ATHENS — Nick Williams is listed as a safety on the Georgia roster. But the junior from Bainbridge occupies a lot of time at another position, which he admitted Wednesday was “frustrating.”
Williams is used to it. He arrived at Georgia as a safety, then shifted to linebacker, then moved back to safety. He estimated he got about 15 snaps on defense Saturday, playing a hybrid linebacker-safety role in pass-defense packages.
“I don’t know where I’m gonna be from week to week,” Williams said. “Everybody else is getting comfortable at their position. I’m back and forth.”
Williams added that he’ll play where the coaches tell him. His preference would be safety, but his first choice would be settling at one spot.
“It’s frustrating moving back and forth, not knowing where you’re going to be,” Williams said. “You can’t get comfortable. I mean this is D-I, dog, this is Georgia. I don’t know that many players that can go from big-time safety and the next week can be a big-time linebacker. You’ve got some hybrid players out there, but I don’t know too many guys that can do that. I just wanna get comfortable at one point.”
Head coach Mark Richt said Williams just has to “keep banging away.”
“It’s unfortunate that he’s not been able to settle into one position, and hopefully before it’s over, we’ll get him in the right spot,” Richt said Tuesday.
Nose tackle Justin “Bean” Anderson will have season-ending toe surgery, Richt said. Anderson has been dealing with turf toe, which caused him to miss the past couple of games.
The surgery takes away one of Georgia’s biggest nose tackles. It also takes a year away from Anderson, who already has served a redshirt year.
“When it’s in the condition that it was in you’ve just gotta do it,” Richt said. “He might could’ve fought through it, but if the surgery was inevitable, you fight through it this year, you’re hobbled, then you get the surgery done and you’re not ready for the next year.”
The news was better for cornerback-punt returner Branden Smith (concussion). Richt said Smith was cleared to practice, and head trainer Ron Courson was “pretty confident” Smith would play at Mississippi State if he didn’t have any more concussion symptoms.
All bark, no bite
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen heaved praise on Georgia during Wednesday’s teleconference.
“In my view of things, their record might not show it, but they’re a top 25 football team in the country, easily right now,” Mullen said.
The problem is, Mullen didn’t vote for Georgia in his top 25 ballot. The coaches ballots aren’t made public, but Mullen is a voter, and Georgia didn’t receive a vote in this week’s poll.
Richt is quite familiar with the men coaching either side of the ball for Mississippi State.
Head coach Dan Mullen, who calls offensive plays, spent four years at Florida. First-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was a young assistant at Florida State when Richt was there as offensive coordinator.
“He (was) just a very cerebral guy,” Richt said of Diaz. “Very smart. He understood the game. He had great ideas as a young coach. Everything he was given he did a great job at, and people noticed it, and he was able to move into the position that he’s in right now.”
Through three games, Mississippi State’s defense ranks 27th nationally in total defense and 33rd in scoring defense.
Quote of the day
“You see a young quarterback that is starting to develop and mature. You saw him in the fourth quarter after he struggled a little bit early in the game, really settle down and make some plays. And that’s the sign of a quarterback growing up, and a sign of maturity.” — Mullen on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, whom Mullen recruited when he was at Florida.