Burnett POed about UGA insult

Tennessee linebacker Kevin Burnett hasn't forgotten how Georgia's football players desecrated the ''T'' at midfield of Neyland Stadium two years ago, and he seems eager to get revenge in this Saturday night's rematch.

''They've beaten us three times in a row, so obviously it's kind a burden,'' he said. ''And a lot of us have taken it personally because the last time they were here they jumped on our T. I don't know about anybody else, but that hits close to home to me.''

Burnett tore an ACL and missed the 2002 game in Athens but he says he's fired up about facing Georgia this weekend.

''I guarantee you'll see a motivated Kevin Burnett,'' he vowed. ''That (jumping on the T) is the biggest form of an insult to anybody. That's like me coming into your house with mud on me and not wiping my feet. You'd take offense at that. You'd be dang POed. It's personal.''

Burnett said he believes his teammates are just as angry as he is about the incident.

''I would say so,'' he said. ''A lot of guys are real motivated.''

He even suggests that bad feelings linger from the 2001 incident which could erupt this Saturday night.

''It almost came to blows last time,'' he said, ''so I'd be expecting anything.''

One thing Burnett expects this Saturday is a better performance than Tennessee's stop unit gave in last Saturday's 28-21 loss at Auburn. The Tigers piled up 264 rushing yards.

''We have to do things better,'' Burnett said. ''We have to take it upon ourselves to make plays. That's the biggest thing.''

Head coach Phillip Fulmer said Vol defenders were guilty of numerous alignment and assignment errors vs. Auburn. What can be done to correct these problems?

''We have to make sure we're running things (defenses) where everybody knows what they're doing,'' Burnett said. ''We got ourselves last time -- people not lined up and not getting the call in fast enough.''

Asked if the Vol scheme is too complicated, if the players are too inexperienced or if something else is the problem, Burnett paused thoughtfully.

''It's a combination of everything,'' he said. ''Some guys don't know some things; some guys don't know where to go on certain calls; some guys don't ask questions. They're asking me what to do in the huddle.''

Burnett hinted that UT's players -- not UT's coaches -- are to blame, failing to ask questions when the staff puts in new wrinkles during practice.

''Everybody shakes their head like 'Yeah, we have it,' and so we put in more stuff,'' he said. ''The biggest thing for us, we have to know our assignment and know our alignment, then go out there and get the job done, beat the one-on-one block.''

Still, he hints that Tennessee might be wise to simplify what it's doing on defense, so all of the players can be on the same page.

''We have to get down and play one defense and say, 'OK, this is what we're going to do,' '' he said.

In addition to misalignments and missed assignments, Tennessee's defense has struggled with slow starts the past two weeks. South Carolina scored touchdowns on two of its first three possessions in Game 4 and Auburn scored TDs on each of its first two possessions in Game 5. A similar start against high-scoring Georgia could doom Tennesse to a second consecutive loss.

''We have to make a statement early,'' Burnett said, ''We have to let Georgia know: 'We're in this to win, not just to play with you guys.' ''


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