UGA’s Richt, LSU’s Miles, in completely different situations

I’ve done a lot of radio interviews this spring and invariably the host has asked me the same question: Going into the 2010 season whose seat is hotter– Mark Richt or Les Miles? Even my friend Paul Finebaum linked the two men together in his most recent column.

http://blog.al.com/press-register-sports/2010/05/finebaum_les_miles_mark_richt.html

First of all, I don’t understand the linkage, other than the fact that both men coach in the SEC , where they are expected to win every game, and that the top coaches in their respective divisions (Nick Saban, West; Urban Meyer, East) have won the last two national championships.

But there the similarity ends.

Les Miles took over a program that Nick Saban built and won a national championship in his third season (2007), when the players in Saban’s last class were seniors. In the past two seasons LSU is 8-8 in the SEC and fans on the Bayou wonder if Miles can win a title with his own players.

When it comes to Miles, there is this nagging sense that he and his staff are not maximizing the talent on this team. Actually, it’s more than a nagging sense.  When it comes to offense, LSU really hasn’t had much of a clue as to what it is doing the past two seasons. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has not gotten one bit better since this time last year. A team that used to be known for blue collar football (LSU ran for over 200 yards a game in the national championship year but was 11th in the SEC last season), the Tigers are now look pretty soft on that side of the ball.

Let’s put it this way: LSU had better beat North Carolina on Sept. 4 at the Georgia Dome or there will be folks in that part of the world with Jon Gruden’s number on speed dial.

Richt took over at Georgia in 2001 and won a conference championship in 2002 with a team made up mostly of players he inherited from Jim Donnan (who still doesn’t get enough credit for what he did at Georgia to rebuild the talent base). But then he won another championship with his own players in 2005, and was as good as anybody in the country in 2007.

He’s won 90 games in nine years. He’s 50-22 in the SEC. In six of those years he has been 6-2 or better in the league. He has never been worse than 4-4 in the SEC.

Having said all that, has Georgia looked like a well-coached team the past two seasons? The answer is decidedly “No.” Here are two important numbers:

113: That was Georgia’s national ranking (out of 120 Division I-A schools) in penalties per game. Georgia had 105 penalties in 13 games. Only five schools in America (Troy, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech, Arizona State) had more penalties. By contrast, BCS champ Alabama had 69 penalties in 14 games. This has been a problem for two years and has not been fixed.

118: Georgia’s national ranking in turnover margin, which I think is the most important statistic in football. Georgia forced 12 turnovers last season (2 fumbles, 10 interceptions) but turned the ball over 28 times. That’s minus-16 in turnovers. Only one team in America, Miami of Ohio (minus-24) had a worse turnover margin. By contrast Alabama was plus 19 (31 takeaways, 12 turnovers) in 14 games. The hope at Georgia is that Todd Grantham’s new 3-4 defense will partly address this issue.

So I’m not saying that Richt and his staff don’t have work to do. They do. Georgia has done things the past two seasons that well-coached teams don’t do. And there is the fact that he is 1-4 against Meyer, who has won two national championships, and that the gap between Florida and the rest of the division seems to be growing. Some Georgia fans, and I hear from a lot of them, are worried that the program has lost momentum. I get that.

But Richt’s situation and that of Miles just aren’t comparable. If Miles goes 7-5 and 3-5 in the SEC there will be a concerted effort to nudge him back towards Michigan, his alma mater, where Rich Rodriguez faces a most uncertain future.

If Richt goes 7-5 it will certainly impact his quality of life in the offseason but it won’t jeopardize his job. He will feel pressure to make some more changes to his staff. But nobody in authority is going to say that he should relocate. In nine years Richt has put a lot of good will into the bank and that matters to the decision makers.

I could be totally wrong about this. What say you?

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477 comments Add your comment

DLine

May 12th, 2010
12:32 pm

How will an improved defense address 28 turnovers? Don’t think the defense made those.

