Offensive notebook

One week after Tennessee was penalized for having 13 defenders on the field against LSU, Vol tailback Tauren Poole figured Georgia must have had at least 13 on the field Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

"They were everywhere," he said. "They were everywhere. They got our number today. Hats off to them."

Eleven defenders proved sufficient for Georgia, which limited Tennessee to a mere nine net yards on 26 rushing attempts en route to a 41-14 win.

"We didn't have much of a running game," head coach Derek Dooley noted. "We knew it was going to be tough to run the ball. They've got a talented defensive line, and there wasn't a lot of air."

Even so, Poole blamed Tennessee more than he credited Georgia.

"I don't think we were locked in mentally today to start the game," he said. "There was a lot of turnovers happening. We've got to pick it up. That's on us.

"We've got to get ready to play some good football. We're capable of playing good football. There's just little bitty mistakes that happen throughout the game."

Dooley accused the Vols of being too focused on the score, rather than being focused on competing each play. Poole agreed.

"Exactly," he said. "You see people scoreboard-watching and looking at the clock. It isn't all about that. It's about competing every down, every single play, in your one-on-one matchups. We didn't get that done."


Down 24-7 with six minutes left in the third quarter, Tennessee needed to snap back. Instead, a botched snap helped seal the Vols' doom.

On first-and-10 at the Vol 26-yard line, center Darin Gooch made a shotgun snap that quarterback Matt Simms wasn't expecting. Simms eventually fell on the ball at the 3-yard line, leaving Tennessee facing a second-and-33. The adverse field position resulted in a 20-yard Georgia field goal that padded the gap to 27-7.

Dooley said the errant snap occurred because Gooch thought a Bulldog defender had encroached into the neutral zone. He quickly snapped the ball in hopes Georgia would incur an offsides penalty.

"Gooch thought they jumped across the line of scrimmage, and they weren't even close," Dooley said. "So he snaps it, and Matt's not looking. Gooch was seeing shadows. The guy's shadow was offsides, I guess, and he thought that was the guy, and so he snapped it."


Junior quarterback Matt Simms threw a first-quarter interception Saturday, snapping a string of 72 consecutive passes without a pick. The ball, slightly underthrown, was tipped by Georgia's Vance Cuff and reeled in by fellow defensive back Bacarri Rambo.

"I guess I babied it a little bit, tried to place it in there a little too perfect," Simms said.

With Georgia leading 41-14 in the fourth quarter, Simms was replaced by freshman backup Tyler Bray. Simms accepted the move philosophically.

"I didn't want to come out but I didn't have a choice," he said. "I understand why they wanted to put him in. Obviously, the game was out of reach, and they wanted to get him reps. God forbid, he needs to be ready to take over if something happens to me.

"That's just a coach decision, and that's fine with me. I've just got to be a part of the team and support him every way I can."


Given Georgia's 1-4 record and fractured fan base, Tennessee thought the Bulldogs would come out flat Saturday afternoon. When the Dawgs instead came out fired up, the Big Orange couldn't match their energy.

"Not at all. Not at all," Poole said. "You can see from the result of the game.

"They brought it, and I guess we wasn't expecting it. Nobody expected Georgia to bring it like that. We kind of underestimated them a little bit. They came and they brought their best game today, as you could see ... 41-14. They put it on us."

Dooley agreed, noting that the Bulldogs "were hungry and ready. They looked what I think everybody (in preseason) expected them to look like."

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