Transition to inside linebacker no problem for safety Shawn Williams

ATHENS – The secret is out. Safety Shawn Williams is going to play some linebacker for the Bulldogs. But he didn’t realize that was a known when he was first asked by reporters on Wednesday. So he tried to deny it.

“I’m still a safety,” he said. “I don’t know anything about that position.”

Williams didn’t realize head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had already ‘fessed up after Williams was observed working with the inside linebackers in practices Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Yeah, he’s doing a little work there,” Richt said after Wednesday’s workouts at Woodruff Practice Fields. “It’s so often that a safety does spin down inside the box to play the run in a certain gap, so he is a big enough body and a guy who has played that responsibility. But I don’t think it’ll be an every-down thing.”

Then Richt added: “I’d also like to say to Coach Grantham, ‘they already knew, Coach, so don’t get mad at me.’”

Grantham had already grudgingly admitted as much on Tuesday.

Georgia is having to shuffle players around to fill the void left from the foot injuries of starting inside linebackers Alec Ogletree and Christian Robinson. Each is expected to be out at least a couple more weeks.

Cornerback Brandon Boykin said Wednesday that Williams is working at Ogletree’s “Mo” linebacker position and junior Michael Gilliard is manning Robinson’s “Mike” position, which makes the defensive calls.

Williams is a perfect candidate. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound strong safety is one of the Bulldogs’ best tacklers and often rolls down into the second level to man gaps on run downs. Starting the first two, he’s fifth on the team with 10 stops.

“I think I’m an athlete,” said Williams, who played some linebacker at Early County High. “I feel like I can play any position they put me at right now. If they want me at D-end I feel like I can go out there and do it if I put my mind to it.”

With Williams at linebacker, Sanders Commings shifts back to strong safety from cornerback.

TE Aron White sidelined

Georgia tight end Aron White missed his second day of practice this week with a sprained right knee and is considered “questionable at best” for Saturday’s game, Richt said.

White, a senior who has already graduated, was injured during last Saturday’s game. He is the second-team tight end behind junior Orson Charles. Sophomore Arthur Lynch will absorb White’s snaps.

Figgins among captains this week

Fullback Bruce Figgins was among four Georgia players designated as captains for Saturday’s game. The others are Boykin, tight end Orson Charles and center Ben Jones.

Richt felt especially good about the designation for Figgins. The senior from Columbus was switched from tight end after last season and has overcome suspensions, injuries and a late-career redshirt season.

“I haven’t seen Bruce this happy in a while,” Richt said. “It’s been tough. He’s had some tough bumps in the road, but this kid has overcome it. He’s become a leader. He’s become an excellent fullback. He’s still a very good tight end. I’m so thankful that this experiment worked out as well as it did.”

Branden Smith ‘good to go’

Boykin has been a national sensation with his ability to play offense, defense and return kicks. He leads the SEC and is sixth nationally with 194 all-purpose yards per game.

Ninety-four yards have come on runs on offense. That’s a role usually reserved for defensive teammate Branden Smith. But Smith hasn’t gotten an offensive carry so far this year. Georgia coaches say it’s because of a foot injury suffered late in preseason camp.

But Smith says he’s fine now and can take some offensive snaps if needed.

“I’m just waiting on my name to get called,” said the junior from Atlanta. “Right now they’re calling Brandon’s name and he’s on fire, so I’m not mad. . . . It’s the coach’s call. If he thinks I’m healthy enough to play offense, then he’ll put me in there. Like I say, I’m 100 percent ready. I can return punts, play defense, play offense, whatever, so I’m here to help the team win.”

Like Boykin, Smith also returns kicks and plays defense for the Bulldogs. He has returned three punts for 37 yards.

Etc. . . .

Left guard Kenarious Gates, out since the first half of the opener with an ankle injury, is listed as probable to play on Saturday. Sophomore Dallas Lee has played well in Gates’ absence is is unlikely to be replaced. Gates has also been working at left tackle. The players at all four other positions on the line have played every snap the first two games. . . .  Georgia practiced for two hours Wednesday in “shells.” Today they’ll have a “dress rehearsal” scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.

