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Georgia's Shakenneth Williams caught a 41-yard pass off a fake punt during a 2014 win over Auburn, but the play was nullified by a penalty. Williams has been moved this week from receiver to the secondary.

Three Georgia football players are on the move this week as the Bulldogs recuperate during their lone open date of the season.

First-year head coach Kirby Smart announced Tuesday that sophomore defensive end Michael Barnett is switching to the offensive line, redshirt freshman running back Tae Crowder is moving to inside linebacker and junior receiver Shakenneth Williams will get a look in the secondary.

"We feel like those three guys are probably better athletes than where they are on their current spot on the depth chart," Smart said in a news conference. "We're going to give those guys some work and find out what they can do."

All three players have yet to play this season and will practice the rest of this week in their new roles before permanent decisions are made.

The Bulldogs, who dropped to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in Southeastern Conference play with Saturday's 17-16 upset loss to Vanderbilt at Sanford Stadium, did some correction work Monday and spent Tuesday's two-hour practice on fundamentals. They will work on fundamentals again today as well as look at some November opponents.

Georgia will begin preparations for its next foe, Florida, on Thursday.

"Our kids know that the word of the day is improvement," Smart said. "We're going to get each player better at each position. That's our goal."

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Williams has four career receptions, with his lone catch last season going for 10 yards in the 9-6 win over Missouri. He had a 35-yard catch in his first career appearance against Troy in 2014 and added two receptions for 26 yards later that season against Charleston Southern.

Crowder committed to Georgia Southern before becoming a late member of Georgia's 2015 signing class, where he joined Barnett, who was a consensus four-star prospect out of South Carolina. Barnett totaled five tackles in seven games last season and could aid an offensive line that has three senior starters, but Smart did not put a timetable on Barnett's potential impact.

"I don't think you can answer that until he goes over there," Smart said. "We're going to work him at tackle initially, but I don't think you can actually know that until he gets there and sees what he can do. He played it in high school, so it's not like he's completely foreign to it, but to say he's going to walk in and know our protections and other pickups — I think you're looking at more long-term when this guy can help."

Linebackers incident

University police responded to a call Saturday night at McWhorter Hall when marijuana smoke was detected in the room of sophomore inside linebacker Natrez Patrick. When they arrived, fellow sophomore inside linebacker Roquan Smith was with Patrick.

Officers found drug paraphernalia in Patrick's room but did not pursue charges for marijuana possession.

Patrick, who has a team-high 42 tackles through seven contests, was suspended for one game last season after a marijuana-related arrest and a second violation. Should the university deem Saturday's incident as another violation of school policy, he could face a four-game suspension.

Both Patrick and Smith worked with the first team during the portion of Tuesday's practice that was open to the media.

Odds and ends

Sophomore cornerback Deandre Baker, who sat out the Vanderbilt game with an ankle injury, has been able to run this week but has not participated in contact work.... Smart repeated that special teams is the most glaring issue: "We've got to improve in that area. It is a major concern from a depth standpoint."... Smart on freshman quarterback Jacob Eason, who threw for 346 yards in Saturday's loss: "The guy has improved drastically throughout the year. He's had ups and downs, but he sees the coverage and he understands where to go with the ball."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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