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2 Georgia Players, 1 Vandy Player Suspended By SEC

The SEC has finally handed down its penalties from last weekend’s Georgia-Vanderbilt football game.  In total three players will each miss the first half of their teams’ upcoming games.

Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart has been suspended for the first half of the Commodores’ game against Army this Saturday.  The league cited Rule 9-1 of the NCAA Football Rule Book in its decision to suspension Stewart.  That rule states that a flagrant personal foul offender shall be disqualified.  The rule leaves open for interpretation what is and what isn’t “flagrant,” but anyone who saw Stewart’s unnecessary clip of Kwame Geathers would likely identify that act as being as flagrant as flagrant can be.

Geathers has been suspended — just as his dad had relayed to the press earlier today — for the first half of UGA’s October 29th game with Florida.  The league stated that Geathers was in violation of NCAA Football Rule 2-32-1-a regarding fighting.  “The penalty for violation of the rule in the second half includes suspension for the first half of the team’s next scheduled game.”  There’s no arguing this one.  Throw a punch for any reason — and have it caught by officials or television cameras — and a player will sit.

Georgia’s Shaun Williams was also suspended.  Williams was flagged for two personal foul penalties in the game and then — according to Vanderbilt coach James Franklin — was the instigator in Saturday’s postgame shenanigans.  The league tied his suspension to one of the personal foul calls and Rule 9-1-4.  “No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.”  Because it believed Williams violated that rule so flagrantly in the third quarter of Saturday’s game, the league office decided to suspend him “in accordance with (the) Southeastern Conference Constitution, Article 4.4.2 (d).”

We are a bit surprised by the suspension of Williams.  We are also surprised that neither coaching staff received a reprimand of any kind from the league office — in public anyway.  Todd Grantham’s postgame curse-fest has made bigger news this week than any of the penalties the drew suspensions.

Cue those who will say there is one standard for players and one for coaches.

In the end, this situation hurts Georgia more than it does Vanderbilt.  The Commodores will be without player for a game with Army.  Georgia will be without two players for its all-important game with Florida.

UPDATE – Okay, we’re no longer surprised Williams was suspended. posted the following video of the play that led to the Georgia DB’s punishment.  The play in question was missed by officials and not actually flagged.  So, yes, that means Williams should have been hit with three personal foul penalties during the game.

Keep your eye at about the 30-yard-line and you’ll see Williams launch himself into the back and head of defenseless Commodore receiver Jordan Matthews.

Seeing as Vandy had a player take a cheap shot at a Georgia player’s knees and Georgia had a player take a cheap shot at a Vandy player’s spine… maybe it’s time for fans of both schools to pipe down.  Neither side has room for any more faux outrage.

We’ve now seen punkish behavior from both squads.  And the coaching staffs didn’t handle things much better than their players.

As we said earlier today, there are no winners in this story.  But the list of losers continues to grow with every new ball of mud that’s flung.

So will this finally be the end of the story?  We seriously doubt it.

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Grantham And Franklin Get Into It After VU-UGA Game

Will Muschamp wasn’t the only SEC coach to go a little nuts on Saturday night.  Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham went off in the immediate aftermath of the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win at Vanderbilt.  When James Franklin mentioned to him that one or more Georgia players had said something “inappropriate,” Grantham snapped.

“I love our players,” Grantham told reporters when asked about the incident.  “I’m going to stick up for my players.  Everybody’s competitive.”

Sticking up for one’s players is fine, but Franklin seemed to be calm and composed while Grantham appeared to go haywire.

In the slow motion video below — which leaves Grantham looking like a cross between Bigfoot and Ed Orgeron — you’ll see the coach unleash a flurry of obscenities at Vandy’s coach.  You’ll also see players separate the two men:

Franklin made it clear in his own postgame press conference how he has respect for Mark Richt.  And how Mark Richt is a classy.  His emphasis on Richt makes it clear he can’t say the same for everyone associated with Georgia.

But what’s more interesting from Franklin’s statement is his declaration that Vandy’s not going to be a pushover any longer.

“At Vandy we are gonna compete with class and we are gonna play with class.  And we’re gonna coach ‘em with class…

I have tremendous respect for Coach Richt and that program.  He’s been a class act guy the whole time I’ve known him and watched his team play.  Let me make sure I address that about Coach Richt…

What happened at the end is we had a very, very tough, emotional game.  And some things were said that I didn’t thinks was appropriate.  I tried to find Coach Richt to address it.  And I couldn’t find Coach Richt and I happened to have a discussion with one of their assistant coaches.  That didn’t go well.  And I apologize that things escalated from there.

