The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party between Florida and Georgia is one of the fiercest rivalries in the SEC, so you would expect there to be animosity bouncing around in the media on game week.
But Georgia safety Shawn Williams took things a step further on Monday night, calling out his own teammates.
When asked about what's wrong with the defense, Williams unleashed an array of criticisms ranging from his team's attitude to his linebackers and his coaches' personnel decisions, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
We’re playing too soft as a defense. 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.
It certainly wasn't the most politically correct thing to say in the midst of the season, but Williams is spot on in his criticism of the Bulldogs.
Georgia returned nearly every starter from last year's squad, but the Bulldogs are giving up 90 yards per game more in 2012 than they did in 2011.
More alarming, the Bulldogs have come out sleepwalking in the last two games. They gave up 21 first-quarter points to South Carolina two games ago and then allowed Kentucky to score 14 points and rack up 170 yards in its first three drives last week.
That's unacceptable, especially considering the talent across the board on the Georgia defense—some of which, admittedly, has been absent this year due to suspensions and injuries.
It's not like Georgia's defensive struggles are a secret. If Williams' quotes came as a shock to any member of the defense, they're not paying attention.
As Lou Brown said in Major League, "Good, I like that kind of spirit in a player."
Where Williams crossed the line is specifically stating personnel moves that he feels that the team must make to get the fire back.
Personally, if I was the coaches, I can’t tell them what to do, but I’d have Amarlo Herrera in the game more. 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.
That may be accurate, it may be way off base and it may be somewhere in between. That doesn't really matter.
When you start calling out specific players—even ones that you feel are playing well—you are indirectly criticizing the players that are currently in their place.
That can cause strife in the locker room, and that's the last thing Georgia needs.
Williams added some spice to the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party with his quotes on the Bulldogs defense. Those quotes should light a fire in the Bulldogs defense. It will need that fire, because Florida has been playing grown-man football all year.
That's unlikely to change this week.
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