The Russellville, Ala., native continued his overall versatile play as Tennessee defeated Mississippi 27-10 Saturday. Five days earlier, the Vols rallied past LSU 30-27 in overtime in a game that saw Sears play all but the center position on the offensive line.
The backbone of Tennessee's offensive front, Sears started at left guard for the first time in his career against Ole Miss. The Vols rushed for a season high 172 yards against the Rebels and UT has controlled the clock for more than 35 minutes in each of their last two games.
This season, Sears has two starts at left tackle, one at right guard and one at left guard. For his career, Sears has six starts at right tackle, six at left tackle, four at right guard and one at left guard. The appearances at guard last year were the first of his prep or collegiate career.
ANOTHER TOP-10 FOE
Tennessee faces its third top-10 opponent in four weeks when Georgia visits Neyland Stadium Saturday and the Vols are looking to reverse recent history. UT began practice preparations Monday for a Bulldogs team ranked fourth in the USA Today coaches’ poll and fifth by Associated Press.
“Plainly, it’s challenging,” head coach Phillip Fulmer said. “It’s a situation where we have to be mentally tough, physically tough and emotionally tough to handle the difficult schedule.”
Tennessee dropped a 16-7 decision at No. 6 Florida Sept. 17 before staying on the road and rallying past No. 4 LSU 30-27 in overtime Sept. 26. The Vols’ 27-10 win Saturday over Ole Miss lifted them to 3-1 overall, 2-1 in the SEC. The Vols are ranked seventh by USA Today and eighth by AP.
“Our team has shown really good resiliency to bounce back against LSU and steadiness to win the game against Ole Miss,” Fulmer said. “In a league as tough as ours, there always is a challenge to be faced.”
Tennessee’s challenge this week is recording a home victory over a high-quality opponent. Not only has Georgia won its last two trips to Knoxville, but Tennessee also has gone winless in its last five home meetings against top-10 foes since defeating No. 10 Georgia 37-20 in 1999.
The Vols’ record during that same span in road stadiums is a smart 5-3.
Tennessee staged a brief workout Monday at Haslam Field in shorts and shoulder pads. Fulmer said Georgia provides the team’s toughest test to date.
“They are a great offensive team and have been for some time,” he said. “Defensively, they’re at the top in statistics in the SEC, right there with us.”
Kickoff Saturday is set for 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.
INJURY UPDATE: Probable -- WR C.J. Fayton (ankle), LB Jerod Mayo (knee), DT Turk McBride (ankle); Questionable -- DB Jarod Parrish (knee); Out -- DE Jared Hostetter (knee); Out for Season -- TB Montario Hardesty (knee).