Schedule smack

May 12th, 2010
12:38 pm

For those of you who attempted to knock UF’s schedule in comparison to UGA’s I challenge you to show me more than 4 seasons in the last 20 years in which UGA had a tougher OOC schedule than the Gators did. You can’t so I would refrain from going there.

It’s a lot like those of you who talk smack about the Gators having had 27 player arrest under Meyer EVEN THOUGH UGA has had 36 player arrest in the same time frame.

Old Dawg

May 12th, 2010
12:40 pm

I’ve written this before and I’ll write it countless more times: you simply can’t win every game every season. Every program has ups and downs, regardless of who the coach is. As widely respected as Jo Pa, Bobby Bowden and Tom Osborne were at their programs they struggled win a national championship before the door finally open. Bo Schimbechler (sp) has a following that remains spiritual in Michigan, though he never won a national title and his bowl record is abysmal.

With Richt, UGA has a class act who has a good regular season record, far superior to Dooley’s at the same stage of careers, and a far better bowl record than Dooley.

Would I like Georgia to have a better record against Florida? You bet. Is Saban going to continue to recruit top talent from Georgia and win games? Without question.

Richt will win games and he’ll do it with class. And UGA, its fans and supporters won’t sell their souls to make it happen. If folks can’t understand that statement, they need to look in the mirror and determine the issues that are really important in life.

DLine

May 12th, 2010
12:42 pm

Finebum has been around for a while. Shouldn’t his scalp be turning gray by now?

ltdawgs

May 12th, 2010
12:43 pm

I couldn’t agree more. Mark Richt is the best thing to happen to Georgia Football since Herschel Walker. Yes, the last 2 years have been disappointing and as much as I really respect and like Mark Richt as a football coach and person, THE DAWGS have to get PHYSICAL. Back in the Erk Russel days, noone ran all over our defense. This must be addressed, hopefully will be with the new coach. And Richt needs to add a little more swagger to the guys.

Keep Richt and start tearing down the Gator invincibility. They will not stay on top for much longer.

Hal Bennett

May 12th, 2010
12:43 pm

I wish that someone with the credentials of a Tony Barnhart would not give Paul Finebaum ink, notice, credence — whatever. It never ceases to amaze me when someone with credibility gets on Finebaum’s show. Finebaum seems to know how to polish the apple. Once he has polished it, and as a result someone who actually knows something about football comes on his show, I personally have to reach for the antacids.

As for Finebaum and the state of Alabama, there are, sad to say, a lot of people over here who are taken with the guy. Most of them are wet-behind-the-ears youngsters who obviously buy into his ‘I’m out to correct the racist ills of the past’ mystique. Finebaum works his audience by subtly making every oblique, slanderous point he can about most of us who were here when Bear was. One reason he does this, I think, is that he knows he does not have a handle on the history of Alabama football under Bryant. I would think that this fact would be understood by someone who has written a book on SEC football. I have heard Finebaum make mistake after mistake about football under Bryant.

Part of Finebaum’s method of working his way into the woodwork over here has been his involvement with Pat Dye. Apparently, he also worked himself into the good graces of John Forney (play-by-play announcer during the Bryant era). Pat Dye and Auburn football have profited from what Finebaum has done by having Dye on the radio program. If Dye had never been given radio time by Finebaum, who would have given it to him? Once Dye was able to get on the Finebaum show, he subtly manipulated his outreach by such as saying, “Georgia’s not MAN enough to beat Alabama.” That went out all over two states, and it may have cost Alabama a win over Georgia. It certainly was worth six or seven points for Georgia. Just giving Dye air time has been good for Auburn. Dye knows what he is doing, and he has used Finebaum to do it.

I haven’t tuned Finebaum into my household for quite some time, and I have pretty well kept him off my radio for the past couple of years. I came to the point of asking myself, “What am I going to do with all the days and hours between football seasons?” I decided that listening to Finebaum was just a waste of time. He doesn’t really know the game of football. And his campaign to bring Alabama up to speed culturally is not something I need, personally, in my opinion. He just fills up the hours with stuff.

