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

huckhound

November 2nd, 2010
9:56 am

Magic number for Richt is 9: That’s the number of games he MUST win in 2011 to remain Head Coach of the ‘Dawgs. Nine or more, he stays. Eight or less, he goes. McGarrity can justify his decision easily under those scenarios, and I think the Bulldog Nation will reasonably accept the decision. I don’t remember any sadness at the firing of Goff or Donnan. If and when Richt is fired, there will be sadness. I hope he can turn it around. Go ‘Dawgs!

Phil

November 2nd, 2010
9:57 am

Amen DAWG 1!!!!!!!!

Spokesman for the SEC East

November 2nd, 2010
9:58 am

Trey Burton is better as a true freshman than Tebow was. Tebow only came in on short yardage situations. Burton put the team on his back as a true freakin Freshman. How is that for something to think about Dawg fans?

SECWasteManagement

November 2nd, 2010
9:58 am

@ Tony is a fool

No way in hell you can tell me he is worse than Schultz haha. See article about the “Grantham Choke” where there are 1,000+ comments of UGA, FT, Aub, and UF fans agreeing and saying he is a moron.

New Blood

November 2nd, 2010
10:00 am

We need a change!!!!!

McDawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:00 am

Tyson has done a good job but we really need a NG–who is going to step up at OLB??-C. Washington is good but he is not J. Houston

there is a chance that Boykin bolts

the offense is in good shape even w/ A.J., and Boling leaving

we really need to close the deal on these GA H.S. guys who are uncommitted if we are going to “turn this thing around”

i think CMR should be back but one more year of not being ready coming out of the gate and i think we will need a change

the Mississippi St. game was the only game this year where i thought we played poorly-as far as performance goes i’ll take this team over last year’s anyday

spuga

November 2nd, 2010
10:00 am

my biggest issue with CMR is that he is essentially the “CEO” of the UGA football team and he has broken one of the all time rules “slow to hire, quick to fire” Coach Tuberville was fired for the same reason, he to was a great coach, but didn’t surround himself with the correct staff. CMR stuck with Willy Martinez too long, and looks like its the same story with Bobo (at least with play calling). As stated in this article Hiring and Firing has to be done without emotion- you can’t do that when you hire your buddies.

ct

November 2nd, 2010
10:01 am

I cant see how Richt keeps his job. 8-5 last year, 7-6 this year at best. Does Georgia not have aspirations to be an elite program anymore? Would Florida settle for this type of success? I highly doubt it. Get rid of Richt and throw wads of cash at Mullin.

BoomerSooner

November 2nd, 2010
10:01 am

Willie Martinez was a SCAPEGOAT for Saint Richt. He’s coaching true freshmen in the 2ndary at OU and they are doing just fine. Thanks for “firing” him.

Lake Oconee Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:02 am

Coach Richt should continue as UGA coach. So what the Gators won but remember the Dawgs are young. A great Freshman QB, young running backs, young DB so look to next year and the next. Mr. H. Walker was right in his assestment of Coach Richt, he need to get respect, get tough on the player who are “thuds” who can’t follow the Dawg rules. Remember kids love discipline if they feel it is fair. They want to be discipline if they have character and that is what it takes to win!!! Coach you are doing an excellent job with the program keep doing what you are doing and set rule and win respect. God bless you and the DAWGS. GO DAWGS.

Tony the Homer

November 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

So glad your pathetic team is going through this. I love seeing you in chaos.

SadDawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

SECWasteManagement,

Shultz got over 1000 hits on that posting?

If so, he’s not a fool. He probably got a raise. . .

Gatorfan

November 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

Bottom Line: With Richt, you can usually expect except for the last two years to beat other teams most of the time and lose to Florida most of the time.

With someone else, wanna bet that the losing gets worse to other teams and maybe better/stays the same w/ Florida. UGA is better w/ Richt against everyone else except Florida. Keep him

Phil

November 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

Somebody suggested hiring Mike Leach to replace Bobo. While I agree Leach is a loose cannon, he is an offensive guru. Might not be a bad idea. I think we all can agree Bozo needs to go. I think Richt can save himself with such a move.

LawDawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:04 am

BarkinDawg – Absolutely I’m a Dawg. However, I often find myself envious of many other team’s RBs and safeties. True the OL has not performed to the level we all expected. Is that Searels fault? But, I swear we have the slowest 1-2 RBs in the conference. Would be great if they lowered the wood on someone but that is often not the case. Is this a sign that our speed & conditioning program is out of whack or are we not recruiting the right guys?

producer

November 2nd, 2010
10:05 am

Richt should have been axed after the Colorado game. He is an embarrassment as a coach and his record over the last two years is horrid. After all of these loses I listed to the sports radio talk shows and all I heard was what a great “effort” was made by his players, their “courage” displayed on the field. What a bunch of rot! He has too many thugs on his team that he tolerates, He doesn’t have any kind of passion and is too comfortable with losses! Get the hook and bring in someone who will scare the bats**t out of these lazy, mediocre players. All I hear after losses is a group Kumbaya moment! I ask this: Would Bear Bryant or Woody Hayes or Vince Lombardi have put up with this record, this uninspired performance? Of course not! These are not adults he has playing for him. They are boys and should be treated as such. Discipline, discipline, discipline! Make them scared to even think about failure. Georgia has not been a real tier one team in decades, despite an occasional SEC title. And they wouldn’t have ever been a real contender if it had not been for the Herschel glory years. Enough mediocrity. Bring in a ball busting coach and give him free rein!

