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Georgia senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who had 5.5 tackles for loss at Vanderbilt but struggled this past Saturday against Alabama, believes the Bulldogs will rebound from their lopsided loss to the Crimson Tide.

SEC players of the week

OFFENSE — Alabama tailback Derrick Henry, who rushed 26 times for 148 yards and had a 30-yard touchdown in the 38-10 blowout of Georgia.

DEFENSE — Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison, who had 16 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in the 38-10 surprise rout of Ole Miss in the Swamp.

SPECIAL TEAMS — Auburn's Johnathan Ford, who had two kickoff returns for 81 yards on top of 14 tackles as a safety in the defeat of San Jose State.

FRESHMAN — Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, who had five catches for 120 yards against Georgia and a 45-yard score in the second quarter.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN — Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola, who played all 73 snaps and recorded four knockdown blocks in the win at Tennessee.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN — Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, who had seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble against Mississippi State.

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Senior left tackle John Theus has 40 career starts for the Georgia Bulldogs, while senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins has 37.

With more career starts than any other offensive or defensive players on this year's roster, Theus and Jenkins are viewed by coaches and teammates as the unquestioned leaders. This week, they are sure to be charged with helping Georgia regroup from Saturday's 38-10 shellacking at the hands of Alabama as the Bulldogs prepare to travel to Tennessee, where another loss could leave them playing catch-up in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division race.

"Any time you win or lose, you've got to learn from it and move on," Theus said. "We have a huge game at Tennessee, and we'll be ready. That's a loud place, and they've got a great team. They've just lost a bunch of close ones."

Georgia is 2-1 in conference play, having defeated Vanderbilt and South Carolina. Every East team has at least one league loss except Florida, so the Bulldogs can remain in control of their division destiny with a win against the Volunteers since they end this month with a trip to Jacksonville to face the Gators.

Jenkins just last week said that this year's Bulldogs have a "stronger leadership base" than some of their recent predecessors. That could be put to the test inside Neyland Stadium against an opponent seeking its first series win since Lane Kiffin's only season as Vols coach in 2009.

"I don't think it will be tough at all getting ready for Tennessee," Jenkins said. "The film session is not going to be fun to watch, but we need it as a learning experience."

Alabama recorded its largest victory over a top-10 foe at an opposing venue inside Sanford Stadium, dealing the Bulldogs an all-too-familiar defeat. Georgia has now gone 10 straight years losing at least one game by two touchdowns, with Florida providing the big blow (38-20) last year, Missouri (41-26) the year before and South Carolina (35-7) the year before that.

Some Bulldogs fans began booing in the second quarter of Saturday's showing, and message board chatter hasn't been pleasant since.

"We love the fans and respect the fans," Jenkins said, "especially the fans who stayed in the rain and kept cheering us on until the very end, but we don't let external factors affect us. If you're going to count us out, whatever. If we had won, they would have said this was a weak Alabama team that wasn't worth anything.

"Now that we lost, it's 'Georgia can't win the big game.' I'm used to it. Every year I've played football for Georgia, we've been counted out."

Theus took a similar stance, saying, "We do a good job of ignoring the noise, whether it's good or bad praise. The people who are praising you today are going to be talking bad about you tomorrow, so we don't concern ourselves with those kind of opinions."

Georgia's current streak against Tennessee began with a 41-14 shredding at Sanford Stadium in 2010, but the past four encounters have been 20-12, 51-44, 34-31 and 35-32 escapes. The 2013 game was decided in overtime, when Tennessee's Alton "Pig" Howard fumbled while trying to reach into the end zone and Georgia's Marshall Morgan made a 42-yard field goal.

"It's going to go down to the wire," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "It's not going to be any different from years past. We know they are very talented. We know they play hard, and we know that their fans are loud, so it's going to be very difficult to hear anything."

Odds and ends

Georgia's home game next week against Missouri will be televised by the SEC Network with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs held a 90-minute practice Monday in helmets and shorts. Tailback Nick Chubb will be the offensive captain Saturday, with Jenkins, inside linebacker Jake Ganus and defensive lineman Sterling Bailey serving as defensive captains.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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