Saturday’s practice report: Branden Smith day-to-day with foot injury

ATHENS — A week away from its season opener, Georgia’s football team practiced Saturday without one of its starting cornerbacks, its No. 1 punt returner and an occasional offensive playmaker.

Branden Smith, who is all of the above, missed the practice with a foot injury sustained in practice on Thursday.

Coach Mark Richt described Smith’s status as a day-to-day matter, but -– with the days dwindling before the season opener against Boise State -– expressed optimism he will be able to play.

“We don’t think it’s serious,” Richt said of the injury. “Nothing that would require surgery. I guess the ol’ day-by-day is the best way to describe it.”

Asked specifically if he expects Smith to play against Boise State, Richt said: “I do, yes.”

If Smith is healthy, he will join Brandon Boykin as Georgia’s starting cornerbacks, with Jordan Love the third corner in nickel packages. Richt said freshman Damian Swann would be next in line for playing time at cornerback if Smith were sidelined.

Sanders Commings, who moved from cornerback to safety late in spring practice, seems set at his new spot. “He’s our No. 1 safety right now, along with Shawn [Williams],” Richt said.

That officially confirmed what had become apparent on the practice field –- that Bacarri Rambo, who started all 13 games last season, isn’t currently a first-team safety. Richt said only that Rambo “has done well” in preseason.

Richt indicated kickoff returner Boykin also would handle punt returns if Smith isn’t able to go. Swann and fellow freshman Malcolm Mitchell would be the next options to return punts, Richt said.

Trip to the Dome

The Bulldogs were back on the Woodruff Practice Fields on Saturday after busing to the Georgia Dome, site of the opening game, for a closed practice Friday.

“I wanted them to just get in there and get a little taste of it,” Richt said.

They even broke out the Nike pro-combat uniforms they’ll wear for the game against Boise State.

“The first time they put them on, I figured they’d be primping a little bit, maybe be a little too focused on the uniform rather than the game,” Richt said. “So I was trying to get [that] out of the way so they could get over that. And when we go play next week, we won’t have to worry about taking pictures or looking in the mirror.”

Linebacker Alec Ogletree said the trip to the Dome was beneficial.

“We got in there and got to go in the locker room and … learn how to run on the field and stuff,” Ogletree said Saturday. “A lot of the guys have never played in the Dome or even been to it, so [the trip] took off some of the edge that we had about being excited about the Dome and just got us back to playing football.”

Jenkins still out

Nose guard John Jenkins, the much-touted junior-college transfer, remained sidelined with a hamstring injury Saturday.

“He’s still not ready,” Richt said. “I’m hoping Monday. . . . It’s not 100 percent he’ll be back Monday, but we’re hopeful.”

Kwame Geathers is slated to start at the nose against Boise.

Etc.

Richt expects wide receiver Marlon Brown, sidelined for several days with an ankle injury, to return to practice  Monday. . .  Tailback Richard Samuel practiced Saturday and continues to work his way back from a quadriceps injury.  “He’s getting there,” Richt said. “I wouldn’t say he’s full speed.” . . . The team has Sunday off. . . . Monday’s practice is scheduled to be the Bulldogs’ last in full pads before the opener.

168 comments Add your comment

2012 FEAR THE END

August 27th, 2011
3:22 pm

Mark

August 27th, 2011
3:24 pm

First…. Go Dawgs!

ed

August 27th, 2011
3:25 pm

Dawg1993

August 27th, 2011
3:25 pm

Seems like Coach is trying to stay focused….hope this translates to the team.

ed

August 27th, 2011
3:26 pm

3rd…Oh well. Go Dawgs!! GATA!!

Michael

August 27th, 2011
3:27 pm

Williams must be as impressive as players have claimed if he’s helped knock Rambo out of the starting four at DB.

Can’t say I’m against it. Rambo was always more hype than on-field performance, and Commings is a proven playmaker that deserves to start.

Fictus Fanaticus

August 27th, 2011
3:29 pm

I foresee this game being lopsided…

The problem is I can’t figure out if it will be Georgia or Boise State doing all the scoring..

All the prognosticators that think they know how this game is going to go are only guess. You never know what sort of team is going to come out of that tunnel at the start of a new season.

Go Dawgs! The pride of SEC is at stake.. we must not lose!

My Dad can whoop your dad

August 27th, 2011
3:34 pm

Bunch of FIRST time losers today.
Smart move by Richt with the practice and uni’s.

