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

Just Sayin

November 2nd, 2010
1:56 pm

Anybody here think that no matter what happens Michael Adams will have a lot to do with it and that that’s not a good thing!

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 2nd, 2010
1:56 pm

Unless Cam Newton has a special detail assigned to him at Auburn, something is going to pop with Newton getting in trouble before the end of the season, and Auburn is going to attempt to bury it. Just watch and see.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
1:57 pm

Bobo 17 INT,

Congrads to your Gators.

Ed

November 2nd, 2010
1:59 pm

“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?”

Perhaps not, but that didn’t happen.

“If Georgia wins that game is everybody saying that Richt has things back on track and he’s good to go for the future?”

A lot more people would be saying that…but Georgia didn’t win the game, Tony. If “ifs and buts were candy and nuts…”

Barbara Dooley

November 2nd, 2010
2:00 pm

Oh, Herschel, break down that film, baby. Break it down good!

LakeDawg

November 2nd, 2010
2:01 pm

13-11 the last 24 games. 2-8 the last 10 against FL. Tony YOU should convince ME why CMR should stay. What have you seen that convinces you that things are trending upward? 3 straight wins against, TN, VANDY, and KN? A

Vince Dooley

November 2nd, 2010
2:01 pm

Barb, honey, why are you all sweaty?

Ray Goof

November 2nd, 2010
2:02 pm

As a Gator fan, I hope he gets a lifetime contract.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
2:04 pm

We (Dawg fans) need to ask this one question of ourselves: Do we really want to go thru 3-4 year re-build process by hiring a new head coach and staff or can Richt make a couple new hires to staff and fix the issue’s?

Ed

November 2nd, 2010
2:04 pm

“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.”

After 10 seasons at UGA, shouldn’t things like recruiting and conditioning programs be well-established? If UGA hasn’t figured it out after a decade under Richt’s leadership, I’m skeptical that anything can be done in the offseason between 2010 and 2011.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 2nd, 2010
2:04 pm

MURPHY

Thanks for the nice compliment and best of luck the remainder of the season.

Ok folks, look it is going to be Alabama and Oregon in the national title game. Alabama is going to run the table from here on out, including the SEC title game. Oregon has enough strength of schedule and will run the table on their remaining schedule.

TCU and Boise do not have the strong schedule to make a dent in the BCS rating, but Utah could make some noise, since they drilled Alabama a couple years ago in the Sugar Bowl. However, there is still some green left between now and year-end and those with conference championships (i.e. SEC) get alot of weight added in the end, thus I think it is going to be Alabam and Oregon. If so, the ratings will go through the roof!

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 2nd, 2010
2:07 pm

Note: Utah and TCU will knock each other out, so if TCU wins, then will not go with lack of strength, if Utah wins, then it could muck things up a bit. This is the reason we need to take the top 8 or top 16 and create a playoff system via the current bowl system.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
2:10 pm

Bobo 17 INT,

I was in Jax at the game and it was very cool to see the UGA fans in a frenzy in the 4th qtr.I havent seen the UGA fans this way since 1997. It was alot of fun.

Mobile Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
2:11 pm

Agreed Ed, all we’re getting IMO is lip service and we can expect the sos….

coryw

November 2nd, 2010
2:13 pm

in all reality, Georgia has a stacked team. a freshman quarterback who has the potential to be even better than Matthew Stafford in the future, two strong runningbacks, an elite reciever and two more reliable recievers, and a young but improving defense. if houston and green decide to stay at uga next year, they are that much more stronger. uga SHOULD have won all those games they lost this year, and its easy to point fingers at immaturity and turnovers. all im saying is this; you may think im crazy, but look for Georgia to be an elite contender for the SEC championship next year, especially if Green and Houston decide to stay.

G8rBait

November 2nd, 2010
2:14 pm

My observation is that Richt is a good guy, and a good coach, but will never take ga to the elite level of the fl’s bama’s, tx’s, usc’s. Maybe you guys should just accept that a 9 and 10-win season is good enough. If you want to get to that next level though, I’m afraid you’ll have to hire the next Urban Myer, or Bob Stoops. Who is that guy? That’s the $6 million question. So maybe ride Richt for a couple more yrs., and see if can win at least an SEC title, but again, I don’t think he has what it takes to win a NC. Tough call for ga fans, esp. after the success of Vince Dooley had against the gators all those yrs

GoRicht

November 2nd, 2010
2:15 pm

Getting rid of a coach that has brought championships = Tennessee = oops

Lake Hartwell Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
2:18 pm

Meyer sure got a lot smarter with an extra week to prepare (again!) and Rainey back on the field. Without Rainey, Gators lose to UGa. Disagree that Uga has players the equal of Florida — just compare the recruiting classes of recent years. Fully agree that Richt is capable — plus he has the class and integrity that Meyer lacks.