That would include the appearances of Tim Brando. Tim Brando is an LSU fan from north Louisiana, always has been, always will be. He thought Saban and LSU were going to “dominate the West.” He said that years ago with finality and gusto. But Timmy knows how to play the game. Once Saban was at Tuscaloosa, here Timmy came onto the Finebaum show with that same acid-stomach producing thing that Dye comes on with. It is a subtle game Finebaum plays.

Caliguy57

May 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

I think Coach Miles is one of the best, if not the best, head coach to ever coach at LSU. Sure, he’s made some mistakes. We’re all human. But, LSU fans seem to forget the situation at LSU from 1958 to the beginning of the 90s. Does anyone want to bring LSU down to that level, which is exactly what will happen if Coach Miles leaves or is fired. I believe Coach Miles knows exactly what he did wrong the past two seasons, and he will right the ship. Also, I believe we’ll see a wide-open offense and a dominant defense. Given that LSU came very close to beating both Florida and Alabama last year, any improvement in the team’s performance could lead to very good things that will thrill any LSU fan. I just wish all this negative talk about the program would stop and fans would have the patience to await the beginning of the season before jumping to conclusions. Coach Miles has proven he can take LSU to the top, and I’m willing to give him the time he needs to do it.

gdawginkalamazoo

May 12th, 2010
12:52 pm

Richt on the hot seat? Really? The only hot seat that he may be on is the one in his Ford truck when he leaves the heated seat on in the summer.

Richt will get there regrading the NC I just hope he is at UGA when he does. The man has done a great job so far. He is good for the kids, the school and the program. Sure he has had some rough spots through the years but what coach doesn’t. Richt isn’t that far off so getting rid of him anytime soon would be disastrous for the program. He has made some tough moves and I get the feeling that he won’t be afraid to make the tough moves quicker in the future. Thanks coach and keep up the good work!

My 2 Cents

May 12th, 2010
12:59 pm

Richt has Georgia going in the right direction, alright. Downward.

college is forever

May 12th, 2010
1:03 pm

http://collegelunchboxes.com Coach Richt is the heart and soul of UGA football, check out the classic tin lunchbox great for Fathers Day. Go Dawgs!!!

DawginLex

May 12th, 2010
1:09 pm

Take your 2 cents and go back to the nerd blog.

johnson

May 12th, 2010
1:12 pm

last years LSU record was 9-4, just where it should have been with lucky wins against GA, Ark, and MsSt. But losses to Ole Miss and Bama that they could have won. Then another close bad loss in bowl game to PSU. Miles will be on the hot seat, but will not get more than 9-4 out of this LSU team this year. Depending on who those 4 losses are to will tell if he stays or goes.
Richt should be just as worried as his team didnt even compete in some of UGA losses.

fair and Balanced

May 12th, 2010
1:13 pm

CMR said that he would do anything to correct whatever is wrong in the program. I believe him.

Johnny Devereaux

May 12th, 2010
1:15 pm

LSU has come closer to beating Bama and UF the past 2 years than UGA has. Nuff said.

Realistic Bama Fan

May 12th, 2010
1:16 pm

Look. If Richt goes 7-5 he is out. I think he will go more like 8-4 or 9-3, and survive but the ways he loses games will matter. Georgia cannot get blown out by Tn and Florida again. He can lose to tech has long as its not blow out. The blow out losses hurt. The blown games to lesser opponents ala ky hurts.

As for Les Miles, if he loses to Bama again he is in trouble.

SaintsLSU

May 12th, 2010
1:16 pm

You tell him Jumbeaux, good post

[...] Gruden to…LSU? Or at least so says Tony Barnhart in this post discussing Mark Richt and Les Miles on the hot seat in the SEC.  Would Jon Gruden really [...]

