Georgia/Tennessee Game Notes

ATHENS, Ga. - <b>Fred Gibson</b> took a tumble on Georgia's depth chart this week. Gibson was a starter in the first five games, no matter the formation. Even though Georgia opened with four receivers Saturday, Gibson was not on the field for the first snap.

In a surprise move, Terrence Edwards, Damien Gary, Michael Johnson and Reggie Brown were the four starting receivers.  Fred Gibson has struggled with some drops and fumbles this year and also was not meeting expectations as a blocker.

 "It was a performance issue,'' said Georgia coach Mark Richt. "Fred certainly made a great catch last week, but there were other on-the-field issues. We just didn't think he played well enough to start.''  Added Richt: "Guys have to realize we have a certain standard here in order to play. Fred had a great week of practice and responded well. He's not in trouble. We're not real disappointed with Fred. He just has to pick up the slack in a couple areas and when he does he'll be back in there.''  Richt also noted Gibson "didn't finish the drill'' on some routes last week against Alabama.

 Gibson had only one catch for two yards against Tennessee. Entering the game, he led the team with 23 receptions for 374 yards.  Edwards led the team Saturday with seven catches for 112 yards.  

  • Smith suffers injury: Tailback Musa Smith left the game in the fourth quarter after jamming his neck. Richt said he couldn't speculate about the severity of the injury "but it did not seem like an injury he will be out very long.''
  • Big play for Snyder, Wall: Two former walk-ons were responsible for the key blocks on the play that clinched the victory for Georgia.  Holding to an 18-13 lead, Richt decided to go for a first down on fourth and 2 from the Tennessee 35.  Defensive end David Pollack had been on the field on a third-down run in his role as the "wham back'' but Richt decided to have two former walk-ons who now are the team's top two fullbacks - Snyder and Wall - take over for Pollack.  "I just thought Snyder would be better on a toss sweep,'' Richt said.  "(Tight end) Ben Watson made a beautiful block and Braxton made a beautiful block and J.T. knocked two guys down with one block.''  As a result, tailback Tony Milton turned the corner on the toss sweep right and gained 25 yards to the Tennessee 10. After that, quarterback David Greene used up the clock by taking a knee on three snaps.
  • Lining up: Redshirt freshman center Russ Tanner saw his first playing time as he completed his comeback from a preseason hand injury. Tanner saw significant time while rotating with starter Ian Knight. Also, freshman Josh Brock saw significant time behind Alex Jackson at guard. For the second straight week, George Foster shared time with tackle Kareem Marshall.
  • Worth noting: Georgia has won three straight over Tennessee for the first time since 1980, 1981 and 1988. The teams didn't play between 1981 and 1988. For the first time since 1991, Georgia won back-to-back games against ranked opponents, beating No. 22 Alabama last week before stopping the No. 10 Vols. Freshman defensive tackle Kedric Golston recorded his first career fumble recovery.
  • Coming up: Georgia plays host to Vanderbilt next Saturday at 12:30. Tennessee is off next week and then plays host to Alabama Oct. 26.
  • New academic center unveiled: Rankin Smith Jr. and Taylor Smith attended the ceremony Saturday morning dedicating the new academic center named in honor of their father. The Rankin M. Smith Sr. Student-Athlete Academic Center, located across from Stegeman Coliseum, was unveiled.  The family of Smith, the founder and former long-time owner of the Atlanta Falcons, donated $3.5 million to the center. "The generosity of some of the Smith family members is overwhelming and the gift is genuinely appreciated by all those connected with both the athletic association and the university,'' said Georgia athletics director Vince Dooley.  The facility consists of computer labs, a multi-media classroom, 20 large and small group tutoring rooms, a writing center, offices for academic counselors and a meeting room with seating for 250.  Former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders, who was a close friend of Rankin Smith, Sr., also attended the ceremony.

Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com

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