Odum's Monday notes from Athens

Various notes from the best beat writer in Athens.

ATHENS, Ga. - After missing almost two weeks with a sprained neck, starting offensive tackle Kareem Marshall returned to practice Monday.

Marshall played well enough in full pads to convince Coach Mark Richt that he is ready to start Saturday night against Clemson.

Marshall will start ahead of freshman Max Jean-Gilles or redshirt freshman Dennis Roland.

Said Richt: "I think (Monday's practice) is enough to get him more game ready than a true freshman right now.''

Marshall admitted he felt rusty Monday but was encouraged that he still has three more practices this week, even though none will be in full pads.

"I think I felt the pain going away last week, but they were just trying to hold me out until I got my full range of motion back,'' Marshall said.

No decision on Williams: Richt said he and other Georgia officials are "in the process'' of making a decision about re-instating cornerback Brandon Williams, who was acquitted by a jury last week of rape charges.

"There are just some procedures in our guidelines, a comprehensive plan, and we're going through that process,'' Richt said, adding he has "been in contact'' with athletics director Vince Dooley and University of Georgia president Dr. Michael Adams.

One option for Williams, who has been suspended through all of preseason practice, is a redshirt season.

Williams was with other players at the Butts-Mehre football building Monday but he did not practice.

Depth chart news: In the first official depth chart issued since the start of preseason practice, Sean Jones on Monday had reclaimed his starting job at rover.

Last week, Georgia coaches moved redshirt freshman Thomas Davis past Jones. In the latest depth chart, Davis was listed behind free safety Kentrell Curry, but the ongoing competition is so close it is still possible both

Davis and Curry could start against Clemson. Curry could move to rover, pushing Jones out of the starting lineup, and Davis would then start at free safety.

Nose tackle Kedric Golston was the only true freshman listed in a starting role. Golston moved past Ken Veal last week. Veal has been out with injured ribs. Veal returned for Friday night's scrimmage, but he has not reclaimed the starting job from Golston.

New 'First Friday' tradition: There will be a first-annual "First Friday'' pep rally at Stegeman Coliseum Friday at 5 p.m. Richt and the team will be present, as will the Georgia pep band and Georgia mascot Uga VI.

"The idea is to have the student body and the Bulldog Nation together for a big sendoff to players the first Friday before the season opener,'' Richt said.

The team will leave the pep rally to spend Friday night at an area hotel, as has been the normal practice before home games.

Richt will announce team captains for the week at the pep rally.

Center of attention: Ian Knight is the definite starting center, but less is known about the backup players at the position.

With starting guard Kevin Breedlove able to fill in as the emergency center and Russ Tanner expected to be back from a knee injury as early as this week, it now seems unlikely that freshman center Randall Swoopes will play this year.

Tanner and Ian Knight had been in a tight competition for the starting job before Tanner's injury. Tanner could be cleared for contact as early as today.

Bennett is back: Richt reluctantly said Billy Bennett had kept his job as the starting icker on field goal attempts and extra points. Bennett had struggled through a slump during much of the preseason drills.

"I don't want him to feel real comfortable,'' Richt said. "He seems to do better if we're wondering about him.''

Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com

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