August 26, 2009

Smith going through adjustment period

Like many freshmen getting their introduction to the college game, Branden Smith is finding out what it's like to dine on humble pie.

It's a dish he's not used to having served.

Ever since he can remember, Smith has been a starter. That includes all four years at Washington High where the cornerback earned five-star status from Rivals.com.

Smith isn't being na´ve. He knew starting was going to be a longshot at best when he arrived on campus in June.

But with the opener at Oklahoma State now just 10 days away, Smith admits there's still adjustments that he's had to make.

"I've really never been a backup before but there's a first for everything," Smith said. "I'm not used to being a backup but at the same time it's good to be able to sit back and learn, study more and everything like that. Whatever helps the team win is what I'm all about."

As it stands now that means following around Prince Miller and watching his every single move.

Miller is Georgia's starter at wide corner, a position that Smith is being groomed to play.

"Right now I'm just being patient. Prince is the man right now," Smith said. "He's been there. He's the one that's teaching me. I'm still learning. When it's my time to play, I'm going to show out. But until then, I'm just going to be patient until that time comes."

For Smith, his adjustment hasn't solely limited to what takes place on the field.

Again, he credits Miller for helping him there, too.

"I was never a big film person. My high school was not big on film," he said. "Looking at film was very hard when I first came but now I'm getting used to it and studying it more."

There's more.

When Smith played at Washington, he said he was able to get by on athletic ability alone.

"I never had a playbook," Smith said. "That was something else I had to get used to."

No, Smith isn't complaining.

He certainly knew changes were in store when he arrived in Athens, but there's still a part of him which is disappointed that he hasn't picked up the various aspects faster than he has.

"To tell you the truth, I thought I was going to get in a little quicker, but I know God has his place and he knows what's best and so does Coach (Mark) Richt," Smith said. "Like I said, I'm just waiting my turn and when that time comes just go out and prove myself."

Smith still figures to get that chance.

Along with seeing backup work at wide corner behind Miller, Smith (who said he weighs 170 pounds) is getting plenty of looks on special teams.

"I'm getting some looks returning punts, backing up Prince there, too," Smith laughed. "Basically, they (coaches) are just trying to get me used to it. They've tried me at punt return, kickoff returns, and things like that."

Either way, Smith knows his time will come.

He'll be one of what is expected to be one of the many freshmen expected to make their debut in Stillwater, where Smith still hopes to make an impact in whatever way he can.

"I think about it every day," he said. "It's going to exciting."

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