Notebook: Georgia’s Ogletree, Rambo make a difference in first game back

Linebacker Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with 14 tackles in his first game back (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Linebacker Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with 14 tackles in his first game back (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo finally made it back into Georgia’s lineup, and it was just in the nick of time.

Suspended for the first four games of the season, Ogletree and Rambo started against Tennessee on Saturday and finished as Bulldogs’ two leading tacklers. Ogletree, a junior inside linebacker, led the way with 14 tackles and 3 pass break-ups. Rambo, a senior free safety, recorded nine stops as the Bulldogs held on for a 51-44 victory.

“I’m happy that we got the win,” said Ogletree, who also tipped a pass that led to an interception. “I was eager to play. I’ve been waiting for a while now. I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on and keep preparing myself to come back full force. As a defense, we’ve got a lot to work on. We’ve got room for improvement.”

Georgia hasn’t yet resembled the defense many expected it to be, with nine starters returning from a unit that finished fifth nationally in total defense. The Bulldogs gave up 478 yards, 26 first downs and 85 offensive plays to Tennessee on Saturday.

But they made stops when they had to, most notably forcing the Vols into two interceptions and a fumble on their last three possessions of the game. The game ended on Sanders Commings’ second interception of the night with 7 seconds remaining.

“Their quarterback [Tyler Bray] did a great job tonight, and they have a lot of other great players,” Ogletree said. “We had some missed assignments and gave up a few big plays. But we got the W and you just have to tip your cap to them.”

Rambo was not made available for interviews after the game.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham thought both players did a good job considering it was their first game action in nine months.

“They need to be a little more consistent with their play,” Grantham said. “But to those guys’ credit, they kept playing and they improved as the game went along. I think they’ll get much better game two.”

Though the official statistics will show that Georgia gave up 44 points, head coach Mark Richt was quick to blame 21 of them on the offense. The Vols had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown and the Bulldogs twice fumbled deep in their own territory, each time leading to a Tennessee touchdown.

“They’re permitted to force a field goal there and I think they did at least one time,” Richt said. “But they made plays like they had to and sometimes it’s just going to come down to that.”

All offense for Malcolm Mitchell

For the first time this season, Malcolm Mitchell did not play a snap on defense. The sophomore from Valdosta had been the Bulldogs’ starting boundary cornerback until Saturday. Commings, who started at free safety the last two games, moved back into the starting role there with the return of Rambo.

Georgia had worked Mitchell on both offense and defense in practice this past week. But his only snaps Saturday came on offense and special teams. Mitchell had 4 catches for 31 yards and minus-10 yards rushing as a flanker and 28 yards on two kickoff returns and one punt return.

“He was our No. 2 nickelback behind ‘Cinco’ (Damian Swann),” Richt said. “If anything had happened to Swannie he would have been in there.”

Split end Michael Bennett (5 for 70 yards, 2 TDs) and tight end Arthur Lynch (3-75) were the leading receivers on the night. Tight end Jay Rome also had spectacular, leaping 21-yard catch.

Offensive juggernaut

Georgia is beginning to reach some rare air as an offensive football team. With 51 points on Saturday, the Bulldogs have scored 40 or more in all five of their games this season. That’s never happened in school history.

Georgia is now averaging a gaudy 48.2 points per game and, with 560 more yards, already has a total of 2,680 on the season, or 536 per game.

The Bulldogs are wasting very little time, either. They’ve scored on their opening drive now in four out of five games.

“We were moving up and down the field,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “Besides the turnovers we were doing a great job offensively. We knew what we could do. We know we’re heading in the right direction. We still have some work to do to clean up some more things.”

Vols’ Georgians show out

Two Atlanta-area Tennessee players did their best to make Georgia regret not offering them in recruiting.

A.J. Johnson, a sophomore linebacker from Gainesville, led the Vols with 11 tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. Junior tailback Rajion Neal of Fayetteville led Tennessee with 104 yards rushing on 23 carries and a touchdown.

“It was a dogfight,” Neal told reporters after the game. “I was excited to see the defense play like that; I was excited to see the offense keep pushing. But some things just didn’t go our way.”

Larry Munson honored

It was quite fitting that Georgia would choose Saturday to dedicate the Sanford Stadium radio booth in the name of Larry Munson. It was against the Vols in 2001 that the Bulldogs’ longtime play-by-play announcer coined one of his most famous calls with his “Hobnail Boot” phrase in Georgia’s dramatic come-from-behind win.