KappaDawg

August 27th, 2011
3:34 pm

Great idea getting them in the Dome to get acclimated with it and the newness of the uniforms. Now the work of preparation for a very formitable team can commence. Let’s be realistic, this is a good team but I think our defensive speed will be more than they can handle.

Go Dawgs!!!

D A DoubleU G

August 27th, 2011
3:34 pm

Ingenious move by Richt to get to the Dome, and get a lot of the things he mentioned out of the team’s system.

This should also go to show any of the still-uninformed haters that the uniform is far from a gimmick desired by Richt. In fact, it’s quite the opposite side of the spectrum.

I cannot stress enough how excited for, and proud of this team I am. I expect to see a very determined and gritty team come through the tunnel in ONE WEEK. No matter what the outcome, this team and coaching staff have obviously revamped since the Liberty Bowl. If we happen to come up short in the points column, it will simply be because we were the 2nd best team on the field.

LET”S GET THROUGH THIS WEEK!!!!
Go Dawgs!!

KappaDawg

August 27th, 2011
3:37 pm

*formidable*

RevThomas

August 27th, 2011
3:40 pm

I absolutely love this stuff -7 days to go Dawgs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3MHtftW3r4

Athens Dawg

August 27th, 2011
3:41 pm

Shawn Williams must really be something. He knocked Rambo out of a starting spot. I thought Rambo was a good player for us last season. He did get burnt on occasion but overall I thought he played very well. Apparently Commings and Williams are better. That has lockdown secondary written all over it with Boykin, Smith, Commings, and Williams. Shawn Williams is also a hitter which I love.

Athens Dawg

August 27th, 2011
3:48 pm

DE: Abry Jones
NG: Kwame Geathers
DE: DeAngelo Tyson

OLB: Jarvis Jones
ILB: Alec Ogletree
ILB: Christian Robinson
OLB: Cornelius Washington

CB: Branden Smith OR Damian Swann
FS: Sanders Commings
SS: Shawn Williams
CB: Brandon Boykin

WHOOOOO WEEEEEEE! Let’s Go DAWGS! DEFENSE WINS THIS ONE!

Dawglasville

August 27th, 2011
3:52 pm

Man, I hope the defense lives up to the billing. I can’t wait to see Kwame and Jarvis Jones.

Psycho E

August 27th, 2011
3:52 pm

this is preposterous. I have been rooting for the sanders commings move to free safety for a season and a half, because quite frankly i thought branden smith NEEDED to be on the field. IMO, the 4 best dbs are rambo, boykin, smith, and commings. I was proud of CMR when he moved commings to safety, but shawn williams should not start over a player like rambo. Williams can be the third safety, or in a nickel set you can move commings to the nickel and put williams in at safety. maybe i’m wrong about williams, but currently i have seen more out of rambo. i guess we’ll find out how good williams is…

southsideDawg

August 27th, 2011
3:53 pm

GO DAWGS!! BEAT the SMURFS!!!

question

August 27th, 2011
3:53 pm

Is Bruce Figgins back from his injury?

TampaDawg

August 27th, 2011
3:56 pm

This will be one of the best defense’s we’ve ever seen wear the “G”. And with so many more guys coming in this year (some redshirted), and more coming in next year, it will be that way for a while. Next years recruiting class has been so focused on both sides of the line which is exactly what they need right now.

JDawg1785

August 27th, 2011
3:58 pm

Smart move by CMR getting the boys in the new unis before the game.

Athens Dawg

August 27th, 2011
3:58 pm

These players have the right mindset. FINALLY! The past few years have been about the “star” players instead of the concept of a “TEAM”. Everybody was used to counting on Stafford, Knowshon, A.J. Green, etc to make a play and lead this team to a win by themselves. We don’t have that now. We have a team that is willing to work together to accomplish the same goal. These boys will go hard on Boise because they know what’s at stake. They will shock, and I mean SHOCK the CFB world.

TampaDawg

August 27th, 2011
3:59 pm

I like Rambo but he gets out of position too easy sometimes and when he is supposed to be the deep help, he tends to get burned. I would like to think that CMR and CTG saw something in Williams that warranted a move like this. It’s not one of those moves you do in camp when they are simply running neck and neck. Not at this point in their terms at UGA.

TeeJayy

August 27th, 2011
3:59 pm

For Rambo to get bumped off the first string tells me Williams and Commings are impressing at safety.

