Georgia football notes: Branden Smith intends to play in opener despite injury

semerson@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 28, 2011 

ATHENS, Ga. -- The secondary is officially in flux for the Boise State game, with news on a couple fronts.

First, cornerback Branden Smith has an injured foot, but coach Mark Richt thinks Smith will be out there for the opener.

“We don’t think it’s serious. Nothing that would require surgery,” Richt said. “I guess the ol’ day-by-day is the way to describe it.”

It bears noting, however, that players have been announced as day-to-day this preseason and it turned into seven days or more. So Smith’s situation next week bears watching.

Richt said that freshman Damian Swann would be next in line if Smith can’t go. Brandon Boykin would probably take over for Smith at punt return, and then Swann and fellow freshman Malcolm Mitchell would be next in line.

Meanwhile, Richt verbalized what has become apparent: Bacarri Rambo is no longer a first-team safety, even though the junior is the team’s leading returning tackler and has been on some preseason award lists.

Sanders Commings and Shawn Williams are the starters, according to Richt. So the natural question, as one reporter put it, was what has happened with Rambo?

“He’s done well,” Richt said of Rambo. “They’re good football players. So when we were talking about Jakar (Hamilton) getting the injury that was going to end (his season), with Sanders’ ability to play both, it just gives us better depth. But Rambo’s done well.”

Rambo, who missed most of spring practice because of injuries, has been healthy this preseason but has not been made available to the media for interviews.

Practice in the Dome

The team bused to Atlanta for Friday’s practice, having a run-through at Georgia Dome, where Saturday’s game against No. 5 Boise State will take place.

Richt said the “great majority” of players hadn’t been there before. He also let them put on the pro-combat uniforms that they’ll be wearing.

“I figured they’d be primping a little bit, just maybe being a little bit too focusd on the uniforms than the game,” Richt said. “So I was trying to get over that, and then when we go play next week I won’t have to worry about (if) are they in awe of the dome, taking pictures in the mirror with their new uniforms.”

Linebacker Jarvis Jones played in the dome twice with Carver High but said it was still good for everyone to get a sense of the surroundings.

“I think we got quick a few guys that never got that experience, especially the out-of-state guys,” Jones said. “But we’re just so excited about coming back this weekend coming up, playing in front of our fans that support us the best.”

Injury updates

Nose tackle John Jenkins (mild hamstring) was out again.

“It’s not 100 percent he’ll be back Monday, but we’re hoping Monday,” Richt said.

Monday is also the target for receiver Marlon Brown, who has been out with an ankle injury.

Tailback Richard Samuel (left quad injury) was once again in a regular jersey, but still isn’t 100 percent.

“He’s getting there. I wouldn’t say he’s full-speed,” Richt said.

Samuel is expected to share carries with freshman Isaiah Crowell from Carver.

One of the backups, redshirt freshman Ken Malcome, missed Saturday’s practice.

Richt didn’t know Malcome’s malady.

“He always seems to have an injury after scrimmages,” Richt said.

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