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

Buster

May 12th, 2010
6:39 pm

Here come the Gator guys again–ok, like so many of us keep asking, how many championships has Meyer won without Percy Harvin on the team if he’s not lucky? Didn’t Percy win the NFL Rookie of the Year. Percy might have had a little something to do with those 2 National Championships of Meyer. Didn’t do one last year without Percy now, did he boys?

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
6:46 pm

First off, its sweet that UGA fan refers to FSU’s past glory in order to prop up their own. Secondly, you really want to claim apperances by a school who lost more than they won and were only in those games because they played in a joke of a conference, the ACC? Thats the beauty of being a Gator fan. We dont have to reference other schools glory. UF has played in 4 National title games in 15 years, winning 3 of them. Nearly 1/3 of the title games over that period, UF as been playing in. Whats next, UGA fan going to reference Miami and their titles since Richt went to school there?

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
6:47 pm

Buster…Meyer has won 1 SEC title without Percy. Next question..

Buster

May 12th, 2010
6:48 pm

I said how many National Championships has Urban Meyer won without Percy Harvin on his team?

Ken

May 12th, 2010
6:52 pm

KGator accuses a Georgia fan of using past history, and mentions going back 15 years in previous post. Problem there?

Amazing Rico

May 12th, 2010
6:54 pm

Perception is reality and the perception among the “great unwashed” is that UGA is in a tail spin. Fortunately for Richt, the great unwashed do not sign his check so I agree with you TB, Richt is safe for now. I would say Richt has this season and next to put a winner on the field, or he will need to be hiring a moving company.

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
6:54 pm

Ken….no i refered to UGA fan using past history of ANOTHER SCHOOL! In order to talk about their own

tyler

May 12th, 2010
6:56 pm

to Jacob and the rest of you people that are so smart and think UGA is so awesome, you can hate on Saban and Meyer all you want but you would dump that loser coach tomorrow if you thought either one wanted to take over at your middle of the pac program

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
7:01 pm

Man Buster you got us there….an even more startling stat is Meyer has won ZERO national titles without James Smith on the team (UFs long snapper) or Javier Estopinan, their backup DT or Bobby Kane the backup punter. If only we could get the past glory of those players back to win again.

tyler

May 12th, 2010
7:01 pm

so Buster what you are saying is that Percy Harvin is better than your entire team? lol this is so funny

BeatBamr

May 12th, 2010
7:03 pm

1st Finebaum dresses in his wife’s clothes. 2nd, Mike Slive, SEC commissioner should just tell us whose going to win what games. Everybody research Dick Burleson, Alabama homer in the replay booth, “SEC Communicator”. Screw college football.

Beast from the East

May 12th, 2010
7:15 pm

Guys, “Buster” is Patrick. No one, and I mean NO ONE spills all that garbage but him. Some left coast truck driver with lots of time on his hands apparently. You really can’t argue with him because he’s never been wrong in his life and he has all the stats to prove it. He and Richt are simply flawless.

Dawgbreath

May 12th, 2010
7:17 pm

I’m afraid Richt’s quality of life will begin to suffer on the way home from Columbia in Sept. Sigh…

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
7:38 pm

Well, I come back to read some more comments after several hours and see the SOS and wonder when some of you dog fans are gonna learn. What is it with some of you dawg fans who think Florida winnng their 2 national titles or LSU winning their 2007 title is just luck? That kinda logic is just bizarre.

Georgia had great seasons in 02 and 05 but lost a game in each of those seasons while 2 really good undefeated teams played in each of those years. In 2002 it was Ohio St. becoming the first 14-0 team by beating defending champ Miami which was on a 20something game winning streak. In 05 it was 2 of the greatest teams I’ve ever seen unbeaten USC with Reggie Bush and unbeaten Texas with Vince Young. In each of those years 2 unbeaten teams that were clearly better than once beaten UGA duked it out for the national title. Georgia wasn’t unlucky. There were just better teams ahead of them.

