Bulldogs linebacking corps has Bainbridge flavor

Published 3:49 pm Friday, July 3, 2009

Coach Mark Richt’s University of Georgia Bulldogs linebacking corps will have a very definite Bainbridge flavor this fall.

Providing the flavor will be Darryl Gamble, a former first-team All-Region 1AAAA football and basketball player with the Bainbridge High School Bearcats and a rising redshirt junior with the Bulldogs; and former Bearcats quarterback and defensive back Nick Williams a rising true sophomore at Georgia.

Gamble had a breakout season with the Bulldogs in 2008. His biggest day came in their 52-38 victory over the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers on Oct. 25 in Baton Rouge, La.

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He had interception returns of 49 and 53 yards for touchdowns.

After the LSU performance, Gamble was named winner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) defensive player of the week award and the Bronko Nagurski national defensive player of the week award.

Williams was recruited as a safety before being switched to linebacker,

Gamble was Region 1AAAA defensive player of the year with the Bearcats in 2004 and was the 2005-2006 BHS male senior athlete of the year,

Williams calls Gamble his mentor, pointing out that he has looked up to him throughout his football career.

“He’s kind of conservative,” Williams said referring to Gamble. “I have to show my emotion, but we complement each other.

“Sometimes when he needs someone to pick him up, I’ll be there, and sometimes when I need someone to calm me down, he’ll be there,” Williams said.

Williams played mainly on special teams as a true freshman. His opportunity to get some playing time at linebacker came when the position became dangerously thin due to injuries in November.

The only consistently healthy performers at the position were Gamble, Akeem Dent and Rennie Curran.

Bulldogs defensive coordinator Willie Martinez calls Williams a bundle of energy, pointing out that he has recently been able to balance that energy with patience.

Gamble and Williams are already giving back to Bainbridge and Decatur County.

On May 30, they assisted former Bearcats and Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket star defensive back James Butler, who is now a member of the St. Louis Rams, with his annual clinic and camp for youngsters at Centennial Field.