Phil

November 2nd, 2010
10:06 am

producer,

I keep preaching Jim Harbaugh. I think he is exactly the kind of coach you are referring to.

Abnerish

November 2nd, 2010
10:08 am

I have faith that the ball will start bouncing our way once again. You have to admit that during Richt’s first 5 years, their were an awful lot of favorable bounces that allowed us to win games we probably should’ve lost. The biggest one for me was in 2002, South Carolina fumbled on the 2 as they were going in for the winning TD, if that doesn’t happen, we never win the SEC in 2002. Faith will be rewarded. (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!!)

CDAWG

November 2nd, 2010
10:08 am

Boomer, no one has said that Martinez is not a great secondary coach, he just didn’t do well being the D coordinator.

rebeldawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:08 am

I was for the preacher man being gone before last year.You said it all look at the record against the gators.

Dawg47

November 2nd, 2010
10:10 am

Meyer, Saban, Mullen and Chizik all have less tenure at their current spot than Richt at GA; I would say that the SEC is going by GA at a rapid pace; They are the Kentucky of the SEC now; the real issue is GA has top recruiting classes every year, but something happens once they get to Athens. Are they all of a sudden becoming not top recruits or are they not being coached up and being prepared to compete in the SEC? I would say the later has happened.
I think GA had their athletes in a position to win last Sat against FL but they didn’t make plays when they really needed to. But Richt has to be accountable for the times this year when they were not prepared; not to mention all of the big plays they give up; It’s time for Richt to step it up or step aside!

3rdN8

November 2nd, 2010
10:11 am

On a side note.

Does anyone understand the computer rankings? I liken them to airline ticket prices.

In Jeff Sagarin’s poll, Auburn is ranked sixth behind a one loss Stanford, Missouri, and Nebraska. Bama is ranked ninth behind a one loss Oklahoma. Boise State is ranked seventh, and they’ve only played seven games (never mind what seven).

Somethng is terribly amiss here.

Gator Man

November 2nd, 2010
10:12 am

Bob: Those contractors that clean up after the game compliments of the Dems money to help create jobs”””

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
10:12 am

Phil 10:03 Post

Seems like every year Richt can save his job by replacing a coach. At what point does this excuse wear out?

2/8 and 18/21

November 2nd, 2010
10:12 am

haha bunch of chokers.
that hand around grandma’s neck was him choking. dumb retard coach.

CDAWG

November 2nd, 2010
10:13 am

LawDawg, when we had the ball off to our RB’s they are usually 30 yards deep and as someone said yesterday it takes them 2.5 days to get back to the line of scrimmage. I would like to see some quicker handoffs with the backs a little closer. It looks like the RB’s are waiting for an invitation to start running once they do get the ball. If they would just freaking RUN!!!

CDAWG

November 2nd, 2010
10:13 am

albert

November 2nd, 2010
10:13 am

Gators own uga, Gator bait!!!!!!!

vtdawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:14 am

Wow if we all get together and cry about it maybe we can change the rain defecit in Georgia.
Why do we expect a man to do more than he can do. CMR is an elite coach and everybody can give up on thinking Kirby or Will may be coming back, then again aren’t we looking to replace a coach with people who are under what we consider to be elite. I know not what goes on in a headcoaches job nor do I want to, but I bet the last thing he thinks about is what a bunch of people write about him on these sites. I am and will always be a dawg fan, remember this is the S.E.C. The Super Elite Conference, teams should struggle . If fans think we can’t compete then maybe we should petition to play in the ACC . Just my opinion , I am tired of hearing about firing a man who has done a great job! Remember programs get better and recruiting goes to those who win and get national exposure , maybe we should be helping our team keep the greatest talent in the nation in state. To use scripture “train a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it”. GO DAWGS!!!

and another thing...

November 2nd, 2010
10:16 am

Thank you Tony…you are right on.

GTBob

November 2nd, 2010
10:16 am

Richt’s problem isn’t that he he is not a good coach, it’s that he will never be a great coach. UGA always gets top recruits, has great facilities, and generates a lot of money. Not to mention how many people attend the university just because of the football team. There is a higher level of expectation at UGA then most schools and Richt is not living up to it.

Phil

November 2nd, 2010
10:16 am

MURPHY

I agree 100% with you. But I just don’t believe Adams or McGarrity have the guts to replace Richt. So keep going with the band aid approach and Richt can stretch it out another 5-10 years.

Dave

November 2nd, 2010
10:17 am

Top 5 recruiting classes, high paid coaching staff great facilities, tradition……The most underachieving program in the nation. Can anyone argue with that? Really?

Donnie Doldorf

November 2nd, 2010
10:17 am

You know, good or bad here there is just too much being raised about Coach Richt. Unfortunately it’s just time to move on when this much attention is being poured into his job status on a weekly basis.