In years where Florida won in 06 and 08 and LSU in 07 did they need someone to lose ahead of them to get into the big game? Yes. Of course. So what? That’s not luck. All it means is that over the length of an entire season which includes the last week as well as the preceding weeks that a 1 loss Florida team was better going by the bcs formula than other 1 loss teams. Same with LSU in 07. And a loss at the end of the season eliminates teams just as a loss at the beginning or halfway through may eliminate other teams.

And I don’t want to hear any crap about Georgia getting jobbed in 07. LSU lost 2 double OT games on the road to bowl teams. They whipped the # 4 team in the country VT 48-7 ooc and they beat UT by 10 in the seccg and did it with a backup qb. UGA lost at home to a team that didn’t even go bowling, did not have a quality ooc win like LSU did over VT, and got blown out 35-7 by UT. Championship teams may lose a game but championship teams do not get BLOWN OUT! End of story.

The stars may yet align one day and Georgia win a national title. But whining about other teams national titles and saying they just got lucky and you were unlucky is just plain pathetic. It is the mentality of a freaking loooooser. Get over it dog fans and start concentrating on Richt righting the ship as opposed to whining about Florida or LSU getting lucky when they won titles. Good thing we went 13-0 and 14-0 for our last 2 titles or else you would be bit$ching about us being lucky too.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
7:48 pm

Kgator79,

Nick Saban has never won a national title at Alabama without Tyrone King. Who is he? A walk on backup safety who played sparingly this past year. I guess we’re doomed now going by Patrick’s logic.

jumbeauxtiger

May 12th, 2010
8:24 pm

GO HEELS

May 12th, 2010
6:37 pm
JUMBEAUXTIGER…… IM BEGINING TO QUESTION YOUR FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE???? LSU WILL BE FACEING THE BEST DEFENSE THAT WILL SEE ALL YEAR…..

Since we play Bama and Florida this year your statement apparently shows your knowledge.

BTW brush up on your grammar :)

Gen Neyland

May 12th, 2010
8:29 pm

CMR was hired on because Donnan couldn’t beat Tennessee. CMR changed that but the tide is turning on ol’ St Mark…The bar is higher for CLM for one huge, Crystal Football clear reason : The fabled High Expectations. CMR’s fate would be sealed if and (when?) he brings one home. It’s the kiss of death…

GBO

May 12th, 2010
8:34 pm

I’m a Vol (and no I did not like Lane Kiffin either but he did kick GA’s backside and almost took down the Tide). I just want to agree with what Tide Rising said at 7:38 about NC’s teams not getting blown out. The Vols kicked the Dawgs all over the field in 2007 and I read countless blog posts about how the Dawgs were cheated out of the NC when they didn’t even win the SEC East, much less the conference. Just wanted to cosign Tide Rising even if we do hate each other in October.

Gen Neyland

May 12th, 2010
8:41 pm

GBO : I liked Kiffin. I bought in to his renegade style as did the players. No, he didn’t quite walk the walk but had he stayed around for a decade, who knows..? Alas, he’s hanging with the sun bleached blonde surfer chicks nowadays and here’s to hoping USC gets their arse handed to them by the NCAA…Of course, here’s to hoping Tennessee gets a pass and the trail follows Kiffin…

www.brian-dodd.com

May 12th, 2010
8:44 pm

Tony,

I completely agree with your article. In addition to his recent record, Miles’ end of game decision making unnecessarily makes for some of the most compelling moments each year in the SEC.

Also, you cannot discount the state Richt coaches in. Georgia is as Christian a state and conservative as they come. He embodies all we want in leadership and an example for both young and older men.

Fans in Georgia want to win. However, because of a balanced perspective and many options for their time, they are not rabid about it. Just ask the Braves, Falcons, or Hawks.

