Why Mark Richt should remain as Georgia’s head coach

 

College football is a game of emotion. It has to be played with emotion. To be enjoyed to its fullest, college football must be watched by fans with a certain level of healthy emotion. Coaches must be emotionally invested in what they do in order to do it well. Emotion is woven into the fabric of the sport.

But when one EVALUATES the game of football or a football program, which is going right now at the University of Georgia, it must be done without emotion. It must be done with a certain analytical detachment that sees exactly what the situation is and, if necessary, come up with the BEST possible option to fix it.

And when you take emotion out of the equation and focus only on the facts at hand, Mark Richt should remain as the head coach at Georgia for the 2011 season.

I’ve heard from a lot of you both on this blog and on my radio show. Losing to Florida broke your heart because you knew Georgia was good enough to win that game. I picked the Bulldogs because, quite honestly, I thought they had better players. Still do. But better players usually do not overcome four turnovers. And Florida deserved to win because Urban Meyer did a helluva job of getting his team ready to play after three straight losses.

So if Georgia had better players and Urban Meyer did such a great job of getting his team ready, how in the world, Barnhart, can you say that Mark Richt should be back in 2011?

Again, let’s take emotion out of this and look at the body of work and where things really stand in the program.

Richt is now 2-8 against Florida. I don’t have a counter to that. He hasn’t had consistent success against the Gators.

Richt won SEC championships in 2002 and 2005 and played for the title in 2003 against a team (LSU) than won the national championship. So this will be the fifth straight year that Georgia has not appeared in the SEC championship game. No counter argument there.

But let’s look at where the program has been and where we think it is headed.

In 2007 Georgia was as good as any team in the nation. If Tennessee doesn’t win in four overtimes against Kentucky in Lexington, Georgia plays LSU for the SEC championship in Atlanta. In my opinion Georgia wins that game and would have been in the mix for the national championship.

In 2008 Georgia was preseason No. 1. But before the season even began injuries negated the validity of that ranking. Still, Georgia won 10 football games that season. I’ve heard some people call that a bad season based on the preseason ranking. But if the preseason ranking is not accurate by the time the games begin, are you telling me that 10 wins is still a bad season?

In 2009 Georgia was a bad football team that was poorly coached. Too many penalties. Minus 16 in turnovers. Played well at the end of the year when the offensive line finally jelled. Still, not a good team.

In 2010 Georgia played the first four games without the best player on offense and in a brand new defensive scheme where the learning curve was steep. They lost on the road to No. 19 South Carolina, a team that beat Alabama on that same field on Oct. 9 and may play in the SEC championship game. They lost at home to No. 18 Arkansas (6-2), a team that will win nine or 10 games and has one of the best quarterbacks in college football. The Hogs’ only losses are to No. 2 (Auburn) and No. 6 (Alabama). Georgia lost on the road at No. 20 Mississippi State, which is 7-2 and whose only losses are to the No. 2 (Auburn) and No. 10 (LSU) teams in the country.

When A.J. Green did return Georgia won threee straight games against bad teams but by substantial margins. Then Georgia lost an overtime game against one of its biggest rivals in a game where they rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit to force overtime. Aaron Murray, who is going to be a great quarterback for Georgia, threw a ball in overtime that he shouldn’t have thrown. No argument there. Young, talented quarterbacks make great plays and bad plays. Over time, the bad plays decrease. Murray will be no different.

So instead of its fourth straight win, Georgia absorbs a heartbreaking loss. So I ask you: If Georgia’s Blair Walsh kicks the winning field goal in overtime instead of Florida’s Chas Henry, are we even having this discussion today? If Georgia wins that game is everybody saying that Richt has things back on track and he’s good to go for the future?

If the answer to that question is yes, if the line between keeping a coach and letting him go is that fine, then you have to keep him.

Look, I’ve heard all the arguments. Richt is not (pick one): A) Tough enough; B) Mean enough; C) Savvy enough to compete with the Urban Meyers or the Nick Sabans of the world. On top of that you bring Gene Chizik to Auburn and Dan Mullen to Mississippi State and your argument is that the league is passing Georgia by.