SEC Least

November 2nd, 2010
10:18 am

Hey Tony, if you think Georgia has better players, then do you think Colorado could win the SEC Least?

Driving Ms Dooley

November 2nd, 2010
10:19 am

I’m sorry Tony but I didn’t read the article. I’m thinking this is an article that you write every month or so for a good while now and it pretty much has the same stuff in it. You know, he’s a nice guy, bla bla bla.

I’ll just give you my same stuff.

CMR hasn’t gotten worse–The rest of the SEC has gotten better.

It’s capitalism at its finest. There’s enough TV money now that every SEC school (ok, except Vandy which should be in the ACC) can attract a stellar head coach and very good assistants.

But wouldn’t it be wild if CMR ends up with the same record as Derek (Field Marshal Rommell) Dooley. Dooley’s new starting QB is too skinny to play basketball and he has more walk-ons and freshman playing than upper classman.

I just hope my prediction doesn’t pan out–That Dooley turns the team around by year three and CMR is still hanging on. Then, by year 5, Georgia sees a better alternative to CMR and goes after it’s favorite son. Well, maybe by then, our favorite son will come home to save the day. A notable #18–the only player-coach in the NFL. That would be interesting.

SEC Least

November 2nd, 2010
10:20 am

Has a Monster Truck show or Gun & Knife show replaced the SEC Championship this year? Is Phil Fulmer’s Fish Fry still on for that weekend?

Gator hater

November 2nd, 2010
10:21 am

2-8 is 2-8! the man has lost to some bad Uf teams. spurrier’s last year. lost to zook twice! 2002 we couldnt score more than one touchdown and had the best team in the country – gues who was calling plays?

Rick

November 2nd, 2010
10:22 am

Coach Richt has been at UGA over 10 years now. He has accomplished a lot during that time and is now one of the highest paid coaches in the country. He knows he would have little trouble finding a HC job somewhere else if he leaves UGA. Let’s face it, he is human and has become complacent. He still wants to win, but is not sure it is worth the tough decisions that he will need to make to win big. That is not unexpected given the relationships with his assistants and Richt’s personality.

bruce mac

November 2nd, 2010
10:24 am

Like it or not Coach Richt will most likely get another year. The problem now becomes he can show improvement in 2011 by going to the Pizza Bowl. Then what do you do? Forget the record, forget the collateral, McGarity needs to decide if he is the man for the long term and if he is move on and if not pull the trigger. That is what we are paying him to do and I support him either way.

3rdN8

November 2nd, 2010
10:25 am

“CMR hasn’t gotten worse–The rest of the SEC has gotten better. ”

Have to agree. I’ve followed SEC football for longer than I care to admit. I’ve never seen better coaching staffs (top to bottom) than I see in this league at present. There just isn’t any weeks off in conference play.

If ANY fan base thinks their team will dominate every year, then they’re in for a rude awakening.

I have no answer as to why the SEC East is so lackluster (USC on Oct. 9 being the exception)this year, but am willing to bet that pendulum will swing.

Illogical & Weak SEC Chanter

November 2nd, 2010
10:26 am

Looks like another year when Georgia will have to try and take credit for the accomplishments of their rivals. How many of them will be chanting “SEC” while watching their rivals in better bowls. Hopefully they have listened to you Tony about how this is not only illogical, but weak.

cjdtech

November 2nd, 2010
10:27 am

What if Richt was 9-1 against Florida and 2-8 against Tech? I think he would still be in Athens next year.

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

Phil,

After Bobo-Who will be left to save Richt’s job?

Figured it out!

November 2nd, 2010
10:29 am

After reading all of these comments, I think it’s safe to say that if we just hire all of the best coaches and recruit all of the best players, we’ll win all of our games from now on!! These people on here are geniuses!!!!

A Poem for Mark

November 2nd, 2010
10:29 am

nmdawg

November 2nd, 2010
10:29 am

If Coach Richt is to be retained, which I believe he should, I think NOW is the time for the new athletic director to step up and say, without hesitation, that Richt will be back. We need to quell the negative rumors and speculation. If he hedged his remarks with “assuming we can rework the rest of the coaching staff” to his support, that would be even better!

ceph

November 2nd, 2010
10:30 am

I almost vomit when I listen to you on the programs you appear on. You suck up to these coaches and act as if you have a red phone to their office. You are always saying I talked to this coach or that coach and he told me yada, yada, yada. Get over it Barnhart, you are one of the worst journalist (and i use this term loosely) that I have ever read or listened to. Richt is doing nothing but stealing from the fans and UGA. We are paying him three million dollars a year for chopped liver. He is nothing but an excuse maker and an ALILIAR, with him it is always “we are going to turn this thing around”. It is ALWAYS next year, when is next year supposed to come??????

meh

November 2nd, 2010
10:30 am

I think we need more trick plays.

bruce mac

November 2nd, 2010
10:31 am

And another year for you ACC fans to lick your wounds and talk about UGA. How pitiful you lackies have become. SEC has six teams in Top 25 and ACC has noone in Top 20. ACC really should give up football and concentrate on the minor sports where you have a chance.