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Feeling at home

Former Calvary star fitting right in at GSU

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Feeling at home

    Steve Williams finally got his wish.
    While a star running back at Calvary Day in 2010, Williams wanted to play football at Georgia Southern.
    He was encouraged to look farther from Savannah to experience new things, so he ended up signing with Pittsburgh.
    “It was a family decision,” Williams said. “It was mainly my mother. She wanted me to get away and experience something new, so I gave it a shot.”
    After the 2012 season, the 6-foot-2, 223-pound safety transferred to GSU.
    “This was my first decision, anyway,” Williams said after practice on Tuesday at Beautiful Eagle Creek. “I’m really familiar with it, and I feel like it’s home.”
    Williams redshirted at Pitt in 2011 and was injured in 2012. He was dismissed from the Panthers in November after being charged with a simple assault.
    He’s happy to be playing for head coach Jeff Monken and the staff at GSU. It’s stricter here, he said, and that’s not a bad thing.
     “Here, it’s more disciplined. It’s more structured,” Williams said. “(At Pitt), it was more lenient. We had a lot more free time. Here it’s more strict. If you don’t do what you’re supposed to, you have consequences. Up there, you didn’t really have consequences.
    “I love all the coaches (at GSU). They’ve been recruiting me since high school, and they haven’t changed.”
    Monken recruited Williams as an athlete. As a senior at Calvary Day, Williams rushed for 1,691 yards and 22 touchdowns. He went to Pitt to play safety.
    With the departure of senior defensive backs J.J. Wilcox and Darius Eubanks, Williams seems like a good fit at safety at GSU.
    “We didn’t know where he’d fit in (when we recruited him),” Monken said, “and we still kind of don’t know.”
    Williams hasn’t thought too much about getting back on offense.
    “Everybody asks me that. It’s up to the coaches. If they feel like it will help the team, I’ll do it. That’s all I can say about that.”

The big announcement
    Georgia Southern will announce its acceptance of an invitation to the Sun Belt Conference at a press conference Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., at the Williams Center on campus.
    The announcement is open to the public.
    Monken would not directly comment on the move to the Football Bowl Championship Subdivision conference after Tuesday’s practice.
    “We’re business as usual right now,” he said. “We’re practicing like we always have and trying to be the best team we can be. That’s all that matters to us right now. At Georgia Southern, the expectation is to line up on Saturday afternoon and beat the team we’re playing. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

A bit rusty
    Due to the Southern Conference outdoor track and field championships, which will be held at Georgia Southern on April 20-21, the GSU blue/white spring scrimmage game was pushed back a week, moving the entire spring camp schedule back.
    That meant the Eagles opened camp on March 13 and 15, then had a two-week hiatus during spring break.
    The Eagles were a bit rusty when they returned to practice Tuesday.
    “This is 12 days since we practiced last so, yeah, they’re a little rusty,” Monken said.
    The GSU coaching staff has been working to install some new wrinkles into the playbook.
    “We’re not going to change what we do,” Monken said. “We feel like we’ve got to continue to expand and have a little bit more in there that we can turn to — formations and that kind of stuff. When you do that kind of stuff, they get their wires crossed a little bit.”

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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