But I would maintain that based on what we’ve seen the past four weeks things are trending upwards in the Georgia program. But I would also say that Richt needs to be prepared to put everything on the table in this offseason. Everybody’s job has to be reassessed. There needs to be more defensive talent across the board. Georgia’s backs are decent, but I don’t see a Marcus Lattimore or a Michael Dyer in the bunch. Richt needs to look at his strength and conditioning program to make sure it is the best it can be. He needs to look at his recruiting organization to make sure it is doing the job. Every coach on that staff needs to be prepared to explain how his area of responsibilty is going to get better. Changes will have to be made but the leadership at the top needs to stay in place.

I could be wrong. I often am. While there is much to be done to get Georgia football back to elite status in the SEC, I’m not convinced a change at the top is necessary. Please feel free to convince me otherwise.

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681 comments Add your comment

db

November 2nd, 2010
12:51 pm

Wonder if Todd Grantham will sit down one game or two?

Just sayin’

gt

November 2nd, 2010
12:51 pm

If you wait a little longer the decision will be taken out of your hands. When the pews thin out and the money from prime time football becomes a dry puddle in the same era that Spurrier, Bobby Petrino, and all the other hated rivals are drinking out of a fire hose this nonsense will stop. Church and football do not mix, our forefathers knew that to be a fact, and we are now reproving it for today’s world. Something wrong with church, a lot is wrong with football, that is why they don’t mix.

BigA

November 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

What I saw in the game was Urban working with his team coaching up the kids, while Richt just stood there on the sidelines, no involvement with what was going on. That was what was disturbing. I’d rather have the coach that is involved and working to coach the whole time, including games.

Barbara Dooley

November 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

Oh, Herschel, honey, its time to “break down some more film”

mcdaviddawg

November 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

Fire Richt while we still have something to save.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

jtdawg,
Well the schedule does line up favorably for us, but I just don’t see a whole lot of producers next year on the offensive side of the ball. Same backs, less experience on the OL, no AJ, no Duram.

For next season I actually expect less production out of the offense but I do agree that the D should be better.

Silver Britches, Red Panties

November 2nd, 2010
12:54 pm

Tony, I knew we could count on you to defend Coach Richt.

When you look at the brilliant surprises he has sprung on opponents – the surprise helmets, the end zone celebration – it is clear that he is the best game-day coach in college football!

Nolidge is good

November 2nd, 2010
12:57 pm

Also, let’s dismiss the “Fire Richt NOW” folks’ tirades, if they fail to suggest by name who they think would be better on day 1 of a new era.

Urban

November 2nd, 2010
12:57 pm

I agree with you Tony. CMR needs to be back next year. In fact uga needs to sign him to a lengthy extension. Keep emotion (and results) out of this. . .

@ Big A

November 2nd, 2010
12:58 pm

Maybe on TV they didn’t show CMR rallying the troops before the OT?? I will give him credit for that…team was really fired up after that.

coachgb

November 2nd, 2010
1:06 pm

What gets me so is how all our so called “fans” are yelling for a coach, any coach, to be fired. That’s all you hear. Georgia just scored 31 points against Florida and you want to fire the OC?

JB

November 2nd, 2010
1:06 pm

According to one prominent retired SEC coach I’ve had the honor to spend a few minutes talking to at a get together, in his opinion, losing Van Gordor ( over money after winning the Broyles award for top Assit. in the country) and promoting Bobo to call the games is what has cost Georgia to slowly decline……. I believe that also….

NWGADawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:07 pm

Dammit Tony stay away from those doughnuts you fat muckraking “journalist”.

Nitty Gritty

November 2nd, 2010
1:07 pm

I’ve never understood how anyone – even an alumnus – could support and take pride in UGA’s football team. When you look at their history for the past forty years, how can anyone ignore Jan Kemp and the “remedial studies” scam, the Jim Harrick fiasco, the DUIs in the athletic office, the DUIs and other arrests of players, the #1 party school tag (i.e., the most drunk students), the suspensions and outright dismissals, the Fulmer Cup, and on and on?

