March 9, 2009

Focus: The linebackers

Nick Williams admits he wasn't too keen on moving from safety to Sam linebacker when coaches approached him about making the position change last fall.

But now that he's there, he has no desire to go back.

"I played linebacker in high school but I didn't feel that I had the technique because high school is high school, and when Coach (Mark Richt) asked me I didn't really want to, although he told me when I came in that they were going to look at me both ways," Williams said. "But I talked to my mom and dad about it and they told me I needed to do what the coaches say because they've got my bests interests at heart. I made the move, and I love it now."

Williams will be one of the storylines to watch at linebacker for the Bulldogs, who will also welcome redshirt sophomore Charles White (Achilles) and redshirt freshman Christian Robinson (broken arm) off the injured list.

Like Williams, the pair will be looking to get back in the swing of things.

Currently, White is listed as the third-team Mike linebacker behind junior Akeem Dent and senior Marcus Washington, while Robinson starts out as the third-team Will behind juniorRennie Curran and sophomore Marcus Dowtin.

Williams is currently No. 2 at Sam behind junior and former Bainbridge High teammate Darryl Gamble.

"Darryl is like a big brother to me. I'd love to one day get to the point where I'm making plays and making tackles like the does," Williams said. "He's definitely somebody I look to as a role model."

Williams laughs that not all that long ago he and Gamble were playing in secondary at Bainbridge, while today they're competing at the same linebacker position.

"It's crazy. My senior year before I had decided he was calling me saying I needed to join him," Williams said. "Back in the day he would play free and I would play strong, now we're playing the same position. I ever thought I'd be doing it, but its reality now."

For those who didn't watch Williams that closely last fall will notice a larger version this year.

After coming in at 194 pounds, Williams said he now weighs in at 222 and hopes to eventually get up to 230 or 235.

"I run a 4.4 (40 yard dash) now and Coach (John Jancek) said if I get that big I won't run that fast," Williams smiled. "I don't know. I told Coach I think I can handle it."

A former high school quarterback as well as strong safety, Williams admitted that he misses the position and admits he was a bit jealous of safetyBacarri Rambo who ran the scout team prior to several games last year.

But don't look for Williams to be making that switch anytime soon.

He's too happy playing his current position for the Bulldogs, who are only having to replace Dannell Ellerbe and will welcome incoming freshman Michael Gilliard, Dexter Moody and Chase Vasser to campus in the fall.

"I know I'm still one of the young guys, and I need to get bigger and stronger, but I also know it's all about heart," Williams said. "Look at Rennie, he's a prime example. I look up to a lot of guys here and always take their advice. I definitely plan on giving it my all."

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