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“If they had just flipped it at the last second, it would be like I was coming back just to ensure a win at Missouri,” Commings said. “If we had done it months ago, back in the summer, it might have been different.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham won’t say if Vasser gets to reclaim his starting job Saturday, but he does expect the versatile player to work out of multiple formations in the 3-4 defense. He is effective both rushing the passer and dropping into coverage.

Vasser is just glad he won’t have to sit at home watching another game with his parents, as he did last week.

“It was a rude awakening,” he said. “I’ve definitely learned my lesson.”

No matter who plays, the Bulldogs should be solid favorites in their next two games against Florida Atlantic (1-1) and Vanderbilt (0-2). All the suspended players are likely to be back by the time they face No. 23 Tennessee (2-0) on Sept. 29.

Commings and Richt are ready to move on.

“He certainly didn’t behave as he should,” the coach said. “He’s paying his debt to society and he paid his debt to the program. I’m glad he handled everything the way he handled it. I think he can move forward and be a real positive person and a positive teammate.”

Commings is determined to stay out of trouble.

“I’ve learned a lot from it,” he said. “I’ve learned I need to put myself around people who bring out the best in me.”

Without those four key players, Georgia’s defense didn’t look its best in the first two games. Lowly Buffalo made a game of it in the first half, putting up 16 points between the hedges. Missouri burned the secondary for two long touchdown passes. Overall, the Bulldogs rank 10th in the SEC in points allowed (21.5 per game) and 11th in total defense (an average of 359 yards).

“A lot of good things happened defensively,” Richt said. “But there’s still things that have to be cleaned up.”

He’s not sure where Commings fits into the cleaning process. While cornerback is his preferred position, the Bulldogs are pleased with the play of converted receiver Malcolm Mitchell. Richt pointed out that Commings, at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, might be more of a fit physically at safety — at least until Rambo returns.

“We’re always going to cross-train Sanders to play both corner and safety,” the coach said. “He runs really well. He also covers well. He’s smart enough to play both positions.”