Shawn Williams' debut at Moe linebacker went exactly according to plan, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said after Georgia's 59-0 win over Coastal Carolina.
"He did well. Shawn is one of those guys who has bought into what we're doing. He'll play anywhere we ask him to play," Grantham said. "For the betterment of the team he moved to linebacker, which required some learning from him, but there is carryover so we'll have to wait and see about next week."
It actually turned out to be more than Williams bargained for.
Not only did he play, but Williams started at Moe linebacker, alongside Mike Gilliard who opened up at Mike in place of the injured Christian Robinson.
"It turned out all right," said Williams, who had started at safety in Georgia's previous two contests. "Coach puts us in position to make plays and that's what we did."
Jones finished the game with three tackles, including one with a loss of two yards.
"It was a great experience," said Williams, who added that coaches first approached him about the move after the injury to Robinson. "I decided to give it a try. I said, who knows, I might like it. And I did."
Head coach Mark Richt liked what he saw.
"I thought it was an outstanding move by Coach Grantham and the defensive staff to put Shawn at linebacker. It just put a mature guy in there, a guy who is a very physical safety, a guy who has spun down into the running game before, has been in the box before and had a little taste of it," Richt said. "He had a tremendous attitude about it. He could have been like 'why me?' but he embraced it, the defense got excited about it and it allowed us to play a pretty fast defense."
Charles almost made defensive debut
Tight end Orson Charles thought he had convinced Grantham to give him a shot on defense late during Saturday's game.
He might have, if Grantham had not decided to check with Richt first.
"He was trying to get out there on defense," Richt said. "I think somehow he had talked Grantham into promising him he could play defense, but before Todd did it, he asked me if he could do it and I said no."
Charles apparently wanted to get a snap at defensive end.
"I guess. But there's no way," Richt said. "He was mad at me, but I told him Coach Grantham kept his promise, I made him break it. Todd was ready, willing and able to do that, but I said no way, let's don't do that."
The Bulldogs were without two more of their starters Saturday as wide receiver Marlon Brown and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson sat out the game.
Brown was held out to rest his sore ankle, while Tyson missed the game with what Richt described as a strained back.
They weren't alone.
Running back Richard Samuel (heel contusion) did not play, although he likely would have if Saturday's contest had been a conference game.
As for Robinson, Richt said the junior would definitely skip the next game at Ole Miss, but hopes to have him back the following contest against Mississippi State.
"That's a coach being hopeful," Richt said.
This and that
Sanford Stadium did not sell out on Saturday for the first time since the Georgia Tech game in Nov. 25, 2000, which was Jim Donnan's final home game as head coach. Today broke a streak of 64 straight sellouts. The official attendance for Saturday's game was 91,946. A capacity crowd for the facility is 92,746.
Kicker Blair Walsh set two career marks versus the Chanticleers. With Walsh's eight PATs in the game, he is now the school record holder with 152 career PATs. Billy Bennett (2000-03) had the record at 148. Walsh finished with 11 points in the game, and he recovered a fumble. He also drilled a 56-yard field goal which was a career-best and the longest field goal for Georgia since Brandon Coutu connected on a 58 yarder in 2005. ... Both junior Tavarres King and freshman Malcolm Mitchell hauled in their second touchdowns of the year. King finished with a career-high six catches for 65 yards with two touchdowns while Mitchell had six catches for 43 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Mike Gilliard paced the Bulldogs with eight tackles today in his first career start.
Junior free safety Bacarri Rambo had an interception and a 43-yard return before fumbling later during the play in the second period. This is Rambo's team-leading second of the year and the fourth of the year for the Bulldogs. Late in the third quarter, redshirt sophomore cornerback Jordan Love forced a fumble that Walsh recovered while long snapper Ty Frix later recovered a fumble on a punt to give the Bulldogs the ball back deep in Coastal Carolina territory.
The Bulldogs had three first-time starters against the Chanticleers. Freshman Damian Swann got the nod at cornerback for the first time, with Gilliard getting his first career start, filling in for injured Robinson. The third first-time starter was freshman running back Isaiah Crowell. Also, sophomore linebacker T.J. Stripling returned on special teams for the first time since rupturing his patella tendon at Colorado last year.
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