As disgraceful and humiliating as it is, I don’t see many alums and fans demanding an end to this sordid activity. It sets UGA apart as the kind of school most people abhor, and it’s become an embarrassment to the whole state of Georgia.

Will it never end? Apparently not while Mark Richt is at UGA. Richt is perhaps the biggest hypocrite in the United States. But even with all the cheating and lawlessness that he ignores, he still can’t win the SEC.

So you’re paying him to be BCS champions, but he can’t even win his SEC division. So why do you pay him millions of dollars a year?

TheItalianDawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:09 pm

Yes, Georgia show tremendous improvement and I say CMR should be back next year!

#1UGADAWGinMISSISSIPPI

November 2nd, 2010
1:09 pm

Joe D.

November 2nd, 2010
7:27 am

Looks just like Fulmer’s downfall at Tennessee, same type of numbers…the good and the bad, and getting worse. However, please note: beware of the unknown. Change is not always best for change sake. See Obama and Kiffin as examples. AMEN BROTHER!!!

Whiskeydawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:11 pm

I agree with you Tony, Richt should stay at Georgia. I think he has made some mistakes, but he also shows the willingness and the ability to learn from them. His record speaks volumes. I believe the Dawgs are trending upward, despite the record. I didn’t think this was Georgia’s year before the season started based on a new defense and a freshman QB. I did think we would beat SC and Colorado. I didn’t think we would beat FL, AU, AK, and GT a tossup. We have been competitive in every loss and I think next year, those types of games, we win. I look for CMR to make some of the changes you mention to the program in the off season. Not everyone sees the glass half full and I respect those views, I just don’t agree with them at this time.

#1UGADAWGinMISSISSIPPI

November 2nd, 2010
1:11 pm

AND TO NITTY GRITTY, GO BACK TO YOUR LOW LIFE BEE HIVE!!!!

The Ole Ball Coach

November 2nd, 2010
1:12 pm

Why no mention of Tennessees DE J.Smith Knoxville bar arrest this weekend……” How convenient”

Chickasaw

November 2nd, 2010
1:14 pm

Let’s await season’s end. If UGA wins at least 2 of 3, and keeps 3d respectable, then team’s on the right path & Richt deserves at least one more season. Lose ugly to AU and GT, and look flat v. Idaho State, then it’s hard to say team’s improving or things will get better, and maybe a Donnan type decision is called for. And off season problems must be a part of assessment. Call it sour grapes, but I’d never want to see a UGA coach stoop to a Meyer-Rainey type decision.

I see it this way: does 2010 = 1979 or 1999? In ‘79, painful losses and a 6-5 record became fuel for a championship era. In 1999, we went a lethargic 7-4 (remember UCF?), had hopes for an improved 2000; but got worse as 2000 progressed, again 7-4. We’ll have a better feel for which direction the 2010 edition is going in December.

The UT experience bugs me; so do the Griffith and Goff examples of coaches who followed a proven winner. Hope we’re patient about this!

jwilli120

November 2nd, 2010
1:14 pm

i for one would like to hear the words coming out
of CMR’s mouth that would fire the team up, some
of us believe that a bible toting HC cannot fire
up a team with word like dadgum and dangit some-
times you just need a little of the bad words to
get through to these kids and intimidate them..
just sayin…i like CMR but not on this note

producewiz

November 2nd, 2010
1:15 pm

programs can turn around quickly.I was 100% wrong about Chizik.thought he was a terrible hire.And if there was not a tie breaker, would both sides have had enuff and were ready to go home with a tie. 2 even teams,records similar,both played with great emotion, no quitting on either side. let it rest.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:17 pm

If Mcgarity chooses to keep Richt then he needs to be subjected to an immediate cut in pay. 3 million per year is for a championship caliber coach and Richt has shown little if any interest in being that going on 5 years now.

Just pay Richt around $1 million per year and let him run his youth camp for wayward kids.

Greg

November 2nd, 2010
1:20 pm

Only 4 of the 9 teams UGA has faced so far this year have winning records and UGA has lost to all 4 of them. On top of that, UGA lost to Colorado and the Buffs have lost 4 straight since beating UGA. There’s a good possibility that they’ll finish 0-8 in the Big 12.

