Athens, GA - The Georgia football team will return to the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium on Saturday searching for its first Southeastern Conference victory of the season.
The Bulldogs are off to a 1-4 start and are 0-3 in the SEC. On Saturday, the Bulldogs will entertain Tennessee, which is 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC under first-year coach Derek Dooley, the son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley.
“I think we realize that we’re in a position we haven’t been in since I’ve been here, and that hurts,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said on Sunday. “All it takes is a victory. We’re still waiting for that, to build on a victory and go get the next victory. It makes it that much tougher the next week, but that’s where we are. We can’t sit around and cry about it. If we do, we’re in trouble.
“(Georgia and Tennessee) are two teams with a history of being ranked. Now without either having a win in the SEC, it’s a different circumstance. This game is very important for both of us.”
Richt was asked what the most important aspect for his team is now following Saturday’s loss at Colorado.
“The bottom line is we must keep the faith,” Richt said. “That’s the biggest thing right now. And I think we will. To this point, we haven’t had an issue with anybody not working, not cooperating, not believing. We have a group of guys excited about playing who played hard and made a lot of great plays. It was an unfortunate ending to the game. It was a good football game – two good teams playing hard and getting after each other. We just need to find ourselves on the right side of the points total and be able to build from that. I think we’re doing fine.
“Our guys are going to be OK. We’ve had a few bad things that happened, but I don’t think we’ve got a problem where we say, ‘Here it goes again.’ You know things are not always going to go your way. That’s how it goes. We’ve been able to play the next down.”
Richt said he was appreciative of the fans that supported the Bulldogs in Boulder.
“The majority of our fans are true-blue, and they support the team no matter what,” Richt said. “They love the team. In Colorado, I thought the fans who showed up were phenomenal before, during and after. We heard encouraging words as we came off. I know the players and I appreciate that.”
Richt said freshman defensive end T.J. Stripling will require surgery this week for an injured patella tendon and likely will miss the rest of the season. Stripling was injured on a kickoff coverage on Saturday. Said Richt, “The history on those things has been very, very good. He’ll be able to recover from that.” Richt said he also expects sophomore cornerback Branden Smith to miss the Tennessee game due to a concussion.
Saturday’s game between Georgia and Tennessee will kick off at 12:21 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network.