In the middle of Georgia’s game with Arkansas the most valuable player for the Bulldogs went down with an injury – suddenly it was Joe Tereshinski’s turn. Never having taken a significant snap in his career, Tereshinski was inserted into an SEC battle with no warning. He threw a touchdown shortly after coming into the game, but he and the Bulldogs had to hold on to beat Arkansas 23-20.
In getting the win Tereshinski had done his job for the time being. But the looming monster that is Georgia’s troubled past with Florida was only six days away, and Shockley was not going to be able to play. It was Tereshinski’s turn to play, and it came in the biggest game of the year.
“I look back more on the way I prepared for those games – was there anything else I could have done to make us win?” Tereshinski questioned.
Georgia fell to Florida 14-10, which meant the Bulldogs’ undefeated season was gone as was their dream of a national title. Tereshinski thinks about that game at times, he admitted.
“I am happy I started, but the outcome was to win. I want to get better, and not having the job right now makes me look back, and think that there may have been some things I could have done to change things. I think I could have prepared a little bit more to be more comfortable with the system,” he said.
Tereshinski and the Dawgs’ passing offense floundered against the Gators. Georgia had a season-low 109 yards passing, and only one touchdown (on a trick play), which Tereshinski caught (rather than threw) and scored on. Still, the senior quarterback said he was comfortable before the game.
Joe Tereshinski, catches and evenntually scores a touchdown on a trick play. The play, in which the ball was actually thrown by running back Thomas Brown, seemed to be the momentum changer the Bulldogs needed to beat Florida.
But the Bulldogs fell 14-10 and the Gators inched one game closer to catching the Dawgs in the SEC East standings. (Photo: Dean Legge)
|“I felt great going into the Florida game, Tereshinski said. “To be honest, I felt less nervous than I did going into a high school game because I didn’t prepare for my high school games like I did for the Florida game.”
Tereshinski said he’s worked this off-season to make sure he’s ready for the competition that will be Georgia’s quarterback spot this fall.
“I have worked on being more accurate with the ball this summer,” said the Athens native, who admits that was one of his weaknesses in 2005.
“I have been developing my leadership skills more,” he continued. “Everyone, the whole organization, is looking for a guy to step up and speak, and I feel like it is my turn to do so."
“It’s not been hard to speak because I have had two great leaders in front of me – D.J. and David. They showed me the way, and are great guys to look up to. They showed me how to lead. These are guys that have won championships, and there are really no better role models than those two. If I can model myself around the way they lead this team, I feel like I can be successful,” he said.
Tereshinski is looking at none other than Shockley to model his final season after, and important people have noticed the work he’s done to make 2006 a lot like 2005.
“Joe has been a fantastic soldier for us,” said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. “He has helped us in anyway we have needed him."
Tereshinski has served as back-up deep snapper and the punt team's personal protector in addition to his role as back-up quarterback.
"He has also continued to grow as a quarterback and leader. You could draw a parallel between D.J. and Joe – there are definitely some similarities there. Joe is a guy that knows what he is doing, and is a leader. Joe has the ability to hit his target, move the ball and score points – that’s what it’s all about. I have a lot of confidence in Joe.”
“D.J. came out firing, and he had a lot of questions going into that Boise State game,” the senior said. “He answered all of them in (the Boise State) game. He was on – after that game he was the guy with no more questions. I you can prepare like him, if you can lead like him, and if you can want to win like him that would be the way to come out and handle the situation.”
Tereshinski will likely get his chance against Western Kentucky in less than six weeks. Until then he's getting his aim ready by looking forward, not behind.