But we’re also gonna fight.  I want to make sure everybody understands that.  We are not gonna sit back and take stuff from anybody.  Anybody.  No one.  Those days are long gone and they are never coming back.  Ever.” 

Franklin also went out of his way to emphasize how Georgia’s fans came early, cheered for their team and stayed late.  A message to his own school’s fanbase?  Most likely.

Richt addressed the situation in his own postgame presser.

“I don’t know exactly what happened.  Maybe TV picked it up and we’ll get a better view of what was going on.  But we are grown men and we need to act that way.  But we’re also competitors and we all have emotions and sometimes when you get a little fired up it’s hard to keep from getting in some kind of jawing contest.  I’ll say this: There were times when I was ashamed of some the choice things that came out of my mouth during the game.  So I’ve got to be disciplined, too.”

That’s true.  We’ve been told that Richt was heard muttering, “Dagnabbit” and “Gee willikers” at various points during the contest.

“But the bottom line is when the game is over the game’s over.  You shake hands and you be thankful for the victory.  Just like at the end of a play.  When a play’s over, it’s over.  Go to the sideline.  We didn’t do a very good job of that at times.  It was heated.  It is battle.  It’s not war with real bullets but it’s a war in a sense and it’s very physical.  Tempers do get flared up.  I don’t mind our blood getting hot but we have to be able to get excited or maybe even angry but not foul.”

The Dawgs were flagged 11 times and three were personal foul penalties.  Defensive tackle Kwame Geathers could be punished by the commissioner’s office for what appeared to be a thrown punch during the game.  But it was Grantham whose actions took center stage at game’s end.  (It’s not the first time Grantham has brought negative attention to himself during a game.)

Yesterday, Richt said that he had reviewed the issue on tape and had handled it. 

“I just think that tempers were hot (and)it was a very heated ballgame… for everybody.  When you look at the big picture, it certainly wasn’t a pretty scene, but it really could have been a lot worse than it was.  I thought coaches on each side and even some players did a good job of trying to keep the peace and get everybody off the field without anything really horrible happening…

We all know we want to do things a certain way, and we want to be able to keep our poise throughout the ballgame.  We need our players at the end of a play to not be chirping or anything.  Just go back to the sideline if you’re on a special team or go back to the huddle if you’re still on the field.  Let’s just play football.”

It might be hard for Grantham to deliver that message to his unit since he himself has now twice been caught acting like an overheated, 20-year-old player.

The takeaway from all this: Georgia got the win.  Grantham got some egg on his face.  Franklin set the tone for Vanderbilt’s program with his postgame comments.  And Commodore fans now have a reason to show up early and stay late when supporting their team.

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SEC Headlines – 8/23/11 Part One

1.  As preseason camp ends, Florida’s secondary still needs work.

2.  Gator receiver Quinton Dunbar hopes to turn the page in Gainesville this fall.

3.  Former Georgia walk-on Will Muschamp is looking for some walk-ons to add to his Gator program.

4.  Here’s a list of UF’s 10 biggest playmakers… potentially.

5.  Back from injury, Justin Anderson will start at right tackle for Georgia.

6.  Richard Samuel looks like he’ll be okay for next week’s Boise State game.

7.  “A funny thing happened on the way to John Jenkins’ coronation,” Kwame Geathers looks to have won the UGA nose tackle job.

8.  Unpicked in the NFL’s supplemental draft yesterday, former Georgia tailback Caleb King has agreed to a free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

9.  Running back Raymond Sanders wants to be the man who fills the void left by Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb at Kentucky.  And that’s a big void.

10.  The Wildcats’ depth chart is taking shape.

11.  When it comes to UK’s future basketball home, all options are on the table.

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SEC Headlines – 4/15/11 Part One

1.  Here’s a list of Florida’s top 44 playmakers heading out of spring practice.

2.  With AJ Green gone to the NFL, there’s a battle at receiver in Athens.

3.  At least 10 players — including tailback Washaun Ealey — are “likely out with injuries” for tomorrow’s G-Day game.

4.  Georgia is considering using Kwame Geathers and juco transfer John Jenkins — both nose guards — on the D-line at the same time with one moving to defensive end.

5.  It’s now or never for Kentucky receiver Aaron Boyd.

6.  Raymond Sanders — all 5-8, 195 pounds of him — is set to replace Derrick Locke at tailback.

7.  John Calipari believes it’s possible his team could lose six first-round draft picks to the NBA next year.

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