Safety Shawn Williams’ postpractice comments to the media Monday quickly reverberated around the Georgia football program.
Defensive linemen Garrison Smith and Mike Thornton read Williams’ comments on a computer screen that night calling the Bulldogs’ defense “soft.”
“I was like `Oh, OK. That’s definitely like shots fired,” Smith said. “Now you’ve got to defend are you a soft player or not?”
Christian Robinson showed up to his a semi-regular appearance after coach Mark Richt’s weekly news conference today to face questions about Williams saying he prefers inside linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Alec Ogletree stay in the game because “those are two guys who will go out and give everything they’ve got, even if they mess up.”
That would mean that Robinson and fellow senior Mike Gilliard wouldn’t play.
“It’s definitely not the best thing to hear after you got a win,” Robinson said. “I think we’re going to just have to stick together. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but we all make mistakes.”
Gilliard, who has 99 tackles and has started 16 games since the start of 2011, tweeted this afternoon: “Don’t mention my name until you go back and look at the results these past two seasons.”
Richt, for his part, met with Williams on Tuesday morning.
“I think Shawn’s just a real passionate guy,” Richt said. “I think he loves Georgia and loves his team and wants us to play the best we could possibly play. I think it was more public than you would like.”
Players had different takes on the “soft” comment.
“It needed to be said sometime soon,” Herrera said. “Somebody needed to say something. He took it upon himself and said it. …Y’all look at the film. We’ve been playing soft around here. We haven’t been showing the old D that we were playing last year.”
Said Robinson: “No football players wants to hear they’re soft. That’s not the way I go about it. …I don’t think it’s time to point fingers. We’re 6-1 and we have a chance to win the (SEC) East.”
Richt was asked about the “soft” comment.
“That’s how he felt about it,” Richt said. “He has a right to say that. Do we want to get better at stopping the run? Yeah, you better believe it.”
Cornerback Sanders Commings said Georgia isn’t a soft defense.
“I think last week we played lazy,” Commings said of a 29-24 Georgia win in which it gave up 206 rushing yards. “I think it’s more laziness than soft. For some reason, everybody wasn’t up for Kentucky.”
Herrera said he saw less game action against Kentucky than he has all season. Robinson, who plays on third downs, said he gets in about 20 snaps a game.
“There were things on Saturday I didn’t do right, but I know that every day we go out there, we’ve got to stand together,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a great team we’re going to play this week and it’s going to take every guy who goes out there. I don’t make the depth charts. …We got to go to practice today and we have to practice together. I’m pretty sure that there’s not one person who would beat any opponent by themselves If we’re going to beatFlorida, if we’re going to win this game and make this the game that everyone remembers for their senior season, it’s going to take 11 guys in every phase of the game.”
Could it be a spark for the team?
“It might,” Richt said smiling. “We’ll see.”
“It’s going to be a spark,” Herrera said. “It’s got to be a spark. If we don’t have a spark then our chances of the SEC championship are over with.”