Kyle

November 2nd, 2010
2:18 pm

I’d like to see them get rid of Richt because I’d like to see Chris Peterson sporting some Red and Black. Think he could run circles around Chizik, Mullen, the mad hatter, and Dooley. And compete with Meyer and Saban. Maybe we can paint the hedges blue for his first game!

Alabama Dog

November 2nd, 2010
2:21 pm

I believe some people here are making some very valid points about strength & conditioning. If I’m not mistaken, Richt refrained from doing “two a days” when Fall practice started in August. Didn’t he also give the players a “break” from practice by takng them to the pool one day? THE POOL???? It’s my belief here that these two particular things could be why our guys aren’t ready to play week in, and week out! If you think the top coaches in the country are doing this kind of coddling with their players, maybe we have our answer as to why Georgia is a middle of the road SEC team!

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Kyle,

Chris Peterson would be a fool to leave Boise St. He has it made there,why would he risk failure to change jobs? He doesnt strike me as being an ego driven coach.

JB

November 2nd, 2010
2:25 pm

Lot’s of wasted typing…..He will be back……He will have less talent next year ( He refuses to play more than 3-4 freshman) so what you see is what you’ll get…only less……He’ll lose 5-6 games.
so, There will be a new coach on the sidelines in 2012, and he will have a Junior all conference QB to build around.Mark has earned the right to clean this up……. He won’t have the players to do it….Study this roster close….

WD

November 2nd, 2010
2:25 pm

I am not a Bulldog fan, but I do think Richt if given time will turn it around. Despite the loss, I saw good things Saturday.
Murray is going to be real good and no one coaches QB’s better than Richt. He made some mistakes, but he will learn from it I am sure.
The defense is getting better. Meyer had 2 weeks to confuse a defense that is just now starting to get comfortable. They will continue to improve as long as Richt can keep Grantham under wraps.
Bobo is a mixed bag. He falls in love with the pass and abandons a good running game much too often. He needs to learn to exploit what the defenses give him rather than trying to force waht he wants to do.
Overall, I think thay will recover and be in the mix next year with another 10 win season, if cooler heads prevail.

L-Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
2:25 pm

History can provide us some perspective here. When Spurrier came to UF back in the 90’s, his top priority was to beat UGA. We all know he hated UGA because of the beat down we put on him in ‘66, denying him the SEC championship in his Heisman year. That is part of it.

More importantly, Spurrier realized the significance of the game and that the winner has typically gone on to great things. I read where the winner of UGA-UF has gone on to represent the East division 12 of 18 times. (unverified)

Back in the day, UF used to play Auburn week before the UGA game in Jax. First thing Spurrier did was reorganize the schedule to have an open week before the UGA game. Smart.

My criticism is that Coach Richt has not really demonstrated an understanding of the strategic nature of THIS series and displayed a sense of urgency about beating UF. We were lucky in 05 to get into the championship game folks. If we don’t beat UF, odds are against going to ATL.

Gen Neyland

November 2nd, 2010
2:31 pm

Let us reflect on how this blog begins :
“College football is a game of emotion”. True.
From there we have to read in,
Fan reaction is also emotional. True.
And finally,
Facts are facts. Er, not if we can circumvent them, they ain’t. True. Or is that false..?

Kyle

November 2nd, 2010
2:31 pm

Murphy,

Because the only way CP wins a national championship is for Boise to go undefeated and everyone else in the country to lose and for every SEC team (except maybe one) to lose twice. An undefeated Oregon and a 1 loss Bama/Auburn leapfrog boise into the national championship game. Maybe they get lucky this year, but even if they go and they win, i still dont think they get the respect to be considered every year. Pac-10 wouldnt take Boise (which would have made Pac 10 second strongest conference in the country- way above ACC, Big 12, and new Big 10) so they wont be able to be considered in national championship talk every year.

Undefeated Dawgs go to national championship every year. no questions asked (except for that auburn thing- blame that on the BCS)

JB

November 2nd, 2010
2:32 pm

WD……I agree, but he’s kinda let this roster get thin on depth and talent and if next year is 4-6 loses , then that is year 4 of a slide…..I don’t think he can survive it, good man that he is and all…..

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
2:36 pm

Kyle,

So your reasoning is because he wants a National Championship? I disagree with you on this. I just dont see him having that type of ego.I see him as a very patient coach and he believes in Boise and believes he can win one there.

phil g

November 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm

Reading all of these arguments takes me back to the bad old days of Tennessee circa 2005-2008 when the Fulmer debate went full throttle.

