"We're trying to go 6-1," said Richt. "Every Eastern Division foe is very big and Vanderbilt is on top of the league right now in the East, so we get to play them and that's good. They play as a team; they have great chemistry and believe in what they're doing. That's a great tribute to Coach Johnson. It's not easy to keep that attitude going."
Saturday's contest will be Georgia's first Homecoming game featuring a pair of nationally ranked teams since 1946. In the 1946 Homecoming contest, No. 3 Georgia crushed No. 7 Ga. Tech 35-7. In the 1942 Homecoming game, No. 5 Georgia blanked No. 2 Georgia Tech 34-0.
The Bulldogs lost their second starting left tackle of the season this past Saturday in the win over Tennessee. After losing sophomore Trinton Sturdivant due a knee injury in the preseason, junior Vince Vance went down in the second quarter of the Tennessee game with a season-ending knee injury. Vance will have surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Sophomore Clint Boling played the remainder of the game at left tackle.
"Clint did a good job stepping in, and we're not sure what we're going to there yet, but right now we're leaning toward him at left tackle," said Richt. "He knows what to do, he's tough and athletic enough to do it. He's proven that, and he has enough experience to handle it. He's just a good football player and we trust him."
The Bulldogs may move sophomore Kiante Tripp back to tackle to provide depth as well. Tripp, a converted defensive end, began the season at tackle and then moved to tight end the past two games to help out when injuries hit that position. Richt said it's sad to see players experience season-ending injuries.
"It's a nightmare, first for these young men, because they work so hard to get ready and play, do their running, lifting, mat drills, go through spring ball, and now it's over for them," said Richt.
In other personnel news, Richt announced that sophomore tight end Bruce Figgins has decided to play the remainder of the season and then have shoulder surgery. After consulting with coaches and team doctors, the decision was left to Figgins on when to have surgery, to keep playing or to apply for a redshirt year this season. Redshirt freshman Aron White made his first career start at tight end this past Saturday.
"Bruce talked to (tight ends coach) Coach Lilly and Ron (Courson, UGA director of sports medicine), and he feels like he went through that game and felt outstanding," said Richt. "The bottom line is he told Coach Lilly he wants to play and John told me."
Richt said he was pleased with how Georgia's defense played this past Saturday especially against the run as they limited the Volunteers to one yard on 15 carries.
"Tennessee is an outstanding rushing team with backs that are going to play in the NFL," said Richt. "Our interior line, really the front seven did a beautiful job. Darryl Gamble played very well inside. We had some times when our corners and safeties supported the run. We tackled very well; there were not a lot of missed tackles. The longest run from scrimmage was seven yards. Our coaches put them in the right position, and they made the plays."
Georgia's defense has held an opponent under 60 yards rushing four times this season. Saturday's Homecoming game with Vanderbilt will kick off at 12:30 p.m. and be televised live by Raycom Sports.