UGA safety Shawn Williams rants that Dogs’ defense is ‘too soft, playing wrong players

Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams, here tackling South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore, called out Georgia's defense and some teammates for not playing hard enough. (AP photo)

Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams, here tackling South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore, called out Georgia's defense and some teammates for not playing hard enough. (AP photo)

ATHENS – You figured somebody would say something eventually. Monday night, Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams obliged.

The Bulldogs’ senior and de facto defensive captain ripped into his unit for what he called “soft play” all season. And Williams wasn’t above calling out a few teammates, identifying a couple of linebackers he didn’t think were playing up to snuff.

Do you like that Williams spoke out?

  • Yes. Somebody needed to give a wake up call. (86%, 1,144 Votes)
  • No. He should have kept his complaints in-house. (14%, 189 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,333

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“We’re playing too soft as a defense,” said Williams, talking to reporters after Monday night’s practice. “That goes for the D-line, linebackers, corners, safeties, everybody. We’re just not playing with the same attitude we were last year. I don’t know what it is.”

Asked if he had communicated his frustration to his defensive mates, Williams said he did during the Kentucky game and he plans to again this week as the Bulldogs prepare for Saturday’s game against No. 2 Florida in Jacksonville.

“After the first series [against Kentucky], I told everybody we played too soft,” said Williams, Georgia’s leading tackler with 51 stops. “They got the ball at the 20 and went 80 yards right up the middle. I came to the sideline and said ‘y’all are playing soft.’ It gets frustrating because I’m sitting here and I’m giving all I got and I feel like I’ve got some guys that are not. I feel we’ve got some guys that are in a whole different place.”

Asked what he thought needed to be done, Williams said, “I don’t know. I’m trying to see if I have to take somebody’s helmet off and slap them and say, ‘what’s going on’? We’re not playing with any emotion right now. Period.”

Willliams then got into specifics.

“Personally, if I was the coaches, I can’t tell them what to do, but I’d have Amarlo Herrera in the game more,” Williams said of Georgia’s starting Mike linebacker. “I wouldn’t bring him out. . . . I want to see Amarlo (Herrera) and (Alec) Ogletree in the game at linebacker; I don’t want to see anybody else at linebacker. I feel like they’re two guys that are going to go out and give you all they got, no matter if they mess up or do right. I feel like they’re going to get to the ball and tackle. That’s what we need.”

As it stands, those two are playing the most at Georgia’s inside linebacker positions. Seniors Mike Gillard and Christian Robinson split time with Herrera at the Mike. But Herrera played less against Kentucky than he has in the previous six games. He came in averaging 7.8 tackles per game. Against the Wildcats he had three, tying his season low.

“I just feel like he’s better,” Williams said. “I don’t know what he’s doing that’s better than them, getting off blocks, getting around blocks. He just gets to the football, and that’s what we need, somebody who gets to the football and tackles.”

More than any specific individuals, Williams indicated it was attitude in general that has seen the Bulldogs plunge down the national defensive rankings. Heading into Saturday’s game against run-heavy Florida, Georgia is ranked 47th in total defense (367.43 yards per game), 72nd against the run (167.86) and 49th in scoring (24.14 ppg). They were top 23 in all those categories to end last season. Kentucky rushed for 206 of their 329 total yards in a 29-24 Georgia victory.

“Right now, Florida plays very physical and they’re going to come out and try to just manhandle you,” Williams said. “So I’m really looking forward to seeing what we do. Somebody’s gonna get punched in the mouth. It’s going to be us or them. Whoever gets punched in the mouth is going to have to decide, ‘what do we do now?’ You’re either going to give in or you’re going to fight back. Point blank that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Williams’ teammates – at least those available after Monday night’s late-finishing practice — concurred with his assessment.

“I understand where he’s coming from,” senior free safety Bacarri Rambo said. “He wants to win and he wants to be the best in whatever he does. I’m in the same boat with him. I see him as a leader and a captain of the defense. He just wants what’s best for the team and the defense. So if he feels like that I feel the same way. . . . That’s what we’re upset about, because we’re not playing the best we can play, not to the potential we have as a defense.”

Said Malcolm Mitchell, who played nearly half the season at cornerback before switching back to defense full time: “Yeah, we’ve got to amp it up. We’ve got to play harder.”

Williams was asked if he thought some players were worried too much about NFL and complacent because they’ve already proven themselves. Williams is among four Georgia starters that have been projected as first-round draft picks.

“I don’t know if it’s the NFL or worried about messing up or worried about a game down the road,” Williams said. “We’ve just got to do what we do and play physical football. And we’re not. That’s what you’ve got to do to win.”

NOTES . . .

Junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who was nominated as a Butkus Award semifinalist on Monday, was not listed on Monday’s injury report. Generally that means he was able to practice without limitations. The 2011 All-American was unable to play against Kentucky due to right ankle sprain. Neither Jones nor any coaches were available to comment after practice… . Starting defensive end Abry Jones was listed on the practice report as “out.” He left the Kentucky game on the second defensive play with a left ankle injury… . Quarterback Aaron Murray was named the SEC’s offensive player of the week Monday for his 427-yard, four-touchdown passing performance against Kentucky. Murray was also tabbed a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best quarterback on Monday.

