Georgia inside linebacker Natrez Patrick missed the early portion of practice Saturday due to a funeral he was attending, head coach Kirby Smart said after practice.
The Bulldogs were preparing for their second scrimmage of the spring season at Sanford Stadium, with the media able to see eight minutes of the beginning periods. Patrick’s absence marks his first of the spring. Seen with the first team in his place were Juwan Taylor and Tae Crowder.
Patrick showed up to practice after reporters were asked to leave.
Patrick has been in good standing with the Georgia program after adhering to the initial consequences of a third arrest since enrolling at the university. Hours after the SEC Championship win over Auburn on Dec. 2, 2017, Patrick was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Barrow County. Patrick’s case was subsequently thrown out, but it did trigger a probationary drug test in Athens-Clarke County. Patrick actually failed two drug tests and entered a rehabilitation program as a result.
Patrick’s teammates have commended his recovery efforts and said he has stepped up in a team leadership role this spring.
“Natrez is a great teammate, a great guy,” safety J.R. Reed said. “He's going to be a great leader for us. I'm happy to see him out there with us because he can lead this team, and he can help us on defense a lot.”
In addition, safety Jarvis Wilson was spotted walking with crutches after getting off of a Georgia team bus before practice. Wilson has been backing up both Reed and Richard LeCounte at safety. A rising senior, Wilson could be in for a bigger role on the defensive side of the ball this season.
D’Andre Swift, who has a groin injury, also appeared to be limited at practice but did go through at least one individual drill during the limited viewing period.
On the offensive line, Ben Cleveland was going through individual drills for the second consecutive practice. Cleveland has been sporting a wrap over his right ankle since Tuesday’s practice. He appeared limited at best then but has since stepped in for some practice reps over the past two outings.