of-10 for just 24 yards.

"We struggled man, but there are going to be those times," Stafford said. "I felt like I played pretty well. I managed the offense, had the right checks on most every play. I felt good about it, and I'm happy for the team. We played well enough to win, and that's what matters."

Tereshinski started the Bulldogs' first two games and was 9-of-20 passing for 108 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions before suffering a high ankle sprain in the first half against South Carolina on Sept. 9.

"I've got to come out and make sure I can run the offense, make sure I'm clicking with the other guys out there and the best guy is going to play," he said. "The other guys have had a couple other games, and I've just got to step in there and show I can do it again."

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