October 23, 2012

Desired effect achieved?

Safety Shawn Williams said Monday that he wanted to see his defensive teammates start to show more emotion.

It appears he may have accomplished his goal.

"Guys were turned up - on both sides of the ball," linebacker Jarvis Jones said of Tuesday's practice. "They really pushed themselves to get better and I think we got better in a lot of areas - both mentally and physically."

Linebacker Mike Gilliard was apparently one of those players.

The senior from Valdosta - along with Christian Robinson - were targeted by Williams, when he said Alec Ogletree and Amarlo Herrera should "never come out of the game."

It was a comment that Gilliard took personally.

"I was upset, so today when I saw the ball carrier I tried to knock the &%$# out of him, you know what I'm saying?" Gilliard said. "Christian said he was hurt. I was definitely hurt because I thought I was disrespected. He (Williams) said my name without saying my name. Basically, he gave me even more motivation. He called us out, so I feel like us as linebackers - the defense as a whole - we've just got to deliver. "

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham didn't seem to have a problem with what Williams had to say.

"It's no big deal. Shawn's a passionate guy. He brings a lot of energy to the team. He cares a lot about himself, he cares about the way he plays and he cares about the way his teammates play," Grantham said. "I think that it was probably taken out of context a little bit from what he meant to say in some ways. But again, you've got a guy who wants to win, he cares about his players."

Jones echoed Grantham's feelings about the whole situation.

He didn't necessarily disagree with the notion that the Bulldog defense has been playing on the softer side.

"I feel Shawn is a very passionate guy. But I just look back at last year and this year we are playing down a little," Jones said. "We're not executing like we're supposed to, but I feel like what Shawn had to say woke a lot of guys up. He didn't throw people under the bus, the coaches, or anything like that. He just wanted to challenge guys to focus and get back on the right track."

Williams had the opportunity to address the defense before Tuesday afternoon's practice.

"We always have meetings before practice as a team and basically I let him have the floor and try to explain what he meant, what he cares about and the thing he most cares about is getting ready to play Florida," Grantham said. "It's a non-issue, we've moved on."

Gilliard said he and Williams spoke privately earlier in the day.

"Me and Shawn talked and he told me it was nothing personal," said Gilliard, who finished third on the team in tackles last year with 65. "Then again when you say things, say my name without saying my name, I took that personal. I feel like when another man called me soft, it's disrespecting of my manhood. But the only thing I'm going to do is go out there and deliver. He just gave me extra motivation and come Saturday I'm going to be ready."

Although Jones admitted he probably would have handled the situation differently, he concedes Williams' rant appears to have had the desired effect.

"I'd have probably called the defense in and talked about, but sometimes you've got to look at situations differently to get people's attention," Jones said. "I think Shawn was coming from the heart. It definitely got our attention."

NOTES: Jones said he continues to get treatment three times a day on his ankle but does expect to play against Florida Saturday afternoon (3:30, CBS). … Georgia's post-practice injury report consisted of just three names - Sterling Bailey (right thumb sprain, out), Michael Bennett (ACL, out) and defensive end Abry Jones (left ankle injury, out). Tight end Jay Rome was not seen during the two periods the media was able to watch, but the redshirt freshman's name was not on the report.