ATHENS -- Georgia sophomore Alec Ogletree was moved to inside linebacker in the offseason in large part to shore up a defensive front seven that had been gashed by South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore.
As it turns out, the Bulldogs won’t have Ogletree when they go up against the Gamecocks’ star tailback Saturday.
Ogletree will have surgery on his broken foot Monday and will miss the next four to six weeks, head coach Mark Richt announced Sunday.
“That’s a big blow,” Richt said.
Ogletree suffered the injury in the first half of the season-opening 35-21 loss to Boise State. The Bulldogs defense held the high-powered Boise State offense scoreless the first three possessions, but without Ogletree the Broncos moved up and down the field easily.
“I’m sure he’s crushed,” Richt said. “He was really playing outstanding football. He played inspiring football. Our defense really came out ready to play. A lot of energy and big hits early on. And he was a big part of that.”
Who will replace Ogletree remains an open question.
Senior walk-on Jeremy Sulek got the playing time against Boise State, and finished tied for the team lead with seven tackles, five of them solo. Richt said Sulek knows the position better than any available player “right now,” which “gives him a better chance to make some plays.”
But with a week of practice, the team could try talented freshman Amarlo Herrera and junior Mike Gilliard, who is backing up Christian Robinson at the other inside linebacker spot.
It’s not a good week to be auditioning for a key spot, considering the matchup with Lattimore.
The bruising sophomore rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns in No. 12 South Carolina’s 56-37 win over East Carolina on Saturday. Lattimore had his coming-out party last year against Georgia, rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-6 win.
The two biggest moves of Georgia’s offseason on defense were to sign nose tackle John Jenkins, a 350-pounder, and move Ogletree from safety to inside linebacker. Jenkins is playing behind Kwame Geathers, a 340-pound sophomore.
Boise State did most of its damage with a short passing attack, but it also had 129 rushing yards, including two rushing touchdowns.
“We’ve gotta do a better job of preventing guys from getting too many yards after contact, and there’s probably not a better back in the nation in doing that than Lattimore,” Richt said.
Safety Bacarri Rambo, the team’s second-leading tackler last year, will return from a one-game suspension for violating team rules. Richt at first said he felt Rambo would start, then deferred to secondary coach Scott Lakatos.
“Bacarri’s gonna play, that’s for sure,” Richt said.
Starting left guard Kenarious Gates is expected to play this week after leaving Saturday’s game with a lower left leg injury. Sophomore Dallas Lee replaced him, but the depth behind him is thin. Richt was asked who would be next in the pecking order.
“You’re not allowed to ask that,” he said, laughing.
He said it
“You just have to admire watching those guys play. I love watching them play because they block, they tackle well, they play fundamentals, they are just about always in position, they don’t do stupid things. They just play the game the way you are supposed to. I may vote them No. 1in the country after watching them beat Georgia.”
- South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier on Boise State.