Tale of the turnover

Turnovers often tell the story in football, and the 2005 fortunes to date of both Tennessee and Georgia have revolved around points made or lost from those mishandled possessions.

The Vols, 3-1 and 2-1 SEC, have scored 28 of their 81 overall points off of eight opponent turnovers. Interception returns the last two games by Jonathan Hefney against LSU and Jonathan Wade versus Mississippi certainly paved the way for Tennessee victories.

"I do like the fact that we had no turnovers against Mississippi," head coach Phillip Fulmer said.

Georgia, 4-0 and 2-0, has been even more opportunistic. The Bulldogs lead the SEC with 37.9 percent of their points off turnovers (50 of 132) -- just ahead of Tennessee's 34.6-percent rate.

Conversely, 27 of Tennessee's 63 points allowed this season are the direct result of eight Volunteer turnovers -- a 42.8-percent rate that stands last in the conference. Georgia has allowed only six of its 45 points off turnovers (13.3 percent) to rank fourth in the SEC.

Tennessee's even turnover margin is tied for fifth in the league, while Georgia paces the conference and ranks third nationally with a +2.0 turnover rate. The Bulldogs have gained 14 turnovers while committing only six.

"The exciting part is our team still realizes that as well as we've played, there's a considerable amount of room for improvement," Fulmer said. "Obviously we will have a huge challenge this week to get those things done versus an outstanding Georgia football team."

CLAUSEN SCHOLAR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

This week's Vol Scholar of the Week for the Georgia game is quarterback Rick Clausen from Thousand Oaks, Calif., as selected by the staff of the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center.

Clausen graduated in December 2004 with a bachelor's degree in speech communications and currently is toward a master's degree in recreation and leisure studies. The 2005 team captain also is a camp counselor for TEAM FOCUS, working with youth without fathers.

Clausen also is one of six Vols sporting a mortarboard sticker on the back of their Tennessee football helmets, denoting the owners of undergraduate degrees. Other graduates on the 2005 squad are Jason Allen, C.J. Fayton, Richie Gandy, Jason Mitchell and Sam Wantland.

McNEIL UNDERGOES SURGERY

Tennessee freshman center Josh McNeil underwent arthroscopic left shoulder surgery Wednesday in Asheville, N.C., to repair a labral injury, head athletic trainer Keith Clements reported.

McNeil, a 6-4, 283-pounder from Collins, Miss., did not appear in any games during his first season on campus and should receive a medical redshirt. Clements expects McNeil to be ready for the 2006 season.

"Josh will not be allowed full contact collision activity in spring practice but he will have limited participation," Clements said. "The surgery went as expected."

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), C Josh McNeil (shoulder).