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Wednesday August 12, 2009

David Hales answers a question today about the relatively quiet preseason Branden Smith is having. Hale brings us back to earth and notes that, “while most fans were expecting immediate results, (Smith)’s simply working on building a strong foundation.”

Smith has drawn Champ Bailey comparisons since Day 1. The two even chatted during the recruiting process. Smith, a potential star on both sides of the ball, would do well to have the same kind of career that Bailey had in Athens. So it’s worth remembering that Bailey, though he played often in his first year, didn’t even start at cornerback until the final two games of his freshman season. Champ’s first big game wasn’t really until the final game of the season where he had a couple of interceptions in a 19-10 win over Georgia Tech.

If the best cornerback of the post-Dooley era took a while to break the starting lineup, I’m not going to sweat Branden Smith flying under the radar in August. Few positions are as exposed as the defensive back, and it can be brutal for young guys. From Oliver to Allen to Jennings to Thornton to Wansley, I can’t remember any cornerback who didn’t take their lumps early in their careers.

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