Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Alec Ogletree returns for Dawgs
By Chris Low
The boost that Florida's offense is getting this weekend with the return of quarterback John Brantley is matched by the boost Georgia's defense will get with the return of inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Ogletree broke his right foot in the season opener against Boise State and hasn't played since. He's the Bulldogs' hardest hitter, the kind of big-play defender who can change a game with one blow and a piece of the puzzle that's been missing for the Bulldogs these past six games.
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will tell you that Ogletree was his best football player before the injury. If he's indeed all the way back, then he should take a Georgia defense that's steadily improved and played well in his absence to a defense capable of being dominant.
One of the keys to the Bulldogs' five-game winning streak has been how well they've held up defensively despite some of the injuries and the two-game suspension of junior outside linebacker Cornelius Washington, who's one of the team's best pass-rushers.
Washington is back this week, and along with Ogletree, should give the Bulldogs their most disruptive front seven since the season opener. Getting Ogletree and Washington back also helps counter not having noseguard Kwame Geathers and safety Shawn Williams for the first half against Florida after they were suspended by the SEC for their actions in the Vanderbilt game.
Overall, this is a mentally tougher Georgia defense than a year ago and a defense that has bought into Grantham's system and his physical approach. It's also a defense that should play with even more of an edge now that the 6-foot-3, 236-pound Ogletree is back in the middle.