October 1, 2012

Communication key for D

When it comes to shoring up some of the run-defense issues that plagued fifth-ranked Georgia last Saturday against Tennessee, linebacker Alec Ogletree said the solution is actually pretty simple.

"Communication, that was the main problem," Ogletree said after practice Monday. "It wasn't that we weren't focused, it wasn't we were being physical, it was just sometimes us not lining up and doing the right thing, people maintaining their gap and doing their job."

Ogletree included himself in that category.

Although he led the Bulldogs with 14 tackles, the Newnan native admitted there were times he still found himself occasionally confused, something that was perhaps not that unusual considering he was playing his first game since coming off his four-game suspension.

But apparently that was nothing compared to Amarlo Herrera.

With Ogletree back in his customary position at Moe linebacker, that meant Herrera had to slide over to Mike after playing the first four contests at Moe.

"When Tree came back that pushed Amarlo to a different position, and it was hard," freshman outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. "It was his first week at a new position and some things were messing up in his head. There were times he just fitted wrong, but that was just because he wasn't used to the position. He was coming down hard, just not in the right position."

Jenkins said he feels defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was able to sort out a lot of the other problems that occurred.

"A lot of people thought they were going to get chewed out, but Coach was calm, told us what was wrong, told us what we had to do and that in the fourth quarter we were pretty on point," Jenkins said. "We just get the rest of it ironed out and start out on fire this week against South Carolina."

Herrera wasn't the only Bulldog playing in a different spot against the Vols, who ran for 130 of their 197 rushing yards in the second half alone.

With a Jones still feeling the effects of a sprained ankle, nose John Jenkins said he actually played defensive end for much of the game.

"That was the first game with the whole unit back, so there was bound to be a few slipups with people moving around in new positions," Jordan Jenkins said. "But I think this week will be a good one of hard practices, getting mentally focused and ready for South Carolina."

Jones said he'll certainly play more against the Gamecocks than he did against Tennessee when his sore ankle limited him to 16 snaps.

"I was only in there on third down," Jones said. "But I'm fine now. I'll be ready to go."

Players said they understand why fans might be concerned.

The Bulldogs rank 9th in the SEC against the run, giving up 147.8 yards per game and considering the team has yet to come close to slowing down Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore in two previous attempts, it's a natural concern.

Still, it's a challenge Ogletree said he's looking forward to facing.

"He's a good competitor; I'm a good competitor," Ogletree said. "He works hard just like me; It's going to be a good game."

Ironically, this will be Ogletree's first shot at playing against Lattimore.

As a freshman, Ogletree was suspended for Georgia's last trip to Columbia and missed year's game after breaking his foot in the opener against Boise State.

Quarterback Connor Shaw provides plenty of concern as well, not only throwing the football but what he can do with his legs.

The Flowery Branch native is actually the Gamecocks' second-leading rusher behind Lattimore and had a 80-yard touchdown run against Missouri called back due to a penalty.

"He's definitely somebody we have to take into account," Jenkins said. "We're going to have to be ready for all situations. He also likes to throw on the move we've really got to be concerned when he runs out of the pocket."

For those keeping count, quarterbacks have run for 120 yards against Georgia this season.

"Basically, it starts up front. We'll need to do a good job there," Ogletree said. "But if he gets past there, then I need to come up and make a play to contain him, push him back inside to wherever else is and not let him get outside with the ball."