ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia football team got lit into by one of its own, or at least one of its former players, the day before its 41-14 win Saturday over Tennessee.
Linebacker Boss Bailey played for Georgia from 1999-2002 and was a defensive captain. He was invited to speak to the team Friday, and didn’t hold back on the team’s 1-4 start.
“Boss, he pretty much called them out,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “But he did it in a way that was very compassionate. You could tell it was very obvious that he loved Georgia. It was obvious that he loved those guys. But he felt like he needed to tell them that they weren’t playing ball the way ball should be played here at Georgia.”
Bailey gave some constructive criticism to the offense and defense, according to Richt.
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“There’s been a lot of good honorary captain speeches,” Richt said. “But there was none better than that.”
Houston still peeved
Justin Houston entered the game second in the SEC with five sacks, then added two more to his total. But the Georgia linebacker was still peeved.
He could have had another in the second Tennessee’s quarter, but quarterback Matt Sims eluded his grasp and found an open receiver for first touchdown.
“It’s a lot of plays that I don’t get a lot of pressure on,” Houston said. “I get mad at myself sometimes when I don’t get pressure and they capitalize on it.
“I felt like I could’ve done something to change that possession. I’ve got to do a whole lot better.”
Ealey yanked but returns
It didn’t cost his team the game, wasn’t even a turnover and technically the play didn’t even happen, but Washaun Ealey did fumble inside the 5 for the third time this season.
In the second quarter, Ealey finished a 4-yard rush by coughing up the ball, with it going out of bounds at the Tennessee 3.
An illegal block penalty negated the play, and the Bulldogs scored on a 22-yard pass one play later.
Still, Ealey was yanked by the coaches right away — then allowed to carry the ball later. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said it was partly because starter Caleb King was “a little winded,” but also because they wanted to keep Ealey’s confidence from spiraling.
“He’s got to squeeze the ball,” Bobo said. “He’s got to hold onto the ball. He can’t put it on the ground. I don’t care if it’s by the sideline or not. I think he realized that, but I think it gave him a little confidence that we came back with him. I know he appreciated it. I just appreciated him holding onto the ball.”
Three players who started last week at Colorado missed the Tennessee game because of injuries. Two of them were surprises.
Tailback Carlton Thomas (hamstring) and outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (concussion) were announced as being out a little more than an hour before the game. Cornerback/punt returner Branden Smith (concussion) was ruled out earlier in the week.
Wide receiver Kris Durham, who was questionable with a neck injury, did play and had a 17-yard catch. Another wide receiver, Marlon Brown, missed the game with a shoulder injury.
Nick Williams, who plays a hybrid safety/linebacker position, left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.