MORE GEORGIA COVERAGE

527 comments Add your comment

Bill

October 22nd, 2012
9:57 pm

Colorado Bulldog

October 22nd, 2012
9:58 pm

Somebody needs to step up. And we can’t afford turnovers.

Pat

October 22nd, 2012
9:58 pm

I’m a fan of Shawn Williams.

KilroyDawg

October 22nd, 2012
9:59 pm

Couldn’t agree more. The D needs to play like their hair is on fire and their a$$e$ are catching!!! Play on edge and with an attitude and we have a chance. GO DAWGS!!!

Jack

October 22nd, 2012
9:59 pm

What the Hell…..might as well try something different!

Lurk Russell

October 22nd, 2012
10:00 pm

Shoulda been said 5 games ago

Shock the World

October 22nd, 2012
10:00 pm

Agree with Shawn Williams, the one player that ALWAYS brings it & hits hard.

However, the D needs to avoid those costly 15-yard personal fouls like we got in Lexington and tend to get vs. the Gators when they encourage us to do so.

Frank Lane

October 22nd, 2012
10:00 pm

I think some are playing not to get hurt for the draft. Just not finish the drill tacking and sell-out hitting.

Happy Warrior

October 22nd, 2012
10:00 pm

Our defense does not play “gaps” they are often out of position. They need to be more discipline!

Herschel Talker

October 22nd, 2012
10:03 pm

When your hardest working defensive player says your defense and Coaches are soft its time for a change!

Ptc Dawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:03 pm

Georgia Sports Report

October 22nd, 2012
10:04 pm

Rambo, you’ve got some nerve after I saw you quit more than once Saturday night.

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:04 pm

Got a guy making 3 mil per year saying we’re 6-1 and everything is fine, just say’n…….Thank you Shawn

DroopyDawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:04 pm

S. Williams, new UGA DC…but seriously, kudos for stepping up and calling them out…So glad to se that someone on the field recognizes what’s going on and wants to fix it….GO DAWGS

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:06 pm

Wonder if the Richt rumor is true and has leaked and Grantham has checked out??????

cmac

October 22nd, 2012
10:06 pm

FINALLY!!! Someone has the backbone to call it like it is!! He needs to say that Rambo ain’t gettin’ it done as well & he needs to be benched!!

DroopyDawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:07 pm

And how do we get soft defenses?…soft coaching….ding ding ding..

wayne rozelle

October 22nd, 2012
10:07 pm

Now lets get ready for the Gators. FINALLY Bill!!!!

lol

October 22nd, 2012
10:07 pm

mark richt is soft….

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:08 pm

We have been plowed over all year say the Vandy game. Our D made Tenn look all world.

garydawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:09 pm

Amen Brother!!!

cmac

October 22nd, 2012
10:09 pm

Also, glad to see that even some inside the locker room see that this thing is BROKE!! Leadership starts at the top & I guess with UGA, the top is a 22 year old student athlete! The alleged coaches in Athens should be ashamed & all be gone at years end!

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:10 pm

Wow…good stuff….. this either works….or back fires…..And if we get blown out Saturday, that team and locker room will come apart I’m afraid.

Craig

October 22nd, 2012
10:10 pm

Imo, it comes from the top. I know they say that Richt’s calm demeanor is good for the team but I think this team with all its talent n experience doesn’t need babying. It needs stern, disciplined coaching and if that means getting in someone’s face or snatching em off the field when they’ve committed a stupid penalty or missed assignment. Too many times there’s a mistake made and the cameras shift to the sideline and there’s a shot of Richt just standing there like an old man playing checkers on a Sunday afternoon. HUNKER DOWN DAWGS!!!

pizzed off @ lazy dawgs

October 22nd, 2012
10:12 pm

I’m sure the coaches will make my new hero Shawn Williams run stadiums. A great coach would make him team captain this coming weekend.

Bernie Matt

October 22nd, 2012
10:12 pm

NOW! Where are all the clown posters who said, earlier in the summer that players were not speaking behind the backs of coaches about certain players not having earned their depth chart status? I CAN”T HERE YOU! I said before the first game, Amarlo, was supposed to be starting, and that I had it on good info from players, some of the clowns who claimed to have sons on the team said ole Bernie was a troll! What say you now? And make no mistake about it, this goes for the offensive side of the ball as well. IT TAKES LONGER TO BE RIGHT, but damn it feels good!

perk

October 22nd, 2012
10:12 pm

JB: what rumor??

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:12 pm

It’s the crack in the dam over there. There are lot of individuals playing for us….. and they have been called out

Here we Go

October 22nd, 2012
10:13 pm

I’m glad he said it,but needs to include himself.I have seen missed tackles by him and when tackles are made he thumps his chest like something happened that was outstanding.Everyone on our “D” needs to play hard and undercontrol.When you make a tackle that is your job.Jump up,get ready and hit someone on the next play.Please no showboats.GATA PERIOD.

big boi

October 22nd, 2012
10:13 pm

Thank you shawn Williams!! Now go out and let your play back it up!!!! Go dawgs!