Throwing Idaho State in along with UT, Vandy, Louisiana Lafayette and UK, the record of those UGA victims is 11 wins and 31 losses. Not a decent win among them. Closest thing to it was at UK and they gift-wrapped that game for the Dawgs.

Think about all that. I do think Richt will get another year, but make no mistake, this year has been an utter disaster and there is NO excuse for some of it.

75-76 DAWG

November 2nd, 2010
1:23 pm

I knew this would be an emotional topic.CMR is a great coach and he can stay at least until his contract is up.If we improve to championship caliber in the next three years then he will get a big extension.
UGA’s problem was a head coach that only wanted to be a head coach and not an assisitant to the AD. Damon Evans was a figure head, do nothing AD. If McGarity had been at UGA three years ago he would have replaced Martinez then instead of this year and the defense would be well in place by now. We must give Grantham at least three years to get the defense up to SEC standard.
McGarity is our ace in the hole and will make the changes at the end of this year that will be what is needed. McGarity is a doer not someone that is satisfied with the status quo like Evans.

AUsome

November 2nd, 2010
1:24 pm

Ask Tennessee if they would like to have Fulmer back.

Richt is a solid coach but that’s not good enough for the UGA fan base.
Reminds me of LSU.
They are a top ten team with only one loss yet the calls for Miles’ head never cease.

Power shifts and nobody stays on top in this league for long.
If the Ga fans can’t accept that, throw Richt under the bus and start scratching around for a replacement.
Maybe you can lure Muschamp back.
The question is: if he doesn’t win a championship in two years, will you kick him to the curb as well?

DDPO

November 2nd, 2010
1:24 pm

So, injuries cost UGA a shot of greatness? (Check)

And they were the best team in college football one year, but couldn’t even win their own division that year? (Check)

Back to back 5 loss seasons (Check)

And there’s no need to mention off field behavior, because its all about results! (Check)

Thanks for setting us straight Tony!

BAMA dude

November 2nd, 2010
1:25 pm

IF Richt is to be replaced, I would think they would have to go no further that Mullen, Whiitingham, and Patterson. One of those three would take the job I’d think. Hiring Whittingham would be interesting since it would essentially be the same hire UF made with Meyer.

jwilli120

November 2nd, 2010
1:25 pm

10yrs 3millon a year ZERO national championship games says alot,
auburn coach 2yrs (less money than our HC) national championship
this year? PRICELESS………just sayin COME ON MAN….

rollpride

November 2nd, 2010
1:29 pm

Go Tigers…Chizik has 18 seniors starting on his team this year. So he inherited just about every player that is starting right now. So I agree that if the barn had not gotten Newton your recford would be much different. it doesn’t matter though because Bama will knock the barn off their pedestal in Nov.

Also Tony…Bama and UGA have not played this year (2010). Richt is a joke. i hope UGA keeps him for a long time! Ha!

jwilli120

November 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

COME ON MAN…………………..

Keep Mark Richt---Please!

November 2nd, 2010
1:32 pm

Yours truly, Urban Meyer and the Gator Nation.

Grantham for Head Coach!

November 2nd, 2010
1:34 pm

Grantham can teach the players and coaches all kind of intimidating symbols to use during the game to “psyche out” the opponent, including the choke sign, throat slash, crotch grab, choreographed dancing on the sideline……. the possibilities are endless!

Keep Richt

November 2nd, 2010
1:35 pm

you people are so stupid tell me when georgia has ever been an ELITE program get your heads out the sky Mark Richt is the only reason this program is at the top like it is today he has had the most success as a coach at georgia even with a 5 loss season right now he is going to rebound this team in a year and it will be right back at the top like he made it the past 10 years. Bottom line he is the greatest coach in georgia history and one of the greatest still coaching. The only reason we didnt win a couple NC over the past 5 years is because of a guy named Tim Tebow one of the greatest QBs ever and a guy named Steve Spurrier who gave us a loss that cost the east. The fact is MR is 2-7 against florida i dont care weve lost 18-21 richt has had more success than the past few coaches against florida also. I cant tell you why we lose i dont know i think its because its in jacksonville every year im not making that excuse its just a possibility but i guarantee you if half those games were between the hedges that record would be different no doubt.

