What the Bulldog Nation wants to hear from Mark Richt

 Sometime soon Mark Richt is going to have his end of the year press conference. I would suggest that the head coach at Georgia have that presser sooner rather than later because, to be perfectly candid about it, he has reached a crossroads in his leadership of the football program in Athens. Georgia finished the 2010 season with a 6-7 record after a-less-than-inspiring performance against UCF in the Liberty Bowl.

No, let’s don’t choose our words carefully here. Let’s call it what it really was: It was a lousy performance. Georgia looked like a team that didn’t want to be there and at 6-6, maybe the players DIDN’T want to be there. But since they were there and since the University committed itself to play the game and provide programming for its television partner, it falls upon the head coach to demand that the guys who wear the uniform representing the state university at least play hard. And Georgia did not play hard against UCF.

Mark Richt will be back for his 11th season at Georgia and he has earned the right to fix what is wrong. And right now there is a lot that is wrong with the football program at Georgia. He needs to figure out exactly what is wrong and tell everybody exactly how he plans to fix it.

Then he needs to fix it–now.

I would not presume to speak for the people of the Bulldog Nation. But I am going to suggest that these are just a few of the things they would like to hear from their head coach in the very near future:

 

**–That he loves being the head football coach Georgia and is passionate about its success: Georgia is like any major football playing school in the South. Its people care deeply about the success of the team and are invested, both emotionaly and financially, in the program. And it pains fans to think that they care more than the players and the coaches. Of course Richt cares about his work and the success of Georgia. Just have a five-minute conversation with the man and you understand that. But here is where Richt, a man of deep faith and a belief in the balance of life (both admirable qualities), needs to step outside of his comfort zone. Georgia people want passion and they want a sense of urgency when things are not going well. I believe Richt feels these things but has not done a good job of communicating it to the Georgia people.

**–That recruiting is going to get better: Here is where Richt as a head coach and Georgia as a staff has to look in the mirror and be willing to face the truth.  The fact is that outside of A.J. Green, Justin Houston, and the two kickers, there weren’t a lot of players at Georgia who could start for Alabama. (I’m going to use Alabama and Florida as measuring sticks, for obvious reasons).  The running backs (Caleb King, Washaun Ealey), for all the hype coming out of high school, continue to be very average. The offensive line, for all the talent and depth that was supposed to be there, has underachieved for three years. The defense was in transition and was about what we thought it would be. It’s not fair to judge after just one year in Todd Grantham’s system. But in other areas,  either the players were not as good as everybody thought or they haven’t been coached very well.  Richt needs to figure out which it is and address it. Georgia needs better players and a lot more of them.

**–That players are going to be disciplined on and off the field: I hear about this more than any single thing other than wins and losses. Georgia people are tired of reading about knucklehead stuff that keeps players off the practice field and out of games. How hard can it can be, they want to know, to make players understand that their life is pretty simple: Go to class, go to practice, study, play in the games, and behave the rest of the time. When players show a lack of discipline on or off the field they need to be punished publicly and the punishment needs to be firm. Again, Nick Saban at Alabama seems to have a handle on this. I’ll bet Will Muschamp will get a handle on it at Florida in short order. When it comes to this area, a healthy fear of the head coach is not necessarily a bad thing.

**–That players are going to be developed and will get better under his watch: You don’t build a football program on players  who perceive themselves to be great  because they had a bunch of stars by their name coming out of high school. Of course you have to have the elite athlete, and Georgia doesn’t have enough of those. But you also have to have good players who will work to become great and average players who will work to become good. You can’t have a roster of guys who think they can get by on talent alone. You have to have hungry players. You have to be able to take average talent and develop it. Players have to get better from year to year. Georgia has not done that.

**–That players are going to get bigger, stronger, and faster. That nobody is going to outwork Georgia in the offseason: Look at Alabama’s players in their uniforms and then look at Georgia’s. It ain’t even close. Look at Florida and the strength and conditioning program it has under Mickey Marotti. When Will Muschamp got the job at Florida, it took him about 45 seconds to know that he was going to keep Marotti. This used to be a strength of the Georgia program. It is no longer. Joe Tereshinski has already replaced Dave Van Halanger  as the strength and conditioning program director and will get a chance to fix it. Again, this is not complicated. Look at what Alabama and Florida are doing and do that.

