ATHENS, Ga. — Chase Vasser wants to be efficient when he’s on the field.
The junior outside linebacker missed the first two games of the season due to a suspension stemming from an arrest in May when he was charged with driving under the influence in Atlanta.
And after serving his suspension, Vasser has made the most of his opportunities.
He stepped in for the injured Jarvis Jones his first game back against Florida Atlantic, and recorded seven tackles with one forced fumble – the best game of his career.
“It definitely shows off the hard work I’ve put in. I just thank the coaches for allowing me to come back and play fast and physical,” Vasser said. “I had a little chip on my shoulder from (missing) the first two weeks.” Coach Mark Richt was pleased the most with how efficient Vasser was playing when he was on the field.
“The amount of plays he made compared to how many he was actually in the game was a pretty high ratio of production,” Richt said. “I was really happy with him.” Last weekend against Vanderbilt, Vasser continued to see extended minutes even with Jones back in the lineup. He had four tackles, with one for a four yard loss.
Richt said Vasser’s playing time is directly affected by what kind of packages opposing offenses are using.
“A lot of his playing time is dictated on who’s actually in the game offensively,” he said. “It depends on how many two-receiver sets that we see. If there’s two receivers in the game, he’s been in the game.” The biggest difference for the junior linebacker has been the level of experience he gained from playing last season.
His first career start was against South Carolina in the grueling 45-42 loss at home.
“My first start (against) South Carolina I remember I had butterflies < it was insane,” Vasser said. “As the season went on, I was fighting a little injury bug, but I could tell I was getting better experience and I wasn’t nervous anymore.” At times he would overthink instead of react. So far in 2012, it’s been a different story.
“Last year I didn’t have a lot of experience and I know some times I was a little hesitant when I could’ve had a forced fumble, a tackle for a loss or sacks here and there,” Vasser said. “This year I have more experience and now I’m not going out there thinking too much. (Against Florida Atlantic) I was prepared, I was ready, and I had fresh legs and was eager to get back out there.” With fellow linebacker Alec Ogletree expected to return Saturday against Tennessee, Vasser may again see his playing time diminished, but it doesn’t affect him the slightest.
“(The coaches) just say they’re going to get the best 11 guys on the field and I have faith in them. I hope they continue to let me play, but it’s all about the team it’s not about just one person,” he said. “So no matter what, whatever it takes to get us back to Atlanta and hopefully to Miami < it doesn’t bother me.”