Trandall19705

October 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

Glad someone finally spoke up and showed leadership but it’s too little and too late. Our D is full of free agents and completely suck as a team. By far, one of the most underachieving D’s in history. UF will beat us as much as they want. The problem starts with our head coach. Never has anyone done less with more than CMR has at UGA. I’m fed up and ready for change.

short memories

October 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

He is not saying anything that a lot of others haven’t said for 4 years. Its infuriating to watch that lazya$$ Richt just laugh all the way to the bank and think everything is funny. I hope they fire you but for one game Richt be a leader.

Tuna

October 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

I understand the frustration but don’t agree that Williams vented it through the media. Public humiliation and pointing of fingers at teammates is far less effective then standing up in front of your teammates like a man and calling them out. This crap further strengthens my feelings that we already lost this game and Richt is done!

garydawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:14 pm

Williams: “let’s hit somebody in the mouth and see who backs down first”
Richt: I wonder what color uniforms we should wear…

Layinlow

October 22nd, 2012
10:15 pm

Christian Robinson gets to play only because he is one of Richt’s little pets. He is Murray’s roomate and one of the sunday school boys that Richt adores. The guy is slow and herrea should never have to yield playing time to him. Just another example of Richt putting personal relationships above the greater good of the football team.

DroopyDawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:15 pm

@Bernie…right on…I couldn’t agree more…..Time for a culture change in Athens…

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:15 pm

Perk……………I have heard from more than one source, mostly our Bulldog club officers with contacts inside the program that Richt is going to leave the game, either this year or next. Sold the lake house, wife got a nursing degree ( and not for the money) and just look at the guy. He’s at peace with anything.

DAWG

October 22nd, 2012
10:16 pm

Thank you Shawn Williams for standing up and telling the truth. Mark should take notice and have the balls to say the same thing and not stand on the sidelines watching the dog and pony show.

North Georgia Dawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:20 pm

I’ll admit that the defense wasn’t “elite” last season, as some have said they were, but they were very good. Last year, the guys swarmed to the ball and played as well as they could considering the players they had. This year, they are blowing assignments and often seem like they don’t care. If you want to see the difference look at how we held Michigan State’s leading rusher to under 50 yards or that the defense played lights out against Kentucky in last year’s game. This year, going up against Kentucky’s backup quarterback, they were terrible and we gave up way more rushing yards than we did against even the good teams like Boise and MSU last season. The guys need to get it together now or they will not only lose to Florida, but lose by 20+

JB

October 22nd, 2012
10:20 pm

If we have a chance saturday, it will be a few warriors playing their hearts out on their own.

DroopyDawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:20 pm

@Tuna…I disagree…I think he already has called them out in the locker room, based on what the article said…so the best way is to publicly call them out, IMHO…make them accountable….it needed to be said and good for Williams..

FlintDawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:21 pm

Ditto Bill – Finally
It would be nice to have seen CMR throw his clip board Saturday night sometime during that pathetic defensive non-performance. That was the worst I have seen in a long time. Terrible.

Finchdawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:22 pm

About time somebody called the defense as a whole out. Naming names not cool, however.

North Georgia Dawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:23 pm

Ogletree has always been our best linebacker and I agree with him playing over Robinson and Gilliard. Herrera is good, but I don’t know how much he is than those guys. It’s a shame that we had to lose all of our depth at running back last season, otherwise Samuel could have stayed at linebacker. You know that guy would play his butt off at all times. The guy gives it all he’s got, like Jarvis Jones does.

Original Bulldawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:23 pm

Well………………what are you going to do boys? Lay down or show some heart? Make the Bulldawg Nation proud. Win or Lose, we will be proud if you play with some freakin heart!!!!!!GATA

South Carolina Dawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:23 pm

Williams is only stating what has been the obvious all season long! Why does Richt continue to recruit players who have their focus on the NFL?? Why not recruit players who want to play at college and play as a team? Kansas State seems to be doing all right with those kind of players. It is horrible being a UGA alum and fan now. Erk would have never allowed any player to quit!! Where are the coaches?? Why are they allowing such a selfish/thug mentality? Coaches must demand respect and it appears that players certainly have no respect for the UGA coaches.

Call'E

October 22nd, 2012
10:24 pm

Enter your comments here

RHall55

October 22nd, 2012
10:25 pm

Why aren’t the Coaches handling these issues…that is their responsibility..it is great for the Captain to step up, but where are CMR, CTG, and CRG on this issue…this group is at a disarray…do you think Saban would have this problem…or Spurrier…or Miles…or Mullen…and now Muschamp!!!

Infant Dawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:25 pm

Those types of comments usually come from the coaches. Except on this team.

Voyager Dawg

October 22nd, 2012
10:25 pm

GATA! And I don’t mean Get After Them Aggressively. All True Dawgs know what that means!