**–That everybody from the head coach on down is going to be held accountable: Richt not only needs to make it clear internally, but he must make this clear publicly to the Georgia people. Everybody, and that means everybody, is expendable if they are not willing to commit to the goal of getting the program back among the SEC’s elite. A good head coach at this level has everybody a little on edge. The players need to step up and hold each other accountable at every workout and every practice. Those who can’t, or won’t, commit at this level will have to leave.

**–That the people who wear the uniform for Georgia will again play the game with passion: I know we are dealing with a different generation of athlete who feels more entitlted (because the process has told him he’s entitled). For the most part today’s athlete is not going to buy into the love of the institution like the folks to sit in the stadium. That’s just a fact of life, a generational difference. Still, it can be managed. But, as I said at the top, the head coach can demand that his student-athletes give their best effort when those athletes represent the University. I know that is a quaint, outdated, and probably naive notion that it is a privilege to wear the uniform. But the Georgia people don’t feel that way and their feelings have to be taken into account.

Greg McGarity, the new athletics director at Georgia, is not going to say these kind of things but I will because these are just facts. After 19 years at Florida, he’s been at Georgia for four months. That is not enough time to evaluate a football program at this level. You have to go through a recruiting season, an offseason conditioning program, a preseason while watching the day-to-day operations. There are a lot of moving parts to a football program and McGarity has only seen two: a preseason and a regular season.

And all those folks who wanted to let Richt and his staff go after this season probably haven’t looked at what it would cost. It doesn’t take a lot of checking to see that such a decision, which would have included Richt’s buyout (just under $7 million) plus the cost of buying out the assistants would have cost Georgia in the $9-10 million range. Then you have to hire a new coach (at least $3 million) and another staff. So right now that would be about a $15 million decision for  Georgia. I don’t think that was a factor in this decision but in this economy you can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist.

As I said at the top:  Very soon Mark Richt will have to tell the Georgia people two very important things. 1) What he believes the problems are and 2) How he intends to fix it and that he intends to fix it now.

And as uncomfortable as it may be, Mark Richt needs to make his case with passion–a lot of passion.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

Barnhart and Durham: After our Christmas break “Barnhart and Durham” returns to 790 The Zone this morning starting at 10 a.m. Needless to say, we have a lot of talk about. Please join us at www.790thezone.com.

797 comments Add your comment

russ

January 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

back in 06′, all the writers and bloggers said richt was done. then 2007 happened, he finished #2 in the country.

they were all wrong then, and they’re all wrong now.

How Soon You Forget 01Hawk??

January 3rd, 2011
10:45 am

, Means’s high-school coach, Lynn Lang, all but auctioned Means off to the highest bidder. Alabama was the one that bit, with mega-booster Logan Young allegedly paying Lang a total of $150,000 to steer Means to Tuscaloosa. It was that kind of sprawling kudzu patch of a scandal that included dozens of schools, FBI investigations, allegations that Phil Fulmer tried to submarine Alabama by feeding evidence to the NCAA and lawsuits that have spanned the ensuing decade; when the smoke cleared, ‘Bama coach Mike Dubose was out of a job, three people were in jail and the Tide incurred a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 21 scholarships. As far as anyone can ascertain, the Tide only avoided the death penalty by the skin of their teeth, and the scholarship reductions so kneecapped the program that the team went 43-32 over the ensuing six seasons and had more new-coach searches than bowl wins.

drsoul

January 3rd, 2011
10:46 am

There was a time at Alabama, under Bear Bryant, when admittedly by himself, that things got a little slack and two 6-game winning seasons back to back…alumni wanted him out….!!! Bear saw the light, was able to look in the mirror and realize what needed to be done… and, the rest is history..!!!
Yes, it would also be a good sign to see Richt look at Bama’s program overall and instill some of those principles in the Bulldogs.. Now, I bleed Crimson through and through, but I also want to see the entire SEC group do well and be the leaders in college football… Georgia is also too rich of a program to let things get too complacent… Get a hold of this, Richt…for everyone, the players, alums, fans and your SEC brotherhood…!!! Don’t continue to make a joke of Georgia…!!!!

King Gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:46 am

I hope they keep CMR around a few more years, will give CWM a little time to get up to speed without having to worry about losing to the Dawgs. Go Gators!

James

January 3rd, 2011
10:46 am

5-2 ain’t too bad. Richt fixed everything in the 2nd half of the season. Got off to a slow start at 1-4, happens many times to every good coach, Miles, Saban, Meyer.

