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Shawn Williams speaks; are the Bulldogs listening?

The Georgia safety's comments calling out his defensive teammates may not have been elegantly phrased, but they weren't wrong, either.

Sam Greenwood

Shawn Williams came out and said what was on his mind, so I'm going to do the same: I don't see what the big deal is about Shawn Williams' comments.

Were they unexpected? Sure. But the only thing surprising about them was the source, i.e. a Georgia player. If it'd been a fan or a member of the media, Bulldog Nation would've simply shrugged its collective shoulders and said, "Yep, you know, he's right."

Georgia's defense has been playing soft. It's not a recent development, either. Yes, the Dawgs got run all over by Kentucky in the first half last week, but it wasn't anything worse than what South Carolina did to them two weeks before. Tennessee's formerly moribund running game gently moved our defensive front out of the way for the better part of four quarters the week before that. It took the Bulldog D an entire half to wake up against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic, two offenses that finished 80th and dead last in the nation, respectively, in total yardage in 2011.

We can quibble over whether it was appropriate for Williams to call out specific teammates, but I don't think that was his goal. Nor was it his intent, as Senator Blutarsky seems to have interpreted it, to actually advocate for a New Orleans Saints-esque "bounty system" and turn the Georgia-Florida game into a festival of personal fouls. Even if it had been, I find it hard to believe that the Gators would need any extra motivation to trash-talk or attempt to intimidate the Dawgs.

Last season the Dawgs scored a win in Jacksonville against a first-year Florida head coach, something that didn't happen against Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, or even Ron Zook. In doing so, the Dawgs got an opportunity they hadn't had in a long time — the opportunity to become the dominant team in the Florida-Georgia rivalry again, or to at least inform the other side that they weren't going to be able to simply impose their will on the EverBank Stadium field anymore. Over the past few weeks, though, the Dawgs have seen that opportunity begin to slip away. If it takes a challenge from Shawn Williams to snap the Georgia team to attention and understand that, I don't have a problem with it.

And maybe Williams calls his team out, they rise to his challenge and play like men, and they still end up losing to a Florida squad that simply turns out to be the best team in the SEC East this season. If that happened, I'd be disappointed, but I'd be gratified to know that we didn't lay down and die at the first sign of adversity like we did in Columbia. Georgia has done a lot of that in Jacksonville over the past couple decades, and Shawn Williams, for his part, recognizes that it has to stop. I don't care whether his teammates are offended; all I care about is whether they get the message.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.