Georgia might be without its star edge rusher for the remainder of the season, as the pectoral injury he suffered in the win over Florida is feared to be season-ending, according to multiple reports. Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com was the first to report the news.
Smith left in the first quarter of Saturday’s win over the Gators. On the season, Smith leads the Bulldogs with 3.0 sacks. The senior leader is expected to have surgery this week to repair the injury.
Without Smith, Georgia will turn to Robert Beal, Chaz Chambliss and Marvin Jones Jr. for more snaps at the edge rusher position. Chambliss did notch a sack in Saturday’s win, while Beal led the team in sacks last season.
“Well, Robert played. He played a little more number of snaps once Nolan was injured,” Smart said. “Chaz did a nice job coming in. It was great to get him back. Didn’t know that he would have to play that much in that role. His hamstring has still been bothering him. It bothered him a little bit the other night after the game.
“So it’s one of those that we’re going to see how he does today and moves around. Looking to get Marvin, MJ, all those guys going. So nobody really played more because it was just Chaz and Robert, really.”
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Of course, Smith’s impact extends far beyond tackling the quarterback. His Georgia’s vocal and emotional leader. While Smith will be able to hype players up from the sideline, Georgia will certainly miss his presence on the field.
“Nolan is a natural leader. He’s been that way since I met him when he was in eighth grade and he came up here to camp,” Smart said. “He’s been a natural leader, comes from a great family, but his leadership is more important than his ability and his ability is pretty strong. He creates a toughness about the he holds people to a standard of the way you strike blocks, the way you close on counters, the way you rush with effort, special teams, I mean, he plays on all special teams. He’s just a core guy.”
Smart said on Monday that Smith was doubtful to play this week. The Georgia head coach will meet with reporters later on Tuesday night, following practice.