Georgia safety Shawn Williams ripped into his fellow defensive unit last night after practice. You had to figure it was coming sooner or later, as evidenced by the uncharacteristic play shown through eight weeks. Maybe it was the 200-plus rushing yards Kentucky mounted that allowed the frustration to come to a head.
“We’re playing too soft as a defense,” said Williams, talking to reporters after Monday night’s practice. “That goes for the D-line, linebackers, corners, safeties, everybody. We’re just not playing with the same attitude we were last year. I don’t know what it is.
“After the first series [against Kentucky], I told everybody we played too soft,” said Williams, Georgia’s leading tackler with 51 stops. “They got the ball at the 20 and went 80 yards right up the middle. I came to the sideline and said ‘y’all are playing soft.’ It gets frustrating because I’m sitting here and I’m giving all I got and I feel like I’ve got some guys that are not. I feel we’ve got some guys that are in a whole different place.”
Williams then talked about how he would change the defense for the better.
“Personally, if I was the coaches, I can’t tell them what to do, but I’d have Amarlo Herrera in the game more,” Williams said of Georgia’s starting Mike linebacker. “I wouldn’t bring him out. . . . I want to see Amarlo (Herrera) and (Alec) Ogletree in the game at linebacker; I don’t want to see anybody else at linebacker. I feel like they’re two guys that are going to go out and give you all they got, no matter if they mess up or do right. I feel like they’re going to get to the ball and tackle. That’s what we need.”
Think Williams is in the wrong to make such comments? Although he could have handled it better by bringing this to his teammates’ faces, the context of the softness is absolutely correct.
Georgia is the one defense everyone thought would be top five just because of the nine of 11 starters returning from last year’s physical defense, led by OLB Jarvis Jones. Now, eight other defenses in the SEC are posting better statistical numbers than Georgia, including Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Georgia will be facing a Florida offense that will try to pound them into submission with a physical running game that will keep coming for four quarters. Williams knows how physical the Gators are and will try and punch back.
“Right now, Florida plays very physical and they’re going to come out and try to just manhandle you,” Williams said. “So I’m really looking forward to seeing what we do. Somebody’s gonna get punched in the mouth. It’s going to be us or them. Whoever gets punched in the mouth is going to have to decide, ‘what do we do now?’ You’re either going to give in or you’re going to fight back. Point blank that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Georgia is ranked 72nd in the country against the run (167.86 ypg). Florida is ranked 25th in rushing offense, averaging over 212 yards per game on the ground.
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