ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
AP file photo by Sean Rayford / Arian Smith (11) became the latest Georgia wide receiver injured this spring, but coach Kirby Smart was not overly concerned after the sophomore sprained his wrist during the Bulldogs' scrimmage Saturday.

Georgia conducted a 130-play scrimmage Saturday afternoon inside Sanford Stadium, with Bulldogs football coach Kirby Smart saying, "We're not where we need to be," what seemed like 130 times afterward.

The Bulldogs did not get through the scrimmage without another receiver leaving the field, with sophomore Arian Smith representing Saturday's setback.

"Arian sprained his wrist, but he should be fine," Smart said on a Zoom call. "I don't know if he'll be back Monday. They're still doing the X-rays, but I know he sprained his wrist."

Smith, who had two receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown as a freshman, is the third Georgia receiver injured this spring. Junior George Pickens tore his ACL on March 23 and could miss the entire 2021 season, while sophomore Jermaine Burton hyperextended his knee this past Tuesday.

Saturday marked the first time Smart has spoken to the media since the injury to Burton, who could return to practice before the April 17 G-Day game.

"The only thing I'll take away from the scrimmage is that I was pleased with the energy," Smart said. "We made some errors. We had 16 (midyear enrollees) out there, and they were a little nervous and had some anxiety there, but I thought that the energy was good on both sides of the ball.

"When somebody made a play, there was enthusiasm and more connection out there. It wasn't guys going through the motions, which can happen sometimes in the spring."

The offensive line and secondary were two of several areas Smart described as being a long way off from what he wanted, but he offered a lot of praise for junior linebacker Nakobe Dean, who isn't going through contact work this spring after undergoing labrum surgery in January.

"Nakobe still takes walkthrough reps and takes every mental rep," Smart said. "I've never had a player in all my career of coaching who was more engaged. You have to stay on certain guys who are injured to stay engaged, but Nakobe is calling things out. He's playing linebacker every play and making the call from the sideline. You can hear him.

"He's engaged. He's on top of it. Plus, he gets reps in individual periods and in walkthroughs, so I feel good about the work he's putting in."

 

No politics for me

Smart was asked about Major League Baseball's decision Friday to move this summer's All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia changing its voting laws.

"I try my best to keep my head down and continue to work on our team and what we have to deal with," he said. "I certainly worry about the mental state of our players, and I want the ability to have open conversations, but I don't get into the political side of it."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT