Des Williams, a former University of Georgia player, built a replica Georgia football field in his backyard for son to play on. The field comes complete with hedges, goal posts, pylons and the logo at the 50-yard-line.
Des Williams' Replica of Sanford Stadium
A look at former UGA football player Des Williams' replica of Sanford Stadium in the back yard of his Dacula home.
DACULA -- Des Williams will admit it's a little crazy. Then again, he doesn't really care.
"Probably so, but I think you've got to have a little component of crazy in there," the former Dacula High and University of Georgia football player said with a laugh.
Williams, a lighting and landscape design entrepreneur, has built quite the homage to Sanford Stadium in his own backyard. Over about three months and 200 hours of labor, the former Bulldog fullback has constructed a scale model of Georgia's playing field, complete with professionally painted yardlines, the Georgia "G" at midfield and those famous hedges.
While Georgia takes on top-ranked LSU in Saturday afternoon's SEC Championship game, the 23-yard version of the Bulldogs' home field will provide the perfect playground for Williams' 2-year-old son, Braylon. If he wants to play after the game, an impressive lighting system will shine light on his nighttime activities.
Love for Georgia aside, Williams said he undertook the project for two reasons.
"I wanted to basically show our customers that we're very passionate about what we do," he said. "I would also love to be a motivational speaker ... so I wanted my son to have a tangible example of hard work and determination."
The project was not one entered into lightly.
With help from colleagues and clients, Williams did it right. Grading had to be done on what Williams originally thought was a "pretty flat" backyard. About six feet of dirt was moved from one side to the other. Turf was installed and painted.
Goal posts were installed, and high voltage "stadium" lights surround it. Pylons and a bench complete the look.
The hedges lining the field's sidelines are not the privets made famous in Athens, but compacted holly hedges. Right now they're spaced about three feet apart, but should grow into one solid wall "in a season or two."
"It was definitely a very expensive project for anybody," Williams said, "but this is my baby. This is what I do for a living so why not take advantage of the opportunity?"
Williams played in Georgia's last two conference championship game appearances in 2003 and 2005, both against LSU. He called the experience "bigger than most bowl games" and "really really exciting."
As for Saturday's game pitting his alma mater against a heavily favored Tigers team, Williams said Georgia had a chance to win if it "played perfect and LSU can slip up." He's giving his Bulldogs a chance.
"I think Georgia's going to come to play," Williams said. "I don't think by any means we're scared to play LSU."