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

18 out of 21

November 2nd, 2010
8:27 am

Georgia’s problems start at the top. Richt doesn’t have the “it” factor to win in the SEC. Grantham is a punk doing what he did to the Florida punter. I guess Richt will talk to him and get this thing turned around….LOL It would not surprise me to see a player doing that, but coach who is suppose to lead by example—PLEASE. Ga. has a top recruiting class each year but can’t win or compete with the big boys. It has to be coaching and leadership. Georgia has neither.

Golden Parachute

November 2nd, 2010
8:27 am

Would replacing Coach Richt turn out more like what happened at Tennessee, or what happened at Auburn?

If you have a loser attitude, then take the loser option. Anything else would be illogical.

Red Panties

November 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

There is just something fundamently wrong Richt. He is a grown man and the head coach at the states largest school, but he can’t call his AD Greg, Richt calls him Mr. McGarity, PAleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze. Now he must fire Grantham for cause, but won’t and people wonder why their is no discilplin on Georgia’s team.

Again, Bobby Bowden had it right, “Mark is just too nice a person to be a head coach.”
Georgia needs a hard a$$ coach that demands disciplin.

2008 injuries

November 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

Every team has injuries, but sometimes you have an abnormal amount, a once every 25 years amount.. There were something like 20 season ending injuries on that 08 team, and they were heavily concentrated on the offensive line and at linebacker. NO team could have had that many players go down and won an SEC championship. It ain’t happening. Tony had that one right.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

November 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

Remember to vote OUT KIng Roy Barnes. We don’t need another trial lawyer running our state – again. He was a disaster last time – running our state in to the ground during good times. He is not governor material.

Barkin'Dog

November 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

Golden Parachute – agreed about the QB. But these teams had established defenses too. This was a rebuilding year at UGA. All I’m saying is Richt deserves one more year to make it happen. I’m as disappointed as the next fan, but he doesn’t deserve to be fired after this season. I’m tired of hearing that nonsense. If next year turns out about the same as this and last year, then I too will vote for a change.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

November 2nd, 2010
8:31 am

Red panties – you have the tendencies of a pervert. I just though you should know.

Buckeye

November 2nd, 2010
8:32 am

Why should he stay?

So “Birmingham Bowl” Bruce can follow him to Birmingham!

HA!

Golden Parachute

November 2nd, 2010
8:33 am

@Barkin’Dog

I disagree. Next year, Mark Richt will still deserve “one more year”. Wait and see.

3rdN8

November 2nd, 2010
8:33 am

2008 injuries

You are correct. Bama had a similar season in 2005. Shula had a good team, but was simply snake bit by injuroes. Saban is dealing with many of those issues this year.

KeepMarkRicht!

November 2nd, 2010
8:34 am

As a fan of SEC football and more importantly a graduated of a conference opponent of Georgia’s, I want the Reverend Richt to stay. Now that I’ve taken my petty shot let me say this about Richt. He’s an outstanding recruiter and a great offensive mind. Georgia Football is caked with talent like no other team in college football today. A.J. Green plays like the next Michael Irvin. But his loyalty to his mediocre assistant coaches are going to cost him his job. When John Chavis left Tennessee, he should have jumped over the moon to hire him. And yes there were grumblings then about Georgia’s defensive coordinator and Richt ignored a chance to make a non sexy but hugely important change in his staff and as a result another season was lost to mediocre results. It’s been obvious for some time now that he needs to hire a new offensive coordinator. This is a move that needs to be made when the season is over. If not then next year will Richt’s last year as the coach of the Georgia Bulldogs.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:34 am

Tony will conveniently leave off any and all facts in order to perpetrate his Mark Richt apologist agenda. Tony refuses to let the TRUTH & FACTS get in the way of his Con Man agenda.

Saint Mark

November 2nd, 2010
8:36 am

Richt is a complete fraud and a charlatan. Fire him and get him out of Athens now,

CF is Great!

