Butch Jones on challenge facing No. 12 Georgia in Athens
Tennessee coach Butch Jones is well aware of the tough task facing his team this weekend. Jones’ Vols will travel to Athens to take on No. 12 Georgia on Saturday, looking to pull off an upset against a heavily favored Bulldog team.
“Now we are on to the great challenge of going on the road in Sanford Stadium,” Jones said in his weekly press conference on Monday. “Our young football team is going to find out what life is in the SEC with the grind that we are about to embark on. I think there is no secret, when you think of the University of Georgia, you think of their stable at running backs and it is a stable. Very talented, very physical. [Todd] Gurley, [Sony] Michel, [Nick] Chubb, [Keith] Marshall, they all bring a different element to their back field.”
Tennessee will face a Georgia running game that has totaled 912 yards and 12 touchdowns through three games. Todd Gurley leads with 402 yards and four touchdowns. Gurley is an early Heisman Trophy favorite and currently has 12/1 projected odds of winning the award, according to oddsshark.com.
The junior is averaging 134.00 yards per game and a staggering 9.80 yards on a team-best 41 attempts. Freshmen Sony Michel has 206 yards, three touchdowns and a 10.30 average on 20 carries. Nick Chubb has also seen an impressive start to his collegiate career with 114 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Jones also credited Georgia’s talented defense, including linebacker Ramik Wilson, who he called “one of the best linebackers we face all year.”
“They have an inordinate amount of depth on the defensive front and even entirely on their defense. They have different starting lineups which I think is a byproduct of them trying to create a competitive nature which we talk about, which we are trying to develop here. Whoever has the best practice probably plays for them, starts.
“They play a number of guys in the backend, up front, very, very explosive. It starts with [Jordan] Jenkins. The thing I have been very impressed with their defense is their turnover conscious, ball disruptions, they do a great job of creating turnovers and playing with a hard edge. Again, it is going to be a great challenge for this football team going on the road, in a hostile environment.”