Two prominent Georgia defenders, junior safety Shawn Williams and sophomore nose guard Kwame Geathers, have been suspended for the first half of the Oct. 29 game against Florida for their actions in last Saturday's 33-28 win at Vanderbilt.
The Southeastern Conference announced the suspensions Wednesday afternoon.
Williams, who has 34 tackles and two interceptions for the No. 24 Bulldogs, has to sit as a result of his flagrant personal foul late in the third quarter. He violated NCAA Rule 9-1-4, which states, "No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder."
Geathers violated the NCAA fighting rule early in the fourth quarter by punching Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart, who moments earlier came up behind Geathers and tackled him by diving at his ankle. Stewart was cited for a flagrant foul and has to sit out the first half of this week's game against visiting Army.
"I did see what happened on Kwame's play, and it was an unfortunate play," Georgia coach Mark Richt said following Wednesday night's practice, "but I didn't get the feeling there was a whole lot of that going on as the game was being played. It just got stupid before the game was over, unfortunately, and we're going to learn from that."
Richt discussed the incidents with SEC commissioner Mike Slive and said he understood and accepted Slive's decision. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said after his practice Wednesday night that he respected the decision as well.
Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had a confrontation after the game, but the SEC said that would be handled internally by the league and the two schools.
Footage from a Nashville television station showed Richt and Franklin talking after Franklin had the exchange with Grantham, which started when Franklin pointed at Williams. When Franklin voiced his displeasure with Williams to Richt, the response by Richt is inaudible, but there have been reports he called Williams a "dumb[butt]."
When asked Wednesday night if that's how he referenced Williams to Franklin, Richt said, "I don't have a comment on that. I don't think it's worthy of a comment."
Georgia is deep at defensive back due to the versatility of Sanders Commings, who has played cornerback and safety this year. Safety Bacarri Rambo (toe) and cornerback Brandon Boykin (dental work) missed Wednesday's workout but should be fine for next week's game against the Gators.
John Jenkins, who actually has started the past two games ahead of Geathers, is expected to rack up even more plays in Jacksonville.
"Jenkins would certainly get more than he has, but we've got different ways to roll it around," Richt said. "If we wanted to go to a four-down look, we could do that, too, and we can play without a nose guard."
Earlier Wednesday, Florida coach Will Muschamp said that injured quarterback John Brantley is limited in his running around and that he is not expected to practice at all this week. Richt does not expect to know Florida's starting quarterback next Saturday until pregame warmups.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...