Defense must avoid lapses

Tennessee's defense will face its sternest to date Saturday against a Georgia team that has a complete arsenal of offensive weapons.

Quarterback David Greene is one of the smoothest operators in the SEC. Tailback Musa Smith is one of the league's premier rushers. Then there's a wide receiver corps that features such standouts as Terrence Edwards, Fred Gibson and Damien Gary.

Asked if the Bulldogs have more playmakers than previous UT foes, Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis nodded.

''Probably so,'' he said. ''I don't know that we'll play a more talented team. When you start looking at quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line ... they don't have a weakness. They've got outstanding talent at every single position.''

That means Tennessee cannot afford the kind of defensive lapse it suffered near the end of last Saturday's game with Arkansas. Leading 17-10, the Vols had the Razorbacks backed up at their own 8-yard line with less than 4:00 remaining. One busted coverage later, the Hogs had completed a 92-yard touchdown pass and the score was tied. Until that big play, the Vols had done an exceptional job defensively.

''We were where we needed to be,'' Chavis said. ''If we go out and get 'em stopped with three minutes to go -- they had 255 yards to that point -- you feel pretty good about the numbers. But we're about getting stops and not giving up big plays. One play can get you beat and certainly that was a play we didn't want to give up.''

That play took the shine off an otherwise outstanding effort by the Big Orange stop unit.

''Our guys competed well,'' Chavis said. ''They did a good job throughout the game but you can't come in every week and say, 'We played well except for one or two plays.' That's not going to get it done.

''We had a couple of other big plays where we made it easy for Arkansas to move the ball and gain yardage. You're going to have some mistakes but you have to minimize those if you want to be a good defensive football team.''

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