April 16, 2011

Smith shines on offense

The following question was posed to junior Branden Smith - what if head coach Mark Richt wanted to move him to offense full time?

"I'd say 'Yes sir, I'm here to help the team win," Smith said. "I can play both sides of the ball, but if they need me on offense full time, I think we have good cornerbacks to replace me. I'm good for whatever."

During Saturday's 18-11 victory by the Black team, Smith scored the first of his team's two touchdowns, when he found himself on the receiving end of a 28-yard scoring pass from Aaron Murray.

Smith finished the game with two catches for 38 yards and rushed two times for 11 more.

"We expect to use him like we did last year, maybe as much or more," Richt said. "But today I don't know how excited Coach (Todd) Grantham was excited about one of our corners playing offense today, but Coach (Mike) Bobo asked Coach (Scott) Lakatos if it was OK, and he said yes. Of course, they were on the same team."

It's not like Smith is a stranger to playing offense.

As a freshman, Smith carried 17 times for 208 yards and one touchdown - a 61-yarder against South Carolina while catching two passes for 7 yards. Last fall, Smith saw his rushing attempts dip to just six carries for 46 yards with two catches for 17.

"I try to tell Coach Richt every day that we'd love to have him over there, but it's a tough situation," Bobo said. "He has had an outstanding spring at DB, and has been more aggressive, he's been in the receiver's face and I'm really proud of his progress. He's a guy who's had some ball-security issues, but when he holds onto the ball, he's electric."

Smith said he'll leave whatever decisions coaches make up to them.

"Wherever they want me I'll play," Smith said. "I just want them to know I'm there for them, no matter what."

Depth charts news

Although it might be too early to place any significant credence, true freshmen Chris Conley was listed ahead of junior wideout Rantavious Wooten on the depth chart for the Black squad.

Also, redshirt freshman Michael Bennett was tabbed ahead of senior Israel Troupe as the starting split end for the Red Team.

Due to injuries, walk-ons Connor Norman and Lucas Redd were the top two free safeties for the Black. Norman had the game's only interception.

Stafford wins quarterback challenge

Former Bulldog quarterback Matthew Stafford won the halftime quarterback challenge, outpointing former Georgia greats David Greene, D.J. Shockley and Eric Zeier during halftime.

The competition benefited the Johnathan Taylor fund.

Stafford won the competition after zipping three passes through a tire tied to the goal post from 25-yards away.

Injury Update

Cornerback Brandon Boykin (concussion), safety Jakar Hamilton (concussion), defensive end Garrison Smith (neck strain), safety Bacarri Rambo (knee, MCL), wide receiver Rantavious Wooten (unknown injury) and running back Washaun Ealey (strained left hamstring) did not play Saturday due to their respective injuries.

Richt said there were no additional injuries to mention after the game.



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