They weren't perfect, but both Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo made solid accounts of themselves during Saturday's 51-44 win over Tennessee.
Ogletree, in fact, topped the Bulldogs with 14 tackles, followed by Rambo with nine in their first games back since coming off their four-game suspension for allegedly testing positive for drugs during spring break.
"It was great just being able to get back in the flow," said Ogletree, who started the game at Moe linebacker alongside Mike Gilliard at Mike.
"It was a relief," he said. "I just wanted to go out and make plays."
Ogletree almost made what would have been one of the game's bigger ones when he tipped a pass from Tyler Bray and nearly hung onto for what would have been Georgia's fourth interception of the game. He also tipped another pass that Damian Swann was able to snare for his first career interception.
Rambo, who got the start at free safety, was not available for comment.
"Schematically, what we do is not different when those guys are, but athletically we are," head coach Mark Richt said. "They were our two top leading tacklers, so they were productive but I could hear the defensive coaches correcting things as they happened to both Rambo and Tree. There were some things they need to correct, but overall they played good. They played hard and they seemed to be in good condition."
In games that he's played, Ogletree has led the Bulldogs in tackles six straight times.
"I fly around when I can," Ogletree said. "There were some tough moments out there today, but I feel we bowed up at the end and came out with the W. That's all the matters."
Extra point concerns
At least Georgia's extra-point follies haven't cost the Bulldogs a game.
That's how Richt prefers to look at his team's continued problems with PATs, issues that surfaced again Saturday against the Vols.
For the second time this year, freshman kicker Marshall Morgan - who did convert a 50-yard field goal as the first half came to a close - missed an extra point attempt and later had one blocked, much to Richt's chagrin.
"It's been a comedy of errors, but thankfully when we tried our two-point conversion, we got it," Richt said. "It makes up for it so to speak, but it's still no excuse. At least it hasn't cost us a game."
• Although Richt did not hint at a change regarding a new extra-point kicker, the Bulldogs will have a new punt returner when Georgia travels to South Carolina. Richt said that former walk-on Rhett McGowan will take over the duties held by Malcolm Mitchell.
The Bulldogs did not suffer any significant injuries in Saturday's game.
"I don't care about stats. You might be a great statistical defense, but get in a game where you've got to get a stop. You might lead the nation in rush defense and all that, but there are times, like in this game, where you've got to get one stop or we go to overtime. That's all I was concerned about, will we make a play at the moment of truth and that's what we did." - Mark Richt
No defense for Mitchell
For the first time in five games, sophomore Malcolm Mitchell did not see any snaps on the defensive side of the ball.
"He was our No. 2 Nickel behind Swann," Richt said. "If anything had happened to Swann or he had gotten fatigued, Malcolm would have gone in. He's still going to learn the spot, and we're trying to train Josh Harvey-Clemons in that spot. If something were to happen to Swann, Malcolm would play fulltime at Nickel."
At receiver, Mitchell caught four passes for 31 yards.
This and that
Keith Marshall's 75-yard touchdown run was the longest scoring run for the Bulldogs since Brandon Boykin took a pitch 80 yards for a touchdown against Boise State last year. His 164 rushing yards were the most for Georgia since Washaun Ealey had 183 versus Georgia Tech in 2009.
Marc Deas recorded the Bulldogs' second blocked punt of the year in the third quarter. Harvey-Clemons recovered the block. The Bulldogs took over at the UT 47-yard line. This marks the 21st blocked punt in the Mark Richt era.
Junior tight end Arthur Lynch finished with three catches for a career-high 75 yards, including a career-long 38 yarder.
The Bulldogs have now forced 10 turnovers and scored 34 points. Their opponents have converted nine turnovers into 36 points. Georgia is now +1 turnover ratio for the year.
Up next, Georgia travels to South Carolina Saturday night (7 p.m.) for a nationally televised contested against the 6th-ranked Gamecocks.