Georgia coach Mark Richt likes everything about having Brandon Boykin as a triple-threat atcornerback, kick returner and offensive playmaker except that he waited until his senior season to hand him the ball.
"I think we waited too long to use him on offense," Richt said. "He’s really a dynamic player offensively."
Boykin leads the Southeastern Conference and is sixth nationally in all-purpose yards at 194.0 per game.
He said he tossed out the idea to coaches to use him on offense as a sophomore, but only got a taste in a spring game.
That was until he got the chance against Boise State when he went 80 yards on a touchdown run.
He set a school record with seven kickoff returns for 184 yards against South Carolina in a game when he also had an interception and 14 rushing yards.
"I’ve been saying it about every week that I wish we had about two or three of him," Richt said. "He’s helping us a lot. It’s taking a toll on him a little bit. He’s sore and tired, but a lot of guys are sore and tired right now."
Boykin played 76 snaps against Boise State (69 of 71 on defense, six on special teams and one on offense) and 71 against South Carolina (57 of 67 on defense, nine on special teams and five on offense).
"Before the season’s over, I could see him running the ball between the tackles a little bit," Richt said. "Right now we’re just kind of using speed stuff and outside plays and things of that nature."
"Running through the tackles?" Boykin said. "Well, I got to get my mind right for that. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to try and make something happen."
Williams subbing at inside linebacker
Shawn Williams says he still considers himself a safety, but he apparently is catching on as an inside linebacker.
"He’s only been there for like two days and he didn’t miss a call today," Boykin said. "He didn’t mess up. Coach (Todd) Grantham was complimenting him, saying he was only there for 30 minutes and knew what to do. I was like, ‘DB’s are smart learners.’
"Everybody got mad. Well, the linebackers got mad. He’s doing a good job. He’ll definitely be ready to play and make some plays on Saturday."
Mike Gillard is working the "mike" inside linebacker spot and Williams the "mo" linebacker because Christian Robinson and Alec Ogletree are out with foot injuries.
"I get one or two snaps there," Williams said laughing and playing coy with reporters. "I consider myself still a safety."
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Williams started the first two games this season at safety.
He said he played some linebacker at Early County High and is essentially a linebacker with the Bulldogs when he rolls into the box for certain packages.
"I’m an athlete," Williams said. "I feel like I can play any position they put me at right now. If they want me at D-end I feel like I can do it if I put my mind to it."
Richt gave credit to reporters who spotted Williams working at inside linebacker in practice.
"He’s doing a little work there," Richt offered. "It’s so often that a safety does spin down into the box to stop the run and to play a certain gap responsibility.
"He is a big enough body and has played some of that responsibility before, but I don’t think it will be an every down thing, but he’s getting a little bit of work there."
Grantham danced around Williams working at inside linebacker after practice Tuesday when he met with reporters.
So Richt added this in his postpractice session: "I would also like to say to coach Grantham that they already knew, coach, so don’t get mad at me."
Smith ‘ready’ for offense
Branden Smith has yet to take a snap on offense this year. The cornerback the previous two years had a similar role to what Boykin now has on offense.
"We’re still kind of waiting on Branden Smith to really feel healthy enough to use him some more offensively, too," Richt said. "He’s still hobbling a little bit. He’s not 100 percent with that foot."
Smith suffered a foot injury in the preseason, but has played on defense and punt returns.
"It’s 100 percent, so I’m ready," Smith said. "If they call me on offense, I’m ready for whatever. … It’s the coach’s call."
This and that
Backup tight end Aron White has a sprained right knee. Richt said he’s "questionable at best." … Offensive guard Kenarious Gates (ankle) is probable to play, but that doesn’t mean he’ll start, Richt said. … Nose guard John Jenkins has trimmed down, Richt said. The 6-3 junior college transfer is now at 335 pounds.