March 3, 2011

Big change in store for Tree

Sophomore Alec Ogletree has a new home, at least in regards to a different position to play.

Thursday, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham confirmed that the Newnan native is being moved to Moe linebacker after playing safety last year.

"Basically, every year what you do is, you evaluate the players you have and you look at your needs," Grantham said. "We looked at all of our cut-ups (film) from the past year and he's a tall guy, he's got size, he can run, he can hit, he's physical and I felt moving him closer to the ball is going to help him make more plays and be productive for us."

Ogletree was one of two moves confirmed during a pre-spring practice briefing at the Butts-Mehre Building.

Grantham also said that senior Justin Anderson is being moved back to the offensive line after spending last year at nose.

But it's Ogletree's move that seemed to raise the most eyebrows.

The 6-foot-3, 224-pounder started four games for Georgia at safety last fall, and figured to be the favorite to start the opener against Boise State.

That's no longer the case.

"It was really a little bit of a work in progress. I wanted him to buy into it because I think it gives us some flexibility with our defense. It allows him to run and hit, to be productive also so it was a few days of just trying to let him buy into wanting to do it," Grantham said. "But he's excited about it. I showed him some things that we can do with him and I'm really excited because by moving him there it will allow us to put Jarvis at outside backer, because you've still got to be able to manufacture pass rush that can make plays as outside backers. I think what we've done is move two guys who can make plays closer to the ball and kind of get them around the action a little bit more."

With Ogletree moving inside, Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams, Jakar Hamilton and Marc Deas will battle for the starting jobs at the two safeties.

"Rambo can play either one so this is a good chance for Jakar and Shawn to show what they can do," Grantham said.

Ogletree's switch will also allow Grantham to play Southern Cal transfer Jarvis Jones exclusively on the outside (Sam), a spot the coach believes he will excel at.

"I think that he's a natural outside backer. One of the advantages to the bowl practice is that I actually played him at Mike for probably quite a few of the practices," Grantham said. "He can play Mike but we put Christian (Robinson) at Mike and free up Jarvis to be more aggressive. This gives us flexibility because he can cover tight ends and he can cover backs. I think that will be something we can add to what we do."

Grantham also announced that junior Cornelius Washington will play the Will linebacker position manned so ably last season by Justin Houston, with Robinson serving as the Mike where he will call the team's defensive plays.

When he arrives this summer, true freshman Ray Drew will join Washington at Will, where he will compete for playing time. Sterling Bailey is also being penciled in at outside linebacker, Grantham said.

According to pre-spring notes issued by Georgia sports information personnel, returnees Michael Gilliard, Brandon Burrows and Richard Samuel will join Robinson at inside linebacker with Reuben Faloughi and Chase Vasser working on the outside.

Grantham said T.J. Stripling (patella tendon) and Dexter Morant (shoulder) will both work on the outside once they have recovered from their respective injuries. Both players are expected be ready to begin preseason drills which start in August.

"We've just got done ranking the players," Grantham said. "You've got to get your best players on the field and allow them to make plays. That's why we made the changes we did."

The Bulldogs kick off spring drills next Thursday.

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