Before the season even kicked off, it was reported far and wide — though never confirmed officially — that Georgia would be without the services of starting safety Bacarri Rambo and starting linebacker Alec Ogletree for the first four games of the year due to suspensions.
With four games now in the books, most expect Rambo and Ogletree to be back in action when Tennessee visits Athens for a CBS affair on Saturday. Mark Richt is keeping mum in an attempt to keep the Vol coaching staff guessing, apparently. But Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution felt strongly enough about the return of the duo to write the following yesterday afternoon:
“While no one is still coming right out and saying as much, we know from outside testimony, school policies, indirect hints and good old-fashioned horse sense that star linebacker Alec Ogletree and All-American free safety Bacarri Rambo are returning from four-game suspensions this week.”
Perhaps Towers feels comfortable writing that because Alec Ogletree’s twin brother — UGA fullback Alexander Ogletree — tweeted last Saturday that his brother and Rambo would be back and “on a mission” starting with practice this past Monday.
But just to keep things interesting, Rambo used his own Twitter account yesterday to muddy the water once more:
So will Rambo and Ogletree play or won’t they? In the words of the Magic 8-Ball, “All signs point to yes.”
But Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney says that Todd Grantham’s defense will be just fine even if the two are surprisingly held out for another contest:
“They look like they’re playing pretty good right now (without them). That’s something their staff will have to sort out. I think the guys coming back are very good football players, so I’m sure they will find their way on the field somehow. How they’ll shuffle it, I’m not sure.”
As talented as UGA’s defense is, the Dawgs have been susceptible to big plays this season. They rank just seventh in the SEC in scoring defense, eighth in rush defense, sixth in pass defense, and eighth in total defense. In addition, no SEC squad has given up as many plays of 30 yards or more — 11 total — than Georgia.
The Dawgs’ defense has been good enough to help Richt get off to a 4-0 start. With Rambo and Ogletree back — if they’re back — the D might start moving up the SEC’s statistical charts, too.