Commentary

Ogletree slated to return for Florida

Linebacker who broke foot in season opener will miss Vandy, be ready for Gators

Updated: October 11, 2011, 10:52 AM ET
By David Ching | DawgNation

ATHENS, Ga. -- Starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is on pace to return for Georgia's Oct. 29 showdown against rival Florida.

So said Georgia coach Mark Richt on his weekly radio show Monday night.

[+] EnlargeMike Gilliard
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesMike Gilliard has played well in the absence of Alec Ogletree, who is expected to return for the Florida game on Oct. 29.
"He was outside running today and changing direction and doing just about everything you can imagine," Richt said. "We're not going to push it. We're not going to put him out there any sooner than the doctors recommend."

That means the sophomore from Newnan, Ga., won't be available when Georgia visits Vanderbilt this weekend, so an open date the following weekend will give Ogletree a few weeks to work back into playing shape.

Ogletree was expected to be one of Georgia's top defensive playmakers after shifting from safety, where he was an All-SEC Freshman Team honoree last season. But he broke his foot in the first quarter of the season-opening loss to Boise State.

Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera have performed well in place of original starters Ogletree and Christian Robinson, who is now back from a foot injury of his own, but Richt looks forward to having Ogletree back on the field when the Bulldogs face the Gators in Jacksonville on Oct. 29.

"He looks like he's ready to play," Richt said. "Then of course, because there's an open date, he ought to be extremely ready and extremely fresh. He will get to practice the two weeks prior to the Florida game, so that's pretty comforting to know that he's coming back."

Fumble or no fumble? Two days after Georgia's win against Tennessee, the Bulldogs remain unclear about the ruling on one of the game's more controversial plays.

Tennessee running back Rajion Neal appeared to fumble in the first quarter and replay seemed to show Georgia's Herrera grasping the ball under Neal's legs at the Tennessee 41.

But while the officials stopped the game to review the call, their ruling was unclear, leaving most Bulldogs wondering whether their decision was that Neal was down or that the Tennessee back recovered the fumble -- neither of which seemed correct after viewing the replay.

The only certainty was that Tennessee would retain possession.

"He just said [Neal] was down," said Herrera, who had a hold on the ball and about half of Neal's lower torso after the apparent fumble. "That's all he said was he was down."

Richt said he had not yet communicated with Steve Shaw, the SEC's head official, about the staff's questions from the Tennessee game, so he too was unclear as to what the referees decided.

Extra points Gilliard was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week on Monday following a 12-tackle performance against Tennessee. He also recorded a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries in the Bulldogs' 20-12 win. ... Senior kicker Blair Walsh was named the SEC's Special Teams Player of the Week. Walsh went 2-for-2 on field goals and 2-for-2 on PATs against Tennessee. ... Georgia has won four games in a row for the first time since the start of the 2008 season. ... Georgia's captains for the Vanderbilt game will be center Ben Jones, offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, cornerback Brandon Boykin and special teams player Kosta Vavlas.

David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at davidchingespn@gmail.com.