Former receiver Wilson stars in first defensive start for Bills Print
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Friday, 12 October 2007 00:31
NFL Headline News

 ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -When Dick Jauron was the defensive coordinator in Detroit in 2004, he thought that Lions' undrafted free-agent receiver George Wilson was more suited to play defense than offense.
Three years later, Wilson can't argue.
Signed by the Bills later in that 2004 season, Wilson's offensive career was stuck in neutral in Buffalo. When Jauron was hired as the Bills' coach last season, he tried talking Wilson into switching to safety. After spending 15 weeks on the team's practice squad in 2006, Wilson decided to take his coach up on the offer.
On Monday night, Wilson made his first pro start a memorable one when he intercepted an errant Tony Romo pass in the first quarter and ran it back 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Bills an early lead in their eventual one-point loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
``George played really well,'' Jauron said. ``I don't think 'surprised' is the right word. We have a lot of belief in him. He got his chance to play, gets a pick for a touchdown, and just played solid.''
Wilson got his opportunity when Jim Leonhard injured his calf during the final drive of Buffalo's win over the New York Jets in Week 4. Leonhard was playing in place of starting free safety Ko Simpson, who was placed on injured reserve after breaking his ankle in the season opener against Denver.
During the week leading up to the Dallas game, Jauron hinted that strong safety Donte Whitner was going to shift to free safety, with veteran journeyman Bryan Scott sliding into Whitner's spot. But five days before the game, Jauron decided to give more reps to Wilson at free safety in order to have Whitner stay put.
Two days before the Monday night game, Wilson was told he would get the starting nod, and his interception was the first time he had touched the ball in his now four-game career.
``I don't think I really knew the magnitude of it because you don't have time to reflect,'' Wilson said after Buffalo's short practice on Thursday. ``Just through all the phone calls and text messages I've received, it makes you feel good. Monday night was icing on the cake for this dream that I've been living this season.''
Wilson may have made the transition look easy with his four-tackle performance against the Cowboys, but that was hardly the case. He spent hours studying film and working on technique this past summer with Buffalo defensive secondary coach George Catavolos and got plenty of pointers from Leonhard and Kiwaukee Thomas.
``It was not easy at all,'' Wilson said. ``I can remember my first few days back in April when we were doing defensive adjustments against offensive formations, and my head was swimming.''
Wilson has achieved some stability in his career now that he's trying to create the big hit rather than avoid it. Because of that, he admits he's now a full-blown, defensive guy.
``I'm having the most fun I've ever had playing the game,'' he said. ``It's a different adrenaline rush and a different mentality on the field. There's absolutely no plans at all to switch back unless I'm needed on the offensive side of the ball.''
 

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