ATHENS — Georgia sophomore Nolan Smith hit the beaches last week near his hometown of Savannah with work — not play — in mind.
“As all of us know, we didn’t have our spring practices, our 15 (allotted) practices,” Smith told Savanna’s WJCL-22 in a published television interview.
Georgia, like many other schools, has been on an indefinite break from sports activity since March 12 when the NCAA cancelled winter and spring sports championships.
Universities are working on provisional plans to return students to campus, in addition to enabling student-athletes to be cleared for on-campus workouts.
Until then, it’s up to the student-athletes to eat properly and keep themselves in shape while scattered around the country in their respective hometowns.
“We’re already behind on workouts and stuff,” Smith said. “So we have to have some type of way to keep our energy up, keep it going, keep our stamina and everything and just keep working out.”
Smith, like most every other player on the 2020 Bulldogs’ roster, is in an ultra-competitive situation for playing time.
Smith was the No. 1 overall recruit coming out of the IMG Academy in the 2019, but he has yet to win a starting spot at Georgia. This, despite being the co-winner of team’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
The Bulldogs’ platoon system on defense is such that players like Smith and Jermaine Johnson, the No 1 JUCO recruit of the 2019 class, still get their share of snaps behind starter Azeez Ojulari.
Georgia figures to have the best defense in the nation returning with nine of the 11 starters back off a Sugar Bowl team that beat Baylor 26-14 in a battle of Top 10 teams.
Smith shared how the Bulldogs are working to stay in shape and in sync while social distancing during the break created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re all having Zoom meetings — position group and the whole defense — we just get in there and talk and check on each other,” Smith told the Savannah television station last week.
“I’m getting calls from my D-line coach, inside linebackers coach and DB coach every day, because that’s who we see in the meetings.
“They just call to check on us, and it’s not even about football. They just call to make sure our family and everything are all right and classes are going great.”
The coaches might soon see for themselves.
Georgia president Jere Morehead said last week UGA plans to have its students and athletes back on campus in July.
Further, one plan involves quarantining the Georgia players and coaches at an on-campus hotel.
In many senses, student-athletes at many schools like UGA are already quarantined in the sense that they have their own training tables, weight rooms, academic support centers and workout facilities.
WJCL-22 Nolan Smith video
Great seeing the Savannah Dawg doing work here at home. pic.twitter.com/Mu9kql0tNS
— Frank Sulkowski WJCL (@TheBigGuyWJCL) May 2, 2020
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