Poking the Bear

HOOVER, Ala. – Garrison Smith's hands moved back and forth a lot.

Perhaps the Atlanta native was moving his hands, but not his mouth on purpose. Smith had been asked about all-world South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's comments that Aaron Murray "played scared" when facing him.

"I'm not really sure," Smith said. "I didn't hear what he said."

Yes, he did hear what Clowney said – he just chose to ignore it.

"We are just focused on one goal – the season opener," Smith said.

Jadeveon Clowney is probably the best college football player in the country – that we all know. But what happened this week at Media Days is exactly what you don't want to happen… Clowney got sucked in by the professional questions askers.

Georgia players didn't.

"My job is to trust the offensive linemen in front of me," Murray said Thursday. "If I am worried about what's going on in front of me then I am not doing my job."

The Bulldogs, who have pretty much tamed questions about Florida are now getting a new line of questioning... and nothing to do with the Gators.

"I hear about that a lot less now," coach Mark Richt told me today. "Now the question is when are you going to beat South Carolina?"

Clowney makes that task much more difficult, but not impossible. Georgia wasn't ready for what hit them in Columbia last fall. The Bulldogs were jumped and never recovered. But Clowney's "played scared" moment is one of those things that, no matter if Murray, Smith or anyone in red and black admits or acknowledges it, gets the undesired attention of an entire locker room and program.

Media Days is about dodging questions – not answering them. It's certainly not about causing any more undue attention for yourself or your program.

Johnny Football failed at that, but Clowney did, too. Perhaps there is an explanation of sorts. Maybe Clowney has taken to watching himself knock Vincent Smith's helmet off one too many times. Maybe he really does think Murray (and Taj Boyd) are legitimately scared of him (Would that really be a stretch? Does anyone really want Clowney running after them?) It's natural to love yourself when you are so good – and Clowney is very, very good.

But he didn't need to say it – and shouldn't have. No need to poke the bear, or in this case the Bulldogs. That's not been going very well for Georgia foes of late.

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