At nine minutes before Saturday’s kickoff against Tennessee, Munson’s sons, Michael and Jonathan, were among those present for the official dedication. Munson died Nov. 20, 2011.

A metal plaque was placed outside the “Larry Munson Broadcast Suite,” reading in part: “His dedication, loyalty, passion and extraordinary delivery over 42 years endeared him to Georgia fans in every city, state and nation around the world, always urging the teams, and fans, to ‘hunker down you guys.’”

Also, “Larry Munson Broadcast Suite” was stenciled in white paint on the red door and a colorful photo montage was framed and mounted on the back wall of the booth, where Munson’s successor Scott Howard the Bulldog Radio Network broadcast crew worked Saturday’s game.

Etc. . . .

Damian Swann may have had the play of the night for Georgia. The sophomore cornerback from Atlanta leaped high to snag a one-headed interception off a tip. It was Swann’s first career interception. . . . Kicker Marshall Morgan booted a 50-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to tie the game at 30-all. The freshman from Ft. Lauderdale is now 4-for-5 on field goals, including a season-best 52-yarder against Missouri. . . . Sophomore Marc Deas blocked a punt for Georgia in the third quarter. It was the second block of the year for the Bulldogs and the 21st by UGA under Richt.

Three bowls were represented in the press box on Saturday: the Capital One, the Chick-fil-A and the Gator. Of course, Georgia would just as soon not be playing in any of them. The Capital One traditionally takes the SEC Championship game loser from the East or a division runner-up. . . . Saturday’s contest represented the Bulldogs last home until Nov. 3, when they play host to Ole Miss. Georgia is at South Carolina and Kentucky the next two weeks, then plays Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 27.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF GEORGIA-TENNESSEE GAME:

64 comments Add your comment

[...] Notebook: Ogletree, Rambo make a difference in return to D [...]

dbc

September 29th, 2012
11:25 pm

Well that’s fine, but #1 for the D is useless. I won’t name names out of respect.

Pj

September 29th, 2012
11:28 pm

Maybe m Mitchell is more valuable in the secondary than we thought…

Jann

September 29th, 2012
11:34 pm

Just a matter of time before these guys are back in jail or on Richt’s doodoo list.

bwell

September 30th, 2012
12:05 am

I think we could have blown them out of the water, if it wasnt for our mistakes. Fumbles and the poor decision by M&M letting the ball roll to the one yard line. That play what started the downside for us. I glad we won and maybe this is a wakeup call for next week. Have to cut back on the mistakes dawgs. Overall good game.

Daytona Dawg

September 30th, 2012
12:11 am

Ready to see the D get settled. A few months ago I never would have thought we’d be depending on our offense to win games. (Yes, I know the offense turnovers led to 21 of UT’s points today.)

Thank goodness for “Gurshall”!!!

darkdawg

September 30th, 2012
12:44 am

@dbc everybody know’s who that is you idiot. If you had RESPECT you’d shut your mouth.

dbc

September 30th, 2012
1:03 am

darkdawg. Is “you know who” your cousin? He sucked and was beat like a drum numerous times. UGA was a dropped ball away from losing. Who had the coverage on that play? Facts are facts. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

yep

September 30th, 2012
1:42 am

I am sorry i must concur…. he was beat all day. I like number “1″ but hey like dbc says, “facts are facts”……….I will take the W no matter what though!

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kingdaddy

September 30th, 2012
6:00 am

I really like 5-0 alot, but not as much as I’m going to like 6-0. Give UT credit, they are one hell of an unranked team. They don’t need to hang their heads at all. What a great game…

BigGAdawg

September 30th, 2012
6:19 am

Glad to have these guys back–I just hope that other players will realize that it is completely selfish behavior that caused their absence. It was more important to them to get a buzz than to be there for their team.

bubba4dawgs

September 30th, 2012
6:42 am

Sure, there were mistakes, and enough to feel relieved they at least won the game. We must remember, there were a lot of ;young players on the field for UGA. I’m sure they grew up a lot with this game. I’m so proud of them all! It showed that they can rise to the occasion and hang in there when the going gets tough….it makes them a better team! We must tolerate mistakes. It’s what you do with them that makes such a huge difference!

Welcome back Rambo and Tree! Even with a good game overall, Tree noted that they were rusty and have some work to do…..great attitude!! Congratulations to Gurshall! It’s so exciting to see them make those runs! The camera doesn’t show Richt after they make those runs, but I bet he is drooling on the sideline! He finally got what he’s been looking for in running backs. Running Back University is back! What ever happened to that one he had big dreams about? Don’t hear much about him anymore! Oh well, what a difference Gurshall makes! GO DAWGS……go get the cocks!!

