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August 24, 2011

'I thought I killed him'

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The ball snapped, fullback Zander Ogletree quickly sized up the situation.

First to the left - no pass rusher there. Immediately, his eyes focus on the inside. After a brief fake, the oncoming linebacker barrels in full-steam ahead.

A second later, brother Alec Ogletree is flat on his backside.

"I was just doing my assignment and reading the play out, finishing the drill like Coach (Mark Richt) teaches us," Zander Ogletree said. "Life goes on. It felt good to hit him, just to let him know who the big brother is. I still love him, but we're gonna get after it either way it goes."

For those who know the Bulldog fullback and his penchant for contact, hearing this certainly comes as no surprise.

While other players relish making a big catch or ripping off a long run, for Zander Ogletree, there's nothing like making hits that leave his opponents seeing stars.

On this day, the unfortunate victim happened to be his own flesh and blood.

"They tried to bring an outside blitz, so I had to go pickup the outside guy, but they brought him inside," Ogletree said. "My assignment is to pick up the most dangerous blitzer. He faked like he was coming, then he finally came and I just ran across and gave him a nice little lick."

Adding insult to the proverbial injury was that the entire Ogletree family was there watching.

"Oh yeah, there was a lot of jawing going on," said Ogletree, whose proficiency for delivering bone-crunching blows has not been lost on Richt.

Following one of Georgia's recent scrimmages, Richt singled out Ogletree for a clean shot he put on a Bulldog linebacker during goal line work.

Richt never mentioned who the player was, not wanting to embarrass the young man.

Ogletree didn't mind giving up the goods.

"It was Amarlo (Herrera). I was just doing my job. I felt like last year when we got down to the goal line we didn't do as good as we should have," he said. "I feel this year, whenever we get in the Red Zone, everybody should turn another gear on. When I got the opportunity to deliver that block, I just felt it was that time to show that we're going to do it this year. When it comes to that Red Zone, we've got to put it in there."

The way Ogletree sees it, somebody needed to set the tone .

"Our defense, they're kind of cocky; they're going to try and get up on us whenever they can so when we do something good or deliver a good blow, I've got to let them know, that was ME," Ogletree said. "I feel like this year we've got to do a better job of putting our foot down, rather than just do something and let it be. We've got to set the tone this year."

Safety Shawn Williams has also apparently been on the wrong end of Ogletree's fury on a player, the Newnan native winks, it qualifies as his best lick of preseason.

"This past Saturday he (Williams) tried to do the same thing as (Alec Ogletree). He came inside and I was able to lay out a pretty good blow," he said. "At first, I was scared for him. When I hit him he fell straight back. I thought I'd killed him. I'm trying to finish, so I was holding him but his eyes were closed. I was really worried that I had killed someone on the field, but it's all good and I love him as a teammate."

Fortunately, Williams just had the wind knocked out and was able to continue.

As for Ogletree, he hopes there's more hits to come.

Although he's listed as the backup to starting fullback Bruce Figgins, Ogletree's penchant for contact - not only in the backfield but on special teams - guarantees he'll see plenty of reps this fall.

"To play the position of fullback, a linebacker, any position that's between the lines, you've got to be ready to hit and love hitting," he said. "That's just me. I feel I was born to just play that."

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



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