Tennessee will have its toughest challenge of the year coming up this Saturday afternoon against the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (9-0, 7-0 SEC). However, one thing is certain, and that is that the Tennessee players are not afraid of Georgia.
There’s still a whole lot of respect and admiration for the other side of the ball. Tennessee’s players continually spoke about Georgia’s strengths on both sides of the ball on Tuesday. Yet, there’s a quiet confidence to the Volunteers after knocking off No. 18 Kentucky on Saturday night. The Vols are ready for this game and ready for the challenge.
“We don’t really look at [Georgia’s] record,” Tennessee DB Theo Jackson said on Tuesday. “We look at them like, we get that they play good team ball. But we play good team ball, too. We look at them like they put their pants on the same way we do. They put their shoulder pads on the same way that we do. We’re not looking at them as Superman. We’re just going in, we’re going to work hard this week, and go into the game the same way we go into every game – expecting to win.”
Similarly, Tennessee defensive lineman Matthew Butler explained why this is the biggest game of the season, but not because Tennessee is playing the number one team.
“The most important game is the next one,” Butler said on Tuesday, referencing Tennessee’s one-week-at-a-time mentality.
Additionally, Butler spoke about the desire to beat a number one ranked team, and particularly, why that would be significant to him.
“That’s why I’m here [at Tennessee],” Butler said about playing the number one team on a regular basis. “When I was 16 or 17 and decided I was going to come to the University of Tennessee, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to knock some number one’s off and become number one. Obviously, you know, that’s not exactly how it went but that’s what we plan to do. Knock a number one off.”
Butler continued on.
“That’s not a billboard statement or anything like that,” Butler said. “I think everybody who plays the number one team wants to knock them off. So that’s what we’re going to do. It’s just a matter of execution, doing the little things right, and doing it consistently.”