Douglas

November 2nd, 2010
1:37 pm

I am a businessman Tony: we don’t get caught up in emotions — we just focus on the facts. If Richt worked for me and didn’t improve as well as any of his other coaches, they would be given a chance to improve and if not, they would be terminated and replaced. Richt has not improved nor has Bobo’s decision making on offensive play calling — they have had time to improve — they didn’t — they are fired. Stick to your journalism job and let the businessmen stick to running a business. If we ran it like you think, we would be out of business.

Ten years too long

November 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

A man is a factory sales rep. He is assigned A QUOTA to sales so many widgetrs and show so m,uch profit. Mark’s quota is to win vs FLorida or so and so U. and win so many games. That is standard in any business enterprise.
Now, the record of the last 4 or 5 years and with the UGA player arrests ……………………….. prove for me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is not the man (lately) for the job. I speak from my heart …………….I mean CMR no ill will ………………but to say good luck and good bye.

Mark has been very well compensated. Chizk is in his second year with Tubeville’s talent and look at them.

Ten years is too long for me. NCs? I could care less about the mythical NCs …………….BUT they do come along with winning the SEC which we are light years from.

The Florida loss for me is proof positive that he cannnot coach at the level that we UGA ALUMS desire.

Go Dogs.

Top Recruit

November 2nd, 2010
1:39 pm

Why the SID at UGA should revoke the press privileges to UGA athletics? Two reasons would be Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz. Times are hard financially at the AJC. Dawgs like to piss on that paper.

What UF and the AJC dislike about UGA in 2010. They have an opportunity to beat us down. I’d be careful about that. All programs go thru some ups and downs. Memories last. But what they do not like is UGA athletics are changing in a very positive way due to a couple of new and bigger biting dawgs on campus.

Rave on cat poop, you will get covered up.

Richt Rules

November 2nd, 2010
1:41 pm

Ga better be giving Richt a huge raise and bonus in the offseason or he may take the miami job—they are getting ready to fire their worthless coach and Richt played at Miami. They will pay him a lot more money than UGa is paying. Ga needs to come up with a lot more cash, quick.

wildbill

November 2nd, 2010
1:43 pm

I agree totally with BigA. I have taught high school and college courses. I have had students do exactly the same thing that CMR does on the sidelines. It is the LOOK. The LOOK that the student would rather be anywhere than in the class where at least an average performance would be required at the minimum to pass. Just watch CMR, he fluffs his hair, and the look on his face is one of detachment and a seeming disregard of what is going on during the game. Maybe he is practicing a poker face for a friendly game afterwards. WHO knows, I don’t. It just seems to me that he would rather be somewhere else………….

icedawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:45 pm

2009 was a tough year though at the end the Dawgs did show some grit. The end I think gave folks some hope that 2010 would be at least a little better. 2010 started of a huge sputter and will probably end that way as well. So, two not so good years back to back. 2011 should be the year of decision. Three so so years in a row are not acceptable. I would hope that Richt would agree. I think Tony is right. Richt must make some very calculated changes this year for next. Everything should be riding on next year.

im4bama

November 2nd, 2010
1:45 pm

Tony,

You make some good points and I would have to agree that Richt should stay. If no other reason than I don’t want UGA offering Kirby Smart the head coach job. Richt is a very good coach but something is definitely missing there or some people are tainting the program. There’s too much talent there not to win more against Florida. I think it’s fair to say the coaching staff is to blame for this. It might or might not be Richt, but if they fire him, they better know that it actually might get worse instead of better. Trust me, I’m a Bama fan and I know.

AUsome

November 2nd, 2010
1:46 pm

Rollpride,

You’re probably right.

Chizik inherited some talented players and a lot of the are now seniors.
Strange though that the same two linebackers had to play every snap of the bowl game last year.
Maybe that top five recruiting class was inhereted also.

Maybe Tubs had that stellar coaching staff lined up before he left.
Chiz probably had nothing to do with it.

The Bama nation will never give an ounce of respect to anything Auburn under any circumstances.
No use arguing with a brick wall.
Never mind.

