Smith missed eight practices dealing with unspecified issues, as head coach Mark Richt called it. 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 tomorrow.”
Smith, a sophomore, was contending to start at cornerback, and was expected to help return punts and kicks. He also saw time on offense last year.
Reserve DB Banks “retires”
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 from Warner Robins, appeared in four games last year. He missed the entire 2008 season after tearing his MCL.
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 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 if and when it had occurred, but receiver A.J. Green is the presumed interviewee.
Richt was asked Thursday if they 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.”
Washaun Ealey missed practice to get some dental work. Since he isn’t on special teams, they decided to do it today.