“When you want something really, really bad, you’ve got to work your rear off,” Fulmer said. “You gain confidence in yourself by doing things consistently well, and we had one heck of a practice today.
“We’ve got to play like that. As a football team, period, we’ve got to stop giving up plays that beat you on either side of the ball and in the kicking game. Play consistently well - that’s our challenge.”
The Vols stand 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC, but know the season’s second month is just beginning. Georgia (4-1, 2-1), likewise, sees new life in a balanced Eastern Division after dropping an early-season game to South Carolina. The Bulldogs have rallied behind an overtime road win at Alabama and a home thumping of Mississippi to build momentum.
This is the first time since 2003 that both Tennessee and Georgia enter this rivalry game already sporting a conference loss. And although Saturday’s loser won’t face mathematical elimination from the 2007 SEC championship race, odds would lengthen considerably judging by the fact that so many tough tests lie ahead.
“I liked the focus, the intensity of the guys,” Fulmer said of Wednesday’s effort. “The intensity level today was just exactly what I was looking for.”
He’ll be looking for that same result Saturday at Neyland Stadium.