August 12, 2010

Decision is in for Smith

Whatever academic issue Branden Smith had that was keeping him off the practice field is now history.

According to head coach Mark Richt, he learned earlier Thursday that the sophomore cornerback is back in good academic standing and will be at practice Friday afternoon.

Richt would not elaborate on what Smith had to do to get back in good academic graces.

"He is academically in good standing for the 2010 season so we're fired up," Richt said. "I won't go into any detail other than he is in good shape academically and will be at practice (Friday)."

Smith, who participated in the first three days of preseason camp, will have two more days of the NCAA-mandated acclimation period to complete before joining his teammates in full pads.


Banks decides to retire

After a career plagued by bad knees and other various injuries, senior safety has decided to retire from football.

Richt made the announcement following practice Thursday.

"His knees have just not allowed him to move the way he's accustomed to moving as well as he needs to at this level," Richt said. "So, he'll have some surgery in the next couple of weeks or months to try to get it cleaned up by the time he walks out of this fine University with his degree in hand."

Richt said Banks will continue to work with the program as a student coach.

"He's got tremendous knowledge, he's got tremendous love for this team and his teammates and he's got a wonderful spirit," Richt said. "When you describe what you're looking for in a person and a player Quintin is exactly what you're looking for; a good Bulldog."

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound native of Warner Robins only played in 17 career games for the Bulldogs due to his injuries.

He finished with 11 career tackles. Banks informed Richt of his decision Wednesday afternoon.

"It was very difficult for him to come to that realization but he was man enough to come to a decision like that and now live it out, but he will definitely continue to assist to help us win as an assistant coach," Richt said. "The other thing I will say about Quintin is that as a head coach you hope when a young man walks out that door, he's ready for life. I talk about that a lot and Quintin is absolutely ready. He's grown into a really fine man and anyone who's looking to hire a future leader, Quintin is that."

Will NCAA inquiry affect playing status?

Richt said it's his understanding that no player will have to miss the Sept. 4 season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette due to the ongoing NCAA inquiry.

"As of right now we don't have any reason that all of our guys won't be able to participate in regards to that," Richt said.

He had no further comment.

This and that

Georgia held a 90-minute, full-pads practice on Thursday at Sanford Stadium concentrating on special teams. "We had a kicking scrimmage today, which I thought went very well," Richt said. "We got some really good film to look at and to learn from. Certainly, there are still some mistakes being made, but I thought they were made full speed and that the scout teams played hard enough to see what we needed to improve. That was one of things I talked a lot about to the scout teamers. If you go as hard as you can and give us a great look then if we got issues we can see what they are. If the scout team goes half speed and everybody is able to make their block, or whatever it might be, you might have a false impression that you're ready. So we found a few cracks, and we got to make some adjustments but nothing major." … Richt said that [db]A.J. Green, Carlton Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Derek Owens and Logan Gray continue to get looks at punt returner. Brandon Boykin will again return kicks along with possibly Thomas and Washaun Ealey.

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