To go 5-2 after starting 1-4, richt should get coach of the year.

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
10:47 am

Tony, I think your comments are right on track. I was one of many so frustrated by the UCF loss that I wanted to see CMR replaced immediately. Before that I was a strong CMR backer. I have had time to think about it. One year does not give him time enough to turn the program around. However, at saying that, he has had going on 11 years to do so.
He is an incredible man both on and off the field and College sports needs more people of his influence. However, the football program is in a downward spiral. Usually the only thing that can get things better is a major change. I hope and pray that CMR can turn the program around next year, but just don’t see it. He needs to get back to the SEC CG… don’t see it. Anything less and I’m sure he will be replaced.
UGA just does not have the “hosses” to compete for the SEC CG next year. Huge tests right off the bat. He MUST find a way to beat Boise State and SC to get the ball rolling. Again, don’t see it.

Side note; Congrats to MSU, UF and Bama on their impressive victories. Now that’s how an SEC team is supposed to look!

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:47 am

JB, will keep the handle. Spent 52 years in Florida and moved here and met a UGA girl in 2005, sit in club seating and get a kick out of your dated pregame video presentation.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

January 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

UGA just needs to look the other way, which is what they have been doing since the CMR tenure.

Please, give CMR another 10 or 15 years and Miles and Saban will kick in a few bucks to make this happen.

Steve

January 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

Passion is ovverrated. Tenn has a passionate head coach, he aint’ good.

We don’t need to HEAR anything from Richt, we need to SEE more wins.

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

To go 5-2 after starting 1-4, richt should get coach of the year.

Classic James.

How Soon You Forget 01Hawk??

January 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

You avoided the Death Penalty by the skin of your teeth. Yes Auburn has broke the rules, but never even close to 2-major violations within a five-year window, which is part of the criteria the NCAA uses in applying the Death Penalty. Tater Tot and Wayne Hall were small potatoes compared to Albert Means, it was the top scandal of the DECADE!!

lagadawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:49 am

I am a dawg fan living in Louisiana,people out here say comparing Richt’s coaching to Les Miles makes Les look like a rocket scientist,nuff said,they all say if Richt was at LSU HE WOULD BE GONE 2 YEARS AGO.

MikeP

January 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

Richt doesn’t need better talent. The players on this year’s team averaged ranking 6th nationally in the recruiting services over the past four years.
They are being coached down at UGA, not coached up. This ‘dream team” is melting away rapidly, the kids are looking for schools where they can improve instead of getting worse.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

January 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

The problem with the UGA program is there is not enough emphasis on defense and coordinators, it is all about CMR. UGA let Van Gorder out the door, and Dooley never would have achieved a national title if not for Erk Russell.

You should have fired CMR and moved Van Gorder to head coach, then we would not even be having this conversation. Also, you need to fire Dooley and remove him from your program, along with every media writer who tries to support this broken program, including the arrogant Barnhart.

BULLDOG NATION DOESN'T CARE

January 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

UGA has all the advantages that the teams winning conference and national championships have. However because the fans and leaders of the program readily accept mediocrity nothing’s gonna change. We’re talking about a program which has but two conference championships in the LAST 28 YEARS!!! We’ve lost 13 GAMES in the last two years and most Bulldogs fans are appauled by the idea of replacing Richt. Demand nothing get nothing…

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

Steve, 100% agree. Dooley is a moron who cost Tenn the game at LSU and the bowl game by calling time out near the end which hurt his punters chances of dropping it inside the 10 yard line.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

ga gator……..fair enough………Are you a Gator fan?

Georgia | MrSEC.com

January 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

[...] at this point. Once you lose a fanbase past a certain point, there’s no getting it back.  Even if you say all the right things, eventually the proof’s in the win column.  Richt’s win column doesn’t figure to [...]

Mike Bobo 17 INT

January 3rd, 2011
10:51 am

Athens: just keep doing what you are doing, we love you.

Christian LeMay

January 3rd, 2011
10:51 am

I cannot wait to get to Athens so I cannot be held accountable for my behavior anymore.

GTBob

January 3rd, 2011
10:52 am

Sometimes a program needs a new coach. It doesn’t mean that Richt is a bad coach, it’s just that the direction of the program is way off course at this point and may be hard for Richt to correct. The players are a little out of control, and the fans are getting restless. I think it would probably be better for Richt and for UGA for Richt to have a fresh start somewhere else.

