November 7, 2010

No spying Cam

Some have suggested that Georgia try using a "spy" when trying to defend Heisman Trophy candidate Cameron Newton this Saturday at Auburn.

But during his Sunday teleconference, Bulldog coach Mark Richt said he's not sure if that is such a good idea.

"I think a lot people might think that's the answer, but a lot of time when you do that, you're all of a sudden running a defense that you just don't run. If you try to devise something that you don't ever do and then all of a sudden you're giving a look that you don't have any reps at, and then you tend to just totally disrupt what you're trying to do," Richt said. "Now, if you can do it where it can make sense to what you've been doing all season long, then there might be a chance of doing that."

In other words, don't look for the Bulldogs (5-5, 3-4) to try anything too unusual when they travel to Auburn Saturday (3:30, CBS) to take on the unbeaten and second-ranked Tigers (10-0, 6-0).

Although Richt said he's never employed a "spy" during his 10 years at Georgia, he's seen other teams attempt the strategy before.

When he was the offensive coordinator at Florida State, defenses would occasionally attempt to use a spy to try and contain former Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward.

While Ward was nowhere near the size of the 247-pound Newton, Richt said he saw enough of the strategy to know that it rarely works like it's designed to do.

"Back when I was coaching Charlie, every once in a while we'd play a team about every third or fourth game, there would be a defense that changed everything they've ever done and try to get this Charlie Ward- stop defense," Richt said. "By design they were good ideas, but usually what happens is they're (the defense) doing something they're not used to doing and might lose faith that what they're doing isn't good enough. It can backfire on you."

Freshman safety Alec Ogletree could play a key role for the Bulldogs in their effort to slow Newton down.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Ogletree made his first career start against Idaho State, and based on the film from Saturday's contest, Richt said the Newnan native has likely earned a start against the Tigers as well.

"We think he did a nice job," Richt said. "There may have been one mental error, but there was not really much at all. He really knew what was going on and there were even a couple of times he helped some other guys get lined up correctly. We saw some really good things from him."

NOTES: Richt said that redshirt freshman defensive lineman Kwame Geathers' injured ankle is only a Grade 1 sprain and he is expected to be able to play. … Wide receiver and punt returner Logan Gray suffered a shot to the jaw and is also expected to play. … Richt said the Bulldogs will continue to look for ways to get Branden Smith involved in the offense. Smith lined up in the backfield for the first time against Idaho State and picked up 11 yards on a run. "We're just trying to find ways to get the ball in his hands and do it in different ways so not to let the other defense get a bead on how we're trying to use him," Richt said. "We're just trying to find ways to use space and let him use his speed."

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