Looking at our defense I can’t help get jittery. We have the potential to be amazing.

Athens Dawg

August 27th, 2011
4:00 pm

Did anybody ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe the reason we’ve had sub-par seasons the past 2 seasons was because we have had 3 different QBs the past 3 seasons? We had Stafford in 08, Cox in 09, and then Murray in 2010. This will be the first time since 08 that we’ve had the same QB from the previous season. Believe it or not, breaking in a new QB can affect the continuity of a football team. New leadership, and such. Just a thought.

Tdawg

August 27th, 2011
4:03 pm

@physco E you havent seen the practices and CMR has so obviously he thinks Shawn Williams can help the team more than Rambo

TampaDawg

August 27th, 2011
4:08 pm

Athens Dawg – I mentioned that on one of the previous blogs yesterday about the QB situation. We went from David Greene for 3 years to DJ Shockley for 1 (not a bad year though), to Stafford for another 3. The transition from Stafford to Cox was not smooth because there is such a drop in talent (nothing against Joe Cox but it is what it is) and he wasn’t the answer. Murray will be a star for the next couple of years at least. Down here in Tampa, he made a name in a big way.

BTW, has anyone seen video of Lonnie Outlaw .. Scout.com lists him as 6-7/200 at WR .. we won’t see him at UGA until next year but that will be fun to watch.

WDE

August 27th, 2011
4:09 pm

Well where are all the haters that are always talking CMR playing guys because of seniority ? Looks like he wants to get the best guys on the field period…7 very long day to go..Go Dawgs! And a great idea to go to the dome and wear the new uniforms!

dawggirl

August 27th, 2011
4:12 pm

I just don’t know what to think. I honestly feel like I have no idea how we’ll be in a week. I’m hoping we come out strong. Not liking all of these lingering injuries, but it does sound like we have a very strong starting 11 on defense. Really want Branden Smith to be okay.

I really do like Richt’s focused approach, though. Great idea on the Dome practice, and other things like the uniform getting worn and the non-swimming this year really give me hope.

BOB

August 27th, 2011
4:12 pm

I love looking at our defense ,and not being able to pick out a weakness.

Tennessee Dawg 4 Life

August 27th, 2011
4:16 pm

Glad to see CMR with a chip on his shoulder. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just watch the report he gave to day dude is ticked and ready to whoop some blue butt! Whoo Go dawgs!

JAWJeRDAWG

August 27th, 2011
4:20 pm

Who would be our backup at nose for Kwame if he needs a breather or, heaven forbid, gets injured, and Big John is unable to play?

I just don’t think Jenkins wouldn’t be able to play if needed, and probably will play next Saturday. (

(Man, it’s good to finally be able to write the words,’next Saturday’)

Players usually always find a way to get on the field and play through the adversity of injury and pain. I surely hope he can. We’ll need a fresh nose in there all night to tie up two of BS’s OL and give our LB’s a chance to get into their backfield.

Hopefully having Sunday off will also help get Branden and the others with nagging injuries healed, and we’ll find that the team got through the Monday scrimmage without furthur injures.

Seems Coach Richt has this team focused and ready to play some football. I know UGA fans are ready to see a renewed Junkyard Dawg defense and an exciting Georgia offense in the Dome.

Go ahead and say it won’t be so, haters. Only time will tell. This Dawg fan is ready, and I believe it will happen! .. Go Dawgs!

tide roll

August 27th, 2011
4:21 pm

Got the “primping” out of the way, now Aaron Murray can be totally focused. Oh wait, what about the hair? Sheesh, what a program ! Sounds like the cheerleaders got new uniforms, not your football team. Roll Tide

acdc1996

August 27th, 2011
4:21 pm

Can’t wait for the season to start. My brother, who passed away this year in his early 40’s, was a big UGA fan. Things are placed in the proper perspective when something like this happens. I am damn proud of UGA and Mark Richt. Win or lose, have fun and do it right.

Here’s to you Brian, GOOO DAWGS! SICK’EM! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!

shankit

August 27th, 2011
4:24 pm

Good strategy, especially for the young players, to get acclimated to the dome,
and depth perception of the new uniforms.

chilidawg

August 27th, 2011
4:29 pm

Good to hear that the best players are on the feild instead of those with seniority.

chilidawg

August 27th, 2011
4:31 pm

I can spell, but not type.

