Getting ready to watch the Bulldogs take on the #2 ranked Gators in Jacksonville? You probably need a drink.
Cool Story Bro! Time
I was a high school football player of dubious quality. What I lacked in natural athletic ability (which was a heckuva lot) I made up for in tenaciousness and smarts. It was enough to allow me to be a four year varsity letterman and receive whispery thin interest from some very small colleges with recruiting coordinators who clearly were either drunk or incompetent.
The crowning accomplishment of my football career isn't even really worth mentioning. Really, I'm not even gonna go there it's so underwhelming. But the crowning lesson of my football career came on a practice field in south Georgia one hot August day prior to the start of my sophomore season, and it changed my life.
We had a new defensive coordinator/linebackers coach that season. And I suddenly couldn't do anything right. Every snap seemed to bring a new and different error. Finally, in a fit of pure misplaced rage I charged through the line of scrimmage and very nearly decleated a poor freshman tailback. I felt like Ralphie in a Christmas story after blindly beating the bully to pulp, swearing all the way. As I walked back to the defensive huddle and the freshman tailback gathered his wits, the coach came up and slapped me on the head. "Son" he said, "You know what I like about you? You respond well to an ass-chewing. Some people just can't handle an ass-chewing and tuck their tails. You get mad as hell. I may have to chew your ass again in five minutes, but you respond to it."
What Have We Learned?
The lesson I learned that day is that all of us, even the best of us, deserve a good ass-chewing once in a while. We mess up. We don't give our optimum effort. Dog catchers, librarians, neurosurgeons, linebackers, you name it. All of us need to be reminded when we're not getting the job done. The University of Georgia football defense is no different. And that's been obvious over the past few weeks. It was obvious to you. It was obvious to me. It was obvious to Shawn Williams. As a senior leader on our defense Shawn Williams has made a few mistakes. During the South Carolina game he was out of the picture on a couple of touchdown passes. He's missed some tackles. That being said, Shawn Williams delivered as ass-chewing this week. Some of his teammates didn't like it.
No one likes to get called out for falling down on the job. But the numbers don't lie. The 3 highest point totals given up by the Bulldogs this season have come in the last 3 games. Kentucky ran for 206 yards against the Bulldog D. South Carolina rushed for 230. Florida is averaging close to 213. Weather forecasts for Saturday are calling for winds in the 20+ mile per hour range as Hurricane Sandy passes offshore. So here's a hint, Bulldog defenders: Florida intends to run the football. They will run it early, they will run it often. Pat Dye and Shawn Williams don't really look alike, but Williams delivered the same message that Dye delivered before the Georgia/Alabama game 10 years ago: he questioned whether his teammates are man enough to stop the Gators. Frankly, I have my doubts.
That's sad, because I never thought in the days of Odell Thurman, Thomas Davis, and David Pollack that we'd have ask whether the Georgia defense is too soft to compete against a top 10 team. Yet here we are. Does Coach Richt wish Williams had said what he said in a more private setting? I'm sure he does. But the fact is Williams didn't say anything the rest of us weren't thinking.
This team needed an ass-chewing. I don't have Shawn's recipe for that, but i do have one for an ass-kicker. It's made by mixing 1 ounce of Wild Turkey 101, 1 ounce of Wild Turkey 81, 1/2 ounce of lemon juice, and 1 ounce of cane syrup. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Strain the resulting mixture into a glass and enjoy. Then, once you're done, man (or woman) up and do your job. Don't make me go Shawn Williams on you.
Feel free to use this as your open comment thread for tonight's Clemson/Wake Forest ACCtion. Until later . . .