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Georgia's defensive system implemented by former coordinator Brian VanGorder in 2001 and continued by Willie Martinez since 2005 enables safeties to make a lot of big plays.

Such moments have been few and far between this season.

"We've had great safeties like Greg Blue, Thomas Davis and Sean Jones, so we've got to step up to the best of our ability and make plays," redshirt freshman safety Bacarri Rambo said after Saturday's 45-19 loss at Tennessee. "We can't let anybody get down. We've got to get back on the field and make some plays."

If they don't, more history could be made at their expense.

When Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton riddled Georgia with bootleg after bootleg for 310 yards, he became the third Southeastern Conference quarterback in a month to set a career best against the Bulldogs. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett threw for 408 yards Sept. 19, a week after South Carolina's Stephen Garcia threw for 313.

In other words, Georgia's last line of defense headed by junior Reshad Jones and senior Bryan Evans isn't offering much defense.

"We've got to do a better job across the board, not just the secondary," Martinez said when asked about his safeties. "To make a comment on that -- we just want to make more plays. We've had opportunities."

Head coach Mark Richt believes one way to help is creating more of a three-man rotation, adding, "There is some productivity coming out of there, but we've got to be solid more often."

Rambo has Georgia's only two interceptions by a safety and has made fewer mistakes than his veteran counterparts in recent weeks. An interference penalty on Jones set up Tennessee's first touchdown, and a missed tackle by Evans enabled Gerald Jones to scamper 33 yards to set up the Volunteers' third score.

Tennessee's third touchdown was Crompton's 5-yard pass to Marsalis Teague, when everybody in Georgia's secondary looked lost.

Jones was Rivals.com's No. 1 safety nationally in the 2006 signing class, and Evans was the No. 8 cornerback in '05 and made 11 career starts at cornerback before being moved to safety last season. Yet they have not matched the efficiency of some of their less-heralded predecessors, such as Davis, Kelin Johnson and former walk-on Tra Battle.

Last week's torching by Crompton has left Georgia 97th nationally in passing defense (249 yards per game), 100th in scoring defense (30.7) and on pace to allow the most points in program history.

"I don't want to take anything away from Crompton's day, but I think our mistakes helped his stats out a lot," Evans said. "A lot of plays haven't been coming on the defensive side."

Odds and ends

Music City Bowl executive director Scott Ramsey believes Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Ole Miss are the current SEC candidates for his Dec. 27 game. ... Saturday is homecoming at Vanderbilt, and Commodores fans have been urged to wear black. ... Richt is 33-12 (73.3 percent) since the start of the 2006 season, which is similar to the 35-13 (72.9 percent) record predecessor Jim Donnan compiled his last four seasons, 1997-2000. ... Richt said on his Monday night call-in show that junior tight end Bruce Figgins, who was suspended the first six games, would redshirt this season.

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