No defense has been able to bottle up the Tennessee offense so far this year, but if any team has a shot, it’s Georgia. The Bulldogs are fourth in the nation in total defense, utilizing an embarrassment of assembled talent on that particular side of the ball. An elite defensive mind at head coach doesn’t hurt, either.
However, it appears that Georgia will be without one key member of that defensive group on Saturday against Tennessee. Nolan Smith, a 6-3, 235 pound senior leader at outside linebacker, will more than likely miss this one.
“It does not look good for his availability this week. It’s a pec injury,” Kirby Smart said of Smith on Monday. “He’s probably doubtful for this week.”
Smith went down against Florida, and it has since been revealed that the injury was worse than initially feared. Smith may be forced to miss the remainder of the season — just a brutal loss for a team once again in the thick of it all.
He leads the Georgia defense with three sacks and 16 quarterback hurries. Going up against a potent attack led by Hendon Hooker, that’s obviously a big blow for the Bulldogs. Former four-star prospect Chaz Chambliss filled in for Smith for the remainder of the game against the Gators, getting home for a sack and adding three tackles.
Georgia is giving up just 10.5 points per game to this point. Tennessee is scoring 49.4 points per game. Something has to give, and the Bulldogs will have to make it happen without one of their best players.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS on Saturday.