ATHENS — The NCAA is scheduled to hear A.J. Green’s appeal of his four-game suspension Friday, but there’s no guarantee a quick ruling will come.
The appeal has apparently been pushed back several times this week. Asked if the NCAA would rule Friday, head coach Mark Richt said he “can only hope that.”
“I think everybody’s looking to see if he’s playing,” Georgia tight end Orson Charles said. “But if he’s not, we’ve still gotta keep going. We’re still practicing with him, we’re still practicing without him. I don’t think the team will dwell on whether he’s playing or not.”
Meantime, the former North Carolina player who purchased Green’s jersey is facing felony cocaine trafficking charges, according to reports. Chris Hawkins, who lives in Raleigh, N.C., is facing an October trial in Georgia after being stopped in Madison, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Hawkins has said he is not agent, as the NCAA defined him when it handed down the suspension.
Green’s chances of playing Saturday don’t seem likely. But Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said his team was playing it safe and planning as if Green would play.
“We have to prepare as if he’s going to play because we have no word whether he is or not,” Petrino said. “It’s just a matter of having our game plan set as if he’s going to be on the field.”
Georgia’s injury list has grown, hitting one key player.
Starting cornerback and punt returner Branden Smith is questionable with what Richt called “concussion-like symptoms.”
“He actually got knocked out of bounds in (Tuesday’s) practice and had a contact-related headache,” Richt said. “I’m not even sure his status, to be honest with you.”
Jordan Love and Sanders Commings would be line for more playing time at nickel back if Smith can’t go. Carlton Thomas and Logan Gray would be the top candidates to return punts if Smith is out.
Nose tackle Justin Anderson, a backup who didn’t play at South Carolina, is also doubtful with turf toe.
The return of Petrino
Petrino will be coaching a game in the state for the first time since 2007, when he abruptly left as Atlanta Falcons’ head coach. There were two games left in the NFL season when Petrino took the Arkansas job.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Petrino said. “This game is all about our players.”
Freshman Alec Ogletree only played on special teams in his college debut at South Carolina. But he said he was getting more reps this week at safety.
Ogletree was suspended for the opener after being arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge. He was charged with taking a $35 scooter helmet, which he said was “pretty much” a misunderstanding.
“It was tough,” Ogletree said. “I hate it happened. But I just had to deal with the consequences, just move forward.”
Richt said Ogletree’s legal status was “not a factor” with the program anymore.