Preview 2010 - Oct. 9 Tennessee at Georgia
Georgia WR A.J. Green  & Tennessee TE Luke Stocker
Georgia WR A.J. Green & Tennessee TE Luke Stocker
Posted Jun 21, 2010

Check out the quick early look at the October 9th showdown ... Tennessee at Georgia

Preview 2010 - Oct. 9

Tennessee at Georgia

- 2010 Georgia Preview | 2010 Georgia Offense
- 2010 Georgia Defense | 2010 Georgia Depth Chart

- 2010 Tennessee Preview | 2010 Tennessee Offense
- 2010 Tennessee Defense | 2010 Tennessee Depth Chart

CFN Early Line: Georgia -7.5

Offense: The offense started to hit its stride midway through last year, but it wasn't steady. Now it's going to be wildly inconsistent, and the hope will be for it to work for any appreciable stretch under new coordinator Jim Chaney. The receiving corps has the potential to be among the most talented in the SEC, and the backfield is loaded with great runners, but they might all be kept under wraps unless the quarterbacks and linemen show they can play. All five starters have to be replaced up front, and while it might take a little while to produce, the payoff should be enormous; this is a more talented line than last year's. Quarterback will be the bigger problem with Matt Simms (Phil's son and Chris's brother) and star prospect Tyler Bray looking to survive under fire.
Defense: Gone is the Monte Kiffin Tampa-2 defense, but that doesn't mean new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox won't be aggressive and won't rely on his safeties to be stars. The Vol defense was phenomenal against the pass and struggled against the run, and that might be the same issue again with a try-hard group of banged up linebackers and a shaky tackle situation. The ends, Chris Walker and Ben Martin, are among the best in the SEC, and the emergence of safeties Janzen Jackson and Darren Myles will ease the loss of Eric Berry, but there are a lot of cracks to fill in around them. The defense will have its moments, but it'll be inconsistent and will likely have one or two meltdown games.

Three Tennessee Players To Know

1) Former linebacker Chris Walker had the task of stepping in for first-round draft pick Robert Ayers and did a solid job. The 6-3, 245-pound senior wasn't the same pass rusher, but he led the team with six sacks with 8.5 tackles for loss to go along with 42 tackles. Active, he also came up with two interceptions and forced a fumble. Extremely quick off the ball, he didn't lose any of his athleticism even after bulking up a bit, and now, with his talent, his tools, and his motor, he should be an even bigger playmaker.

2) Working on the other side of Walker will once again be Ben Martin , a 6-3, 251-pound senior who started ten games and came up with a decent year as a nice pass rusher making 38 tackles with 3.5 sacks. He added more than ten pounds over the last year to be more of a true end than an outside linebacker, and with the prototype look, quickness, and size for a collegiate outside pass rusher, he could be in for a huge year.

3) After having a problem early on with an ankle injury, Gerald Jones grew into his role as the No. 1 receiver finishing with 46 catches for 680 yards and four touchdowns averaging over 14 yards per catch. While he wasn't used as a runner like he was earlier in his career, and he ceded his punt return duties, he has become a more polished receiver and will be the go-to guy from the start yet again. With 6-0, 195-pound size, he's not all that big, but he's phenomenally quick and deadly in the open field.

Offense: As it turned out, yes, the early departure of QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno to the NFL did matter. The offense was inconsistent before finding a groove late in the year, and even then every game was different as the passing game didn't always take advantage of all the weapons and the running game didn't explode like it should've. 2010's concerns and issues are the same as 2009's, but there's a bit more experience to work with. The line, banged up as it might be, is still going to terrific, and it could be the best in the nation if everyone is healthy. A.J. Green leads a dangerous receiving corps, and there's plenty of talent and speed in the backfield, but can QB Aaron Murray come through? All the pieces are in place to be far, far better than last year as long as the quarterback play is better and as long as the turnovers (28 given away last season) are kept to a minimum.
Defense: The Georgia defense picked off ten passes and forced two fumbles, but worse yet, it got bombed on by the better quarterbacks and was good, but not phenomenal against the run. Even with all the issues, finishing 38th in the nation in total defense isn't that bad. Changes needed to be made, though, and in comes Todd Grantham as the new defensive coordinator. With a pro background, most recently as the Dallas Cowboy defensive line coach, he's going to install a 3-4 with the idea to get even more aggressive. That means pass rushing terror Justin Houston will move to outside linebacker, while the huge front three will be in charge of shooting gaps to get into the backfield. The secondary loses three starters, but it has a world of upside with big safeties, speedy corners, and the potential to be far better and far more consistent with more pressure into the backfield.

Three Georgia Players To Know

1) If Alabama's Julio Jones isn't the top NFL receiver prospect in college football, it's A.J. Green, who has been the more consistent of the two stars but without as much fanfare. Despite being the target of every secondary after a breakout 56-catch season, he still made 53 grabs for 808 yards and six touchdowns despite missing three games. At 6-4 and 207 pounds with around 4.5 speed (although he has been reportedly clocked faster), he has the right blend of talents to go along with the smarts and the makeup to revolve a pro passing attack around. If someone can get him the ball on a regular basis, he'll carry the offense at times and he has the talent and ability to force safeties to rotate over to him on every play.

2) In the new defensive scheme, former defensive end Justin Houston will be turned loose as an outside linebacker. One of the SEC's premier pass rushers, the 6-3, 259-pound junior made 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss along with 39 tackles in a full-time role after missing the first few games of last season due to a suspension for violating the team's drug policy. He's going to have to do more against the run now that he's playing with his hand off the ground, but he'll also get a head start and more space to move to fly into the backfield on every play.
3) There wasn't much of a buzz about junior Drew Butler taking over the punting job last year. All he did was bomb away for a 48.1-yard average, put 19 inside the 20, and crank out 24 kicks of more than 50 yards on his way to the Ray Guy Award. Consistent and a weapon who bailed out the offense and gave the defense a few big breaks, he'll be one of the SEC's most important players.