Quite simply, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wanted to see how Alec Ogletree would respond and offered that as a reason for giving the freshman safety his first career start Saturday against Idaho State.
"He's a talented guy, a guy that we've liked for a long time. He's worked hard and I do believe that as players improve, they deserve the right to start, particularly in the secondary where we've had a revolving door because guys have earned the right to play," Grantham said. "He has earned the right to play. He is a talented freshman and he's going to be a good player for us for a long time. We thought it was time to get him on the field."
Although final word on Ogletree's performance won't come until Grantham and secondary coach Scott Lakatos can review the tape, it appears the Newnan native played well.
While the visiting Bengals did not present much of a challenge with their passing game, Ogletree proved effective against the run and finished with three tackles. On special teams he also partially blocked a punt that led to the Bulldogs' first touchdown, a three-yard run by Caleb King.
Ogletree started at strong safety with Bacarri Rambo sliding over to free.
"On Monday during our meetings he (Lakatos) told me that he wanted me to go out there and start," said Ogletree. "I had been going with the first group every day. I was happy to be out there."
One of Georgia's more decorated recruits, Ogletree's season hit a low earlier this year when he was suspended for the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette following a misdemeanor theft charge.
"Getting the start means a lot because it shows the coaches have faith in me to go out there," said Ogletree. "I've been waiting on my opportunity to go out there and play, took a chance on me this week. Hopefully, they'll think I did a good job."
Head coach Mark Richt says Ogletree will be evaluated fairly before determining if he starts Saturday's contest at Auburn.
"When he's been in there he makes plays and he makes plays in practice. He's special player physically, he's big, he's strong, he's fast and he can really hit. All the things that people thought about him in high school, he is that and more," Richt said. "He just needs the experience and we felt now was the time for him to start a game and see how he would respond to it. I'll have to watch the film and talk to Coach Lakatos and Coach Grantham to see how he did, but from what I could see I thought he did well."
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