Ramik Wilson: 'I thought it was a celebration penalty'

semerson@macon.comOctober 28, 2013 

ATHENS - Ramik Wilson spoke to the media on Monday night, his first appearance since the targeting penalty at Vanderbilt. So obviously that was the dominant topic.

The junior inside linebacker said he hardly remembers the play, or at least his hit on Vanderbilt receiver Jonathan Krause, since it happened so fast. But he remembered well the aftermath, when he and his teammates thought they had made a key fourth-down stop.

"The ref standing next to me, he was signaling incomplete. So I was jogging off the field, and I heard the whole crowd just yell, and saw a late flag," Wilson said. "I thought it was a celebration penalty, because everybody was jumping around. Then they were talking about I was ejected."

The ejection was overturned. By rule, at least the rule this year, the 15-yard penalty had to stick. Vanderbilt got new life, then got a touchdown to make it 27-21. The Commodores went on to win 31-27.

Wilson said he wasn't even supposed to be there. He was helping Damian Swann double-team Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt's top receiver. But Wilson saw that Krause was on the verge of breaking free, so Wilson moved towards the middle of the field.

"I didn't even really know I hit him that hard until I saw the replay," Wilson said, letting out a slight laugh. "It happened so fast. I know I didn't hit his helmet though, I know that."

The replay verified that. But going high - even at the shoulders - was enough to draw the penalty flag, and the damage was done.

Even before the game, Georgia's defense had worked on avoiding targeting calls. Freshman safety Tray Matthews has said awareness of targeting has inhibited his hard-hitting nature.

But now after what happened at Vanderbilt, Wilson said he and his teammates will try to adjust their style even more.

"Since they aren't gonna stop calling it, looking for the calls, people are gonna start hitting low," he said. "So pretty much they say go for the legs, and take them out, and everything will be all right."

Still, Wilson did not appear to want to belabor the subject. Several times Wilson said he and his teammates were moving on.

"It was frustrating. But you've gotta play all four quarters. I don't think the play should've come down to that one play. We had lots of other opportunities. But like I said we've moved on from that, and are getting ready to play Florida."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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