Williams adjusts to his new position

semerson@macon.comSeptember 18, 2011 

ATHENS -- Shawn Williams’ coaches felt he did a great job in his new position and would keep playing there.

The player himself said he didn’t feel too good at inside linebacker and was pretty confident the experiment was over.

Williams seems likely to lose out, at least until Christian Robinson’s foot heals enough to return to action. In his place, Williams played nearly every down during the first three quarters at inside linebacker, which he and the coaches claimed during the week would only be a few snaps.

“It was all right,” said Williams of playing inside linebacker after starting at safety the first two games. “It felt different, because it was something different, I guess. It wasn’t too comfortable.”

Williams thought he was going to move back to safety next week. That was contradicted by head coach Mark Richt, who said Williams would stay at linebacker for “at least a week.”

“When Christian comes back, that’ll be the question mark,” Richt said. “What do you do that week, how much do you let Shawn stay at linebacker or do you move him back to safety at that point?”

The soonest Robinson can return is for the Mississippi State game, and Richt admitted that was “a coach being hopeful.” In the meantime, he was happy with Williams there.

“It just put a mature guy in there,” Richt said. “A guy who is a very physical safety, a guy who has spun down into the running game. He’s been into the box, he’s had a taste of it.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the Williams switch was similar to moving Alec Ogletree from safety to inside linebacker before spring practice. Ogletree broke his foot in the season opener and is out at least another month.

“Each week we’ll just evaluate on Mondays where guys need to play, and we’ll put them in positions and try to filter through,” Grantham said. “To me, that’s what you have to do when you have injuries. You have to look at the guys you have available and how can you get your best 11 guys on the field at the same time.”

Drew debuts

It took until the second half of the third game for Ray Drew, a five-star recruit, to finally make his debut for Georgia. The outside linebacker recorded a tackle on his first series.

“A lot of people were asking me if I was frustrated not getting out there the first two games. But I wasn’t really frustrated so much as anxious to get out (there),” Drew said. “I knew it was just a process that I had to continue to build into.”

Drew played mostly with other starters, a sign that Grantham will try to get him more playing time.

“We know we’re gonna need him before it’s over and we wanted to get him going,” Richt said.

Crowell’s ribs

Tailback Isaiah Crowell briefly left the game in the first half after taking another shot to the ribs. Richt said the situation could have been avoided if the star freshman had used the rib protector, which had been suggested to him after getting hit there last week.

“I’m sure he felt good by the end of the week, didn’t feel like he needed them,” Richt said.

Crowell did put the protector on and returned to the game. He said he would be wearing it for the foreseeable future.

Drill, Blair, drill

Blair Walsh made a career-long 56 yard field goal in the second half -- after missing a 42-yarder in the first half and struggling on his kickoffs.

The missed field goal was negated by a leaping penalty against Coastal Carolina.

“I wanted to see him drill one,” Richt said. “He was struggling a little bit with his kickoffs, for whatever reason, and so to let him drill one like that, he wasn’t himself, I would say. And then after drilling that one, the next couple kickoffs were phenomenal.”

The game featured another highlight for Walsh, as he recovered a fumble on one of his kickoffs.

“Right place, right time. It came into my hands and I fell on it,” Walsh said. “They crunched me. It was fun. It was nice to actually get hit.”

Burn, redshirts, burn

Besides Drew, three offensive linemen saw their first action: Watts Dantzler, center David Andrews and Hunter Long.

“We just don’t have another body for those guys not to play,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.


DeAngelo Tyson had a back strain. Marlon Brown tweaked his ankle injury again. Richard Samuel is still “hobbled” with a heel injury and didn’t practice much this week.

“It wasn’t worth trying to have him go,” Richt said. “I don’t know if he could’ve gone, but we didn’t want to push it.”

Freshman cornerback Damian Swann said he had a “little” groin injury but would be fine.

Sellout streak ends

Georgia’s run of 64 consecutive sellouts ended Saturday. The announced attendance was 91,946, which is 800 less than the listed capacity.

The previous non-sellout at Sanford Stadium was Nov. 25, 2000, the final game of head coach Jim Donnan’s tenure.

“I know part of the reason was our opponent just (Friday) or something dumped 500 tickets back. It wasn’t maybe a long time to get those things sold,” Richt said. “I don’t think it was that big a deal.”

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