November 2nd, 2010
8:37 am

Tony, no mention of the most embarrassing loss in recent Ga history to a terrible Colorado team…..with AJ Green! You make it sound like Ga had not lost a game with him in the lineup before the Fla game.

Gen Neyland

November 2nd, 2010
8:37 am

TB : As I read your words, it dawns on me you would make an excellent defense lawyer. You lay out the facts and no one can dispute the puddings proof on CMR’s successes. As far as addressing Tennessee’s win over Kentucky, circa 2007, as a what if moment that went against UGA, it would seem more appropriate to state for the record that had UGA beaten Tennessee that year, they would have played the Dome as an undefeated team…

Insofar as CMR’s purpose for taking over from Donnan, the goal was to beat the likes of Florida and Tennessee regularly and win SECC’s. In that regard, you win some, you lose some. Two of the ‘Win some’ catagory can be linked to Donnan to a degree. The ‘Lose some’ catagory is where you’ll find the questions on this matter…but I gotta ask, ” What does Mrs. CFB think..?”

Golden Parachute

November 2nd, 2010
8:37 am

@3rdN8

Bama had 2 injuries in 2005 that crippled them – Prothro and Closner. The other 50 or so injuries that every team has every year tend to go unnoticed. Which difference makers did Georgia lose in 2008 that are equivalent to the 2 major injuries that Bama sustained in 2005?

howard

November 2nd, 2010
8:38 am

He gets only one more year in my book and he has a number of areas where he needs to show improvement in his performance. #1…the conduct of his players OFF the field must improve remarkably. This is achieved by having clear and appropriate discipline for infractions and communicating these to players in no uncertain terms. Players must be accountable for their conduct. I expect UGA players to set an example for others to follow. #2…prepare to win ON the field. I use the word “prepare” on purpose because a team with all the talent of Georgia needs only to be properly prepared to achieve success. #3…improve game decision-making by coaching staff for which Richt is responsible. In other words, Richt, who is extremely well compensated, should be held accountable for results next year. He has been given the resources and the talent and the support…does HE have the will to win.

3rdN8

November 2nd, 2010
8:38 am

@ KeepMarkRicht!

Agree re: Chavis. Year in, and year out, there isn’t a better DC in football. I was really surprised AU didn’t make a play for him.

GT Crow

November 2nd, 2010
8:38 am

I’m sure if Mark Richt were to be fired at the end of this season, or next, every Tech fan in the world would be on cloud 9, b/c really… who would be his replacement – and do you honestly think whomever that person may be will do a better job? He’s done wonderful things for UGAg’s program and I, for one, would love for all the drooling pooches to fire a 10 win coach because of a couple seasons of mediocrity. UGA is not, and has never been the superpower they think they are/deserve to be. Welcome to reality – ain’t it a bitch?

Red Panties

November 2nd, 2010
8:39 am

Flo-Ri-Duh!

Since you are a bulldog, what is perverted about not wanting a coach that can’t beat the Gators?????

Roll Dawgs

November 2nd, 2010
8:39 am

Analyze This

November 2nd, 2010
8:39 am

Tony will conveniently leave off any and all facts in order to perpetrate his Mark Richt apologist agenda. Tony refuses to let the TRUTH & FACTS get in the way of his Con Man agenda.

A perfect analysis!

Red Panties

November 2nd, 2010
8:40 am

Perverted, I get it now, me being found in the AD lap—–I guess you are right.

joe

November 2nd, 2010
8:40 am

Yes Tony and if “if” was a “fifth” we’d all have a Merry Christmas…With UGA it’s always “if this had happened” or “if that had happened.” With all the 4 and 5 star talent in this state that UGA supposedly signs year after year, you’d think they’d have 2 NCs and 5 SEC titles over the past 10 years. They are constantly failing to meet expectations. Every summer, we have to sit through blind homer UGA fans who lay their claims based on “Phil Steele says we have the 2nd best offense in the country. Phil Steel has picked us 3rd in the nation for 2010.” Every year these claims are made and every year they fall on their face…and end up in Shreveport or as in the case this year, no bowl at all.

SadDawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:41 am

What about the Colorado game, Tony, which was AJ’s first game back?

As for “trending up” comment, we beat UT, Vandy, and UK, then lost to UF. So because we stopped our 4-game losing streak with patsies, UGA is “trending up?” You really look at a small sample to determine which way a team is trending.

Oklahoma and UGA had identical, pitiful 8-5 records last season. Their records so far this season? OK is 71. UGA is 4-5. Now, Oklahoma is “trending up” , after beating Colorado 43-10, by the way.

4-5 is not trending up.

I would never be for firing Richt. I was hoping he would admit to himself that he has let UGA slip from prominence to being never mentioned on ESPN, unless an arrest occurs. It’s depressiing to see this, but I’ll pull for UGA, and Richt, as I always do, and I guess go down with the ship.

3rdN8

November 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

@ Golden Parachute

I don’t know who Closner is. I do know by season’s end that in addition to Prothro (see AJ Greene), Bama had lost three starters on the OL, and was starting a third string RB. Players had to take a number to see a trainer.

Spokesman for the SEC East

November 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

Tony if you actually saw the game, the Florida Offensive and Defensive lines were noticably bigger than UGA. It is one of two things, recruiting or Strength and Conditioning. One of those two clowns needs to go.

bdawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

Tony,

My concern with coach Richt is the problems start with him. We can change coaches, S&C and whatever else he wants, but until he changes, this will not be fixed. I have compared him to Wade Phillips, players coach, relaxed enviroment just show up and do your job. He is doing a couple of things this year that speak volumes for his coaching style. One is a former player telling the team before the game what it means to be Georgia Bulldog. Isn’t that the coaches job? Tell the players whats expected and then demand it on the field. The other is no shaving for turnovers. If UGA wins turnover battle they don’t have to shave that week. These are gimmicks. How bout coaching your players what to do, demand that they do it, or put the next guy in, period.

The last thing that shows me he has to change is the off field problems showing up on the field. An example, is in his radio show he says they coach to cover the ball in traffic and try and scoop it in space. For whatever reason players didn’t listen in the game when he told them don’t get arrested too many did what they wanted. He has to get the players attention some how. If they won’t, play the backup. I would rather play all freshman and lose but have a group of guys in the future like Murray, who understand what it means to a Georgia Bulldog than a bunch of guys who want to do it their way. If he stays as coach, change has to start with Mark Richt. If not he will not be the coach in 2011 and we will have another year invested in failure.

Saint Mark

November 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

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?

Golden Parachute

November 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

@GT Crow

Well… If Tech fans want him to stay, then I suppose there’s no point in discussing the matter any further. Tech fans, after all, know just what it takes to field a winning football program.

Charlie Bama

November 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

I agree with your line of thinking, Tony. Tolerance is a virtue in this case. Although I will say that the often iffy relationship between fans and ‘the head coach’ brings interesting dynamics with it. Namely, the relationship grows stale: The coach gets tired of the fans and their demands, and the fans get tired of the coach, and his tin ear to their demands. Tuberville-Auburn is a good example. This pattern seems to surface after about nine years for successful coaches –about six years for unsuccessful or middlin’ coaches. If CMR eventually goes, it will be because the relationship got old, not because he’s not a winner (probably not, anyway).

crossdawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:43 am

One more year is MAX if things don’t get a lot better. Booboo needs to go now!

Harvey

November 2nd, 2010
8:45 am

The entire coaching staff should be fired. Let’s start over next year with coaches who know what they’re doing AND have some personal integrity.

Excuses

November 2nd, 2010
8:45 am

mark richt and bobby cox should thank god everyday that they live in a media market where the ‘journalists’ will make excuses for their under achievement. and, the lemmings (fans) will follow.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:46 am

Mr. Con Man

with Tony Barnhart

SadDawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:47 am

13-11. That’s UGA’s record the past 24 games. 4-5 in the past nine games. Oh yeah, that’s an upward trend!

