Georgia’s inside linebacker roles coming into focus

Georgia freshman Reggie Carter continues to be productive at inside linebacker, but he’s still poised to begin his Georgia career in a backup capacity.

Junior Ramik Wilson and returning starter Amarlo Herrera remain ahead of Carter, coach Mark Richt said.

“Right this minute I would say that Reggie would play for either one of them if they couldn’t play or needed a blow,” Richt said.

Herrera heads a group that lost NFL first-round draft pick Alec Ogletree.

“We work hard and get everybody lined up,” Herrera said. “We don’t try to do anything that’s not us. We don’t try to be Superman. We just play.”

Said Wilson: “We’ve still got little things to work on, but as a whole we’re looking really good. We’ve got to get a couple of more things right, get calls better to help out the whole defense, but other than that we’re coming along good.”

The inside linebacker group includes freshman Tim Kimbrough from Indianapolis, who was on track to play at least special teams before spraining a knee. Johnny O’Neal, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound freshman from Dublin who defensive coordinator Todd Grantham described as a “big, physical guy,” caught Richt’s eye on Friday with a punishing hit on a running back.

“I saw a big hit out of Johnny O’Neal today,” Richt said. “Knocked a guy back. I grabbed him and said, ‘That’s why we signed you, son,’ because he’s a big thumper. He’s a guy who’s stout in that hole inside.”

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Former Georgia coach Dennis Felton and Frank Haith were both assistants under Rick Barnes. Now Felton will work on Haith’s staff at Tulsa.

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