ATHENS — Kirby Smart isn’t ready to say yet that Julian Rochester and Chad Clay will be suspended, but some form of punishment is definitely coming.
Smart addressed the felony arrests of Rochester and Clay at the outset of the head coach’s post-practice availability on Tuesday. The two players, charged with shooting BB guns in their dorm room, made “poor decisions,” according to Smart, which would lead to “consequences.”
But Smart stopped short of announcing any suspension, because “at this time we’re still gathering information.”
“It’s hard not to say. We’re not making any rash run off to make a quick decision,” Smart said. “We’ve got to see this whole thing through, find everything out, talk to them, get with them, and visit with them.”
While Smart quickly confirmed a one-game suspension when defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter was arrested several weeks ago, that was “clear cut,” Smart said on Tuesday, while this case is not.
Rochester and Clay were not at practice on Tuesday, but are likely to return on Thursday. They had to tend to academic matters they missed on Tuesday because they weren’t released from jail until just before noon.
Smart said he didn’t know if they would play on G-Day.
“It’s just sad, because both of those kids were improving on the football field, and to make a decision so dumb, I mean just a dumb decision,” Smart said. “It really saddens me, because it embarrasses all of us, it embarrasses our university, and it embarrasses them and their families.”
Smart wouldn’t answer whether he knew about the situation last Thursday, when the player’s room was first searched.
The players were charged on Monday and then taken into custody later that night.
“It really saddens me, because both these two kids, I was able to go in their home in December, meet their parents, and both their parents are extremely disappointed in them, as well as our team,” Smart said. “This conduct will not be tolerated, and these guys will be punished at the appropriate time in the appropriate manner.”