Derek Dooley has had no trouble talking up the likes of Montana and Buffalo this season, so heaping praise on Georgia was no sweat for the Tennessee coach at his weekly press conference Monday.
"Everybody knows Georgia pretty well around here, and they whipped us good last year — about as good as you can get whipped," Dooley said of the Vols' 41-14 loss last year at Sanford Stadium. "They're probably as talented as any team in the league.
"What you notice about them defensively is their stature. They're big and they're physical, and they've been playing lights-out defense, especially the last three games."
The Bulldogs (3-2, 2-1 SEC) opened the season with consecutive losses to No. 5 Boise State and No. 18 South Carolina. In the previous three games, though, Georgia has limited its opponents to a combined 26 points and has surrendered just one offensive touchdown.
"That's pretty impressive — I don't care who you're playing — so it's going to be a big challenge for our offense to see if we can move the ball," Dooley said. "We'll see about our team. I don't know. I made the comment, I don't know who we are, really, yet, and only time will tell. And so, this will be kind of the next step."
The Vols (3-1, 0-1) come into Saturday's game (TV: ESPN2, 7 p.m.) relatively healthy. Linebacker Raiques Crump will return to the practice field Tuesday after missing practice most of last week with an unspecified infection. Linebacker Herman Lathers, who has yet to play this season because of a broken ankle, is still "a couple weeks away," Dooley said.
Dooley named quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers the Vols' offensive players of the week for their respective performances in Saturday's 41-10 win against Buffalo. Linebacker Curt Maggitt garnered defensive player of the week honors while defensive back Byron Moore took home special teams player of the week.