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What Josh Heupel, Tennessee Players Said About Georgia on Monday

Tennessee Georgia
Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

Tennessee will host AP top-ranked Georgia this weekend in Knoxville in the penultimate game of the Vols’ 2023 regular season.

The undefeated Bulldogs will bring in a challenging team this weekend as Tennessee looks to bounce back from a lopsided loss against Missouri this past Saturday on the road.

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel spoke to the media on Monday afternoon in Knoxville and gave some thoughts on the Bulldogs throughout his eight-minute press conference. Additionally, Tennessee tight end Jacob Warren and defensive tackle Kurott Garland also spoke about Georgia at one point or another during their time with the media in Knoxville on Monday.

More from RTI: Tennessee Wide Receiver Out For The Remainder Of Regular Season

Here’s what Heupel and the Tennessee players said about Georgia on Monday.

For more on each question/answer, click the written question to see the video of the answer.

Head Coach Josh Heupel

Part of Opening Statement

“We got a great opponent coming to town this week. You look at Georgia, they play extremely well. Smart football, physical football, all three phases of the game. They got dynamic playmakers in all three phases of the game as well. So a huge test for us and we gotta have a great week of preparation to get ready for these guys.”

On how Tennessee can get the run game going again against Georgia

“Yeah, part of it’s the way the game ended (against Missouri) and the type of scenario that you’re playing out. But a bunch of it is, you know, us doing a great job, communication, fundamentals, running backs pressing the hole, doing a good job of reading things too. It was a combination of all those things the other night.”

On if the opportunity Tennessee has against No. 1 Georgia on Saturday makes it easier to move on from the Missouri loss

“Yeah, I think no matter what you do the previous week, you gotta put the game behind you. Certainly, we understand the quality of the opponent is that’s coming to town this week. Our guys understand who they are, what they’re about and the way that they’re gonna play. Will be a great test for us.”

On how Georgia compares to last year’s Bulldogs team

“They got really good players across the board. Defensively, big, strong, athletic upfront. They can run. They cover extremely well on the back end. They don’t miss tackles. You see ’em in in close quarters and in open space. They tackle extremely well. Offensively, they got dynamic playmakers. A few of those guys are just getting back and getting truly healthy right now. But the quarterback’s playing extremely well, really efficient and accurate. He’s done a really nice job.”

Tight End Jacob Warren

On how they can improve the running game for a tough Georgia defense…

“Truly just matching the surge and matching the energy that those guys are coming off the ball with. Something that we have handled all year long is handling the physicality. Being able to go out there and move people, and not every single one-on-one because we all know that’s unrealistic in this game. Understanding our angles on our double teams and understanding the footwork that needs to be taken for different techniques. Being able to adapt on three-down and four-down; they get into a lot of different things with their fronts and the guys that they have. Those things will help us for sure.”

On playing Georgia in the past and what he has seen from the way that the Bulldogs cover tight ends

“Being totally honest, I don’t remember. Again, each week, super individual. So today, starting today, I’ll go in and watch the film and we’ll see how they guard us, we’ll see how they have guarded tight ends in the past that are similar to our skill level and our skill set and the routes that we run and different things. It’ll just be a matter of watching the film and being able to understand the opponent better than he knows me. Hopefully, get the opportunities to go out there and make plays. At the end of the day, we’ll do whatever needs to be done. I think that’s kind of been the motto of the tight end group this year is just being the guys that whatever we’re called upon to do, we’re going to do it to the best of our ability.”

Defensive Tackle Kurott Garland

On what he recalls from the previous two Georgia games and the Bulldogs’ offensive line

“I think that Georgia is a pretty good team. They’re tough, but I feel like if we can carry our mentality, our focus and make sure that we are more honed into this next game, then we should be ready for them.”

On if he has seen opponents have trouble communicating in Neyland Stadium and the edge that gives Tennessee

“I feel like with how high the audio is in the stadium, definitely the fans contribute a lot to that. I feel like with that going on, the offense has to force themselves to switch up their cadence. They’ll primarily try to stick to a quarterback clap.”

Follow Up: “Is that easier to keep for a lineman than cadence? Do they give you guys an advantage that they’ve got to simplify or switch to that clap?”

“Well, I mean, it probably depends. Like, if it’s more auditory, then yeah. It’ll probably be some sort of signal, center will make some type of look into the backfield, then the quarterback will probably snap it. Some type of heel kick but it all depends.”

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