Opposition Research

Anthony Dasher, Editor
GA Varsity

USA Today

Four down, eight to go.

Saturday afternoon (3:39, CBS), 7th-ranked Georgia looks to make it five straight to open the 2017 campaign with a trip to Knoxville to take on Tennessee.

As we continue our Opposition Research series, we turn to Volquest.com publisher Brent Hubbs to get the latest on the Volunteers.

UGASports: Describe the overall mood of the Vol Nation heading Saturday's game.

Hubbs: “I think it a roller coaster right now. I think there's excitement because Georgia is coming to town and it's a team that Butch Jones' team has played well against and had success against. But there's still plenty of disappointment from the Florida loss and plenty of apprehension about how this month is going to go starting Saturday."

UGASports: Looking from the outside in, this would appear to be one of those "circle the wagon" games. Do you agree with that notion, and if so, how do you think the Volunteers will respond?

Hubbs: "They are 3-1 and there is a lot of football to be played. I think you throw last week out. Tennessee played poorly. They weren't emotionally completely invested in the game. And as a result they won an ugly game. I think ever coach loves to play the underdog role/chip on your shoulder type game. Jones has certainly been doing that this week and this team will play with much more energy."

UGASports: What's been the biggest problem with Tennessee's offense, and how correctable are the mistakes that are being made?

Hubbs: "The offense has been inconsistent and frankly seems to be struggle still to find their identity. It's so different without Josh Dobbs using his legs to move the football. To help the offense get into rhythm. They need to settle in on their best five offensive linemen. They can't turn it over like they have been. I thought they were predictable on Saturday against UMASS. Is it correctable? Yes. But there's several things to fix."

UGASports: What's been your assessment of the way Tennessee's defense has played?

Hubbs: "They have been growing and improving. Obviously, they gave up a horrible play at Florida to cost them that game. But overall, this defense is playing better now than they did in the season opener. Tennessee's defensive front has been steadily improving, but they miss impact players like Derek Barnett. I think another key to their growth has been the play of Rashaan Gaulden. The nickelback has played his best football the last two games.

"I think the secondary in this game is an area to watch. Tennessee's secondary hasn't been tested vertically a great deal."

UGASports: What are you expecting to happen Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium?

Hubbs: "I think it's going to be a really good atmosphere. I think Tennessee fans, while maybe not elated with everything, will show up and making it a tough road environment.

"And I think the team will show up. I don't put a ton of stock in the fact that Tennessee was flat last week. But the fact they never got going offensively is very concerning.

"I think this is the best Georgia team that Jones will have faced in his Tennessee tenure so it's a real challenge for Tennessee.

"I don't know that it will be the high scoring affair it's been the last few years, but I think it will be good football game if Tennessee can eliminate turnovers and not shoot themselves in the foot offensively."

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