Perhaps there's an underlying reason Georgia's defense is playing so well at the mid-point of the 2011 campaign - they're scared to death.
At least that's the way linebacker Chase Vasser sees it.
"Coach Grantham is like Scarface, he's a very intimidating man, especially if you mess up because he will lay into you. He wants the best out of you. If you mess up, he's just going to get onto you, because he knows how good you can be," Vasser said. "In a way it's good, but in a way it's bad, because he will get onto you on the field. He'll snap, like he doesn't like you, but that's because he's very passionate about the game."
Vasser laughed that he has felt Grantham's wrath first hand.
"He jumped me greatly last year, a good bit. There were a couple of calls that I didn't execute correctly. He called the same play again and I didn't do it correctly after he had just told me," Vasser said. "He got me pretty good, but I know I have not messed up my play since."
It's difficult to argue with the results.
Georgia enters Saturday night's game at Vanderbilt (7:08 p.m., FSS) ranked third in the SEC in total defense (260.5) behind Alabama (191.3) and LSU (254).
The Bulldogs are also tied for third with Florida in scoring defense (19.2) and sit alone in third in rushing defense (85.8) and passing defense (174.7).
"You're not seeing many mental errors, people know what their assignments are," Vasser said. "I know who I'm working with now. Last year, I just knew what I was doing. I might have known what the defensive line was doing, but I had no idea what the defensive backfield was doing behind me. This year, we're all on the same page."
Mitchell expected back for Florida
Richt said that wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who will not play Saturday with a hamstring injury, is expected to be back for the Florida game.
"We are very hopeful that he'll play in the next one," he said. "We're confident that he'll be able to play in the game against Florida."
The word isn't quite so optimistic about Rantavious Wooten.
Wooten has not played in three weeks since suffering a concussion in an automobile accident and Richt said there is no indication when he will return.
"We keep waiting for all the symptoms of the concussion to go away where he can start to exert himself physically and see how he responds to that before he even gets to practice," Richt said. "We're still in stage 1 trying to get where he's asymptomatic, and he's not there right now."
Since he's only played in three games, Richt said he would be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt should he not be able to play anymore this year.
Ogletree set for the Gators
Linebacker Alec Ogletree, out since breaking a bone in his foot in the opener against Boise State, will return in two weeks against Florida.
"Ogletree is looking really good," Richt said. "I don't think there is any question at all that he'll be ready for the Florida game. In the meantime, Amarlo (Herrera) and (Mike) Gilliard has grown up a bunch."
Bennett to see even more action
When Georgia goes into its three-receiver set Saturday, look for redshirt freshman Michael Bennett to be the man in the slot.
"In the two-receiver set, (Tavarres King and Marlon Brown) will be in there, but when we go into the three-receiver set, I'll be in the slot because I've been comfortable with that the last couple of games," Bennett said. "We'll be OK."
Look for freshman Chris Conley to get extended playing time as well.
"We've still got good receivers coming in and playing," Bennett said. "It just means we're going to need more from Chris Conley, but I think we'll be all right overall."
Bennett then took a playful jab at quarterback Aaron Murray when asked if Mitchell's absence might lead to him becoming more of a deep ball threat.
"If I get a deep ball, we'll see," Bennett said. "I was open a few times (against Tennessee) and Aaron didn't see me, but that's because he's 5-foot-6 - I'm just funning. We'll get that figured out. I'm just glad to be out on the field."
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]