His No. 10 Bulldogs helped that cause Saturday night with their second subpar performance in a row during a 14-9 win over SEC West doormat Ole Miss. Now, there are questions about all of Georgia’s players.
“We’ve just got a lot of work to do this week,” linebacker Danny Verdun Wheeler said. “Ole Miss gave us their best shot, and Tennessee is going to bring an even better shot. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see this Saturday.”
The Bulldogs are 5-0 and have the nation’s top scoring defense, but there are concerns even, or maybe especially, from within.
“It’s very evident there are a lot of things we have to get better at and probably in a hurry,” Richt said. “If we don’t, we’re not going to stay undefeated very long.” Georgia’s first five opponents have a combined winning percentage of 29 percent, but the preseason ends this weekend when No. 13 Tennessee (4-1) visits Sanford Stadium for a 7:45 p.m. game Saturday.
The Bulldogs slipped to 89th in the nation in total offense after gaining 248 yards against the Rebels (1-4). It was Georgia’s lowest total since last year’s Arkansas game (217).
“From what I’ve seen, it’s one or two guys (making mistakes) each play. Playing this game, you can’t have that,” said senior quarterback Joe Tereshinski, who is expected to return this week from a high ankle sprain and take back his starting role. “We might be a step too slow or a step too fast or not holding a block long enough. Some defenses have changed some things up, too.”
Georgia is 10th in the SEC in yards after facing four Division I-A foes who, on average, are ranked 54th in the country in total defense. Tennessee is 31st in the country in defense, but Vols coach Phil Fulmer still senses a dangerous game.
“I know what (Georgia is) capable of offensively,” he said Sunday. “There’s no question about that. They’ve got probably the best running back group in the conference and a really good group of receivers with speed and ability. There’s been some dropped balls. It kind of looks worse than it really is as I watch the tape.”
The Bulldogs won’t back down from their stiffest challenge of the season, junior cornerback Paul Oliver said.
“I’m not making any predictions, but I think we’re ready to line up against whoever is across from us and play hard,” he said. “We’ll definitely go into the game confident but not overconfident because we know before Saturday comes we have a lot of work to do.”