August 9, 2010

Is Smith's future with Dawgs in doubt?

Branden Smith's future with the Georgia football team appears up in the air

Head coach Mark Richt was vague when asked about the sophomore following Monday's press conference at the Butts-Mehre Building. Smith has not practiced with the team in almost a week.

"Branden is actually working through some academic issues right now," Richt said.

When asked if he expects Smith to return, Richt repeated his earlier statement. "He's working through some academic issues right now," he said.

It is believed that Smith has not practiced with the team since last Tuesday.

UGA officials confirmed that Smith was not at practice Saturday, and on Thursday the Atlanta native was not available for interviews following a request by a reporter from the Athens Banner Herald.

Richt said Smith's situation would be resolved "soon."

"By the end of the week," added Richt, who said that Smith is the only player with "academic issues."

Smith appeared in all 13 games for Georgia last year including one start, seeing action on both sides of the ball.

Entering preseason camp, he was No. 2 on the depth chart at cornerback behind Vance Cuff.

Last year on defense, the former Washington standout collected 14 tackles and had two pass breakups while rushing 17 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for seven yards and returned 16 kickoffs for 279 yards (17.4 average).

Ogletree primed to make special teams impact

Freshman safety Alec Ogletree said Monday he expects to receive extensive work on special teams.

According to the former Newnan star, he lines up as the third player in side on kickoff coverage, is a wing on punt block and on the front line for kickoff returns.

"Special teams is very exciting for me," Ogletree said. "That's a big part of the game, too. I'm just glad they feel comfortable putting me out there to make plays. I'm going to give it 110 percent."

As far as defense goes, Ogletree said he is working extensively at safety, where he is running with the second and third team.

Dawgs work out in the rain

After a morning workout at Sanford Stadium which focused on special teams, Georgia had a major downpour interrupt the team's afternoon drills.

"There was a 10 percent chance of rain and we got every bit of it," Richt said. "It's funny. In the staff meeting this morning, I looked at the weather and the 10 percent chance today was the highest of about the next 10 days. I said that again to the players right before practice this afternoon, but I'm not that good of a weather man."

Despite the rain, Richt said the workout was a good one.

"It rained hard, but there was not lightning so we worked in it," Richt continued. "You never know when we might have to play in the rain. It was certainly reminiscent of Arizona State last season. I think we handled it pretty good," Richt said. "There were very few fumbles. There was a couple of bobbles and maybe one ended up on the ground. Overall, we handled it pretty good. We actually completed a couple of balls. The defense usually has a good day when it rains like that and they did well, too."

Richt was also pleased with the performances of his specials teams in the morning.

"I liked it a lot," Richt said. "As it was happening, I saw some very good kick returns and our kick coverage team did an outstanding job. I was kind of wondering if our scout team was giving a good enough look and playing fast and hard enough. When I watched the film, I realized that the scouts were doing a pretty good job," he said. "Our punt return and block teams worked against each other most of the time, and they got some good quality work. There are a lot of veterans on our punt teams. It was a good start but we've got a ways to go."

Georgia returns to Sanford Stadium Tuesday when the Bulldogs hold their first scrimmage of camp.

"I think the guys are interested and excited about scrimmaging and tackling," Richt said. "We haven't tackled a lot to this point so this will be a good test. Everything will be live but the quarterback. We'll hit a lot of situations with a few drives also. We'll have some third and short situations, third and medium, some red zone situations, two-minute drill and try to come out deep in our own territory."

Samuel to miss at least a week

Richt said linebacker Richard Samuel will likely miss a week while he recovers from a leg injury.

The Bulldog coach was unsure to the exact extent of the injury.

Also wearing green for the Bulldogs was backup defensive lineman Brandon Wood, safety Quintin Banks (knee) and backup split end Kevin Lanier.

Richt said Banks is day-to-day.

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