Ogletree ‘comfortable’ with surroundings heading into second NFL season
by Chris Goltermann
By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Alec Ogletree may have come up short of the fences at a Home Run Derby during a charity softball event held by Rams head coach Jeff Fisher recently, but when it comes to how his play may be affected by new St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg Williams — the second-year linebacker from Newnan may have hit one out of the park.
Williams’ style, which described by the former Cougar star defender as “intense,” plays right into Ogletree’s reputation for big plays on defense.
As a NFL rookie in 2013, the Rams first-round draft pick showcased such potential while recording 117 tackles (though St. Louis’ count is 155).
The 6-2, 245-pound also forced six fumbles and scoring his first pro touchdown with a team-record 98-yard interception return against Houston.
“It’s very aggressive. You’re coming after that quarterback every time,” he said on Friday shortly after making a $5,000 donation to his alma mater for improvements to the Newnan High weight-room — an amount that was matched through the NFL.
“It’s just way more intense.”
Intense, however, doesn’t mean stressful.
Always the more reserve half of the Ogletree twins while playing at Newnan [Zander is in his final year at the University of Georgia], Alec admits he’s much more comfortable in his NFL skin as he prepares to head back to St. Louis for the start of training camp on Thursday.
“It’s like night and day for me from last year to this year,” he said. “You just feel more comfortable because you know what you’ve got to do. You know where you have to lineup. Now it’s just about going and playing.”
In the last of the team’s eight OTA sessions last month, Ogletree made a pair of interceptions during one workout, showcasing his pass defense skills that initially made him a hard-hitting safety at Newnan and a converted cornerback turned inside linebacker at Georgia.
It’s also the type of progress that could only benefit a Rams team that went 7-9 in 2013 in the league’s toughest division a year ago.
“We definitely have a talented group of guys,” Ogletree said. “I think things are coming together slowly but surely.”