Richt represents the best of the state of Georgia. Miles represents a Michigan man who is undisciplined and underachieving. As you stated, they are not in the same situation at all.

http://www.Brian-Dodd.com

Tom

May 12th, 2010
8:44 pm

Come on, are you Florida fans SERIOUSLY saying having Percy Harvin, who won the NFL Rookie of the Year, didn’t have a TON to do with why Meyer won his 2 championships? Especially considering how poorly Meyer’s team performed in the Sec Championship without Harvin last season—and for the 2009 season the team scored almost a td less per game than the previous year 2008 with Harvin. Of course Meyer was lucky, and of course Richt’s was unlucky in 2007, but that’s the way it goes. If Richt keeps winning that many games, he’ll have a lucky season or two too.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
8:52 pm

Tom,

They beat us in the 2008 seccg without Percy Harvin. And to say they wouldn’t have won the bcs title game without him is like saying the Pats would never have won a super bowl without Tom Brady or the 49ers wouldn’t have won their super bowls without Joe Montana or Jerry Rice. Or Georgia wouldn’t have beaten Florida in 07 without Matt Stafford. See how silly it gets when you play if if if. Harvin was an instrumental part of their team but as I can personally attest they were still able to be a great team and win big games without him.

GBO

May 12th, 2010
8:56 pm

Hi General,

I bought in to his abilities, just was tire of having to defend his antics all the time. My first choice would have been Brian Kelly but he turned out about he same with that jump to ND :-) I’ve been out of the country for the last three months, do we have any chance this fall of going 7-5 or better?

Tom

May 12th, 2010
8:56 pm

It’s so easy to prove me wrong, all Meyer has to do is win 1 national championship without percy harvin on his team.

Tom

May 12th, 2010
8:59 pm

Harvin was more than a small part of his team. He got 17 td’s, and over 100 yards a game. He was also great in the red zone, without him, Florida wasn’t and won’t ever be the same. Meyer got the Michael Jordan of college football–wait, did MJ get rookie of the year? Maybe Harvin’s BETTER than MJ so far.

GBO

May 12th, 2010
9:09 pm

You all can play the “what if” game all you want. yes some of the teams had a better “hand” sometimes than others…that is true in life, poker, and football. So what? It takes skill, coaching AND luck to win the NC. One can cry about how Florida State had the easiest path in the old ACC, injury wise, to the NC playing in a baskeball conference when half of the SEC’s players were on crutches at the end of the season. Was it fair…no. Life isn’t fair, get over it.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
9:21 pm

Tom,

That’s like saying Georgia never won a national championship without Herschel Walker. Well guess what. Herschel was part of the Georgia team in the same way that Harvin was part of the Florida team. It is what it is and you can’t take that away. But Florida was still impressive without him going 13-1 last year and finishing 2nd or 3rd in the country. And odds are pretty good they’ll be a force without him this coming year.

One other thing about Meyer. He built a never done nothing Utah program into a bcs bowl winning team. Anyone who can go to a never won a single thing program like Utah and build it into a top 5, bcs bowl winning team with clout is one helluva coach in my book.

Beast from the East

May 12th, 2010
9:33 pm

Guys, I’m telling you that’s Patrick. He changes his name to get someone to argue with him.

Reptiles Rule

May 12th, 2010
9:42 pm

Hey Buster, how many National Championships has Richt won at UGA without Willie Martinez as his DC?? Oh, I’m sorry, that’s right…Mark Richt hasn’t won ANY national championships, mythical or otherwise….

Gen Neyland

May 12th, 2010
9:44 pm

Tide Rising : You are correct about Meyer at Utah, but by doing so puts Meyer on the same pedestal as, say Donnan, Saban, Shula and Zook as far as what they left behind when they left what they started. Ron McBride was the true retooler at Utah, not Meyer. At least Fulmer did it on his own in his own years.

GBO : A friend of ours has a son at Tennessee. He’s a rising 4th year guy that was recruited by Cutcliffe. That in itself paints the turnover picture Atop Rocky.

Willis Z-Style

May 12th, 2010
9:48 pm

Tony-

Good article here. Miles & Richt, Georgia, won more games than Saban, Paul’s point? YEAH, if these 2 coaches gone, easier for on Saban in SEC, but, yhey just no reaosn for firing these 2 coaches.

