Akeem Dent said the month he missed during preseason, while he recovered from a foot injury the week before practice begun, was one of the more difficult times of his life.
With the Bulldogs still learning their new 3-4 defensive scheme, Dent felt the time he missed on the field was a missed opportunity to show his new coaches exactly what he could do.
"That month I missed in preseason, it was the toughest thing I've ever done in my life," Dent said. "But I just used it as motivation, I'm glad I'm back and I've been playing since the first game. It's been real exciting. I just hope to keep it going."
Thus far, not much has slowed him down.
Dent has recorded double-digit figures in tackles in four of the Bulldogs' past five games, starting with the 12 he had against Mississippi State and including the career-best 15 he recorded last week at Kentucky.
For the year, Dent tops the Bulldogs with 77 tackles, a number that ranks second in the SEC behind Kentucky's Danny Trevathan who tops the conference with 81.
Not bad for someone who had not played much inside linebacker before.
"Coming into this year I had played inside linebacker in just a couple of games, so it was kind of a transition to me from the outside linebacker spot that I played on the 4-3," Dent said. "But most of the techniques are the same so they carried over."
Teammate and fellow inside linebacker Christian Robinson said Dent has had just a big an impact off the field.
"If he's not out there on the field he's going to be telling you exactly how he feels and people aren't going to get mad at you because what he tells you is the truth," Robinson said. "He's like a coach on the field, but a coach who you've also gone through all of the mat drills with, you know he's right there with you and that was huge during camp when we were putting in the things we hadn't learned yet."
Dent says he's just passing on lessons he's heard over the years, including ones from new inside linebacker coach Warren Belin.
"He always says to just make sure you're a student of the game," Dent said. "He says to make sure you go in on your own time, watch film. One of the main things he always stresses is fundamentals. That's what I try to do."
Richt expects Smith to play
Georgia coach Mark Richt said during Monday Night's weekly call-in show that expects cornerback Branden Smith to play in Saturday's game at Florida.
Smith has missed the past three games while recovering from his second concussion in less than a month's time.
"Coach Richt said he'd let me know for sure tomorrow," Smith said after practice Monday. "I'm waiting to hear myself."
If he can play, Smith is expected to also resume his duties as Georgia's main punt returner.
Smith said the fact the concussion was his second was an initial concern.
"I had a little, I guess, but overall I was not really concerned," Smith said. "I knew I was going to come back and everything would eventually be alright."
Thomas gets confidence boost from Brown
During a recent interview with UGASports, running back Carlton Thomas spoke of his desire to meet with former Bulldog running back Thomas Brown.
Before the team left for Lexington, Thomas got his chance.
Brown spoke to the Bulldogs before boarding their plane, and after he was through, Thomas walked up for a quick private chat.
"He's someone I had always wanted to meet," Thomas said. "He told me good job, shook my hand then told me to go out and play hard. I took his words to heart. I feel I played pretty well."
NOTE: Clint Boling, Shaun Chapas, Demarcus Dobbs and Dent will serve as captains for the Florida game.
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