RiffRaff

September 30th, 2012
7:01 am

Same problems as last year. Turnovers and Special Teams. If we play like this next week it won’t be a happy ending.

sowegadawg

September 30th, 2012
7:46 am

We scored zero points in 4th quarter. Once again we could not get a 1st down to keep the ball and run out the clock. Offensive line combined with Bobo’s inept play calling at the end of the game is going to cost us badly at some point this season. To get where we want against the defenses we will have to beat to get there, we have got to man up at the end of those games. We can’t keep putting the defense in that tough of a position although they are absolutely up to challenge.
Still a great win but as we all knew at the beginning of this season next week will the the real test. It is great to be 5-0 and playing them in game 6 and not game 2. GO DAWGS!!!

darkdawg

September 30th, 2012
8:28 am

@dbc alright he did get beat alot but I haven’t found any team this year that has been able to stop cordarrelle patterson and justin hunter all game. And you fail to mention that tennessee runs the ball down our throat which opens up the pass game so you can’t pin this defense struggle on one guy.

MA English 75

September 30th, 2012
8:31 am

I think that Tree and Rambo are very much aware of their mistakes and errors in judgments. They’ve “served their time.” I am glad they are back. No matter how ugly the win last night, we are still 5-0. We’ll take care of South Carolina next week. Can we please be more positive?

Dawg1

September 30th, 2012
9:22 am

First of all – the team won. So, before eveyrone gets too critical, might want to keep tha tin mind. That’s 15 regular season wins in a row and the truth is -they were better than a pretty good Michigan State team. The only team that Georgia has played in their last 17 was LSU and that was last year. Anybody want to trade Murray for Mettenberger?

Because of unfinished business, Georgia played an emotional game the week before against Vandy. And I think the defense lacked some intensity partially because othe energy put in the previous week and I think Rambo and Ogletree being plugged in actually dropped the intensity of some of the other players. In other words, “we’re back now, I can let up a little bit”.

And give UT credit. I think Georgia underestimated this group a little bit. Their receivers were as taletnted as advertised. Bray had a good game and guess what folks – their offensive line is improving by the week. These are 18-22 year olds. UT is starting to believe and UGA didn’t play with the same focus and intensity through out the game.

I do think we got too conservative in the 4th quarter. We quit throwing on first down, at a time that UT was committed to stopping the run. And when we did throw on first down, they were ’safe’ short passes – usually a quick pass behind the lines, putting it on the receiver to find some yards. In short, we quit being the aggressor and UT was good enough to become the aggressor. (I’m never critical of the coaching – because I”m an amateur, so please understand that I think Bobo has done a terrific job this year. Come on the folks the point totals are unbelievable). But I am hoping that he learned from this and will continue to attack in games like this. Champions put teams away.

Alabama is a very talented group of football players. And they are well coached. I do believe that UGA actually has a more talented starting group on the field this year than they do. But right now, the difference is mindset. Alabama simply does not allow their intensity and focus to drop off.

If this team is to make it to the dome, then they need to adopt that same mind set. You can see that Georgia is ‘close’. Complete games like the Vandy game need to become the norm. And that come from Coaching and Leadership on the team. They are much closer to this verses a year ago. They just need to cross that threshold and stay there.

Leave it on the line next week and pull that victory out… Then a week off. Go up to Kentucky and do your best to blow them out in the first half. Rest your starters for most of the second half and get ready for Florida, who plays LSU, Vandy and South Carolina back to back to back before meeting Georgia. (And we’ll need it – Florida is the real deal folks. In my opinion, better than South Carolina).

No reason why they cannot come out and play with this type of intensity and focus during this stretch. Pull this off and then you have four games left, with three of them at home. The away game is Auburn, where UGA has won 7 out of the last 10 and 3 of the last 5 in Auburn.

Play like they did against Vandy each week and they can make it back to the dome with a chance to play Alabama or LSU with the winner heading to the National Championship Game. Play like they did aganist UT, somebody’s going to beat them. You cannot just turn it on and off in this league week in and week out and get away with it. Not if you truly want to be a champion.

