Georgia's brewing battle at inside linebacker

semerson@macon.comSeptember 16, 2013 

Georgia freshman linebacker Reggie Carter during interviews.

SE



ATHENS - Ramik Wilson was asked after Monday's practice if Reggie Carter was coming for him. Wilson smiled and laughed.

"What do you mean by that?" he said.

Well, Georgia head coach Mark Richt has said he'd like to see more subbing at the inside linebacker spot, but defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said junior starter Amarlo Herrera wouldn't be coming off the field. So that would seem to mean Wilson, the junior who has started and played the vast majority of the first two games, had better watch for Carter, his freshman backup.

"I don't know. It's on them," Wilson said of the coaches. "I've just gotta keep doing my job."

Herrera and Wilson were the SEC's two leading tacklers after the second week of the season. And Georgia's bye week only dropped them to fourth and fifth, with Herrera at 24 and Wilson at 22.

"You watch the game: On every tackle you're gonna see 51 or 52," Wilson said. "We're just trying to show everybody (to) play hard. Run to the ball and good things will happen. See what happened: Connor Shaw fumbled when Amarlo ran to the ball. Just gotta keep hustling, and good things will happen."

Herrera, one of the few returning starters on defense, has performed about as expected, and has made some impact plays: He forced the key fumble on South Carolina's Connor Shaw, and made the main tackle on the fourth-down goal-line stand.

But Wilson appeared to have a rougher game, despite racking up the tackle. Wilson said he thought he had a good game against South Carolina, but admitted to "a couple miscommunications" with teammates.

So the door might be open to Carter, who hasn't recorded a tackle yet in very sparing playing time. But the freshman had a strong spring and preseason, when he earned a reputation for making plays (he had an interception on G-Day) and showing good instincts.

This week Georgia faces unheralded North Texas. So Carter figures to get more snaps, whether it be early in the game or in the second half if Georgia has pulled away.

"Is this a big week for me? I look at it as just another game for me," Carter said. "It won't surprise me if I get in. I've just gotta man up, and get the coaches' trust, and the player's trust too, so they know I can be that guy that they want me to be."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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