Respert seeks respect

Being a native of Warner Robbins, Ga., Vol center Jason Respert took a lot of grief when he signed with Tennessee almost five years ago ... and he has taken even more grief since then. That's because he has never beaten his homestate university. The Bulldogs have whipped the Vols four years in succession.

''I hope to change that this year,'' Respert said, grinning broadly. ''If we go out and don't help 'em, (with turnovers) we've got a good chance.''

As the Georgia winning streak grew, so did the grief he heard back home.

''I've always taken grief,'' Respert said with a laugh. ''But that's part of it. I understand that.''

Of course, a victory Saturday in Athens would allow him to give the grief for a while.

''It's always nice to give it,'' he said. ''It's better to give than to receive.''

Although the Vols lost six turnovers in last Saturday's 34-10 loss to Auburn, Respert believes the offense is making steady progress under freshman quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer.

''I'm encouraged,'' he said. ''I like seeing the different defenses we've faced. That's great for us as an offense. Georgia runs multiple defenses, so anything they can throw at us we've seen before. That's good to know.''

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