Reptiles Rule

May 12th, 2010
9:56 pm

That’s what absolutely amazes me about Dawg fans and they are the the only ones I’ve seen do this consistantly. Instead of looking at their own team and saying “what was the problem, why didn’t we get it done?…Instead they say, “aww shucks, the other team was lucky and this happened and that happened and that’s the only reason they have success and why we can’t get to the top.” Or they’ll say, “the only reason you won is because of Tebow or Percy Harvin. Uh, well yes, they were part of the team weren’t they? I will assure you, next year they will talking like…”well the only reason you won was John Brantley. Just wait till HE’S gone!”

Slim Daddy

May 12th, 2010
9:56 pm

Percy does hav skilz. 2 rings, and da rookie of da year, who else has done dat?

Antoine

May 12th, 2010
10:03 pm

Coach Nick Saban did real good in 2009. 13-0, hard to do. beat some real good teams. didn’t have no superstars. the dude can most definately coach. jury out on Meyer. Percy Harvin was da’ man, brought serious game.

Gen Neyland

May 12th, 2010
10:08 pm

Slim Daddy : Really, taking nothing away from Harvin here, but he owes his rookie season to Favre and his supporting WR’s, RB’s and ST guys for freeing him up…

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
10:09 pm

Reptiles Rule,

9;42 post was pretty funny. On a more serious note you said that if you win it all with John Brantley that they will be saying the only reason you won it was John Brantley. Well, I don’t think you’ll win it with Brantley. I know this for a fact because the dawg fans told me so. I’ve been advised by many a dawg fans that he sucks really bad. I verified this personally with Patrick Sulley on his facebook page. He doubles between truck driving and being a pro scout you see. Not to mention football historian extraordinaire. On top of being a world renowned statistician with his plethora of stats and all.

gcs

May 12th, 2010
10:11 pm

When Les Miles won his National Championship at LSU, many said he won with Saban’s players (and let’s face it, he got REAL lucky in a lot of those wins with some CRAZY play calling). Back then, Tigers fans were calling these naysayers “haters”. But now those fans are starting to believe. If you read their forums – particularly tigerdroppings – they are not happy and have not been for some time. LSU is not landing big time recruits but have stayed afloat thanks to talent-rich Louisiana. Miles’ clock mismanagement in the Ole Miss game can only be blamed on bad coaching. With bad coaching & tepid recruiting, what’s left?

Mark Richt is definitely a different story. The numbers you shared tell two stories. Yes, he has won games but he has also loss games. To win a National Championship, you can’t do that second one. In the past seven seasons, Richt has lost at least 2 SEC games. That is a fine accomplishment but it won’t get you to the BCS National Championship in January 2011.
If you want winning seasons, Richt is your man. If you want to get to a bowl game every year – which is not such a big accomplishment anymore – Richt is your man. He will win 8-9-10 games every year, but he cannot win any more than that. If you want mediocrity, stick with Richt.

.

Greg

May 12th, 2010
10:14 pm

So let get this strsaight. a truck driver blogs all the time while he’s driving? You’re joking, right? How is that possible? wuldn’t he wreck?

L D King

May 12th, 2010
10:19 pm

Saban with his players
2002 8-5 2003 13-1 BCSNC 2004 9-3
Miles with Saban’s players
2005 11-2 2006 11-2 2007 12-2 BCSNC
Fact: Miles did better with Saban’s players than Saban

Slim Daddy

May 12th, 2010
10:19 pm

2 rings, and da rookie of the year n da nfl, who else has 2 college rings, and won rookie of the year in the nfl? small list. Percy great as there’s ever been. Props to Percy.

Gen Neyland

May 12th, 2010
10:21 pm

Gotta hit the hay, but one question to ponder on my way to the hay ol’ friends : Why the begrudgings on Mr CFB’s site with the Dawg supporters..? Go to the Junkyard Blawg if you really want to raise some hackles…see ya later Alligator, after while Red Elephants

Tony

May 12th, 2010
10:23 pm

I tend to disagree with your analysis of this situation. Not only are the situations eerily similar, but I think you understate the problems that Richt and Georgia are facing.

