Georgia Bulldogs: Tennesee football

TBDAP Photo/Wade PayneMark Richt knows that in order to tame Tyler Bray, UGA will have to pressure the Tennessee quarterback as effectively as it did in 2011.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt doesn’t attempt to hide his love of the passing game, so Georgia’s coach looks on with envy at the aerial weapons Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has at his disposal.

The Volunteers (3-1, 0-1 SEC) -- who visit Richt’s Georgia club (4-0, 2-0) on Saturday afternoon -- have one of the nation’s most prolific quarterbacks in Tyler Bray, some of the most explosive receivers in Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and Zach Rogers, and one of the most productive tight ends in Mychal Rivera. And that volume of talent lets Richt know what he’d do if here were Dooley.

“If I had those receivers and that quarterback, I’d have a hard time trying to stay balanced,” Richt said. “I like throwing the ball. ... I don’t know if I would sit there and say, ‘Gosh, I’ve got to be totally balanced.’ ”

Tennessee probably presents the greatest offensive challenge that Georgia has faced to this point, ranking second in the SEC in total offense with 513.8 yards per game -- trailing only Georgia’s 530 ypg. The bulk of that yardage has come through the air, as the Vols are first in the league and eighth nationally in passing offense at 341.2 yards per game.

The trigger man, Bray, is tied for first nationally with 12 touchdown passes and is ninth with 325.2 passing yards per game. But he has struggled at times against the blitz -- he completed just 23 percent of his passes when Florida brought five or more rushers in the Vols’ lone loss -- and Georgia knows it must pressure and confuse Bray to effectively defend the pass.

“Some of the errors that he’s made recently had to do with him not seeing guys dropping out of coverage,” linebacker Christian Robinson said. “We are going to have to bait him into throwing some passes sometimes. If we can change it up while keeping sound coverage and don’t give up any big plays, then I think we’ll have a good shot at limiting them through the air.”

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