Blue

November 2nd, 2010
8:47 am

HairyDawg; I am NOT a Bama fan…in fact I hate them. But tell me, please…how in the world does Mt Cody making two HUGE blocks on kicks because he destroyed the blockers in front of him equal “luck”??? I’m not saying there is not luck involved, but you sure used a p_ss-poor example to try to illustrate your point. And have you even noticed that teams who are better coached seem to get ‘luckier’?

Observe & Report

November 2nd, 2010
8:47 am

It’s funny to hear all of the comments that UGA should have beat UF this year because they had one of their worst teams in years. Well, guess what? So does UGA. You all ingore the fact that UGA is not very good this year. Add 4 turnovers to that and you get beat period!

Gen Neyland

November 2nd, 2010
8:47 am

Barkin’Dog : Talk about rebuilding, I would have loved to have had 80% of your 2010 roster as a rebuilding platform up Atop Rocky…From my seat in the nose bleed section with a major in What If’s and a minor in Hindsight, CMR maybe should have introduced Murray to the SEC last year, got the lumps out of the way and forged ahead in 2010.

Ole Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:48 am

Where do you people get the idea we have such great talent? People keep saying that, but I don’t get it. I sure don’t agree with it. FL, ALA, AU, LSU all have much better talent than us and always have. Our previous success was due to heart, emotion, and tenacity, and we don’t have that anymore. Like a golfer friend of mine tole me, “if you can putt, you can do it with a pine limb”. If you are real football player, it doesn’t matter who the coach is. With the exception of Houston, Dent, Trint, Jones, AJ, and that little qb, we have no players. That’s the problem.

SadDawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

So, Tony, if Richt lost those first 4 games because AJ was out, will 0-12 be acceptable next season when AJ is playing on Sundays?

3rdN8

November 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

Mark Richt is facing many of the issues that his mentor faced at FSU. But Richt doesn’t have the capital of claiming he invented football at UGA. I don’t see him surviving this one….unless…UGA beats AU next week.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

Mr Con-Man,

How much is Richt paying you to write this drivel?

pcidoc

November 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

Couldn’t agree more, Tony. CMR will get it turned around. He knows things can’t stay status quo. He’s won championshis before (SEC @ UGA and national championships @ FSU). I would be surprised if CMR doesn’t have us back in Atlanta in the next 3 years. Replacing a hedcoach is risky not only in wins/losses but recruiting , too. You can point to Chisick(sp?) @ Auburn, but if he hadn’t lucked into Cam Newton, a once in a decade type plyer, Auburn would have lost several games.

Spokesman for the SEC East

November 2nd, 2010
8:50 am

3rdN8, but UGA did invent football at least that is what there fans think.

Jim

November 2nd, 2010
8:50 am

geaux tigers – it is NOT 30 arrests at UGA, it is 30 arrests in 5 years under Urban at UFL you idiot.

Mike

November 2nd, 2010
8:50 am

I agree … as disturbed and drained I am from the Florida loss, I completely agree. However, ‘11 has to be the bottom line year. And the bottom line must be in the fight if not winning the east, and a win or else against Florida … i don’t care if we are undefeated going to Jacksonville. If we lose that game, that’s it. Bottom line. Nothing else matters. That game has cost us a lot … even a national championship in ‘02. I’m tired of getting beat by the Gators. If he can’t get it done, Gruden can.

Spokesman for the SEC East

November 2nd, 2010
8:51 am

pcidoc, that a way boy, we dont want him fired.

SadDawg

November 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

I think Joe D is right on the money . . . . .dude!

Curious George

November 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

If Coach Richt doesn’t stay at Georgia, where will all the semi-literate, uncouth THUGZ from broken ghetto homes he recruits, enables, empowers and gives free room, board & “education” to go to school to eventually get those Affirmative-Action jobs for which they aren’t even qualified?