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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Practice Notes: Rambo Happy to Be Back

Growing up, one of Bacarri Rambo’s idols was a local football player named Brandon Register, who went on to play safety at UAB. Register was ahead of Rambo at Seminole County and had a reputation as being one of the hardest hitters in the state. It was a style Rambo always hoped to emulate.

“When I was little, I used to always look up to the older guys, especially him,” Rambo said. “They used to be like, ‘That guy hits so hard, he knocks himself out out there.’ I was like, ‘Man, I want to try that one day.’”

Rambo did just that against Auburn last month, breaking up a reception late in the fourth quarter with a bone-crunching hit and knocking himself unconscious in the process.

The result – beyond the game-saving pass break-up – was a concussion that cost him the final two games of the regular season and the realization that perhaps knocking himself out making a tackle was a rather silly objective for a young football player.

“I didn’t know it was going to come against Auburn,” Rambo said. “I thought I’d do it in high school or something. And I don’t want that to happen anymore. That was a bad experience.”

Rambo remembers little of the play, but he said he’s watched replays on television several times since it happened.

“I watch it every time it comes on,” he said. “People will call me and say the Auburn game’s on. I turn to it and I’m like, ‘I still don’t remember that play. What happened?’ It’s just crazy, really.”

When Rambo checked out of the hospital the next day, he found 150 friend requests on his Facebook page, about 50 emails from well-wishers and more than 30 missed calls from friends and family. The support was incredible, he said.

But his recovery really wasn’t particularly painful. Rambo experienced headaches for about two weeks after the hit, which is what kept him sidelined against Kentucky and Georgia Tech. But it was the time away from football that really hurt.

“I wasn’t dizzy or sensitive to lights and noises, but I was having headaches,” he said. “After Georgia Tech week, my headaches went away and I was ready to play.”

Rambo said he has no lingering symptoms of the concussion and beginning Wednesday he was a full participant in practice – no green non-contact jerseys and no concerns about the injury. He’s simply happy to be back to work.

“It’s been a month since I played football and I’m anxious to get back out there and do my thing and play football with the fellas,” Rambo said. “I’m going to go out there and do all I can to support the seniors and this team.”


Georgia may be down three defensive coaches after Willie Martinez, Jon Fabris and John Jancek were dismissed earlier this month, but the defensive ends may have picked up a de facto assistant in the meantime.

Senior Rod Battle is out for the season with a knee injury and is scheduled to graduate Friday, but in the meantime he’s spending his final few weeks in Athens helping his teammates prepare for their bowl game against Texas A&M, picking up right where Fabris left off.

“Rod has always been a guy with great technique, so I think it’s real easy for him to teach us,” defensive end Justin Houston said.


Linebacker Darryl Gamble said his teammates haven’t spent much time discussing the potential replacements for Martinez at defensive coordinator, but he wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his chance to weigh in on the final decision before it’s made.

“Coach (Mark) Richt is pretty open, and I think he’ll bring in a couple older guys, a few other upperclassmen, to see what we think,” Gamble said. “He always says it’s the seniors’ team.”

Richt said Wednesday that he was in no rush to make a hire, but expected a decision would be made by the first week in January. That’s fine with Gamble – even if he doesn’t get to add his two cents on who the eventual hire is.

“If he makes his decision, we’re behind him 100 percent, but I think he’ll try to get a little feedback from us before he makes his decision,” Gamble said.


On paper, it looks like an ugly mismatch for the Bulldogs. Georgia’s defense is shorthanded, preparing for the bowl without three defensive coaches. Texas A&M’s offense is dangerous, ranked first in the Big 12 and fifth nationally in total offense.

That might be a sign of a shootout, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he’s not worrying about keeping pace with a potentially high-flying Aggies offense. After all, he said, expectations rarely match reality.

“Every time you think it’s going to be low-scoring, it ends up being a shootout, and every time you think it’s going to be a shootout, it ends up being low-scoring,” Bobo said. “We just have to prepare for what they do, get our guys ready to play and execute on the 28th when we play them.”

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