October 25, 2011

Nice problem to have



You'll have to pardon inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti if he's starting to feel a little like Billy the Kid.

After all, he's finally got all his bullets to shoot.

It's been a year of mixing and matching for the first-year Georgia assistant, following the injuries to Alec Ogletree and Christian Robinson which cost the pair a total of eight games between them.

But as the Bulldogs get ready to take on Florida Saturday in Jacksonville, Olivadotti will have his full complement of players for the first time since the opener against Boise State.

"You always want to have your full allotment of players, that's why they're all here," Olivadotti said after practice Tuesday. "It's good, because practice means something and ones who practice the best get to play. That's how we approach it. They understand that. When you've got to earn everything, everybody's level of play rises a little bit."

Olivadotti laughs when asked one of the week's more popular questions, how does he plan to rotate his linebacker corps.

"I've got an idea," said Olivadotti, not wanting to give any state secrets away. "But nothing's set in stone right now."

The Bulldog depth chart included in this week's game notes is indicative of that.

At Mike linebacker, Mike Gilliard is listed as the starter with freshman Ramik Wilson at the backup. The starting Moe spot is currently listed as a three-man battle between freshman Amarlo Herrera, Ogletree and Robinson.

Olivadotti said there's no doubt that Ogletree - who played on 16 snaps before suffering the injury against Boise - is ready to make an impact, both in the literal and physical sense.

"He did a nice job while he was not doing anything, staying in meeting rooms, staying involved and worked his butt off like he needed to be," Olivadotti said. "He stayed involved in football, and it shows."

Whichever combo is on the field, Olivadotti is confident the results will be favorable.

"At the end of the day, all of those guys run to the ball and they try to tackle the guy who has the brown thing," he said. "That's what being a linebacker and being a defensive player is generally all about - see the guy with the ball and go get him."

Commings set to start at safety

As expected, redshirt junior Sanders Commings will start the first half at strong safety in place of Shawn Williams while he serves his first-half suspension against Florida.

With the switch, Branden Smith slides into the No. 1 spot at wide corner opposite Brandon Boykin.

Crowell says his wrist feels better

An extra week has apparently helped running back Isaiah Crowell get in a better physical frame of mind.

"Yeah, a lot," Crowell said, when asked how much the week off has helped some of his recent aches and pains heal. "(Monday) and today was all right. It has not been bothering me much."

Since the injury, Crowell - the SEC's fourth-leading rusher with 608 yards and four touchdowns - has alternated carrying the football in both his left and right hands.

"I use both," said Crowell. "I can hold it in either one."

Injury update

As expected, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell did not practice Tuesday after feeling his hamstring tighten early in practice on Monday.

The question is, will be play against the Gators?

Earlier, Richt didn't give any indication, although teammates Aaron Murray and Gilliard both said they expected the team's leading receiver to give it a go.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was asked the same question after Tuesday's practice.

"I'm optimistic, but you never know with muscle pulls, strains or whatever it is," Bobo said. "We sure hope he's out there, because he'll give us a threat."

Linebacker Chase Vasser, who has been practicing in green, is also expected to play, although the redshirt sophomore declined to give the lowdown on what his injury actually was.

"I think I look good in green," joked Vasser, referring to the green non-contact jersey Georgia's walking wounded wear. "It's nothing too serious. I've been healthy for the whole week. They (trainers) just didn't want to take any chances."

This and that

Georgia practiced for two hours in shorts and helmets Tuesday afternoon after going in full pads on Monday. "Today was much better, much better," Richt said in a statement following the session. "(Wednesday) we'll have a very similar practice. That will allow us to hone in on the game plan. We'll be able to emphasize some things we like and maybe drop some other things. It should help us be ready to go come Saturday." … Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the first-half absences of Williams and Kwame Geathers is not affecting how he'll coach the first half of Saturday's game. "Not at all. You're always one play away from a guy getting injured," Grantham said. "Whether you're first or second team, you're going to get reps so no, not at all."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.