Last year you said this tennessee team was really a “running team that chunks it deep,” was wondering if that’s still how you saw them, and if they are still a run first team can you talk about how you plan on neutralizing jaylen wright who is currently averaging 7.2 yards a carry
Coach Kirby Smart was pretty honest to us today. He said preparing for the Tennessee Volunteers ends up being the “hardest” week of the year because “trying to replicate what they do” is such a challenge. He explained to us that the Vols are a very unique team in all aspects of the game: offense, defense, and even special teams.
Something I think is especially different is the way that Georgia is going to have to prepare to defend Tennessee’s impressively efficient run game. Their leading rusher Jaylen Wright is averaging 7.2 yards a carry right now, and as a team they’re getting 5.6. Last year Smart said not to be deceived by Tennessee’s flashy passing game and that they were a “running team that chunks it deep,” and the sentiment still appears to remain true today.
Similar to 2022, Tennessee’s offense still likes to use every inch of grass between the sidelines, literally spreading defenses thin. These kinds of offensive formations force defenses into less than favorable situations defending the run. In Georgia’s case it’ll more than likely force the Dawgs to have only six players defend the run– instead of the traditional seven- and that presents a problem according to Smart.
“You can’t stop it with light boxes. They make it where you can’t. You’ve got to be able to strike a man, get off a block… You know, like you either get blocked or you don’t get blocked. And you’ve got to win a whole bunch of one-on-ones…”
Georgia’s run defense was in the air for a moment with Jamon Dumas-Johnson’s injury, but true freshman C.J. Allen has stepped up in his absence with nine tackles and a sack in what was his first start against Ole Miss this past weekend. He’ll need to keep up the pace to do his part in stopping this volatile Volunteer offense.
Although Tennessee proved a bit more dangerous last year with Hendon Hooker (now a Detroit Lion), they’re still packin’ a punch with Joe Milton at the wheel. Add to their raucous home environment, Neyland Stadium, and their fourteen game win streak at home, and you’ll see that the Vols will have a lot to play for this weekend in Knoxville.