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

May 12th, 2010
1:24 pm

Let me tell you about a hot seat. You don’t know what a hot seat is. A hot seat is what you get when somebody has painted your a$$ and you have to sit in a pan of thinner to try and get the paint off. That thinner burns and burns and burns and that’s what I call a hot seat. Richt should be on the hot seat and so should anyone that would paint a little dog’s a$$.

Johnny Devereaux

May 12th, 2010
1:24 pm

Patrick Peterson said the Julio Jones TD from last year while he was cramping up on the sideline still haunts him to this day. Julio will go catchless agianst LSU next season. Count on it!

Pago Pago Dawg

May 12th, 2010
1:24 pm

The DAWGS always have a Top Ten recruiting class…but…nothing ever happens. Oh they way, Miles will be at The Big House next year.

DAWG258

May 12th, 2010
1:27 pm

Dawgs will win the SEC in 2010. Book it!
Bama fan be greatful Colt came out the game or you would’ve been down 14-0 and probably lost the game. with that call on the kickoff you aren’t what you think you are! But you hold the crystal so you have the spot!
Gator fan please look at what happened after the 1 recruiting class the basketball team had left, you now see what your future holds. there is no more cupcake schedule and you will lose 4 games this season; welcome back to reality. Your coach will have to earn respect from this point and by next year im sure the word that will follow him will be OVER RATED! remember anyone can beat OSU. be thankful that 3 teams lost to let you in. We all saw with No Dan Mullen your offense isnt good and now we will see without Charlie Strong your Defense wont be either
UT is laughable
GT is a joke

Go DAWGS! GATA !

Finescum Sux

May 12th, 2010
1:29 pm

I stop reading when he said Finescum was his friend. enough said. Im done with Tommy.

jumbeauxtiger

May 12th, 2010
1:31 pm

Thanks SaintsLSU.

Johnny D, both are great players and each are going to make plays, even against each other.

Unfortunately for both Tide and Tiger fans, I believe both will be playing on Sundays in 2011.

oledawg

May 12th, 2010
1:32 pm

My understanding has been that Finebaum has no following and writes junk to get clicks. Saying he has credibility would be like saying you are Mr College Football. And we know that the record goes against both. All you have to do nowadays is just honk your own horn and make outrageous claims. I think that the two of you fit together nicely and it’s good you are claiming him as your friend since neither of you have one.

Cleveland Tiger

May 12th, 2010
1:37 pm

All you Georgia fans forget that Richt coached teams lead the nation in felonies! Great leadership of the dawg nation and great evaluator of young men!

Keep CMR and keep that fine product!

5IML

May 12th, 2010
1:38 pm

Firing Richt would be the worst move UGA could make. He is a consistent winner. Like everyone, Florida will have a few down years and UGA will beat them. And, if, like Dooley, Richt can luck up on a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Herschel, he will win a NC. Be patient.

HOUDAWG

May 12th, 2010
1:39 pm

Tony ….. you nailed it. Couldn’t agree more …….. seems those LSU folks here just can’t handle facts & truth !

GoldenDawg

May 12th, 2010
1:40 pm

Finebaum is an idiot. He has the worst sport show I have ever heard. Half the time they only talk about alabama politics. The other half is bama and auburn fans yelling at each other. The only people I know that are saying CR is on the hot seat are fans of other schools.

5IML

May 12th, 2010
1:40 pm

dawg258 is very bitter and lashing out at the world. That’s pretty funny.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
1:46 pm

Jumbeauxtiger,

I’m not a Les Miles fan for the simple reason that I dislike some of the really dumb comments he’s made in the past such as F$#k Alabama and some comments he made about Bob Stoops when he was at Ok State. But I don’t disagree with his skill as a coach and I think there’s always going to be some bandwagon folks that criticize for the sake of it.

Miles gets a lot of flack over the td call against AU in which only 1 second was left. Still he gets criticism for it even though LSU won because of the call. The reality is that replay shows that there really should have been an extra second or two after the catch. The clock keeper was just slow in stopping the clock. Much ado about nothing.