Here we Go

September 30th, 2012
9:34 am

Good win.Better improve turnovers and special teams before Saturday night.Hats off to the Vols!!Good luck the rest of the season.

tell me again

September 30th, 2012
9:43 am

Lou Holtz swears he’s taking his meds and he predicted South Carolina will win the east….we’re doomed. On a side note, if Conner Shaw starts running around on our D next week he might be heading for the ER…..I think ‘Tree and Rambo were a tad rusty and coming back against a pass happy team like Tenn. was a rough initiation back into league play. I would rather go into SC next week after playing a legit SEC team than a patsy – these boys know what they are in for now. GO DAWGS! Shoud be a fun week of practice in Athens!

dawggirl

September 30th, 2012
9:54 am

Nice summary, Dawg1. I agree with pretty much everything you said.

Chris Snow

September 30th, 2012
10:11 am

@ MA English, the problem is that most if the UGA fans that post on here are not happy unless we beat every team 50-0.

Bulldawg Rick

September 30th, 2012
10:16 am

Nice to get the W yesterday.. The O really helped the Vols in the second 1/4. But the D will get better each & every week from this week forward, as we’ll have our full compliment of players. #’s 3 & 4 are some very special players.. when they break free thru the first wave they have a chance to take it to the house every time.. The O-line is really gelling & will only get better! It was a big game, so Murray did what Murray does, a pic – 6 & fumble near the opposition goal line. But the TEAM survived!

Another note.. Loved seeing Hotel 6 & Q Gathers in the game at the same time. Jenkins lined up at DE for most of the second 1/2.. Where was Wash?

If we can tighten up the O & squeeze the rock we’ll surprise many in SC!! Bringing home the W..

GO Dawgs!

harold

September 30th, 2012
10:45 am

THE VOLS EXPLOITED RAMBO. I WASN’T IMPRESSED WITH THEM OR GRANTHAMS D AT ALL.THE VOLS LIT UGA UP OFFENSIVELY & THEY COULD HAVE WON.

DOOLEY HAS GOT TO BEAT MISS.ST.—-ALABAMA—& SC OR HE IS DONE. THE VOLS ARE HORRIBLE & IS IS 0-12 AGAINST RANKED TEAMS AND 3-17 IN THE SEC. VOL FANS ARE PISSED!

air of mendacity

September 30th, 2012
11:09 am

Dawg 1 – I will tell you about TN O-line – they are far far from chopped liver. They, in fact, were knocking our D line around all night and their big tackle smothered Jarvis – add to it that we were tired at end. Could not get them off the field and when we scored, we tended to score quick – so D was back out there. Plus – it was fairly hot and muggy – Overall, except for the 2nd quarter when we went to sleep and made a bunch of mistakes, it was a good effort by dawgs.
But have to play mistake free next week

Dawg Heaven

September 30th, 2012
11:11 am

Yeah, they made a difference. UT’s offense produced 478 yards & 29 first downs.

Boston Dawg

September 30th, 2012
11:11 am

You can’t blame db’s exclusively for open receivers. The defense only got pressure on Bray on 2 or 3 snaps…and that’s not an exaggeration. He sat in the pocket for 5, 6, 7 seconds. No db can cover a receiver for that long…especially the studs they had last night.

Jenkins, Jones and Jones, Washington…those guys were completely ineffective for the majority of the game. That was the problem.

Hammer

September 30th, 2012
11:19 am

Cant wait to read the excuses next Sunday.

Boston Dawg

September 30th, 2012
11:23 am

Can’t wait for you to read your own blog

air of mendacity

September 30th, 2012
12:03 pm

you are right on the linebackers – the TN O-line was too much for them.

Yarddawg

September 30th, 2012
12:04 pm

Is Chip Towers bored? or retarded? really? I didnt see the difference, sorry? Maybe next week but not yesterday?

air of mendacity

September 30th, 2012
12:05 pm

Hammer – what loser team to you support? GT ?? figures

Dawg1

September 30th, 2012
12:13 pm

‘Air’ – I was very impressed with UT’S Offensive Line. And thought they were winning the line of scrimmage consistently in the 4th quarter. I know the Vol nation is down on Dooley, but have to tell you – you can see what he is doing. I wouldn’t want to catch this team in the latter part of the season – especially in Knoxville.

air of mendacity

September 30th, 2012
12:19 pm

I agree Dawg – TN is a hand-full – the way Gators beat them earlier has me concerned for Dawgs. But – I have drunk the kool-aide and think this team could be special – need to take care of gamecocks and Spurrier. D needs to get better at getting off the field – but like we said – it has to do with TN coming around and being pretty good.

mark

September 30th, 2012
12:25 pm

ogletree made abunch of tackles …unfortunately they were 8 ,9 yards down the field he looked slow and unprepared ,sometimes he would stand there and not move until it was too late. Our d line got whipped, the tide would ram it down our thoat, 26 needs a lot of coaching in all phases.Against a good team we will not be able to overcome Murry’s 2 or 3 turnovers a game , and we don’t need to run another play out of the “i” formation .And our coach thought that slop was great entertainment!