The situation is similar and the arguments are identical:
- who would we replace him with?
- making a change is high risk (more risky when you hire a high risk coach like Kiffin, but that is another story)
- look at his great career record
- he’s a good man

Fulmer had a couple of things Richt doesn’t have: Fulmer was a player and long time assistant at Tennessee and he won a national championship as HC.

Things they had in common:
- underperforming assistants, particularly OC and o-line
- growing fan malaise
- uneven record year to year with what should be a talented roster
- lack of team discipline on and off the field
- can’t beat Florida

We made the mistake of hanging on to Fulmer a few year’s too long, I hope y’all make the same mistake and keep Richt around for awhile for the good of Ol’ Rocky Top.

404

November 2nd, 2010
2:46 pm

U – U
G – Get
A – Arrested

has now become…

U – U
G – Get
A – Asphyxiated

Way to represent Grantham.

Fat Alligator and The SEC Gang

November 2nd, 2010
2:48 pm

Tony is right, Richt is the perfect coach and everything is fine with the Georgia Football program.Don’t fire him or Bobo or Grantham. They have all got a keen grasp of what it takes to win in today’s college football environment.Things will get better next season!!! Just have faith. Next year will be awesome!

Now please Georgia fans, Just convince your new AD to keep him.

BAMA dude

November 2nd, 2010
2:53 pm

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.

Absolutely. Undefeated is undefeated. I would take a little issue with the Ingram vs. Newton comparison. Ingram, believe it or not, had a couple of stinkers last year. Richardson stepped up in those games. If Cam ever has a real stinker against any kind of competition Aubie has no prayer. They don’t defend and really don’t block much.

Expletive Deletive to the power of Infinity cubed

November 2nd, 2010
2:54 pm

I am about as aggravated as any Bulldog fan out there. I do however think Coach Richt is a good coach, and a good man. When will you people realize that bad things happen to good people sometime? Get over your HATE and be positive about the opportunities which lie ahead for our beloved Bulldogs. I am not going to bail on them or the coaches, and I am a vested supporter. I tired of losing to florida, SICK AND TIRED of it…but I cant suit up anymore, so all I can do is maintain hope that brighter days will shine upon us. GO DOGS.

BAMA dude

November 2nd, 2010
2:55 pm

We made the mistake of hanging on to Fulmer a few year’s too long, I hope y’all make the same mistake and keep Richt around for awhile for the good of Ol’ Rocky Top.

Right now it looks like they messed up getting rid of him. The book won’t be closed on this story for some years yet.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
3:01 pm

BAMA dude,

Ok I see your point on the Cam/Ingram comparison. You are right-if Cam goes down it could get ugly for Aubie. Hope the Dawgs can at least be physical with them and softn them up a little for yall.

JB

November 2nd, 2010
3:01 pm

Don’t take Derek Dooley lightly……He’s very smart, rare for HC. Don’t know if they will give him the time, but you can see what’s coming from a mile away….After year 3, he’ll have that depleted roster full again and after going 8-4 and losing to Bama, Uf and Dawgs, will be fired, and some one will walk into a loaded roster of juniors and Seniors and go 10-2 and all will say, SEE………Hate it for ole Derek.

Gator hater

November 2nd, 2010
3:02 pm

2-8 is 2-8. our biggesr rival owns us. there are plenty of coaches we could be paying a lot less to have that kind of record.

PHIL

November 2nd, 2010
3:03 pm

I agree that it will be tough to get better next year because of the lack of roster talent and experience. The only thing that could save that is a possible NFL lock out that keeps AJ and Houston in school. HOWEVER. I believe the defense is the side of the ball that will hurt the most. It wasn’t AJ who had over 100 yards rec Sat. It was Orson and T King. If you will go back and look at their high school high light films, I think you would agree that T Kings is more impressive than AJ’s. Marlon Brown will be good. I believe if the defense would just be WHERE they are supposed to be it’d have a better result. That will come with time and repetition.You idiots talk about how bad the defense has played and how bad they played last year. How much better does the DC look if our QB doesn’t give up 4 turn overs?? The DC has a hard time controlling the QB bad decisions or a TE with brick hands. Just sayin’. If you don’t believe me go ask Willie how those turn overs by Cox and Co. cost him his job . Saban said he would hire Grantham if UGA had hired Smart. That’s good enough for me. If Grantham had been on Sabans staff when he gave the choke sign, Saban and all the AL fans would have been proud. Someone at the AJC must go out and find morons and pay them to post on the UGA blogs. We scored 31 points and you want to say the OC did a bad job? How many points do you think it should take to win a game? If the defense falls on that fumble inside the 10 we win this game and you people are talking like the coaches have righted the ship. Idiots. Morons.

