Defensive notebook

Aaron Murray's arm shredded Tennessee's defense for 266 yards Saturday in Athens but his feet may have hurt the Vols even more.

Georgia's redshirt freshman quarterback had two key runs that fueled the Dawgs' opening possession - scrambling nine yards for a first down and later rambling 35 yards for a touchdown. He also had a five-yard TD run in the third quarter. Discounting 18 yards in sacks, Murray finished with 59 rushing yards on seven carries.

"We actually knew he's fast, he's deceiving and you've got to get him on the ground," middle linebacker Nick Reveiz said. "When you blitz, you've got to get him on the ground and keep contain on him, and we didn't do that today."

Derek Dooley agreed.

"We lost contain and a couple of times the guy's there and he can't catch him," the Vols' head man said. "He's fast. That guy's a good quarterback now. He's got a strong arm and he can run. He's really good and he hurt us."

Georgia jumped on Tennessee early, bolting to a 17-0 first-quarter lead. The Vols rallied briefly but never really recovered.

"It was a really emotional first half," Reveiz said. "There was a big balloon that got deflated. That's how you could explain our composure today. We didn't do a good job."

Three Vol turnovers gave Georgia outstanding field position that the Dawgs parlayed into 17 of their 27 first-half points. Reveiz thought he and the other defenders should've handled the short-field situations a lot better.

"I feel like the turnovers seeped into us emotionally," he said, "and we can't be affected. We have to keep grinding."

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

Tennessee's pass defense has been riddled lately - surrendering 429 yards to UAB in Game 4, 215 to LSU in Game 5 and 266 to Georgia in Game 6. Bulldog receivers were open all day Saturday in Athens.

"We didn't hold up on our assignments," Dooley said, "and we didn't cover anybody, either. They'd run a route, throw it to 'em ... first and 10."

With the air attack clicking, a Georgia offense that struggled in previous weeks befuddled the Vols. Dooley said the Dawgs did nothing new.

"They just ran their offense," he said. "They just ran their offense and went up and down the field on us."

Oregon burned Tennessee for 447 yards of total offense in Game 2. Florida managed just 317 in Game 3 but UAB piled up 544 in Game 4, LSU 434 in Game 5 and Georgia 402 in Game 6.

"We're not stopping anybody," Dooley said. "That's been pretty consistent every game. How many yards did they get this game ... 600?"

MONITORING MONTORI

Montori Hughes is generally considered Tennessee's most talented defensive lineman, yet redshirt freshman walk-on Joseph Ayres started ahead of him Saturday in Athens.

"The other guy was playing better," Dooley said, when asked about the benching of Hughes. "Montori hasn't been playing with the consistency and discipline we need him to play, so we played the other guy, Joe Ayres."

Tennessee loses considerable size when Ayres (6-3, 265) is in for Hughes (6-4, 305). Hughes is not playing up to his potential, however.

"Montori's trying," Dooley said.

Hughes suffered an ankle injury Saturday that limited his playing time in the second half.

GOING GREEN

Georgia is a different team with superstar receiver A.J. Green in the lineup. That was obvious in Game 5 at Colorado, when the Dawgs produced 400 yards of total offense while Green was on the field, minus-19 yards while he was on the sidelines.

It was obvious again in Game 6. Green caught six passes for 96 yards and opened things up for Tavarres King (three catches for 48 yards), Aron White (two for 41), tight end Orson Charles (two for 35) and Kris Durham (one for 17). That quintet combined for 14 receptions and 237 yards, an average of 16.9 yards per catch.

"A.J. Green is awesome," Dooley said. "Most of the balls he caught we were doubling the guy."


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