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#pounditWednesday, October 5, 2022

Rick Barnes shares surprising story about actor who played Smash Williams on ‘Friday Night Lights’

Rick Barnes Friday Night Lights

Tennessee Volunteers basketball coach Rick Barnes made an appearance on popular TV show “Friday Night Lights” in 2008, and he shared an interesting story on Tuesday regarding that appearance.

The episode in which Barnes appeared was called “Jumping the Gun” during Season 2 and aired in Jan. 2008. Barnes portrayed a recruiter who was going after fictional Dillon High School’s star running back, Smash Williams. Williams was portrayed by actor Gaius Charles, who had no previous football experience.

During an interview with SEC Network, Barnes recalled sitting beside Charles to get makeup done before the show. He asked Charles where he played college football.

“He actually said to me, ‘I never touched a football until I got this role. I went to Carnegie Mellon University, and they brought me down here, got me beefed up, so I know nothing about football other than this role that I’m playing,'” Charles told Barnes.

You wouldn’t have known that based on the way Charles acted, but that’s a little crazy that he didn’t know anything about football until the role. That’s why they call it acting. And maybe Barnes shouldn’t have expected playing college football to be a prerequisite for portraying a player on a TV show.

Barnes has been at Tennessee for five seasons and gone 105-64 during his tenure. His 2018-2019 team was ranked as high as No. 1 in the country and lost in the Sweet 16.

Maybe Barnes would have had some more acting gigs in his future had he left Tennessee for UCLA last year.


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