September 25, 2012

Worst kept secret?

It's either the worst-kept secret in college football, or head coach Mark Richt is simply playing this Saturday's status of linebacker Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo for all its worth.

On Tuesday Richt was asked - for the seemingly umpteenth dozen time - whether or not the duo would be available to play against Tennessee after missing the previous four contests, believed to be as part of a suspension for allegedly failing a drug test in March. At least this time, his answer seemed to offer a little bit of clarity.

"During pre-game, we'll have a really good idea if they are going to play," Richt said. "If they are in full gear, there's a good chance they'll play."

The question then becomes, how much?
Linebacker Amarlo Herrera certainly has little doubt about that.

"That's Tree, so you know what they're going to do with him," said Herrera, who excelled while playing Ogletree's spot at Moe linebacker. "He's a great player."

But Herrera hasn't done badly himself.

The sophomore actually leads the Bulldogs in tackle heading into Saturday afternoon's game against the Vols (3:30, CBS) with 30, followed by safety Shawn Williamsp with 29 and Mike linebacker Michael Gilliard with 25.

"I think those guys (Ogletree and Rambo) are going to be great either way it goes," Herrera said. "Those guys are out there practicing, so I don't think they'll be rusty at all."

Nose tackle John Jenkins agrees.

"I don't see what would be the difference," he said. "We had seven different lineups last year and every single lineup molded together like they should. I don't know, there's only one way to find out."

Murray Georgia's "Ice Cream Man"

As a reward for not allowing a sack against Vanderbilt, quarterback Aaron Murray took his entire offensive line out for ice cream Sunday.

"It's just something we do," Murray said. "It was a good time. They'll probably going to ante it up every week, so they'll probably want more and more. It's great to reward them because they are playing so well."

Murray laughed that he's talking about a lot of ice cream.

"They eat A LOT. It's amazing - four scoops of this, four scoops of that. But whatever makes them happy, makes me happy," Murray said. "It wasn't really all that much, but I put it on my mom's credit card. I haven't told her yet, so she'll probably call wondering what this 75 dollars for ice cream is doing on her credit card. I'm sure she won't mind. She appreciates what they do, too."

Welch, LeMay will continue to compete

Richt that backup quarterbacks Parker Welch and Christian LeMay will continue to compete on a weekly basis to see who gets in the game first should the opportunity arise.

"Parker has been doing well. Parker has been in the system a little bit longer, and he's very diligent in the way he prepares as well. Coach Bobo felt like he earned the right to go in first, so that's what we did," Richt said. "We'll continue to do that."

Last week, it was the walk-on Welch who got the call, coming into the game in the fourth quarter after Murray left and completed 1 of 2 passes to Rhett McGowan for 15 yards.

Richt appreciates league officials

With the NFL having all sorts of issues with their replacement officials, Richt was asked how he thought those in the SEC were stacking up.

Predictably, he likes what he sees.

"I think our officials do a good job, and I think Steve Shaw is doing a good job of leading the group," Richt said. "Every week we turn in things that we have questions about, and he gets it back to you in a hurry. We have a system now where we'll watch the coach's copy, and he'll be running it back and forth, and as he's running it back and forth he'll have a voiceover. As he's explaining a situation you're watching exactly what he's looking at."

Richt said the give-and-take between Shaw and the head coaches has helped all the way around.

"With the new technology that we're using it helps you to understand his line of thinking on a decision that's been made by the staff," Richt said. "He'll say we should have gotten that one, or I think this was a good call. He's real genuine in his approach to it. I like it."

More offense for Mitchell

Bulldog coaches aren't putting a percentage on the number of offensive reps Malcolm Mitchell will see against Tennessee, but the numbers are apparently going up.

"I would say his reps on offense will increase and his reps on defense will probably decrease, but it's hard to say for sure on that," Richt said.

Mitchell said he's ready for whatever he's asked to do.

"I'll know Saturday," Mitchell laughed. "I'll play wherever they need me."

Richt said Mitchell is scheduled to split time between the defense and offense on Thursday.