The Play That Led to Georgia-Vandy Confrontation: Georgia Defensive Back Shawn Williams' Cheap Shot
Today the SEC announced that Georgia defensive back Shawn Williams and defensive lineman Kwame Geathers along with Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart have all been suspended for the first half of their next games. The Geathers and Stewart suspension was for a cut block by Stewart and the resulting personal foul after Geathers punched Stewart. Williams was suspended for "a flagrant personal foul which occurred at the 2:08 mark in the third quarter. Williams' act violated Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, “No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.'"
OKTC has learned it was Williams' dirty hit on defenseless Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews that led to the confrontation after the game. OKTC has also obtained video of the play and you'll need to really watch closely, but the illegal hit, for which no flag was thrown, is incredibly violent. Indeed, it may have led to an ejection -- and certainly would have led to a fine or suspension -- if it had happened in the NFL. Not surprisingly, SEC officials missed the call completely. (Watch the video, there is literally a ref standing three feet away from the hit staring right at it. How do you miss this call?)
The video is posted here. Instead of watching the ball, you'll need to watch near the first down line as Vandy's sophomore receiver Jordan Matthews crosses the field and is leveled well after the ball sails past for a 23 yard completion down the right sideline. Indeed, Matthews had already stopped his route and turned to watch the football thrown to another receiver. As you watch the play, you'll be able to see that Williams hit a defenseless receiver, who wasn't the intended target of the pass, while leaving his feet and leading with his helmet. As if that wasn't enough Williams also struck the receiver in the head. Subsequent to this play OKTC has learned that Williams also grabbed his groin on multiple occasions in the direction of the Vandy coaching staff and taunted players for the remainder of the game, including after the final play of Georgia's 33-28 victory. Perhaps this is why Georgia coach Mark Richt called him a "dumbass" and his behavior "horseshit" in a post-game conversation with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.
Both Franklin and Richt have refused to publicly comment on the incident citing the SEC's policy in matters such as these.
That's why it's interesting that the Atlanta-Journal Constitution obtained a Georgia coaching tape of the play on which Geathers and Stewart were both flagged.
OKTC requested comment from the SEC about whether providing a media outlet with game film of a play under review from the league office would violate SEC rules and has yet to receive official word.
When we do, we'll add that response here.
In the meantime, it's interesting that Georgia chose to release its own game film of this incident to the media. When OKTC requested game film of the Williams hit from Vanderbilt, we were told it violated the SEC's policy to release a play under review by the league office.
While still not responding on whether or not the Georgia game film being posted violates league rules, the SEC's broadcast partner has forced YouTube to remove footage of Georgia safety Shawn Williams's violent hit. We'll take it as a sign of OKTC's growing influence.