Heater Impressed with Justin Williams

For all of two days Justin Williams has been a safety, but early indications are this is a move that should have been made long ago. Williams was just switched to defense after another receiver T.J. Lawrence ended his safety experiment and went back on offense.

The third year sophomore from Folkston, Georgia made an immediate impact in the Gators' first scrimmage Tuesday, grabbing a pair of interceptions and catching the eye of head coach Urban Meyer.

Florida safeties coach Chuck Heater talked after the scrimmage about what he saw in the 6-1, 205-pound speedster.

CH: "You know he's still trying to figure it out so you don't always see that speed. He's got really great numbers in terms of our training, running and jumping. Those are the kinds of guys who can potentially come over and help you, but they have to play that fast. He did a good job and caught a couple of interceptions so that's a step in the right direction."

LV: For him to be that productive this quickly, is it a sign that his transition will be a lot smoother than it was for T.J. (Lawrence)?

CH: "The very first day, we just threw him into the water and you can kind of tell if a guy can function at a base level. Right away he was functional so now it's a matter of all the stuff you need to build it. But athletically you have to be able to backpedal, move in transition and those things and day one he did that. That's why I was encouraged. So now it's a matter of developing him and building his confidence."

LV: What did he show you in terms of the physical nature of playing safety? Did he deliver any hits or make tackles?

CH: "He has, and he's a big guy. You put him out there physically along with Will Hill (6-3, 203) and you think those are some nice looking dudes. That's a good place to be, but they got to go play and he's learning that. He's positive, and we need development there in the back up spots for sure."

MG: Hill was back out there. How did he look?

CH: "He had a good day. You know he was out a couple of days and came back and made a couple of plays, and Ahmad Black is a pretty good player and a pretty consistent guy and does a nice job in there. We just gotta keep moving forward, but I like what I see."

MG: Is Justin pretty much going to have to play because of the numbers?

CH: "We're going to have to develop a two deep, there's no question. The season is incredibly long and we're planning on still playing in January around here and that's a long way off. You always got to be thinking that way. You gotta get two (starters), then you got to get a third guy because he's one play away and a fourth guy's two plays away. You always got to have that mindset because it's just the reality of the game. You hope to get lucky, but you certainly have to develop guys. There's no way you can go through the season with just two guys. It just can't happen."

MG: What's the biggest difference in Ahmad from last year to this year?

CH: "Well he came in as a corner. Even with his size (5-9, 180) being what it is he's still more natural inside. He pulled a hamstring real early and it was difficult to him to play as hard as he needed to play. He had to learn how to play a little faster, a little harder. He's always been a natural, functional football player. He bends his knees, tackles the ball carrier and that's really huge on defense. He's really a great kid, but as Woody Hayes used to say the woods are filled with great kids, but you gotta have guys who can play football. He's moving in that direction."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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