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Cocktail Thursday: Tennesee Edition.

After a week of noncocktail oblivion, it's time to once again preview the Georgia Bulldogs' upcoming opponent through the hazy lens of a gameday libations.

It's a far different Bulldog team that will face off in Athens against Phil Fulmer's Volunteers than we saw two weeks ago. It's a team that is suffering from a host of injuries, physical and mental. Paul Westerdawg had it right earlier this week: 20 guys out of 85 missing two games or more is a big deal. Injuries happen in college football, and you have to develop the team-wide depth to persevere through those injuries. But that number is just ridiculous.

One of the more significant injuries is to mike linebacler Dannell Ellerbe, who won't be playing in the middle this weekend. He'll be replaced by Darryl Gamble, the hero of last year's come-from-behind victory over Vanderbilt. Gamble is emblematic of a lot of guys on this team: a young player with tons of athletic ability and worlds of potential. But he hasn't really made his mark on the program yet. He'll get a chance this weekend, as Phil Fulmer will likely be telling Dave Clawson to go have a seat, while he sends Arian "The Pterodactylian" Foster  and the rest of the Volunteer running backs into the A gaps over and over again to challenge a run defense that Alabama made look more suspect than it has all year. We need a big game from up and coming players all over the field, not the least of whom is Darryl Gamble. That's why before the game I recommend you down some . . .Gamble(r)'s Punch:

4 oz. vodka

4 oz. Southern Comfort

2 oz. amaretto

7 oz. orange juice

7 oz. 7-Up

a splash of grenadine

Serve the above stirred together over ice. A word to the wise: this recipe makes four drinks. Not one, like some previous Cocktail Thursday recipes. Four. Understand? We don't want anybody making an appearance in the Fulmer Cup fan edition.

At this point, we're gambling by playing a lot of guys who are untested (Aron White . . .paging Aron White . . . ) and we'll just have to see how it goes. My guess is that in the long run we'll be better for it. Gamble and his comrades are a gamble that we have to take, whether we like it or not. Come Saturday night, we'll either be pleased by the performance of some young guys who've stepped up  and made us feel better about the future of football in the Classic City, or we'll be cursing that Alabama loss all over again. More on that Friday during the Five Things . . .Tennessee Edition. Until then, here's hoping you know when to hold them and when to fold them. And oh yeah . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!