Adams: Vols running gauntlet of stars

John Adams
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ATHENS, Ga. - You become accustomed to the procession of future NFL players as you follow an SEC football season. But as routine as it has become, you can't help but notice the individual challenges facing Tennessee football this month.

Last week, there was LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, a likely top-five pick in the next NFL draft.

This Saturday will bring Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, whose acrobatic catch against Colorado last week might not be surpassed all season.

After an open date, Alabama will come to Neyland Stadium with Heisman Trophy running back Mark Ingram, and another running back, Trent Richardson, who is just as good, if not better.

As many great players as there are in the SEC, how many times will a team face arguably the best player in the country at his position for three consecutive weeks?

The Vols can only hope to fare as well against Green and Alabama's running mates as they did against Peterson. While Peterson might have played his position in exemplary fashion, he didn't make any game-altering plays, either with interceptions or as a punt returner, as he did in three of LSU's first four games.

Minimizing Green's role will be more difficult in that Georgia goes to such great lengths to get him the ball. And you just have to look at his leaping, left-handed catch in the Colorado end zone to appreciate how difficult.

"I don't know of anybody else in the nation who could have made that catch," Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. "You just try to put the ball anywhere near him and away from the DB, and he will make the catch.

"He has the ability to get up over and around guys. He's a ball-hawk with great body control."

As Murray was detailing the attributes of his most reliable and spectacular receiver, another wide receiver couldn't resist chiming in.

You think that touchdown catch against Colorado was something?

"It wasn't as good as the catch he made before the game," Kris Durham said.

In fact, it was the pregame catch that Green's teammates were talking about the most after the Colorado trip.

"He caught it behind his back before the game," wide receiver Tavarres King said. "That's the best catch I've ever seen."

King looked as though he still didn't believe it.

Such catches aren't solely a testament to Green's improvisational skills. He practices trick catches, according to Durham, who has seen him drill at catching the ball between his legs.

Green's pass-catching prowess would make him a great possession receiver. But his complementary size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) and speed will make him a future prize draft pick, presumably after this, his junior season.

Green led Georgia in receiving each of the last two seasons. After serving a four-game, NCAA-imposed suspension, he made a sensational return - catching seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns and gaining 40 yards on an end-around against Colorado.

Maybe the Buffaloes thought he would be rusty, because they tried covering him one-on-one.

"Everybody is gonna try him," King said. "And everybody is gonna get burnt."

Perhaps last week's brush with star power will bolster UT's confidence against Green. The Vols repeatedly punted and kicked the ball to Peterson without disaster.

Make that one return man down, a receiver and two running backs to go.

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 18

BrassMonkey writes:

The loser of the Georgia Tennessee game will have Dooley as a coach next year.

gnm53108 writes:

A whole article about players Tennessee will be facing that will be playing in the NFL...Dont you think we might have a couple john?

Typical adams piece.

allntl1#565211 writes:

The problem usually is not one player beating you, unless you are playing Michigan, it is the entire team. Shutting down Ingram will not beat AL. GA can be beat without shutting down Green.

Bellem13 writes:

This will be a fun game to watch.

Instead of a "Stellar Game" it's a 'Cellar" game.

I love My Big Orange VOLS!

Punched_By_Lady_Luck writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

The loser of the Georgia Tennessee game will have Dooley as a coach next year.

Remind me again what the score was last year in the UT-Georgia game?

Was it 45-19, UT?

OrangePride writes:

This game is Desperation City for both teams. I expect every player on that field to bring a great deal of focus and intensity in that opening quarter. It will be interesting to see just which players really make the big plays. I fully expect Poole to have a BIG day..as well as Jones/Hunter/Moore. Frankly, I think Tennessee will put up close to 30 on the dogs and win the game. GO VOLS!

bUTchVFL writes:

Hunter has similar skills as Green, just needs more experience. I can't wait for Da'Rick and Milton to get into the fold as well. If we can hold UGA to 17 points we win, if not we lose. GBO!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

The loser of the Georgia Tennessee game will have Dooley as a coach next year.

I'm fearful that Georgia will come after Derek, too! But, I'm not convinced that he would take the job!

nwcs writes:

in response to gnm53108:

A whole article about players Tennessee will be facing that will be playing in the NFL...Dont you think we might have a couple john?

Typical adams piece.

Not at this rate we won't.

VOLliven2it writes:

Why is the word Vols even mentioned in the title of this article? It could be in context of "Vols and the Unbeatables They Play". Wow we all want to hear about that John. Why do we even read this stuff? Oh yeah, I only read the first few parts.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to nwcs:

Not at this rate we won't.

?

Our senior class isn't loaded but we have a few that'll be given a shot.

Junior class..a few more.

Soph and frosh classes look like they have alot of potential.

nwcs writes:

Well, what I meant was we don't have any standout people playing at the level Adams is talking about right now (top NFL draft picks). I certainly hope some (all) of our Vols develop into big time players but right now it's not where we're at.

AVOL4EVR2 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

The loser of the Georgia Tennessee game will have Dooley as a coach next year.

Only way that will be is if we lose to Ga.... Dooley is not going anywhere... He has had a transfusion.... He now bleeds ORANGE!!!!!

oldsuwaneevol writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

The loser of the Georgia Tennessee game will have Dooley as a coach next year.

You really do not understand the political situation between Michael Adams (President at UGA) and V. Dooley if you think another Dooley will be the head football coach at UGA in the foreseeable future.

BrassMonkey writes:

in response to oldsuwaneevol:

You really do not understand the political situation between Michael Adams (President at UGA) and V. Dooley if you think another Dooley will be the head football coach at UGA in the foreseeable future.

Mike Garrett was not a Kiffen fan either.

britt writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

was it mark jones? #10 maybe against florida

BrassMonkey writes:

in response to Dead_Head_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually check my profile. I made a similar statement yesterday on my profile. Please cut the personal attacks. If I feel that Dooley will be the coach of whichever team loses on Saturday then I can and will say it. So chill out. I was attacked last year too when I said that Kiffen was worthless and would leave the team in disarray. Drink some more Kool-aid Phullup and call me in 5 years when we are still talking about the good ol' days of TN 1990's football.

mercyseat writes:

why does our kicking team always kick to the very player they now is going to burn them? It's just unbelievable! Please tell me why, whyyyyyyy!

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