ATHENS — It remains to be seen if it means anything at all as far as discipline and punishment, but Robert Beal Jr. was back at Georgia’s football practice on Tuesday and Brenton Cox was not.
Both outside linebackers were implicated in an arrest for marijuana possession one week ago. Neither had been on the practice field with the Bulldogs since, at least not during times that media was permitted to observe. They’ve been working on the side instead of getting extra conditioning work from head strength coach Scott Sinclair. Photos were shot of the two sophomores running steps at Sanford Stadium during last Saturday’s scrimmage.
UGA’s student-athlete handbook for the 2018-19 academic year states that any “alcohol- or drug-related arrests or citations are violations of UGAAA policies that include automatic competition suspension, education, counseling, and community service.” Under the specific heading of “UGAAA Substance Abuse” — a section that was revised on Sept. 1, 2017 — the punishment for alcohol and drug misuse stipulates that offenders, among other things, “are suspended from competition during the athletic season for no less than 10% of the total sport season.” Football, which plays 12 games, has interpreted that in the past to be one game.
That Beal was present and Cox was not could be an indication that charges were dropped against Beal. However, there also are escalating penalties for multiple offenses, which could include previous violations or positive drug tests. Then again, Cox could be out of action for other reasons.
No one from UGA has commented other than football coach Kirby Smart, who said the matter was being “handled internally.”
Meanwhile, Georgia’s attrition-ravaged outside linebacker position got another player back on Tuesday. Jermaine Johnson, who rated as the No. 1 overall junior college prospect, was back on the field in full pads with the Bulldogs. He’d been sidelined with an ankle injury.
A day that started out with heavy thunderstorms in the area cleared into bright sunshine and steamy conditions as the Bulldogs’ conducted their 10th of 15 scheduled spring practices. Several onlookers — including former quarterback Aaron Murray — were in attendance.
Georgia will hold its annual G-Day Game scrimmage on April 20 at 2 p.m.