Ed

November 2nd, 2010
1:46 pm

Tony, 10 wins in ‘08 doesn’t equate to a good season because: Georgia was humiliated in its two losses to Alabama and Florida and seemed to quit, at least defensively, in the second half in the loss to Tech.

I’ve been a Georgia fan since ‘77, when I was old enough to pay attention, and I can’t imagine how a season that includes losses to UF and Tech can be considered anything other than a failure.

If you’re not beating Florida or Tech, that’s not success.

And the second half run in ‘07 (against teams that, in hindsight, were not that good) only highlights how bad the first half of the season was, with a blowout loss at Tennessee, a home loss to a bowl-less, 6-loss South Carolina team, and a lucky break from losing to Vandy for a second consecutive season.

The fact is, Georgia under Richt has been underachieving since the Sugar Bowl following the ‘05 season. That’s 4.5 out of the last 5 seasons. Richt’s ‘06-’10 teams don’t really resemble at all his teams from ‘01-’05. It appears to many of us that Richt has sort of mailed it in, for whatever reason. Maybe he never was as good as he appeared.

And the loss to UF matters, big time. 2 out of 10 against those SOBs just doesn’t cut it, for any coach. I don’t care if he beats Tech and wins 90% of the remaining games, an annual, almost guaranteed loss in Jacksonville should not be what this program is about. If Richt can’t do what Ole Miss and Miss State seem to have no problem doing – stand up to UF – then find someone who can.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
1:47 pm

Im not on the Fire Richt wagon as of yet. My opinion is Richt needs to hire an aggressive Offensive Coordinator .We must change our offensive philosphy. I dont see Grantham being at UGA next year.I feel he is more suited for the NFL.I dont see him staying at UGA.

BAMA dude

November 2nd, 2010
1:49 pm

Mark has been very well compensated. Chizk is in his second year with Tubeville’s talent and look at them.

Cheez-it won the juco lottery. Considering all their close wins, where would he be without Blinn College’s first Heisman candidate? I’d say he loses USCe, Clempson, Missy State, Kentucky, and LSU.

Dink

November 2nd, 2010
1:51 pm

MURPHY

I agree 100%, the OT playcalling was especially terrible.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
1:53 pm

BAMA dude,

You have to give the Tigers credit. No matter the margin of their victories they are undefeated.I would agree that without Cam they are not undefeated but you could also say that about Bama with Ingram last year.Auburn should get the respect this year untill they prove otherwise,which I believe will come by losing to yall in the Iron Bowl.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:54 pm

Tony,

Another convenient LIE you wrote in your article is when you said, “When A.J. Green did return Georgia won threee straight games…”

That’s NOT TRUE! AJ Green returned and we lost to an incredibly poor Colorado team. THEN we won 3 straight games. YOU talks about removing emotion from the decision process but then YOU fail to so.

You came to your conclusion prior and then looked for evidence to back up your conclusion rather than letting the evidence speak for itself.

Just more examples of your typical apologist propaganda to defends Richts lousy performance over the last 5 years.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
1:54 pm

Our offense is way to predictable. We have been the same since 2001. Why dont we operate in the no huddle like we did early in the Richt era?

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 2nd, 2010
1:55 pm

jtdawg

Totally agree with you on your previous comment regarding talent. UGA is in a hole and has to play catchup fast. The problem with UGA recruiting is they place too much emphais on the media ratings and do not know how to truly recruit talent. Then Athens has no idea what to do with it when they get the talent.

AJ Green is phenomenal, but he is not a one man team. King was going to be a disaster from day, because he is just looking for an NFL contract with no intention of going to class.

Regarding BAMA dude’s comment about Cheez-it or as we call him Cheese Nip, he is Terry Bowden all over again with a previous coache’s (Tubberville’s) recruiting class. He will get drilled by Alabama in the final game, thus ending any SEC or National Title hopes, then the program will tank from this year forward. Because, he cannot compete with the talent of SEC coaches like Meyer, Saban, or Miles when it comes to down to winning the big ones.

Alabama is going to drill Auburn, plain and simple. Alabama is ticked off since the South Carolina game and I pity any team in their path.