September 4, 2011

Injury uproots Tree

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If getting beat by 5th-ranked Boise State 35-21 weren't bad enough, head coach Mark Richt announced Sunday that starting linebacker Alec Ogletree will miss the next four to six weeks with a broken foot.

He's scheduled to undergo surgery Monday at St. Mary's hospital in Athens.

"It's a big blow," Richt said during his weekly Sunday teleconference, adding that the Newnan native will not redshirt. "I haven't spoken with him, but I'd imagine he's pretty broken up because he wants to play."

If Ogletree is out the six weeks that Richt suggests, that would put him back in the Bulldog lineup for their Oct. 15 game at Vanderbilt. Georgia plays Florida on the 29th.

"You could tell he was in pain," said Richt, stating that Ogletree stayed in the game for three plays after the injury occurred. "I sat down on the bench with him and Ron Courson and you could tell he was in pain, and of course, the x-rays revealed he had broken his foot."

With Ogletree out, Richt said Jeremy Sulek, Amarlo Herrera and Mike Gillard will battle for the starting spot at Moe.

Georgia did receive good injury info.

Richt said he does not expect left guard Kenarious Gates' ankle injury to keep him out of Saturday's game against South Carolina (4:30, ESPN), while nose guard Kwame Geathers only has a shoulder stinger and will play.

That's certainly welcomed news for a Bulldog team that will need all hands on deck against the Gamecocks (1-0), who are coming off a 56-37 win over East Carolina.

Keeping the Gamecocks off quarterback Aaron Murray shapes up to be Georgia's biggest challenge.

The Bulldogs did not fare well at all against Boise State, especially on third down when the Broncos sacked Murray four times, six altogether in the game.

"Third down is your position down, that's when you've got to make your first down to keep your drive going, put yourself in field goal range or give yourself a chance to score touchdowns," Richt said. "I just felt like we didn't do a really good job in that area. Even when Murray got the ball off there were times when people were breathing down his neck and hitting him after he cut the ball loose."

The reason, Richt added, was simple.

"Some of the protections were, I guess what we would call man protections where we were maybe spread a little bit thing and you've got to handle twists, stunts and things of that nature," Richt said. "But some of that also was due to poor slide protections, which ought to be pretty solid so we've got to get better at that also. I'd still say if you look at it, that's probably the thing that was the most troublesome to me."

Georgia rushed for 137 yards, but Richt seemed annoyed when it was mentioned that take away Brandon Boykin's 80-yard run, the Bulldogs averaged just 1.9 yards per carry.

"Those 80-yard runs count," Richt said. "That makes the stat look bad, when realistically, anytime you have somebody who runs for a lot of yards, you're going to have a bunch of 2- or 3-yard runs until someone breaks one. That' show rushing yards go."

Defensively, Richt knows his defense has to do a better job slowing down Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore who bulled his way to 182 yards on 37 carries with much of the yardage coming after first, second and sometimes third contact.

"It's kind of a defensive team thing, not just a one-guy thing," Richt said. "You've got to gang tackle the guy, not many are going to get him one on one. He's just a strong kid."

NOTES: Richt said it will be up to secondary coach Scott Lakatos whether or not junior Bacarri Rambo will start against the Gamecocks. Rambo was suspended for Saturday's opener for the proverbial violation of team rules. … Richt said that Richard Samuel is still atop the pecking order at running back ahead of Isaiah Crowell, but said there will continue to be completion for starting jobs. … Richt said that redshirt sophomore Austin Long and true freshman David Andrews would be next in line for playing time on the offensive line behind redshirt sophomore Dallas Lee.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.