ATHENS, Ga. — Shawn Williams and his family had a tough July, as their home in Early County burned down in a fire.
But Williams has been focused at Georgia’s football practices, as coach Mark Richt singled out the sophomore strong safety for praise.
“He probably dropped about 10 pounds. He is much quicker and you could tell he really studied,” Richt said. “He’s gotten the attention of our coaching staff.”
Williams played mostly on special teams last year, then played safety and had three tackles in the Independence Bowl. He entered preseason practice behind junior Nick Williams in the competition to start at strong safety.
Richt said the program is doing what it can within NCAA rules to help Shawn Williams and his family.
Junior guard Tanner Strickland was in a green non-contact jersey after a flare-up of his nagging shoulder injury. But Richt described it as a precautionary move.
“We don’t think it was a setback,” Richt said.
Junior tackle Trinton Sturdivant was also in green as he tries to return from his second ACL injury. Richt said the training staff reported that Sturdivant has not had any swelling yet, a hopeful sign.
A louder Green?
A.J. Green is widely known as a quiet star. But fellow receiver Marlon Brown said the junior is taking on more of a leadership role.
“When we’re out there on the field, he’s like, ‘Marlon you did this wrong,’ or if I drop a ball, he’s like, ‘C’mon Marlon, you’re better than that,’ ” Brown said.
But Brown added that Green’s reputation is a bit overblown.
“See, y’all think he’s soft-spoken, and he is not soft-spoken,” Brown said, smiling. “Not at all.”
Defensive tackle Kwame Geathers will have rooting interests on both sides of the football when Cincinnati plays Cleveland in the NFL.
His older brother Robert Jr. plays for the Bengals, and his cousin Clifton, who left South Carolina with a year of eligibility left, was a sixth-round pick of the Browns.
Geathers was asked which team he would root for.
“It’ll be half and half,” Kwame said with a laugh.