Junior safety Shawn Williams didn't hesitate for a second.
When asked what the biggest issue he needed to conquer before kicking off this season against Boise State in the Georgia Dome, the Damascus native blurted out the first thought that popped to mind.
"Confidence," Williams said, matter-of-factly. "Just knowing that I know what to do and not second-guess myself. It's not just me, but the whole defense. Just knowing what to do and do it full speed. Give it all you've got - hustle."
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Williams started three games for the Bulldogs last fall, collecting 34 tackles and proving to be one of the team's more valued members of their special teams.
But like many of his defensive teammates, learning a new system wasn't easy for Williams and it led to some breakdowns that led to big plays by opposing offenses, mistakes he hopes will be eliminated this fall.
That a theme that's been repeated more than once by Georgia defenders, who along with the rest of the team resume spring practice Tuesday afternoon.
"Practice has been good," Williams said. "We've learned the system over the past year, so now we have a better idea of what we are doing."
Now, it's up to Williams to make the most of the opportunity he has.
With Alec Ogletree now working out at Moe (linebacker), the competition to play opposite starting free safety Bacarri Rambo is currently between Williams, Marc Deas and Jakar Hamilton - each of whom will need to assert themselves this spring before freshmen like Corey Moore arrive this fall. Coaches haven't ruled out moving junior cornerback Sanders Commings back into the mix at safety, either.
"It's an opportunity - an opportunity for me to get on the field," Williams said of the current competion. "It's an opportunity for everybody; everybody's competing for a job right now. Nobody has anything given to them, or guaranteed. Whoever goes out and makes the plays - that's who the coaches are going to play."
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