Bob Kesling is one of the great play-by-play announcers in the business, and one of the most well-liked and highly-respected personalities in the Southeastern Conference. Bob succeeded the legendary John Ward and over 20 years has become an icon himself. He is kind enough once again to give us his insights on Saturday night’s game in Knoxville.
What does Tennessee need to do to win?
“Get better quarterback play. It has been inconsistent at best. Costly turnovers. The coaching staff took a long look at that position during the open date.“
What are some of the key match-ups for the game?
“Tennessee’s offensive line against Georgia front seven. Can Tennessee block them and establish a running game? Tennessee started the season rotating 10 different offensive linemen in the first two games. They seem to have settled on their best five now and are looking for some consistency.“
How much of a factor do you think the familiarity between the two coaching staffs affect the game?
“I would think a lot. Jim Chaney would obviously have an idea on the Georgia personnel and Kirby Smart’s approach on defense. Kirby Smart has a good idea on how Jeremy Pruitt wants to play defense. And now to think each staff has had two weeks to plot and scheme against the other side.“
What would a win over Georgia mean for the Tennessee program?
“It would obviously be a positive step. Last year, Tennessee pulled off big upsets against Auburn and Kentucky, but then didn’t build on those wins, losing its last two and missing a bowl game. A win over Georgia would give the team and the fan base hope that Coach Pruitt is getting closer to turning things around.“
What is your take on Georgia?
“Very good. Very well balanced team with very solid quarterback play. The win over Notre Dame was very impressive and should give Georgia plenty of confidence it can win the SEC East.“
You’ve had such a great career at your alma mater, what are some of your favorite memories from calling Vol games?
“The Jauan Jennings catch against Georgia obviously is up there. It was just one of the most unbelievable endings in the history of college football. Back to back Hail Marys? You never see that. Tennessee beat Arkansas in six overtimes back in 2002. Casey Clausen hit Jason Witten on a 25-yard strike in the 6th overtime. That was a big win pulled off by two of my all-time favorite Vols.“
What are some changes you would like to see in college football or the SEC in general?
“I don’t think there are too many changes. I think they have the playoff right with four teams. There are plenty of playoff games during the year, like Georgia-Notre Dame, to determine the best four teams. I would like to see the players have the right to transfer if their coach leaves for another job. While there is the argument the players come to play for a school, I think we all know they actually come to play for a coach. While we are all frustrated by replay and all the time they take, I do think they are getting most of them right. I think that we will see more, not less replays in the coming seasons.“