ATHENS - Damian Swann remains good friends with Nick Marshall. The former teammates have texted before a few games this season. so as Swann has watched what Marshall has done this year at Auburn, what's the reaction been?
Swann went with a different word.
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"Proud," he said Monday. "Me and Nick were real good friends. I'm proud of all his accomplishments. I'm proud of what he's doing every week. I love to see when guys get another opportunity and make the best of it."
For the record, Swann made clear that he would not be proud if Marshall keeps it up Saturday, when he takes on Swann and Georgia. But for Swann and several other former classmates of Marshall, it will be an interesting afternoon.
Marshall, speaking to Auburn reporters last Saturday, listed Swann and safety Corey Moore as the current Georgia players with whom he remained in contact. A reporter asked Marshall about facing Swann, Georgia's starting cornerback.
"It'll be great. We're close friends," Marshall said. "We had a great bond when I was there. But I'm really not too much worried about it. They're the opponent now."
Marshall, Moore and Swann were part of the 2011 signing class at Georgia, and were fellow members of the secondary. Moore said he and Marshall haven't spoken this week, making sure to keep their space.
Moore was asked if he's ever thought about what would have been if Marshall - as well as safety Chris Sanders - had not been kicked off.
"When you sit around with the guys you talk about stuff like that," Moore said. "But the guys we have right now are just perfect right now. He's over there at Auburn and I'm still at Georgia. You've just gotta work with what you've got right now, and these guys are perfect."
The Bulldogs are 1-0 this year against quarterbacks who were dismissed from their program, having defeated Zach Mettenberger and LSU. They're slight underdogs going into Auburn on Saturday.
Marshall never got a chance to practice at quarterback for Georgia, but sometimes before or after practice defensive players would sling it around, testing out their arm. Marshall's exploits during those sessions left an impression.
"You'd have people trying to throw the ball across the field into a trashcan, and everybody would be trying it. Then he'd get up there and display (his arm)," said defensive lineman Sterling Bailey. "After that we knew he had an arm on it."
"He would throw it 80 or 90 yards when he would warm up," inside linebacker Ramik Wilson said. "Yeah he's got a cannon on him. He does. He's very athletic. But that's in the past now, we've got a game to play Saturday and we've gotta do what we've gotta do."