Holy Guacamole

September 30th, 2012
12:38 pm

Dang, Harold,

DON’T YOU LIKE ANYBODY?I KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT AN UGA FAN BUT NOT EVEN YOUR HOMEBOYS AT TENN?

air of mendacity

September 30th, 2012
12:44 pm

Mark- you have to remember these are 20 year old kids – they lose focus and don’t always play with the greatest consistency. It comes with the territory. But, they recovered and made a some big plays at the end. We do need to fix the run up the middle or Lattimore will kill us.

DrC

September 30th, 2012
12:52 pm

Bulldog Fans – Winning against a good and highly motivated Tennessee team on a night when we made multiple miscues was a big difference from the past few years. Forget about the naysayers on these blogs. We are far from perfect (extra points), but our team has shown flashes of brilliance this year which we have not been seen since ‘05 and ‘02. If we play at or close to our potential, we have a chance to win any game on our schedule this year. I think our defense will improve as the season progresses and our offense can match any in the country when we keep our foot on the pedal and don’t turn it over. Go Dawgs!

7576DAWG

September 30th, 2012
1:03 pm

I hope Grantham and Richt will fairly evaluate the game film and see where our defense was weak yesterday because there were a lot of missed assignments. I know that 21 points came off of turnovers. Tennessee has a really good Offensive line and NFL quality receivers and QB. It is hard to stop them in the Red Zone but my concern is the 478 yards our defense gave up yesterday. Did we need to blitz more people because we didn’t have an answer for Tennessee’s Offensive Line keeping us from putting very much pressure on Bray.

Dawg Tired

September 30th, 2012
1:43 pm

Mitchell needs to pay more and be more involved in the game plan. He may be the best athlete on the team.

Italian_29

September 30th, 2012
1:43 pm

I am proud of the team, they responded when they needed to and that is the difference between yesterday and 2006 when the Vols came back from 24 down and beat us 51-33. Go Dawgs! GATA!!!

Gamecockrock

September 30th, 2012
1:47 pm

Lattimore is licking his chops again after seeing that performance yesterday. See you in the cockpit, Dogs. #3 in a row about to be served up. Heck, you couldn’t beat us with Garcia. Wait until you deal with Shaw. Mercy!

Dawg Tired

September 30th, 2012
1:47 pm

As for Ogletree and Rambo “making a difference” I wonder how many points UT would have scored without them “making a difference.” I thought those runs up the middle of our so-called “defense” looked like no one was actually playing linebacker or safety. Plum scary. I’m thinking that for $800,000 a year, I might take a shot at being the D coordinator. I believe I can come up with a scheme to hold ‘em to 44 points – maybe less.

Dawg Tired

September 30th, 2012
1:53 pm

Gamecockrock – You may be right. Of course I’m reasonably sure that you have not considered another possibility. That other possibility is you may be wrong. That’s why they will go ahead and play the game. Based on yesterday’s games, neither UGA or SC is very good. Based on last week’s games, UGA is pretty good. The question is which UGA and SC teams will show up next Saturday. And may I submit that no one knows the answer to that question – not even you.

Italian_29

September 30th, 2012
1:55 pm

Gamecock CROCK, you guys had your hands full with the worst team in the SEC yesterday and you want to belittle our performance against the Vols? Crawl back under your rock TROLL.

Gamecockrock

September 30th, 2012
2:01 pm

21 point win.

P B

September 30th, 2012
2:03 pm

Without careless mistakes this is a championship caliber team. Unfortunately I think careless mistakes coming from an un disciplined program will always avail. M&M needs to stop acting like he’s Prime Time and just play the game. He could be tremendous player if he gets his
Cocky attitude adjusted.

Richt needs to watch Alabama and see how they carry themselves throughout the whole game.

Dawg Tired

September 30th, 2012
2:31 pm

To win by 21 you’ll need to score more than you scored against Vandy. Maybe you will.

Dawg Tired

September 30th, 2012
2:33 pm

I wish GCR set the lines for Vegas. I could quite working and just bet against SC giving the points. I assume he had SC beating UK by more than 18.

jaxdawgfan

September 30th, 2012
4:42 pm

Hey Chip. What’s a “one-headed interception?”