70 comments Add your comment

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
9:36 am

bugsquacher

September 15th, 2011
9:49 am

WHY GEORGIA SHOULD BE CONSIDERING A COACHING CHANGE.
1-Georgia is a combined 0-5 against Top 25 teams in 2010 and 2011
2- GEORGIA has lost 10 of its last 12 against ranked teams. (2-10 record)
2- GEORGIA is now 14-14 in his last 28 games
3-GEORGIA is 6-10 in the past 16 SEC games.
4- REMAINING SCHEDULE. Games they will probably lose: 1- Miss St. 2- Tenn 3-Florida 4-Auburn. Games we should win (if we don’t have an off week): 1- Costal Carolina, 2-Miss, 3- Kentucky, 4- New Mexico, 5-Tech, 6-Vandy.
LOOKS LIKE A 50/50 CHANCE OF ANOTHER LOSING SEASON.
5- Its been 30 yrs since our last national championship…. Can Richt get us there? Are we trending in the right direction?
THE ABOVE SAYS……. NO!

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
9:53 am

Injuries, swapping positions is football. It is good to see our guys fully embracing it

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
9:56 am

Jesusssz bugsquasher, give it a rest. There was nothing in the article about coaching change and if there is one it won’t be until the end of the year

Indian Dawg

September 15th, 2011
9:59 am

Saturday needs to get here ASAP! GO DAWGS!!!!

TallaDawg

September 15th, 2011
10:03 am

I am proud of the players’ performances, generally. Every player in football makes mistakes; it is the coaches’ responsibiity to ensure that those mistakes either do not occur very often (by doing things perfectly everytime in practice) or do not cost the team the game (by planning so that one or two errors are not going to sink your game plan).

I think Richt and his staff’s biggest deficiency is the inability or unwillingness to make substantial adjustments during a game.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 15th, 2011
10:03 am

bugsquacher

You should add

Since 2006

13-13 in the SEC East
1-4 against FL
2-3 against Tenn who has been down and has had two coaches in that time

TallaDawg

September 15th, 2011
10:04 am

Is a bugsquacher kind of like a sasquacher??

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
10:07 am

Talladawg

Isn’t that attributed to “Coaching” (inability or failure to make adjustments?0

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
10:09 am

Flat Tire

I like you guy but isn’t this fire Richt rant a moot point, at least until the end of the year?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 15th, 2011
10:23 am

ARdawg

Actually my hope is Richt will wake up get his act together but deep down I dont see it happening

Whats sad is the people he has protected will cost him his job

If Willie Martinez was a true friend to Richt he would have graciously stepped down and gone back to a positions coach like he is at Oklahoma

Bobo I really dont get him either he is a good Qb’s coach and actually would have done his career a favor by going back to coaching QB’s but as your seeing these so called friends are going cost Richt the best job he will get

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
10:25 am

hey squacher, is it possible to make a point without cutting and pasting the same stuff. They were good points the first 3 blogs you posted them, now lets move on to something else. Like, say, something about what’s in the article.

I think Williams will do well in that spot. Proud of him for taking it on because sometimes a position change (in any sport) for the good of the team isn’t always what’s good for the player at that point. It’s an unselfish move for sure (see Chipper Jones, move to left field for example).

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
10:25 am

Coastal Carolina 35-7. Bennett scores the lone TD for the dogs, and Richt gives him a long tight hug on the sideline, whispering sweet nothings in his ear.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 15th, 2011
10:35 am

TampaDawg

2-3 against Tenn who has been down and has had two coaches in that time

That is a new stat from me

Half Century Dawg

September 15th, 2011
10:37 am

GT Joe, hope you bet the house on that LOL!!!

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
10:48 am

Thank you GT Joe for the insignificant post of the day ..

Flat Tire, “Bobo I really dont get him either he is a good Qb’s coach and actually would have done his career a favor by going back to coaching QB’s but as your seeing these so called friends are going cost Richt the best job he will get”

Best post on here regarding the coaching saga ..

And what happens to Williams when Ogletree and Robinson get healthy again? Back to business as usual I guess.

Anyone heard how Jay Rome is doing?

Pauls Johnson

September 15th, 2011
10:48 am

10-1 10-1 10-1 10-1 10-1.they beat us as usual

get over it

September 15th, 2011
10:50 am

Everyday the same thing. We’ve seen all the stats EVERYDAY about CMR. Now move on and get over it! Its like beating a dead freaking horse. Either support your team with positive comments or STFU!!!!

