Academic issues over
By SETH EMERSON
ATHENS, Ga. — Branden Smith’s academic “issues” are over, and he is expected to be back at Georgia football practice today.
Smith missed eight practices while dealing with unspecified issues, as coach Mark Richt called them. But Richt announced after Thursday’s practice that Smith will return.
“He is academically in good standing for the 2010 season, so we are fired up,” Richt said. “I won’t go into any detail other than he’s in good shape academically and will be at practice (today).”
Smith, a sophomore, was contending to start at cornerback and was expected to help return punts and kicks. He also played on offense last year.
While one defensive back returned, another left.
Safety Quintin Banks, nagged by knee injuries, has decided to “retire” as a player, according to Richt.
Banks, a senior, appeared in four games last year. He missed the entire 2008 season after tearing a knee ligament.
He elected to have knee surgery but will remain with the team as a student assistant coach.
“His knees have just not allowed him to move the way he’s accustomed to moving and move well enough to compete at this level,” Richt said.
“So he’ll have some surgery in the next couple of weeks to months and try to get it all cleaned up where he’s healthy by the time he walks out of this fine university with degree in hand.”
Richt continues not to be too worried about the NCAA inquiry. The school has declined to say which player the NCAA wanted to interview or whether and when it had occurred, but receiver A.J. Green is the presumed interviewee.
Richt was asked Thursday whether the team would hold any player out of a game if their eligibility were in question. He answered that “as of right now” they didn’t have any reason to think that anybody would not “be able to participate, in regards to that.”
Ealey misses practice
Washaun Ealey missed practice to get some dental work.
Because he isn’t on special teams, they decided to do it Thursday.