Ready to bite back at 'Dawgs

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For most humans — and especially athletes — tearing an anterior cruciate ligament means rehabilitation, surgery, crutches and tons more of rehab before even closely resembling a return to 100 percent.

Tennessee redshirt freshman Christian Harris tore an ACL back in the spring but has ground his way back to the playing field and has already contributed in two games this season.

"He has recovered pretty quickly from his ACL," coach Derek Dooley said Tuesday. "From the day he got hurt, that is all he was focused on. How quickly can I get back. Generally, when you combine the right mindset with the right body type you come back pretty quickly. He is tough."

A player that knows all about going under the knife is senior Herman Lathers. The fellow linebacker knows what Harris has gone through and is proud of his understudy.

"It's a fast turnaround, but (Harris) is a guy that came in and busted his butt every day," Lathers said. "He is in rehab a couple of times a day. He's a guy that is going to work, he's always in the weight room working, so I'm not surprised that he is back this early because he worked for it and he deserves it."

Harris talks about his recovery, learning under the seniors and more in this video interview with InsideTennessee:

In Lathers' last trip south to play Georgia, he was part of a defense that saw the Bulldogs get the Vols on the mat early with the legs of quarterback Aaron Murray, who got the home team on the board first with a 35-yard touchdown run.

As a fifth-year senior, Lathers has made it a point to educate his teammates on Murray's dual-threat ability and the Bulldog running game, knowing if Tennessee can stop their ground attack, sneaking out of town with the upset becomes much more likely.

"Georgia is a big running team, so they want to run the ball and I think when you stop the run and get them to pass the ball you have them right where you want them," Lathers said. "Our main objective is to stop the run and once we stop the run we should have a ball game."

See what else Lathers had to say following Tuesday's practice on Haslam Field:

Two years ago, the last time the Volunteers were in Athens, quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Justin Hunter started to inform the college football world of their talents. The 6-foot-4 target caught four passes for 110 yards and one of just two Tennessee touchdowns in a 41-14 loss.

"It was really cool — a big atmosphere there," Hunter said. "There was a sea of red just like Coach said and it was very competitive there. I know I had a breakout game the first time I went there. It was a real tough loss for us."

Now, the Virginia Beach, Va., native is returning to Sanford Stadium bigger, stronger and more knowledgeable. He is 13th in the country in averaging 102.5 receiving yards per game.

Get Hunter's thoughts on this year's version of the rivalry by clicking play on the HD video below:

Tennessee sophomore Curt Maggitt's head was spinning at times in 2011 after playing on the prep level just one year prior for Dwyer (Fla.) High School. As a sign of the progress the Big Orange is making, not one true freshman has to trot out with the starters.

"We're getting older," Maggitt told InsideTennessee on Tuesday. "Last year, a few freshmen started, including me and A.J. (Johnson). Now we have guys who are older who can contribute and understand and have been here for a while. I feel like that's a positive."

Watch as Maggitt speaks with the media as Georgia week progresses:

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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