September 14, 2011

Richt spills the beans



Shhh, nobody tell Coastal Carolina … but starting strong safety Shawn Williams is getting snaps - at inside linebacker.

Head coach Mark Richt would have just as soon no one knew.

On Tuesday, Williams was seen warming up with the inside linebackers, although defensive coordinator Todd Grantham later danced around the issue when asked by reporters.

Wednesday afternoon, it was Richt's turn to field the question after Williams was spotted going through drills with inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti.

"You did? That's awesome," Richt said, when mentioned that Williams had been seen working out with the inside linebackers for a second straight day.

"I'm proud of you guys, really. Period through three - I'm thinking these people aren't worried that he's doing linebacker drills, they're looking for green jerseys, they're not worried about that," he said. "But you picked it up, you picked it up, whoever picked that up, I'm giving you credit on that one, because he (Williams) is getting a little work there."

Typically, beat writers are allowed to watch the first three periods of drills, which consist mostly of warm-ups before the nitty-gritty of the actual practice begins.

Even Williams came off somewhat coy when asked about his potential new home.

"I'm a safety. I'm still a safety," Williams said. "I don't really know anything really about that."

Even when told that Richt had spilled the beans, Williams didn't offer much more.

"I get one or two snaps," he said. "One or two snaps to see how it goes."

Cornerback Brandon Boykin was a bit more forthcoming.

"Oh, he's picked it up right away," Boykin said. "They (the linebackers) were getting mad it was coming so easy to him. I'm like 'Yeah, that's a DB, baby.'"

Richt said the 220-pound Williams should be able to hold his own.

"It's so often that a safety does spin down inside the box to stop the run and to play a certain gap responsibility, so he is a big enough body and a guy who has played some of that responsibility before," Richt said of Williams, who played some linebacker in high school. "I don't think it will be an every down thing, but he is getting a little bit of work there."

Richt then apologized to Grantham, who was vague on Williams during his time with the media Tuesday.

"I'd also like to say to Coach Grantham, they already knew, Coach. Don't get mad at me," Richt said. "Here's the deal, when you do something like that you'd rather everybody not know, you've got to at least understand that part of it. We could just never let anybody out there period and you guys wouldn't know that, period.

"Anyway, it's just like when you're going to war you don't everybody to know what you're doing, so that's why we try to limit the time you guys (the media) watch, because you guys are very expert at seeing this type of stuff. I'm not mad - just kind of stating the facts."

Injury update

Tight end Aron White is questionable for Saturday's game against Coastal Carolina after coming down with a strained right knee.

He has not practiced the last two days.

Wide receiver Tavarres King left practice early Wednesday but told UGASports he was just getting taped up.

Smith clears up "number" issue once and for all

Much has been made since the start of practice regarding the fact that both Isaiah Crowell and Branden Smith wear the No. 1 jersey.

Why on earth, many have exclaimed, would both players wear the same jersey. Why won't coaches make one of them switch in order to get both Crowell and Smith on the field at the same time.

Wednesday, Smith said the solution has always been simple.

"If they want us on the field at the same time, then I don't mind switching jerseys. I'll give up the number for that game, I don't mind," he said. "It's just a number. It doesn't matter - 2, 3, 42 - the number doesn't make me. Like I said, it's just a number."

Smith said he and Crowell both have gotten a kick out of why the media and some fans seem to think it's an issue.

"I don't know. The media makes it to be a big deal, but it's not a big deal. It's just a number. Both of us have No. 1," he said. "We don't have any problem with it, but it seems like everybody else has a problem with it. There's no problem with him or me."

This and that

In regards to Boykin, Richt said Wednesday he regrets "Not playing him on offense sooner." When told of Richt's comments, Boykin smiled. "That's been my goal," laughed Boykin, who admits he sometimes wonders what might have been. "Yeah, I do," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie." … Sunday, Richt made the comment that Williams yanked one of Georgia's special teams players off the kickoff team during the second half of last week's game against South Carolina. Turns out, the player yanked was Chris Sanders. "He did, he really did," Boykin said of Williams. "He said, 'get out freshman!' We were in the huddle and Shawn just told him he was going in, and Chris said OK. " It turned out to be the right move as it was Williams' block on the kickoff that allowed Boykin to pick up 58 yards on the return.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.