March 29, 2012

Who steps up now?

Late last week, sophomore Corey Moore joked with reporters that he'd play cornerback if his defensive coaches felt the need.

Well, he apparently doesn't have to worry about that now.

With word that safety Bacarri Rambo will be one of two Bulldog starters suspended for up to four games, Moore need not make plans.

"I'm getting better with the play-sheet," Moore said during a recent interview. "If somebody goes down, I don't think the defense is going to miss a beat. We know what to do."

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Moore's comments were made well before confirmation that Rambo and Alec Ogletree will be suspended, allegedly for failing a recent drug test.

This comes on the heels of starting cornerback Sanders Commings being suspended for the first two games following his arrest for domestic violence, along with the situation involving cornerback Branden Smith.

Smith and a passenger in his car were arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession while stopped en route to spring break

Couple that with the fact that head coach Mark Richt had already dismissed defensive backs Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders and Georgia's depth in the defensive backfield could not be any thinner.
As for Ogletree and Rambo, as of Thursday morning, Georgia officials - including Richt - have still not commented on the situation. Athletic Director Greg McGarity gave a "no comment" when reached Wednesday night.

So what now and how would these losses affect the Bulldog defensive lineup?

With Rambo out, look for the Bulldogs to turn to Moore to fill his role at free safety alongside Shawn Williams, with redshirt walk-on Connor Norman, redshirt sophomore Marc Deas and sophomore Quintavious Harrow being forced into expanded roles.

Neither player - not even Moore - has seen extensive playing time in the secondary, having seen most of their action limited to special teams.

At inside linebacker, the Bulldogs are slightly better off after already having had to deal with last year's loss of Ogletree for seven games due to a broken foot he suffered in the opener against Boise State.

The Bulldogs were unable to sign a safety for its 2013 class.

With Ogletree out, sophomore Amarlo Herrera should move into the starting role, alongside veterans Mike Gilliard and Christian Robinson at Mike.

Sophomore Ramik Wilson - who has been alternating between inside and outside linebacker - would likely back up Herrera, along with special teams standout Kosta Vavlas.

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Burrows has been working at Mike behind Gilliard and Robinson, but he too could now get a look at Moe.

"Wherever I can come in and compete for a starting job, that's what I want to do," Wilson said last week. "I feel I can play both (inside and outside linebacker). In the base I play Sam, in the Nickel I'm on the inside. I feel comfortable at both."

Richt is not expected to address the media until after Saturday morning's practice.