“But I thought he did a beautiful job,” Richt said. “He really did, and I’m glad he did.”
Shockley came in on the third series of the game as he usually does and led a seven-play, 63-yard touchdown drive. It was the only points Georgia scored in first 55 minutes of the game. It was Shockley’s first touchdown pass since the 2003 Alabama game. However, he was only in for on more series, the third series of the second half, in which he failed to lead the team to a first down.
“You always want to come back in, especially after you lead the team down and score a touchdown,” Shockley said. “I really didn’t know what to expect.”
Starting quarterback David Greene, who struggled as seven of his first eight drives ended in five or fewer plays, said he never began to look over his shoulder to see if Shockley was going to replace him.
“It’s just frustrating we lost,” Shockley said. “Whatever I did, it isn’t enough for us to win.”
MY BAD: Richt and backup quarterback Joe Tereshinski III both took responsibility for the fake punt that failed in the third quarter.
“I’m certainly not too thrilled with my decision on the fake punt,” Richt said. “I hat to do that to those young men, put them in a bad situation, as hard and they fought.”
The play call, which came on fourth-and-2 from Georgia’s 40-yard line, allowed for Tereshinski to decide just before the snap whether to punt or take a direct snap and try to run it up the middle. Brian Jordan snapped the ball directly to Tereshinski, but he was stuffed well short of the line of scrimmage.
“I made the call,” Tereshinski said. “At the point of attack, I thought there was a wide enough gap, but it closed quick.”
Richt said he never should have given Tereshinski a choice. Tennessee took advantage with a touchdown to go ahead 19-7.
“We should have punted the ball right there,” Richt said. “That’s what should have happened.”
Tennessee linebacker Kevin Burnett said the play was a sign to the Volunteers that Georgia was panicking.
CARRYING THE LOAD: Georgia’s tailback rotation didn’t feature a lot of rotating. Starter Danny Ware was the only running back with a carry in the first three quarters, and he wasn’t very effective when he did get the ball. He finished with 64 yards on 15 carries. It was the first time in a game which he finished that Ware had fewer than 100 yards.
Second-teamer Thomas Brown, who has been drawing rave reviews from Richt, didn’t get his first carry until the fourth quarter. He gained 8 yards but then lost 3 on the next carry. He finished with three carries for 2 yards.
“I think it’s good to split the time with those guys a little bit better,” Richt said.
Overall, the Bulldogs gained just 56 yards on 29 carries.
“We should have been able to run it better,” Richt said. “I’ll have to look at the film to see how we failed there.”
Ware would have liked to see the Bulldogs give the running game more of a chance.
“I don’t think we gave them enough look at the run to keep them off the pass,” he said.
WHERE’D HE GO: Georgia defensive end David Pollack had 15 tackles and four sacks in the previous two games against Tennessee, and he was going against a backup offensive tackle lots of times on Saturday. Still, he wasn’t much of a factor, logging only three tackles and one tackle for loss.
“I think he got kind of tired and fatigued because we were driving the ball,” said Tennessee tackle Albert Toeina, who filled in for regular starter Arron Sears. “I saw the tired in his eyes. He’s usually wired, but he was down, just looking at the floor.”
WHERE’D THEY GO: Richt said he thought his offensive line played pretty well overall, but the numbers tell a different story. The Bulldogs surrended five sacks, one more than they had given up in the first four games combined.
INJURY UPDATE: Reserve defensive tackle Ray Gant left the game late in the third quarter with an injury to his right shoulder. He left the game with his arm in a sling.
“They had to pull it back in place, but they don’t know what it is exactly,” Gant said.
Offensive guard Nick Jones played the entire game but had an undetermined ankle injury. He walked out of the locker room but was taken to the team bus on a cart. He said he didn’t believe the injury was serious.
As expected, tight end Martrez Milner (back) and linebacker Arnold Harrison (shoulder) did not play.