Smart: Natrez Patrick’s status for Rose Bowl uncertain
The status of Georgia starting inside linebacker Natrez Patrick for the playoffs remains uncertain, with head coach Kirby Smart not clarifying whether Patrick will play or not in the Rose Bowl.
Schultz: Smart, Georgia need to do the right thing and sit Patrick
Speaking as he began his press conference on Monday, Smart said the status of Patrick will be dealt with “internally,” using the same language Smart has used in similar matters.
“Under university and athletic association policies both those guys remain on the team and eligible to practice,” Smart said, adding: “We’re following our policy without exceptions.”
That alludes to the UGA student-athlete drug policy violation, which calls for a player’s dismissal after a third drug policy. Patrick would have hit his third strike, but the team and the school are apparently still sorting through things.
It appeared Patrick was set to play in the Rose Bowl, having been cleared of the marijuana charge in Barrow County, until news came out that a subsequent probation drug test in Athens-Clarke County had turned up positive.
“The Athens-Clarke County situation is a separate matter, and we’ll address that once it’s resolved,” Smart said on Monday.
Georgia’s current student-athlete drug policy calls for dismissal for a third violation of the marijuana policy. Patrick has incurred two previous violations, leading to a four-game suspension midway through this season.
Patrick is normally a starting inside linebacker, working beside All-American Roquan Smith. When Patrick was serving his suspension earlier this season his spot was taken first by junior Juwan Taylor (for one game), freshman Monty Rice (for the next game) and then senior Reggie Carter (the next two games.) Carter, who was out with a concussion, would seem the clear starter for the Rose Bowl in the event Patrick does not play.
Patrick started seven games this year, coming off the bench his first two games back from suspension, then reclaiming the starting job.