Both Miles and Richt are coaches that rely on their coordinators to be successful. And both have had poor defensive coordinators over the last two years. Both have addressed this issue (Miles successfully with Chavis and Richt TBD).

And while the LSU fanbase/boosters are more demanding than Georgia’s, LSU has not seen the slip in recruiting that Georgia has seen. Miles has been able to consistently land top recruiting classes while Richt has seen Tennessee and Auburn challenge them over the last 2 years. Quietly, Richt is running out of time in Georgia.

Inked Tat

May 12th, 2010
10:30 pm

Saban and Miles like to get in, work with someone else’s recruits, and leave in 4 years or less, usually after a good year. Very Pertino-esque in that way. Use em and leave em’. Petrino left the Falcons mid-season with a goodbye note. Saban left Miami high and dry. Meyer left utes fans angry as they felt lied to.

If crimes happen, or losses, they can say “those were coach x’s recruits”. Meyer does that. Using this plan, you don’t have to be accountable.

You can come in when the talent is there and leave before the talent will be gone.

Coach Richt on the other hand, has been in the SAME PLACE, for 9 years. He takes the heat for arrests, and he’s accountable for his own recruits. Saban ain’t never won a National Championship with his own recruits.

Compare length of tenures and conferences if you want to compare apples and oranges. Georgia and the SEC isn’t Mich St. or Utah.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
10:48 pm

Inked Tat,

Saban never won a title with his own recruits? What the hell are you talking about? He won the national title at LSU in his 4th year so the freshman through the seniors were all his.

At Alabama he won it his 3rd year and so the freshman through the juniors are his. And all of the impact players on the 2009 team such as mark ingram, julio jones, mark barron, trent richardson, marcel dareus, courtney upshaw, nico johnson, Colin Peek, those are all Saban’s recruits. Not sure what planet you’re living on.

As for length of tenure Meyer going to Florida and Saban from Mich state to LSU are natural job promotions. The jobs they took at UF and LSU paid huge amounts of money more than where they were at. Not to mention that recruiting was better.

And as far as Meyer goes he came to UF in 2005 so on the 2008 title team the freshman through juniors on that team were all his recruits. Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, those were all Urban’s recruits.

So much for your ill informed idea that they won with other coach’s recruits. Its pretty obvious that you just don’t know what the hell you are talking about in terms of Saban and Meyer winning with other people’s recruits.

Tide Rising

May 12th, 2010
10:50 pm

Correction. Meyer came to Uf in 2005 so if he won the title at Florida in 08 then that means the freshman all the way through the seniors were all his. So much for ink tat’s crazy idea of Meyer winning with someone else’s recruits.

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
11:03 pm

Tide Rising…Its fans of schools who cant win a national title who want to try and make it a tainted picture for those schools who do. As a Gator fan I do not care how Meyer won his. If its with his recruits, without his own recruits. All counts the same for me.

GO HEELS

May 12th, 2010
11:08 pm

jambeauxtiger?????? Do you live in a cave??or even have basic cable our defense is being compared to the USC defense that they had in 2008 JUST WATCH COLLEGE FOOTBALL LIVE?? Bama returns 3 starters from last years NATONAL CHAMPIONSHIP defense…

the gators have to replace joe haden and major wright in the secondary with only one returning starting LB…. who wasnt very impressive to begin with….

Do u you really think those two teams d are better then UNC’s defense who returns 9 starters, 7 being SR and are ranked in the top 25 in every defensive stat??? If so you really have a low football IQ my friend…. u would think a SEC fan would have more common since then that????

kgator79

May 12th, 2010
11:16 pm

For all those UGA fans who are deeply concerned with what UF will field in 2010, here is a youtube video for you. Take note of the highlights of returning players in semi big games like oh National title, SEC title games ect. Even though they are such an inexperienced group.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExnKocYN3Po

meyer, coach

May 12th, 2010
11:23 pm

one thing we know for sure is that CMR cannot win one with anyone’s recruits!!!!!

meyer, coach

May 12th, 2010
11:24 pm

TIDE RISING….your post at 10:09 is funny as he11.