Oct. 8, 2009
The Tennessee football team worked out for about 90 minutes Thursday at Haslam Field to conclude its preparations for the Georgia game Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
The Vols enter the game at 2-3 overall and still winless in the Southeastern Conference at 0-2. The Bulldogs arrive in Knoxville 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the league. Both teams have big games left on their schedules and seemingly cannot afford another conference setback. For this reason, the two words spoken most frequently by outsiders this week concerning the UT-Georgia contest have been "must win."
But inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center, the Vols' focus has been on simply improving as a football team.
"We need to play extremely well," UT head coach Lane Kiffin said. "The most important thing is playing well, and the rest will take care of itself. We're not worried about winning; we're worried about playing well. The wins come if you do things right."
Through the first five games of the season, the Vols have bounced between good performances and bad ones. UT was dominant vs. Western Kentucky, but shaky vs. UCLA. The Vols played inspired at Florida, but returned to Neyland Stadium a week later very uninspired vs. Ohio. The Auburn game brought to light many positives despite the loss. Kiffin is hoping to reverse the trend vs. Georgia and actually build on what went right vs. Auburn.
"When we've played well, the concern has been not playing well the next week," Kiffin said. "When we haven't played well, we've bounced back and played well the next week. It's kind of been the opposite of what you normally worry about."
The 39th meeting between the two storied programs is set for a 12:21 p.m. ET kickoff. Television coverage will be provided by the SEC Network.