''We still have some big games left,'' defensive end Omari Hand said. ''If we go out and win the rest of 'em, that'll show people we still have our pride and that we keep fighting. It (Georgia game) didn't come out the way we wanted it to but we showed some heart out there.''
Offensive tackle Will Ofenheusle said the Vols have worked too hard to write off the season midway through their 12-game schedule.
''This is our lives 11 1/2 months out of the year,'' he said. ''We're working for a common goal -- winning as many games as we can. If you look at the big picture, you have to be excited about every game you go out there and play ... build on what you've worked for the past 11 months.
''Everybody's upset about the loss but I know everybody will be ready to play Alabama in two weeks.''
Wideout Kelley Washington said the Vols gained from the Georgia game, even in defeat.
''We stayed together as a team and really battled back,'' he said. ''That's what we take out of this game.''
Gibril Wilson, who made his first start at strong safety against Georgia, echoed those sentiments. Asked if Saturday's tough loss might help the team come together, he answered without hesitation.
''We HAVE come together,'' he said. ''Our backs were against the wall and we played hard. We didn't give up, didn't give an inch. The defense played great, the offense played great. A few plays here and there could've made it a different story.''
Defensive tackle Rashad Moore also was encouraged by the team's spirit and fight.
''We never quit,'' he said. ''We don't have a bunch of quitters on this team. We (UT defenders) played hard the second half and the offense stepped up and put some points on the board in the second half. We just didn't have enough time.''
Freshman quarterback James Banks touched on the same theme.
''We had a gameplan and we were going to stick with it -- and it worked,'' he said. ''But we had a fumbled snap and ran out of time. That's the way I'm going to look at this game ... we just ran out of time.''
At least one optimistic Vol is still clinging to faint hopes of a conference championship, even though Georgia (6-0, 3-0 SEC) probably would have to lose three times for Tennessee to achieve that unlikely goal.
''The hope's still there,'' said tailback Derrick Tinsley. ''We're still trying to get to where we want to be in December, and that's an SEC championship.
''Funny things can happen -- and I think they will. And we're still trying to get to a bowl game.''