Smith could know fate today

ATHENS – Freshman center Ian Smith could know today whether he has a future with Georgia's football team.

Coach Mark Richt has told Smith he may have his mind made up by the time the Bulldogs (8-4) break for the holiday, which will be after today's morning practice. Richt is deciding whether to kick Smith off the team or let him return with at least a five-game suspension to start the 2007 season.

Smith will not play in the Dec. 30 Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. No. 14 Virginia Tech in Atlanta. He has been on indefinite suspension since November, when he was arrested for the second time this year on an alcohol-related charge.

At the time of Smith's first arrest, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Cartersville native was found passed out in a downtown restaurant, according to a police report. In November, he was found passed out on Sanford Drive and registered a .216 blood alcohol level after being revived, according to a police report.

Smith is now receiving counseling for alcohol-related issues, he said.

"I asked for it," he said. "I feel like I needed it to get everything back in order to make sure I don't make the same mistake again."

Smith avoided expulsion from school after his second offense but will be on probation with the student government for the rest of his time at the university, which will be until he graduates even if he is kicked off the team, Smith said.

"If that's the decision that (Richt) makes, I'll respect it and hopefully the friendships that I have will remain," he said, "and I'm definitely going to stay here and finish my degree if that's the case."

Smith has been practicing with the Bulldogs while he awaits Richt's decision.

"It's pretty nerve-wracking, but at the same time I'm just trying to concentrate on practice and help the team out," he said. "He's a man in an authoritative position and he has to do what's right by him, right by the team and right by the university. Whatever decision he makes, I'll respect that."

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