October 19, 2011

No more taking chances



Don't look for Georgia's punt team to shake up its basic alignment when the Bulldogs play Florida next week in Jacksonville.

After a last-minute switch following a timeout almost cost Georgia last week's game against Vanderbilt, there will be no more taking chances.

With 15 seconds left, Drew Butler dropped back to punt, but instead of using their typical three-man shield, the Bulldogs went to a spread formation, which Georgia had used earlier in the year.

The decision almost proved catastrophic, as without the extra protection, Butler had his punt blocked with the Commodores nearly able to pick up the loose ball and run in for the winning score.

Richt talked about the near costly decision after practice Wednesday afternoon.

"No one ever mentioned it, but early in the season we were in what we called a spread punt formation, which is basically what the NFL does, where you've got a personal protector and a couple of wing guys," Richt said. "But when we had our issues covering kicks, we didn't have as much of a problem protecting, we just had problems protecting and then covering. So, in a week's notice we went to the 'Sheld' which is the three-man back that you're talking about ."

But not this time:

After being in the 'Shield' the entire game against the Commodores, the Bulldogs called a timeout and decided to go with the spread, something Richt no doubt won't chance again.

"What that (spread) allows you to do is get more than just a couple of gunners down there to get under a punt, it really will allow multiple guys to get down there, release a little bit sooner. They don't have to take as much time protecting. They have to redirect some people at the line of scrimmage, but then they have to go cover," Richt said. "The three- man shield is there to take anything else that comes and from where the punter punts from, if anything comes out of the shield, in theory you're in pretty good shape. We'd been in the shield all along but when it came time to for a tight punt, in that situation, we went back to the old system and just didn't execute well."

Ogletree glad to be back

Linebacker Alec Ogletree said Wednesday he can't wait to go when Georgia plays Florida next week.

The sophomore linebacker has missed the past six games, since undergoing foot surgery following the opener against Boise State, but is back now at 100 percent and ready to help the defense as much as he can.

"It's just great to be back," Ogletree said. "It's been hard sitting out. I've done what I've can trying to support the guys but now I'm ready to get back and play."

Although coaches have not announced whether or not he will be plugged back into the starting lineup, linebacker will definitely be his home.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham brushed off the notion that the Newnan native might see another look at safety with Shawn Williams suspended for the first half against the Gators.

"He's pretty set at linebacker right now," Grantham said.

With Williams out, junior Sanders Commings is expected to slide over to free safety with Bacarri Rambo taking over a strong safety.

Jenkins will carry the load at nose

With Geathers out the first half against the Gators, junior college transfer Jonathan Jenkins said he'll have to suck it up.

"I'm going to need to be out there," Jenkins said. "I've got to step it up. I'll be ready."

The game will actually mark the third straight start for Jenkins, who chose the Bulldogs over Florida.

Washington "humbled" to be back

It was a humble and contrite Cornelius Washington who addressed the media for the first time after his arrest following the Bulldogs' game against Mississippi State.

"It's humbling, extremely humbling," Washington said. "I've learned a valuable lesson. I've learned a lesson and now it's time to move forward."

Washington said he couldn't even bear to tell Richt himself following his arrest.

"I let (Bryant) Gantt do it," Washington said of the Bulldogs' Program Coordinator. "But I was angry with myself."

Making the incident even more painful for Washington, he happened to be coming off his finest game after his two-sack effort against Mississippi State.

"I had played well," Washington said. "Coming off a game like that, that made what happened hurt all the more. But like I said, it's definitely a lesson learned and now I'm trying to move forward."

This and that

Rambo (toe) missed his second straight practice Wednesday, while cornerback Brandon Boykin was not at practice in order to get some more dental work following his mouth injury against Mississippi State. … Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, running back Carlton Thomas, linebacker Chase Vasser and Williams all wore green jerseys Wednesday, but each is expected back for Florida. … Richt seemed to quash the notion that Trinton Sturdivant could return to the Bulldogs as a tight end. Sturdivant told the UGA student newspaper The Red and Black he would probably apply for a sixth-year medical and return as a tight end for Georgia next fall. "I think Trinton and I have to have another conversation about it," Richt said. "But I love Trinton, I can tell you that." … Former Bulldog great and current Cincinnati Bengal A.J. Green attended Wednesday's workout. "It was great to see A.J.," Richt said. "I did not know he was coming in town. I saw him from a distance and I didn't know if he was a recruit, I didn't know who he was. Then as practice went on I got a little closer and saw it was him, went over and said hello. Yeah, it would be nice to recruit him again."

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