Shockley Treatment

Some quarterbacks can run well. Some quarterbacks can throw well. Then there's a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare – the quarterback who can do both well.

Odds are, Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis has been having some unpleasant dreams about Georgia's D.J. Shockley this week. Though best known for his mobility (he has 151 rushing yards), Shockley leads the Southeastern Conference in passing efficiency with a 165.9 rating. For the sake of comparison, Tennessee's Rick Clausen checks in at 117.3.

Clearly, keeping Shockley under control will be Job One when the Vols and Bulldogs collide Saturday at 3:30 in Neyland Stadium.

"He's an outstanding player," Chavis said. "He's throwing the ball extremely well. He looks more poised in the pocket than he's ever been. He's leading the league in efficiency … and he's a big threat to run … if we can force him to. If we don't force him to, he won't have to."

Given Shockley's elusiveness, keeping him contained is a key for Tennessee.

"Yeah, but also you have to be able to apply pressure," Chavis said. "If you let him sit back there all day, he's good enough and their system is good enough that they'll pick you apart."

One of Shockley's best friends is Vol defensive back Jason Allen, which puts them in an unusual situation Saturday.

"We both understand what's at stake," Allen said. "We have respect for each other but right now the friendship is out the window. It's about competing and putting your team in position to win."

Shockley is a concern but he isn't Georgia's only weapon. Tailbacks Danny Ware (237 yards, 5.8 per carry) and Thomas Brown (208 yards, 5.6 per carry) are exceptional rushers. Leonard Pope, a 6-7, 250-pounder, is the SEC's finest tight end.

"D.J.'s a great quarterback and he has a bunch of talent around him," Allen said. "That makes him better, and he makes the guys around him better."

All four of the quarterbacks UT has faced to date – Alabama-Birmingham's Darrell Hackney, Florida's Chris Leak, LSU's JaMarcus Russell and Ole Miss' Michael Spurlock – are somewhat mobile. That may have helped Tennessee's defense get ready for Shockley.

"I think it prepared us pretty well," Allen said. "Nowadays, pretty much all of your quarterbacks are going to be mobile and able to come out of the pocket. That's something we're going to have to get used to."

Tennessee beat Georgia 19-14 last year in Athens, limiting David Greene to 15 completions in 34 attempts for a mere 163 yards. Shockley relieved for one second-quarter series, completed four of seven passes for 46 yards and promptly guided the Dawgs to a touchdown. Incredibly, he never saw the field again that day.

"D.J. is a lot more mobile than David was and his arm is as strong as David's was," Allen said. "He's capable of coming out of the pocket and throwing the deep ball. He's a talented individual.

"I told D.J. last year I was glad they didn't play him (after the one drive) because the way he was playing they may have beat us."


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