ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia not only lost the game. The No. 19
Bulldogs also will be without a key defensive player for at least a
Coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday that inside linebacker Alec
Ogletree will undergo surgery on an injured right foot. The
sophomore's expected recovery time is four-to-six weeks.
The loss is a big blow for a team lacking experience and depth
at that position in its 3-4 defense. Ogletree was backed up by
freshman Amario Herrera.
"I'm sure he's crushed right now," Richt said of Ogletree, who
will have surgery Monday. "He loves to play the game. He was
playing outstanding football, inspired football."
The Bulldogs (0-1) will have to recover quickly from a 35-21
loss to fifth-ranked Boise State. They host No. 12 South Carolina
in the Southeastern Conference opener next Saturday.
Georgia will likely fall out of the rankings when the new
Associated Press poll is released Tuesday.
"We know we're a good team and that we'll be able to bounce
back," said defensive back Brandon Boykin, who went 80 yards for a
touchdown against the Broncos on the first offensive carry of his
career. "I told the guys, 'We have a whole season. We can't put
our heads down because there's still a long ways to go."'
After facing a top Heisman contender, Boise State quarterback
Kellen Moore, the Bulldogs will now try to stop South Carolina's
star runner Marcus Lattimore. Last season, he carried 37 times for
182 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-6 victory over Georgia.
Losing Ogletree will certainly make it tougher to stop the
"You can tackle a guy, but he'll get a couple of yards after
contact. Or you can tackle a guy and stop him in his tracks,"
Richt said. "We've got to get our guys making tackles so they
don't get yards after contact. But there's probably not a better
back in the nation than Lattimore at doing that. It's a tremendous
challenge for us."
The Bulldogs' defense will get a boost from the return of
starting safety Bacarri Rambo, who was suspended from the opener
for violating team rules. Carlton Thomas, the team's most
experienced running back, also will be back on the field after
serving a one-game suspension.
Georgia jumped out to an early lead on Boise State with Boykin's
surprising run, but the Bulldogs couldn't build on that momentum.
Many of the same issues from last year's 6-7 team cropped up again,
including penalties and an inconsistent running game. Plus, the
Bulldogs didn't get much pressure on Moore, while Georgia
quarterback Aaron Murray took a fearsome beating.
Murray was sacked six times and hit on plenty of other plays.
Richt said he was particularly troubled by the way the Bulldogs
failed to provide adequate blocking for Murray on third down, even
when they went with maximum-protection schemes. They converted only 2 of 13 chances on third down, and went 1 of 4 on fourth down.
"That's where you've got to make first down to keep drives
going, to put yourself in field-goal range, to give yourself a
chance to score touchdowns," Richt said. "We just didn't do a
good job in that area. Even when Murray got the ball off, he had
people breathing down his neck and hitting him after he cut the
Georgia also lost starting left guard Kenarious Gates (left leg)
in the first half, but his prognosis was much better than
Ogletree's. Richt expects the freshman to play against South
Carolina. If not, sophomore Dallas Lee would get the starting nod.
The Bulldogs will need all hands on deck against the Gamecocks,
because this is a game that will have a major impact on the SEC
East race -- and, perhaps, Richt's job security. Georgia fans won't
settle for another losing season, and an 0-2 start would put even
more heat on the 11th-year coach.
Richt insists he's not worried about his future employment and
pointed out that there's plenty of time to have a successful
"We're going to have to get a lot better," he said. "But I
also know that everybody is 0-0 in league play. Our goal is to win
the Eastern Division. That doesn't change."
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(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)