By RYAN BLACK
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATHENS — While Georgia and Vanderbilt exchanged heated words on the field following last season’s game in Nashville, UGA’s Cornelius Washington was nowhere to be found.
Serving a two-game suspension due to a DUI arrest, he was at home watching on television. A year later, he rues not having been in the middle of the action.
“I like a good confrontation and that seems like one I would have enjoyed being a part of,” the senior outside linebacker said Monday.
Washington also took a different tack than most of his teammates did two weeks ago. Unlike the fallout from Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s “old man football” comment — where Georgia refused to fire back — Washington tackled this week’s popular topic head-on.
“I think it’s something we do care about,” he said of the contentious tone of last year’s meeting. “It’s a pride thing. It’s a competitive thing. When somebody comes out and challenges you like that and you have those kinds of things go on, you go through the week with a little edge, a little chip on your shoulder. You go into the game trying to knock somebody’s block off.”
For his part, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin jokingly addressed last year’s face-to-face with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Monday, quipping their families “went on vacation together” to Disney World. Franklin went on to praise Grantham and his unit.
“His defense plays hard and flies around,” he said. “They’re passionate about what they do and we’re passionate about what we do. It’s nothing more than that.”
LeMay: ‘No excuse’ for mistakes
Christian LeMay scored his first touchdown as a Bulldog Saturday. The score was the last thing on his mind the rest of the weekend, though.
Instead, a fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown against the backup quarterback dominated his thought process.
“I couldn’t wait to get back out here and get back to work and get that off my mind,” said LeMay, a redshirt freshman. “When you’re trying to be great, the good things are overshadowed by the bad things. When you’re trying to get to that level, you’ve got to make as little mistakes as possible and those were big mistakes I shouldn’t be making at this point in my career. There’s really no excuse for it.”
Following the interception, LeMay was pulled on the next drive in favor of Parker Welch. Though he admitted “you never want to get yanked,” he understood why the decision was made.
He also understands he has to redeem himself in the eyes of the people determining his playing time.
“The coaches don’t trust you as much, so you’ve just got to go back to work and earn their trust back,” he said.
Jarvis Jones (groin) was limited in practice on Monday, but was not listed as “no-contact.” Fellow linebackers Josh Dawson (shoulder sprain) and Washington (hamstring) joined Jones, listed in a “limited” capacity. On offense, wide receiver Rantavious Wooten was limited due to a knee contusion while offensive lineman Watt Dantzler continues to battle an ankle sprain, which precluded him from taking part in contact drills.