Slowing down the Dawgs

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The Tennessee defense and coordinator Sal Sunseri will have a tough test heading into Athens, Ga., to square off with division rival Georgia.

The Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) bring the league's leading offense into the fourth week of the season, averaging over 530 yard per contest. And, for the first time in school history, they have thrown up 40 or more points in four consecutive games.

"We all know about Georgia," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "There is no sense in me talking about how good they are. They are probably playing as good as I have seen them in a long time.

"The quarterback is averaging 10.5 yards an attempt, the runner is average 9.2 yards an attempt, (averaging) 48 points, only giving up 16 and probably one of the most talented defenses in the country."

Quarterback Aaron Murray is without a doubt one of the most dangerous players at head coach Mark Richt's disposal. The junior out of Tampa, Fla., is 64 of 104 passing for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions.

"He is playing with a lot of confidence right now and he has a very strong arm," Dooley said. "He has a lot of snaps under his belt, they don't change a lot offensively in what they do and it is that deliberate practice. He has had a lot of work at getting good at what they do."

Unfortunately for the Vols (3-1, 0-1), their demise defensively in 2012 has been the big play. Safety Byron Moore, who finished last week's game with two interceptions, says the defense is still a work in progress.

"Having bad fits on those certain plays," Moore said of the breakdowns. "It is an ongoing thing, it is never going to be perfect, but we just have to keep working hard and when those big plays do happen just keep our composure."

Vol defensive lineman Maurice Couch acknowledges the 'Dawgs explosive attack, but he also knows they are using a whole lot of trickery to get things done.

"Georgia pretty much has the same offense they have had in the last few years," Couch said. "They are pretty much like a tradition offense, a pro offense, they run downhill. It is nothing complicated. We just have to put the best personnel in there and go execute."

Along with Murray, Georgia boasts a violent rushing attack led by freshman Todd Gurley, who is averaging 101.5 yards per game. Gurley was named the SEC Freshman of the Week this past week for his 130 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's 48-3 massacre of Vanderbilt.

"They are great offense, obviously," Moore said. "It is going to be a big challenge for us. They have been running the ball a lot and Murray is a good passer. They look like they have a lot of confidence in him this year. It will be a good test for us."

Watch as select Tennessee players and Dooley address the media in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center on Monday:

Maurice Couch

Byron Moore

Derek Dooley

Chris Price is a staff writer for He was previously an intern for the site for two years before graduating from the University of Tennessee. He joined the InsideTennessee team in 2009.

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