ATHENS, Ga. — Sophomore Branden Smith, a starting candidate at cornerback, missed Georgia’s football practice Monday because of what coach Mark Richt called “academic issues.”
Richt said he could not be more specific.
“Branden is actually working through some academic issues right now,” Richt said. “So he’s just working on that.”
The situation does not appear to be long term. Richt said he expected it resolved “soon,” possibly by the end of the week.
Never miss a local story.
In the meantime, Richt said anyone who can play corner opposite projected starter Brandon Boykin is working there right now. One freshman who has stood out is Derek Owens,
“He’s actually had a good camp,” Richt said. “Very instinctive, breaks on the ball well, has good hands. For a little guy, he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there.”
Owens, a 5-foot-9 product of Jacksonville, Fla., said he benefited from staying in Athens after summer workouts, which allowed him to delve further into the playbook.
“I sat, and I stayed here, so I could go into camp focused,” Owens said. “Some of the players (have been) like, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’re gonna be out there on that field. You’re gonna play this year.’ I’m just staying focused, not trying to get into all that.”
Defensive back Quintin Banks missed practice with some swelling in his knee. Banks, a senior who played in four games last year, is two years off MCL surgery.
Inside linebacker Richard Samuel has a knee injury, the specifics of which Richt didn’t know for sure.
“We think that both of them are more than probable for our first ball game,” Richt said. “Quintin’s more day-to-day, and Richard might be more like a week or two.”
Scrimmage on tap
Georgia will hold its first scrimmage today. Richt said it will involve a lot of situational work, such as two-minute drills, third-and-shorts, and so on.
Starting quarterback Aaron Murray will see live action, although against the second-teamers.
“I’d really like for the No. 1 units to perform extremely well,” Richt said. “At this time of the year our No. 1 units go against our No. 2 units. So I hope the No. 1 offense plays great and I hope the No. 1 defense plays great.”