Athens Dawg

August 27th, 2011
4:32 pm

I just hope, that if Branden Smith isn’t ready (God forbid), that Swann is ready for the spotlight and that it doesn’t get too big for him because Kellen Moore will see that and he’ll pick on him. That’s why I hope Smith is ok and ready to go next week. Overall, everyone should be heathy and ready to go.

tide roll

August 27th, 2011
4:44 pm

I’m just saying. This has got to be the first time in the history of college football that a coach has gone public about concerns over his team “primping a little bit” Apparently when this happens you’re not just an energy vampire, you’re now a “primping energy vampire” It’s something that Saban needs to be alerted to. No new uniforms for BAMA, our guys may end up distracted from looking at themselves too much.

slydog

August 27th, 2011
4:46 pm

The only reason those two bumped Rambo from a starting spot is simple: Interceptions and play making. Rambo is a good hitter who rarely blows an assignment, but Williams and Commings are ballhawks and make more game changing plays. Lakatos likes ballhawks (Tyvon Branch, Darius Butler).

slydog

August 27th, 2011
4:47 pm

@tide roll So, who is going to start @ QB for Alabama?

P-Man

August 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

My condolences on the loss of your brother acdc1996. I’m with you; I love football, but it is not the most important thing in the world. I’ve been a UGA fan (and a Braves fan, and a Falcons fan) since the mid-70s, and I stick with my team, win or lose. I ALWAYS hope for a national championship (or World Series win, or a Super Bowl) every year, but I’m realistic enough to understand it ain’t gonna happen every year. At the end of the day (I hate that phrase!), I’m happy if my team plays hard until the end of the game, and leaves it all on the field. That’s why I love it when the Redcoat Band plays the fight song at the end of EVERY game, showing their pride in being a bulldog, win or lose.

As I’ve said before, it disturbs me that the only CURRENT definition of success is “winning it all”, that if you don’t, that makes you and your season a failure. Well I for one refuse to accept that every Braves season in the 90s (except for 1995) was a failure. I had a blast rooting for them, and I had a blast rooting for and watching the Falcons in 1998 (and the last 3 years). As for the Bulldogs not having won a national championship since 1980, I admit there were some lean years, but winning a national championship in college football is partly luck, partly public perception, etc. If the right team had lost at the right time (Tennessee) in 2007, UGA would have been in the title game instead of LSU, assuming they had beaten LSU in the dome. Many people agree that at the end of the year, UGA was playing about as well as anyone. And all those people saying that UGA is irrelevant, I find it telling that the Dawgs are the only team that had a losing record last year that was included in the top 25. Not even Texas (who everyone would agree IS relevant, despite last year) can say that!

Sorry to be so long winded. Just kinda got going and couldn’t stop…

Snoop Dawg

August 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

Looks like even Richt and Company have finally caught on to Rambo. This guy is totally undisciplined. He was always out of position, playing sandlot football the past two years. This is why the Dawgs have become losers.

tide roll

August 27th, 2011
4:53 pm

Oh crap, the dome’s got a big screen. We’ll be staring at ouselves the whole game!

Austin Thomas

August 27th, 2011
4:58 pm

What happend with Michael Thornton does he figure in the rotation for d lineman

jack bull

August 27th, 2011
5:02 pm

UGA vs LSU in the Dome for the SEC CG. It’s all in the stars, with former UGA QB Mettenberger throwing for a gazillion yards against us making us look bad…8/27/11 5:02.

Paddy

August 27th, 2011
5:06 pm

Hate to say this but I believe the next time we see John Jenkins will be in spring practice 2012.

tom

August 27th, 2011
5:07 pm

Thank God Rambo is benched. He plays too much like Bryan Evans

kybodawg

August 27th, 2011
5:10 pm

one thing we havent heard much about is the offensive line. no injuries and the same guys getting all the reps together i think this line will be opposit last year and be the wild card. go dawgs

tide roll

August 27th, 2011
5:14 pm

OK guys. Before we go out there, is everybody taped ? Hydrated? Oh yeah, be sure take a few minutes to look at yourselves in the mirror; make sure your hair’s in place. I don’t want any distractions out there. All together now, including you energy vampires: Gooooo Dogs! This speech is invaluable. Serves two roles. It can work for your football team, or your Cheerleaders! HA!

Wondering

August 27th, 2011
5:15 pm

Aren’t the injuries mounting up some? I mean, it’s a week until the first game and we keep hearing of more and more guys getting hurt.