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August 4, 2012

No suspension for Smith

Senior cornerback Branden Smith will not be suspended after all.

Head coach Mark Richt made the announcement after practice Saturday morning, stating that the Atlanta native will in fact be on the field when the Bulldogs face Buffalo in the season-opener on Sept. 1.

"After gathering all the information, determining what happened," Richt said. "We've got peace that we're doing the right thing."

Smith was arrested for marijuana possession in Alabama back in March while traveling with a friend to Destin, Fla. for spring break.

He eventually received a pre-trial intervention, and told reporters that he has satisfied those requirements.

"Everything is completed," said Smith.

"There's really nothing to explain," Smith said. "It happened. I'm clean. I tested clean. I don't do drugs. I'm just moving on."

Smith confirmed that following his arrest, he returned immediately to Athens where he was administered a drug test by the school.

"Things happen like that. When things happen, you've got to turn around from a mistake and make something happen off that," Smith said. "I came back right away and was clean."

Richt did not make any mention regarding linebacker Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo, two players who allegedly failed a drug test upon returning from spring break.

Smith was asked about the pair as well.

"I have no idea," said Smith, who conceded seeing his name associated with drugs hasn't been an easy thing to deal with.

"It's always tough when people think you do drugs and you don't," Smith continued. "They just look at you different, but I know I passed the drug test and it's time to move on. I'm happy."

Richt's announcement certainly means good news for the secondary, which will definitely be without cornerback Sanders Commings (suspended two contests) and likely Rambo, for perhaps as many as four games.

"I think it will help the secondary," Smith said. "We have everybody back and we're practicing hard and fast. I think everybody's already ready for the season to start."



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