ATHENS, Ga. – Clearly, every major U.S. region should be measured not only by its economic growth or its suburban sprawl, but also by its rap resume. Maybe flying into Atlanta today made me think of this. Atlanta's rap resume: I'd say strong to very strong.
Anyway, spent some time on Georgia's campus today. Outside of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall athletic complex is a stern message (it's in red writing, so you know it's all business): "Solicitation of Autographs is Prohibited on Athletic Association Property." Compliance department is on it.
Let's see if Georgia's defense is just as stringent. The Bulldogs will get a lift Saturday against Tennessee when safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree return from suspension. It's been rumored all week, and when asked about the two this afternoon, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham told me, “Those two guys, you're talking about explosive playmakers.”
When asked about his eagerness to get them back in the lineup, Grantham said, “If they play. They are on the depth chart.”
It's true. Rambo and Ogletree, fixtures on last year's D, are listed as starters on the team's depth chart. Georgia's been coy on the subject, but Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray should expect to see those two in red on Saturday.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley will likely need a big performance from Bray to avoid a 0-2 start in the SEC for the third straight year. Which is why Grantham's message to the Bulldogs is clear: Limit big plays.
The Vols, who rank eighth in the country in passing yards at 341 per game, have four different receivers with at least one catch of 35 yards or more.
Grantham still wants to control the running game, but he knows Tennessee might not need to run because of receivers Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and a quarterback “who can really sling it."
“Make them earn everything they get,” Grantham said.
Eager to see whether the Vols defense resurges after a 37-20 unraveling at home against Florida two weeks ago.
Tennessee starts its brutal four-game stretch of SEC games against a quarterback that's done everything right lately.
“The whole Bulldog nation believes in Aaron Murray,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt of his junior quarterback, who has 1,092 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions through four games. “(Teammates) know how hard he's worked, and they respect that.”
PREDICTION: Georgia 27,Tennessee 17. Vols face a few third-and-longs early on, but Georgia swings momentum in the second half with the running game.