Then a lot of fans criticized him for all the 4th down gambits in several games in 07, most notably the Florida game. I watched those games and the situation in each and every 4th down attempt called for LSU to go for it. Especially considering they had the momentum, the off. line, and a power back like Hester, and in nearly every case it was 4th and 1 or less. He would have been dumb to punt yet people question his play calling even though he won that UF game by being aggressive.

Last, he and the coaching staff do deserve some blame for squandering the Ole Miss game with poor clock management. But doesn’t Jefferson deserve some blame. Can’t nobody make me believe that like other teams that LSU hasn’t practiced the 2 minute offense over and over. I don’t think much of Jefferson as a qb and quite frankly I think he deserves a lot of the blame. Miles was just doing the right thing in accepting responsibility and not putting it off on his young qb.

In any event I may not like some of the things he’s said but as far as coaching goes he’s done a decent job and when they do lose big games they lose but they don’t get blown out. And one last thing. He runs a disciplined program. You never hear about LSU players getting arrested left and right and embarrassing the institution. I think this should count a lot more in how we evaluate coaches than simply their win/loss records.

f u c k Bubba Richt

May 12th, 2010
1:47 pm

Stupid ase Richt is the reason we have been so awful. Top 5 recruiting and shameful endings. Im not going to watch the Dogs this year. I wont waste my time. Richt should have been long gone! time to rebuild. Now!

harold

May 12th, 2010
1:48 pm

GEORGIA IS AVERAGE FOOTBALL TEAM AND RICHT AN AVERAGE COACH. ALABAMA AND SABAN AND MEYER AND FLORIDA ARE CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAMS WITH CHAMPIONSHIP COACHES. RICHT IS A NICE GUY THOUGH!

Typical Gator Fan

May 12th, 2010
1:49 pm

I say stuff like nuff said to let people know I’ve proved my point. Work ‘em, Silly Gators!!!

mike

May 12th, 2010
1:51 pm

We’ve seen the best Richt has to offer. It’s good, but not great.

buckblue

May 12th, 2010
1:53 pm

CMR is the Lord of No Rings
Les had a BCS Ring…..

next question….

athensdawg

May 12th, 2010
1:53 pm

The only man in athens whose seat is hot is Mike Bobo.

f u c k Bubba Richt

May 12th, 2010
1:53 pm

The f u c k ing program is already disastrous!

fair and Balanced

May 12th, 2010
1:13 pm

CMR said that he would do anything to correct whatever is wrong in the program. I believe him.

THEN WHY DID HE NOT RESIGN?

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
1:56 pm

Dawg258,

Dude you really do have some anger going on there. I’m glad we can automatically book UGA as the 2010 SEC champions. I figured they would be good and would have a shot just like everyone else but I didn’t realize the dogs had already won the sec in 2010. No sense in the rest of us playing now that its been booked.

I am curious about where you see Florida losing 4 games for certain. Exactly where do you see them losing 4 games and why?

Chip

May 12th, 2010
1:59 pm

I heard from the Rivals LSU guy that this will be the 1st year that the overall high school talent base will recover from Katrina. The type of player that Saban recruited from Louisiana now livers in Houston, Memphis or somewhere else. Its not a comparable situation. That being said, Miles needs to get his act together but in 2 years he will have them back.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
2:04 pm

Johnny Deverauex,

Not so fast Johnny. Patrick Peterson got the better of their battle this past year but Julio was also playing pretty hurt by the 10th game. He had a hurt knee in that game on top of a sports hernia that had been bothering him and wasn’t anywhere near 100%. After the season he had 3 separate surgeries to repair the wrist, sports hernia, etc. injuries.