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
10:55 am

get over it, agreed, I think hammering this issue that won’t get settled until the end of the season makes little sense.

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
10:57 am

Richt hugs a player, laughing and smiling in the heat of battle. CPJ wouldn’t be caught dead doing that.

Richt is happy about the WRs? Richt has NOTHING to be happy about…

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
11:00 am

Flat Tire

I agree with all you stated however, Richt’s loyalty to his friends/staff while admirable, caused the current riff and likely will lead to his downfall. That wasn’t my point which is, there will be no coaching change at least until year’s end. To hit every blog with the same repetitive shyte isn’t practicing free speech as much as it is wishing failure for the program.

Personally, I am in the same camp as you. I lost all respect for the man’s coaching ability as I was leaving the Liberty Bowl (at game’s end btw). I do think to continue to bash when obviously no change will be made is detrimental to the team. Richt is clearly the captain of his fate at UGA for now. He’s still the coach. I personally, would love to see a salvaged season even if it means having him a few more years. McGarity could fire him today and it wouldn’t matter to me yet, I do not look forward to the program starting over. The world as ARdawg sees it.

I agree.....get over it.

September 15th, 2011
11:03 am

Totally, just get over it. Let’s hope for the best. Nobody on this blog can change how our season willl pan out. Your opinions are just that: opinions. Stand behind your team. If the people in charge decide to make a change, stand behind that too.

I agree.....get over it.

September 15th, 2011
11:05 am

GT Joe,
Neither you, Paul Johnson, or the rest of the nerds have ANYTHING to be happy about. Your hating on a gut that beats you year, after year. I bet that’s why you are mad, you think this guy sucks as a head coach, but you still lose to him. HAH! Looser. Get off our blog, BUG!

I agree.....get over it.

September 15th, 2011
11:05 am

guy….not gut

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
11:05 am

What the h3ll do I know, I thought Donnan was going to get us back in the hunt and still think he would have given time. Richt’s early success can be attributed to Donnan

Pauls Johnson's Johnson

September 15th, 2011
11:07 am

Nobody can stop my triple option. Well, except UGA, the ACC, and Div-1 college football. Like i said, Nobody can stop us! we run this practice!

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:07 am

GT Joe, does your team even have WRs? If so, why? And yes, I think a group with up and comers like Michael Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell and Marlon Brown (he’s a junior, but really just now getting a chance to make his name) is something to be excited about. And no, CPJ would never do that because his receivers never make a play.

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:11 am

ARdawg, Richt won an SEC title with Donna’s recruits. So people said, well, don’t know if he can recruit but he can obviously coach whatever players he’s given. Then he got some of his own recruits and won an SEC title in 2005 (Donnan was long gone) and people said CMR can recruit and coach his team to the top of the conference.

Now, he has brought in a great recruiting class, but had a couple of down years, and people are saying well, he can recruit, but is he the coach that can get us back to the top?

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
11:19 am

Ummm, CPJ is 1-2 against UGA, 5-3 vs. the SEC. Richt scares no one at GT… he gets thoroughly outcoached against CPJ, but has the talent to even the playing field. FYI, GT vs. UGA is now a coin flip game, and GT WILL be favored this year, just like 2009.

Tampa: maybe you should get your head out from under the sand. Stephen Hill is the best college WR in Georgia. Period. 307 yards and 3 TDs in 2 games. Anyone compare at UGA?

Not only would be start at UGA, he’d be the go-to man at UGA.

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
11:20 am

oh yeah, stephen hill is bigger/faster/stronger than AJ Green.

Joey

September 15th, 2011
11:21 am

One thing’s for sure, Richt’s future is in his own hands. He has the staff he wanted, and the players he recruited.

I’m thinking he needs 9 wins to keep his job.

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:28 am

Stephen Hill has posted numbers like that against who? Exactly my point. Heck I could catch about 8 passes for a buck-O-five against those teams.

Dude probably won’t even get drafted!

And yes, Richt scares no one at GT. When you know a beating is coming, you get used to it and just deal with it. No CPJ’s quadruple option doesn’t out coach anyone anywhere.

