Georgia needs some emotion

sports@macon.comOctober 23, 2012 

Shawn Williams said what the coaches wouldn’t say. The Georgia safety went off on his teammates Monday after practice. It was unusual, only because it doesn’t happen often, but it was desperately necessary.

It took guts for Williams to stand in front of reporters and verbally go off on his teammates and coaches. A team that has looked lifeless the past two games has at least one player with a pulse, and he said some of the same things the fan base has been saying for a while.

“We’ve gotta stop playing soft. We’re playing too soft defensively,” Williams said.

Whew. Williams finally said the four-letter word that no defense likes to be called: soft.

It’s one of the questions that every Georgia fan is asking: What happened to this defense? A year ago, the Bulldogs were ranked fifth nationally in total defense, 10th in pass defense and 11th in rush defense. This year has been a different story. Georgia is 49th in total defense, 28th in pass defense and a whopping 74th in rush defense.

There are only two players from last year’s team not with this year’s unit. But has the loss of DeAngelo Tyson and Brandon Boykin made that much a difference? They were good players, but we were led to believe this team had tremendous depth on defense.

Instead, it has been a team that has not tackled well at all and is just not that aggressive. What happened to the head hunters we saw on last year’s team? How can a defense that supposedly has several potential first round NFL draft picks play this way?

Williams then said something else that has been obvious the past two games but has yet to be said by anyone connected with the Georgia program.

“We’re not playing with any emotion right now, period.”

That’s something else that just boggles the mind. How could Georgia not play with emotion in Columbia two weeks ago? How could the Bulldogs know Florida had beaten South Carolina last Saturday, setting up the big game in Jacksonville this week, and then turn right around and almost lay an egg against an awful Kentucky team?

It’s because this team has taken on the personality of its head coach. There is no emotion on the sideline from Mark Richt. That’s just how he is. We all know he’s a nice man. He doesn’t rock the boat. We’re never going to see him go all Woody Hayes (or maybe a more timely example is Will Muschamp) on the sideline and go nuts.

But what’s wrong with showing emotion? I guarantee that Georgia fans were emotional after the past two games. In fact, Georgia fans were ticked. Why else would you find an unhappy fan base for a team that is 6-1? It’s because a team that was supposed to be great just isn’t.

Saturday, after Georgia had barely beat Kentucky, Richt was asked if the Bulldogs had perhaps overlooked Kentucky, and maybe focused more on what was going on in the Florida-South Carolina game.

“Know what?” he said. “I’m happy with the victory. We’re 6-1. That’s not bad.”

Huh? That’s all you got, coach? Your team was just outplayed by a horrible football team and that’s all you’ve got?

What would have been wrong if Richt had gone Nick Saban on the reporters and said this?

“Look, it’s a win. I’m happy with the win. We’re 6-1 and that’s great. But we cannot be satisfied with the way we played. It was unacceptable. We had two weeks to prepare for Kentucky, and they whipped us for most of the game. We have got to play at a much higher level or we’re not going to be able to beat Florida or any other great team. I expect more from this team.”

Wouldn’t that have been the more reasonable response, than some Pollyanna line about a win is a win?

Williams hinted in his comments Monday that something else had needed to be said from the coaches. He was half-joking when he talked about the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and then said, “We need Sean Payton.”

That’s pretty bad, isn’t it, when a player says maybe we need a coach to make us be more physical, since it’s not happening right now?

Perhaps Williams’ comments will inspire his teammates. Some have wondered if it will create unrest in the locker room, since Williams also talked about who he believed needed to be playing. But if Georgia wins this week in Jacksonville, it might be because someone was brave enough to finally say what needed to be said.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill on Twitter@yahoo.com.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service