You forget that in their freshman year that a healthy Julio whipped him bad. Seems he dragged Patrick all over the field and on one play Julio caught the ball at the 9 and carried Patrick on his back down to the 1. If Julio is healthy this year he’s gonna take Patrick for a few more piggy back rides again!

shannon

May 12th, 2010
2:04 pm

Mark Richt has earned the right to be at UGA almost as long as he likes. He has not forgot how to coach. Am I dissappointed at some of the performances ove the last couple of years, sure I am. that being said how many SEC titles did UGA win before Richt arrived. I am glad about Grantham is here!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Settle

May 12th, 2010
2:04 pm

UGA football is about underachievement and accepting B+ status. The program ranks in the top 10 with it’s recruiting pool, money generated, and players drafted to the NFL. Every other program in those top 10 rankings has accomplished significantly more than UGA in the last 20 years. Richt’s teams look increasingly sloppy and his record against Florida is pathetic. Yet because so many don’t carry high standards his job isn’t in real jeopardy.

Georgiadawg70

May 12th, 2010
2:07 pm

If CMR goes seven and five and is humiliated in Jacksonville again, which he will, he won’t be around anothr year. The powers that be have lost confidence in him.

GO HEELS

May 12th, 2010
2:08 pm

I tell you one thing (SEC) fans and (Les Miles) fans he wont be around to long then… LSU is going to drop thier first game and maybe not score against my Tarheels…. Read a post earlier reading that Miles can only afford to lose to Fla and Bama…. If thats the case good bye Miles….

typical dog fan says

May 12th, 2010
2:08 pm

Tide Rising,

Dont you know Tim Tebow left so the Gators will lose to UGA and a bunch of other nobodies. By Tebow leaving UGA players have automatically gotten better and Richt is now the greatest coach on earth.

Dont you know Urban Meyer without Tebow or Strong or Mullen is just a Ray Goff with rings. He’s off to Notre Dame the first chance he gets, err he wont even be coaching UF in 2010, err he’s a jerk booo.

The University of Georgia Tech

May 12th, 2010
2:11 pm

sad that redneck-think-they-know-it-all-fans who never even attended uga have their unrealistic dreams of the uga 1980 team happening every year are trying to run out a GREAT coach and GREAT man(yes that matters!). I wish uga fans took their basketball this serious because if they did tubby smith would still be here with all kinds of success and you would have a real athletic department like your hated foes- university of florida. now go back and hunker dwon or whatever it is you necks say

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
2:12 pm

Really LSU fans? Katrina? Come on now. At some point you all in Louisiana cant keep blaming everything that happens on a storm that occured 5 years ago, especially the current play of the LSU team. The state of Florida had 3 hurricanes hit them in 2004, maybe FSU and Miami can blame their lack of success on that. LSU has not struggled because of “lack of highschool talent in the state.” They have struggled because Miles is not a good game day coach. Its as simple as that. Look at LSU class rankings the last couple years. They got the talent, despite the Katrina conspiracy theories

Fan-tom

May 12th, 2010
2:18 pm

Now that we’re officially in the off-season, wouldn’t this be the perfect time to take an in-depth look at UGA and have a free-ranging discussion about the problems at UGA and why the arrest rate of players is the highest in the country? it’s common knowledge that UGA is a party school, but have any football players every actually graduated with a real degree? Jan Kemp exposed the school and the coaches almost three decades ago, but there is no sign that anything has improved; if anything, the arrest rate shows that things are getting more outrageous every year while Mark Richt – a decent fellow with no coaching skills – has no clue what to do.

UGA has become a major embarrassment to all Georgians, and we want some answers starting now.

[...] of winning a national title.  The subject of the exact temperature of Miles seat has been fodder for around the SEC media during these dog days of spring.  The criticism has been especially harsh: Now, everyone in [...]

Dorsey Hill

May 12th, 2010
2:21 pm

A question for all of the idiots out there. If you think that firing Richt is a good idea, who would you replace him with and why do you think he’d do better than CMR who is 3rd in the country in winning percentage?

BTW: Don’t look for Saban on the list of highest winning percentages, when he took the Bama job his winning percentage was lower than Ray Goff’s.