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
11:31 am

okay tampa, guy is 5-3 vs. the “vaunted” SEC. scored 34 on UGA last year with a BACKUP QB. Richt gives up 40+ this year at bobby dodd… then we’ll all know who the real “joke by coke” is.

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:34 am

GT Joe … 9-1 will be 10-1 this year, and NO, you probably still won’t be favored. OWN IT!

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
11:45 am

Tampa

Richt can recruit. This I have no doubt. He did win with Donnan’s players and then won with his own. Mind you, he had a different supporting staff at the time he was winning with his players as well. Richt can coach. I’ve never said that he couldn’t. However, his report card as far as SEC coaches go IMHO would be no better than a C+ in X’s and O’s and a B+ in recruiting.

ARdawg

September 15th, 2011
11:48 am

Jesus with the word filters….getting to where a poster can’t state anything

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
11:49 am

Why would anyone think UGA is a premier coaching job? What coach was “premier” when they got hired? Was it Goof? Donnan? Richt? Who?

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:50 am

CPJ is 5-3? Was one of those during his Navy days?
2008 SEC games include a win over Miss St and UGA and a loss to LSU … 2-1
2009 SEC games include a won over Miss St and Vandy and a loss to UGA .. 2-1
2010 SEC games include a loss to UGA .. 0-1

That’s a 4-3 record .. 1 win over UGA, 2 wins over a bad Miss St team and 1 win over Vandy .. way to go all out against the cream of the crop there buddy.

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:52 am

fair enough statement AR, and it is an opinion. I believe though that when he is calling the Xs and Os that he is certainly better than a C+ .. when Bobo runs the plays, C+ might be a bit exaggerated ..

WDE

September 15th, 2011
11:54 am

@GT Joe hey how does probation feel this morning?

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
11:55 am

and GT Joe, it’s a premier job because winning in the SEC is a great challenge for any coach. You win there, you can get paid a boatload and retire or if you want to go elsewhere, sky is the limit.

Now, if you coach at, say, Navy on the other hand, you have to resort to such mid-level jobs like coaching GTech

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
12:03 pm

probation feels awesome. a lot better than 0-2.

GT Joe

September 15th, 2011
12:04 pm

Tampa… if it’s a premier job, where are the premier coaches? FL, Bama, they get premier coaches. UGA does NOT.

Joey

September 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

GT Joe,

“Why would anyone think UGA is a premier coaching job?”
*******************************************
That’s a silly question, and petty too, techie.

#2 in NCAA in recruiting classes last decade.

Top 5 in exports to NFL.

Top 4 in Athletic Assoc income.

Flagship University in #3 state in recruits.

Football coaching staff payroll of about $6M.

#3 in SEC Titles.

If you need anything else, let me know.

Terry

September 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

Just because Coach Richt has had a couple of down years does not mean he can’t coach. Coach Dooley had down years too, but he still won a National Championship. Coach Richt deserves the rest of this year win or lose he’s earned it. Coach Richts problem is the fans that are following Georgia now, are a bunch of spoils brats, that always want it now, instead of persevering like we did in the Dooley years. If y’all brats would have been back in the Dooley days, we would not be able to Claim the 1980 National Championship, because y’all would have had Dooley fired.

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

laughing hysterically GT Joe, so Will Muschamp was a premier coach? He was a premier coordinator at a premier program .. kind of like someone else I have heard of. Oh yeah, CMR was a permier coordinator at a premier program. He was the OC that helped FSU win A LOT of games. At least try to make sense dude.

yellow hammer

September 15th, 2011
12:09 pm

220 lb linebackers. no wonder UGA cant stop the run . look at ALABAMA’S LB’S there back ups are 240

TampaDawg

September 15th, 2011
12:09 pm

Preach on Terry!

Terry

September 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

GT Joe, Go crawl back under the rock you came out from, this has nothing to do with your team. What a loser.

KB

September 15th, 2011
12:19 pm

Gt Joe, Tech might not be scared but they will et their butts whipped again in November, hell willie m out coached PJ in 2009, PJ is a minor league coach, bush league still LOl about making rings for upsetting Georgia in 2008. Think he’ll have a ring made if thy beat kansas? come back in week 6 or 7 when tech has 3 or 4 losses.