Speaking of morons anyone who thinks Boise State or TCU is worthy of the national championship just because they don’t lose a game in a year has lost their ever loving mind. UGA could beat either one of these teams 9 out of 10 times this coming Saturday with the bunch they have. The talent level of these teams is about that of a KY. Really who are you trying to kid. I hope they both play each other in a bowl game like last year. That way they both can say they went two whole years and never played anyone. I can’t believe that they allow them to play in the FCS. They should be playing people like James Madison. They beat Va Tech, too.

JB

November 2nd, 2010
3:04 pm

The road to Atlanta is through Jacksonville, and we break down there every year.

JB

November 2nd, 2010
3:05 pm

Or unless we do the usual, what for someone else to beat them…LOL

JB

November 2nd, 2010
3:05 pm

That’s S/B “wait” for someone to beat them…..

Macclenny_dawg

November 2nd, 2010
3:06 pm

Tony,
Now a question for you. If you was a SEC president and you had a choice to pick any coach in the SEC to run your program who would it be?
I think your 1st two choices would look like this:
1. Saban
2. Meyer
3. forget the rest no need to continue
If you would rather have Meyer no need to continue because as long as Meyer is there we can’t even win the SEC east!!! So might as well go try to bring in some up and coming coach and see if he can overtake them!!! Richt has had his chances now its time for Georgia to quit acting like its coach so cool and calm and bring someone with fire and ice in there blood!!!! Not 1 time this week did any of ya’ll bring up the fact that Meyer ran up the score on us last year!!! WHY??? Because to Richt he would have downplayed it!!! BUT they were still commenting on Meyer not getting over UGA storming the field 2 years ago!!!! ENOUGH SAID!!!! 1 more Year for Richt to right the ship anything less than a SEC championship and Richt can hit the door!!!!! AND THE ONLY REASON IS OUR SCHEDULE IS SET UP NICELY NEXT YEAR AND A NEW HEAD COACH COULDN’T COME IN HERE AND WIN THE SEC AFTER TRYING TO INSTALL HIS SYSTEM THE 1ST YEAR!!! 2012 OUR SCHEDULE IS BAD!!! FIRE BOBO AND START CALLING THE PLAYS RICHT!!!!!

KaliDogg

November 2nd, 2010
3:08 pm

Texas-Oklahoma, Michigan-Ohio State, USC-UCLA, Auburn-Alabama, FL-FSU, maybe FSU-Miami, GA-FL… and a few more “classic” rivalries.

And the question: If [Texas, Michigan, USC, Auburn, FL] was 2-8 against [Oklahoma, Ohio State, UCLA, Alabama, FSU], what do you think you’d be hearing out of those fans?

And, uh, did we all forget… that UGA was FAVORED in the Florida game? Since when are UGA fans thankful for “almost” beating Florida?

Let’s see what happens at Auburn. I remember what Herschel’s mother said, about not letting him play football when he was growing up. She was afraid he’d hurt the other children. I’m concerned about our players. We’re about to play a real SEC football team.

If UGA end up hoping to beat GT to save their season, that will say it all….

I reserve judgment, but the brew is boiling. And the heat is well deserved, IMO.

JB

November 2nd, 2010
3:10 pm

Why don’t we run run the offense like were 3 TD’s behind the WHOLE game !!!!!!!!!!!! Geez.
When Bobo HAS TO get aggressive, we move and score…….When he calls that PERCENTAGE FOOTBALL crap, we punt a lot !!!!!!!!!

Macclenny_dawg

November 2nd, 2010
3:14 pm

JB
RIGHT ON!!! BUT unfortunately this coaching staff is way to conservative!!! All these people who want to keep Richt just can’t remember when he 1st got here he was aggressive in play calling!!! In all phases of the game!! How many punt blocks the 1st 4 years Richt was here and how many since!!Believe it or not there is no comparison!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

November 2nd, 2010
3:18 pm

MURPHY, ALL coaches are ego driven.

Field Marshall Neyland, true.

Chris Rainey's Victims

November 2nd, 2010
3:20 pm

I don’t want to die

Texas Bulldog

November 2nd, 2010
3:21 pm

I love to see “Expects” write. I was at the Ga/Fla game and while I wish we would of won we did get our monies worth. Coach Richt is 94–32 and 7–2 in bowls since coming to UGA. A lot of teams/fans would love to have that record. My question to all the “Expects” who are going to hire to replace Coach Richt ???????

No Morals Meyer

November 2nd, 2010
3:23 pm

I had to play him
I didn’t want to die

Jus' Kiddin'

November 2nd, 2010
3:30 pm

@Texas Bulldog

You can’t replace Coach Richt. There is no man on this Earth who can coach up a team quite like he does.