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Most Important Vol: Georgia

Our writing staff makes its picks for this week's most important player...

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Will Shelton - Brian Randolph

Last week I went with Darrin Kirkland, who continues to be good at times and a true freshman at times.  This week you've got another downhill running attack and an even better running back.  Nick Chubb is going to make some runs, and is going to get into the secondary.  It has to be up to guys like Brian Randolph to make sure big runs don't become BIG RUNS.  As we're all aware, tackling has gotten a C- in geometry the last few weeks, and Tennessee has failed to contain plays that could have made the difference between winning and losing.  Fail to contain Chubb, and we lose again.

I_S -- Butch Jones

I was worried about nervous Neyland against Oklahoma. Four weeks later, we've progressed far enough where we have to worry about mentally checked-out Neyland. That's hard to navigate. The players know what people are saying, and they're 18-22 years old. One of Jones' strengths thus far has been to avoid the letdown game, but he also hasn't had to deal with things swirling to the level they are now. If he can keep the players focused, Tennessee should go into the second half with a legitimate chance to win. If he can't, this could get ugly.

Charlie Burris - Josh Dobbs

Dobbs has to learn how to throw the ball further than 10 yards. This will be essential against Georgia. We can assume Tennessee will be able to run the ball and we know Dobbs is dynamic with his feet but having him present an actual threat through the air should seriously strain Georgia's defense. Not to mention, UT's offense has to stay on the field longer than it did against Arkansas, so the defensive unit doesn't get worn down halfway through the third quarter. All of this is much easier said than done but this is the offense's biggest problem and for the Vols to have a real chance to win Saturday, Josh Dobbs has to complete passes.

Hunter Turner - Number One Receiver

Unless the coaching staff decides to change things up and bring in a true freshman, it's Josh Dobbs this week and all the rest of them to come. Barring a transcendent run game, the quarterback is the player who can do the most on the field to change the outcome of a game, even if he's handicapped by conservative play-calling. That said, Mike DeBord called a much better game against Arkansas than he did against Florida or Oklahoma, and it's time for some of the wide receivers to take responsibility for the lackluster effort and make plays in the passing game. Preston Williams is a freshman who will make freshman mistakes, like his drive-killing fumble, but Josh Malone is a sophomore, Marquez North is a junior, and Von Pearson is a senior. Each of these guys has the speed and talent to make explosive plays in the passing game that will allow Tennessee to put points on the board and keep the offense out of bad situations, but so far, #WRU has been more like Knoxville School for the Blind.

Jauan Jennings and Josh Smith have been the only dangerous looking wide receivers so far, and they can't do it by themselves. Everyone else needs to stop thinking about Azzani's dumb pre-snap crouch and focus on making the plays that Dobbs needs to win games.

Chris Pendley - John Jancek

In the secondary, with a protractor. Tennessee's pursuit angles have gotten steadily worse in the last couple weeks (they might've been sketchy earlier in the season, but memory is a fickle beast) and against a Georgia team who will be closer to Oklahoma and Florida in skill missed pursuit angles is a quick way to get down two scores in a hurry. It may be a bit anathema to an attack-attack-attack mindset, but going for the 2-yard loss, whiffing, and giving up a 14-yard gain is far worse than missing the 2-yard loss for a 1-yard gain.

Jancek gets the nod here as a catch-all, because this seems more like a coaching point than an individual issue and something that can be worked out in the film room. Tennessee doesn't need to make huge adjustments here to be successful, just a one or two-step adjustment.

Nathanael Rutherford- Jalen Hurd

All the talk is about Tennessee's passing game (or lack thereof), and that's understandable. But Jalen Hurd should be able to have a monster game against this Georgia defense, and the coaching staff has to be sure to get him the ball as often as possible. He can't be limited to just 4 carries in the second half like he was against Arkansas. Hurd is the best player on Tennessee's offense, and he deserves as many touches as possible.