The return of Alec Ogletree to the Georgia defense pushed Amarlo Herrera over to the other inside linebacker spot against Tennessee.
Ogletree has stepped into the “Mo” inside linebacker spot and Herrera has shifted over to the “Mike.”
“Amarlo’s earned that right because of the way he’s played in the first few games,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “As a coach we tell players if you make plays, we’re going to find a way to get you on the field. He’s earned the right to play. …We’ll stick with it and continue to work it.”
Herrera, a 6-2, 245-pound sophomore, leads Georgia with 36 tackles.
At “Mike,” he’s asked now to signal the plays to the defense and identify formations.
“It was a little different at first trying to feel my way out,” Herrera said. “After a few minutes, I got in the flow of it.”
Herrera’s move to “Mike” means a battle for playing time for senior Mike Gilliard, who has started 16 games combined this season and last.
“I’m just playing the cards I’m dealt with now,” Gilliard said. “Coaches know that I can play and what I can do because I definitely did it before. I’m going to continue to play hard and give everything I got.”
Herrera said he’s seen his playing time decrease since he was playing nearly every snap with Ogletree out.
“We’re splitting it,” he said. “Everybody’s going to play.”
Ogletree led Georgia with 14 tackles in his return from a four-game suspension.
Herrera and Gilliard and the rest of the Georgia defense are gearing up to stop South Carolina and tailback Marcus Lattimore on Saturday. Lattimore has rushed for 358 yards and three touchdowns the past two years against the Bulldogs.
“I’m tired of hearing about him,” Gilliard said. “The only thing I’m trying to do is hit him.”