The sophomore was expected to start against UAB on Saturday in place of the injured Jeremy Thomas (concussion). Now it looks like former linebacker Des Williams will make the start, Coach Mark Richt said Thursday.
Williams was moved to fullback Tuesday but has already impressed Richt. A 6-foot-1, 245-pound true freshman, he had made one tackle this season.
"He looks like a very, very fine fullback prospect," Richt said. "I really like the way he looks, and everybody on offense likes the way he looks."
Smith still could play if his back loosens up before Saturday, Richt said. He is far from the only Bulldog who is expected to miss the game.
Offensive linemen Josh Brock and Bartley Miller showed up to Thursday's practice in green jerseys due to shoulder injuries. Miller is expected to start, but Brock probably will be held out. Walk-on Ryan Schnetzer will start in Brockís place.
"Brock could play, but we're probably going to try to keep him from going if we can help it," Richt said.
Also Thursday, Richt confirmed that wide receiver Fred Gibson (knee) will miss the game. Wide receiver Michael Johnson (shoulder) is questionable and defensive tackle Marquis Elmore (ankle) is doubtful.
SANKS BACK: Former running back Jasper Sanks, who was kicked off the team by Richt in 2001, spoke to the players Thursday evening after receiving an invitation from Richt. Sanks, who said he is still working toward his degree, gave what Richt called a "take advantage of the opportunity that you have kind of speech."
"He really did a great job," Richt said.
Sanks is still trying to land an opportunity to play football with an NFL Europe or Arena League team, Richt said.
"He really looked good, about 228 pounds," Richt said.
REMEMBER HIM?: Preston Pannell of Cordele could make his Bulldog debut Saturday. The redshirt freshman defensive end has yet to play at Georgia due to major injuries to both shoulders. he spent 2001 at Hargrave Military Academy and redshirted at Georgia last season. "He's practiced well this week," Richt said. "He could play."
TAYLOR BACK IN: Tony Taylor has won back the starting weak side linebacker job from Derrick White. White will back up both the weak side and middle linebacker positions.
WHAT A GAME: Richt said he watched the last four seconds of West Virginia's 28-7 win over No. 3 Virginia Tech on Wednesday night. Virginia Tech's loss gives the Bulldogs a chance to move to No. 3 if they beat UAB.
"There was a little buzz about it in the football office," he said.
MORE CLAUSEN: For the second year in a row, Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen has made headlines in Knoxville following the Georgia game. This time it involves the Volunteers' final drive of the first half in their 41-14 loss to the Bulldogs on Oct. 11.
Tennessee was poised to take a 14-13 lead heading into the halftime locker room until Clausen fumbled a handoff and Sean Jones picked it up and ran 92 yards for a touchdown with no time left on the clock. The play was the decisive moment of the game, but it might never have happened if the Vols' had communicated better, several Tennessee players said Wednesday.
Clausen and several offensive lineman told The (Nashville) Tennessean on Wednesday that the play before the fumble -- a second-and-goal from the 1-yard line with less than 30 seconds left -- was originally supposed to be a spike to stop the clock.
"I stood straight up to pass protect, and then I felt Casey ram into the back of my leg," center Scott Wells said. "We didn't know it was coming."
"There's no doubt in my mind that if he would have said quarterback sneak, we would have gotten it in because (the Bulldogs) weren't set," tackle Sean Young said.
Clausen admitted he called "Speedy," the Vols clock-stopping play, but said he got a late sign from the sideline to attempt a sneak.
"I couldn't really say, 'Hey, I'm sneaking the ball,'" he said. "It was one of those things where it was just a miscommunication."
Clausen's sneak failed to gain any yardage. Georgia's Kedric Golston was credited with the tackle on the play, and the Volunteers then had to call a timeout with seven seconds remaining.
Last year, Clausen made news when he said if he had played Tennessee would have beaten Georgia.