Junior safety Nick Williams is typically one of the more jovial members of the Georgia football team.
Always quick with a smile, the Bainbridge native has long been considered one of the more happy-go-lucky members of the Bulldogs.
That no longer appears to be the case.
Williams, who appeared to be close to winning a starting job in preseason, is suddenly struggling to find consistent reps while backing up Bacarri Rambo at strong safety.
"I'm handling it. Trying to just stay focused. But I'm frustrated," Williams said. "I'm a competitor, I want to play. I'll do anything for this team. It's natural. I'm an athlete that wants to play and help this team win but I'm not able to do that. It's frustrating. I'm going to continue to fight, but I'm definitely a little frustrated."
Williams said he received 20 snaps in last week's loss to Arkansas, although most came while the Bulldogs were in their dime package.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder said he was basically a third safety in that role, although Williams said it would have been easy to confuse him for a linebacker in that particular defensive set.
Williams, who played linebacker for Georgia as a sophomore, doesn't see himself moving back to the position again.
"I'm definitely not a linebacker, I don't want to play linebacker. I want to play safety," said Williams, who does not have a single tackle this year. "Right now it doesn't seem like it's a fit for me."
Williams said he's spoken to position coach Scott Lakatos and head coach Mark Richt about his situation. Richt was asked about Williams during Wednesday's post-practice press conference.
"He's just got to keep banging away, keep going to those meetings and make sure he knows what to do. He's got to practice in such a way that it will give Coach Lakatos and Coach (Todd) Grantham a lot of confidence and also do a great job on the special teams that you're on, too. The way Shawn Williams has gotten a chance to play more scrimmage downs is because of the great job he's done on the specials and the way he's competed," Richt said. "You've got only so many guys who can play at a time and it's hard to get them all out there. They're all competing and the coaches are evaluating on a daily basis, being as fair as they can. But we certainly want to play the guys who are going to give us the best chance to win the most snaps. He's just got to keep competing."
Williams has been working exclusively at strong safety for the Bulldogs, although that's a scenario he doesn't appear to mind.
"I'm not big on free, but I just want to play and the lack of playing time is frustrating, especially my junior year because I know I can help the team," he said. "(Playing) is up to the coaches. It's something that the coaches determine. There's not too much I can do about that except play wherever they tell me to go."
Williams said he has no plans to transfer.
"No, no, that's not possible. I came here and this is where I want to stay and graduate," he said. "But I'm frustrated; they know I'm frustrated because I've told them. I told them it's not because I'm a selfish guy, I just want to play and help the team. I'll do anything."
Anderson done for the year
Richt announced that junior nose Justin Anderson will undergo surgery to repair his turf toe injury and will be out for the rest of the year.
"He will have surgery," said Richt, who added that Anderson would not be eligible for a medical redshirt. "The first year that he didn't participate was not because of an injury so he wouldn't even be able to appeal for that."
With Anderson out, junior DeAngelo Tyson and redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers will see the bulk of the time at nose. Sophomore Abry Jones could also see spot time at the position.
Smith appears ready to go
Richt said Branden Smith (concussion-like symptoms) appears like he'll be ready for Saturday night's game at Mississippi State.
The sophomore cornerback and punt returner missed last week's game against Arkansas.
"Branden passed whatever test Ron (head trainer Ron Courson) gave him to see if he was symptom free and he exerted with whatever Ron had him do to break a good sweat," Richt said. "He didn't get a headache or anything so Ron let him practice in the non-contact jersey and feels pretty confident that he will play as long as there is no setback."
• In other injury news, right guard Chris Davis returned to practice but Richt said it's too early to tell if he will start Saturday. Davis missed the game against Arkansas.
Also, Richt said running back Caleb King (ankle) is "almost" 100 percent and believes that he will prior to kickoff.
Fullback Shaun Chapas (ankle) remains questionable but linebacker Marcus Dowtin (shoulder stinger) is probably for the contest against MSU.
Jones turns his captain's C - for one game
Center Ben Jones announced before Wednesday's practice that he was handing in his captain's chip so the honor could go to senior right tackle Josh Davis, a Mississippi native.
"Ben just said that Josh has played as good as anybody, so the honor should go to him," Richt said. "I thought that was pretty cool. So did everybody else."
Davis will join wide receiver Kris Durham, linebacker Akeem Dent and defensive end Demarcus Dobbs as captains for the coin toss.
Former Bulldog letterman dies
Sam Bailey, Georgia football letterman in 1944-45 and a founder of the Wallyıs Boys Association, died in Tampa on Wednesday.
After playing at Georgia, Bailey later coached at the University of Tampa where he also served as athletic director.
"Sam was a wonderful Bulldog who was a major player in the organizing of the Wallyıs Boys Association," said Association Treasurer Bill Saye in a statement. "He, Jack Bush, John Rauch and Edwin Pope founded the association of the players who played for Coach Butts and worked hard to make it a big success. We will certainly miss him."
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