01HAWK

January 3rd, 2011
10:52 am

No probation kissing contest here. BARNERS are so upset that they have one CHAMPIONSHIP and know that if they lose to OREGON……………………………The TIDE will come down hard on them. I laugh at BARNERS because they do not know there own messed up history.

One CHAMPIONSHIP and all of suden you have a better record than BAMA over the years. Weak comments by BARNERS.

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:53 am

It’s too late. OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

Richt has had every opportunity times three to get the ship on course. Nobody owes Mark Richt anything. As a matter of fact, he owes the Bulldog Nation a big apology and several million dollars in unearned income.

Among all his other problems, Richt is deficient in communications skills. If he is passionate, it is a national secret. If he is tough, nobody is aware or anxious about not doing their jobs. Being a head coach at a premier university like UGA requires outstanding communication skills. Richt not only does not have them, he doesn’t have any.

These skills translate into being a failure in keeping Georgia talent in Georgia. In addition, he and his staff have not been able to assess true talent.

Richt’s time was over two years ago. Wimpy administrators have procrastinated in firing him, to our disadvantage. If he is allowed another year, it will be absolutely disgraceful and it is entirely possible that in this day and age that our glorious football Tradition will perish forevermore.

McGarrity may have only been here for four months, but he knows what is not going on and he is very familiar with Richt. He need to do his job too, or we may be looking for another AD that has goals that are in synch with the Bulldog Nation.

Paul From Milton

January 3rd, 2011
10:53 am

Finally someone at Georgia acknowledges what the rest of the SEC has known for awhile – that there is good talent in Georgia but not enough to win a championship. The talent on that team has been overrated for some time and simply taking the best instate talent and fitting them in hasn’t worked. The 3 best players at UGA recently – Stafford, Moreno and Green – all came from out of state.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:53 am

It’s not that the Bulldawg nation doesn’t care….Read these blogs……..We are run by a dictator named Adams who calls all the shots. It’s about HIM! Auburn has it’s Mob. Bama folks will kill you for this kind of performance…… Florida just wants to win baby…….i don’t know why this man got so powerful. He is.

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:53 am

Absolutely JB, been going to games in Gainesville since 1961, but like most “old” Gators, respect UGA and their dominance in the 70’s and 80’s. I pull for UGA every game except the game in Jax.

01HAWK

January 3rd, 2011
10:55 am

What do you call a AUBARN TIGER FOOTBALL PLAYER WITH A BCS CHAMPIONSHIP RING ?

A Thief !!!!!!! They had to have stolen it

an insult to uga and his religion.

January 3rd, 2011
10:55 am

isn’t there some verse in the Bible that says “whatever you chose do do, do it wholeheartedly because that is your service to God?”

i wonder what St. Richt has to say about that, in light of his recent showing….or would he just simply say…”it is what it is….”

he is doing more harm than good right now….not just to uga but also to those who hold him up to be some kind of example of Christianity for us all. Christianity does not equal mediocraty.

Anyone who wants to take me to task on that is going to have to go through Mr Tebow.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:57 am

Wouldn’t it be nice if Barnhart, Bradley, Tucker or Schultz or someone would drive to Athens Today and get an interview. With Adams, Richt, McGarity……. These writers are just bloggers like us.
Where’s the NEWS ?????????????????

Gen Neyland

January 3rd, 2011
10:57 am

UGA’s new AD will give CMR a chance but as in ANY BUSINESS, change is always possible when the administration changes hands. Like it or not CMR supporters or non-supporters, MR is starting 2011 at ground zero with a handicap in McGarity’s eyes. This could get to be an interesting insiders game of a power struggle between the two of them…I would have to think a new AD that comes to town from a program that won a NC or two in football has his eyes set on another. CMR needs to show the promise of getting to that point ASAP.

Paul The Vol

January 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

Interesting that Ga Gator would say that because I consider Urban Meyer completely overrated as a coach. I had heard that the secret to Meyer’s success was Dan Mullen and that was proved correct once he and Tebow left town. Florida had a wealth of talent and Meyer was hapless with it.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

thanks ga gator……

hop

January 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

the talent is not there for georgia to win big in 2011. the dogs are losing their best players and the replacements are lacking at best.

i doubt the recruiting season will be meaningful since we have many questions about our coaching staff.

finally, even buck belue has major concerns,that is better than the homer group on the georgia football network that are still making the usual excuses for the AWFUL effort in the liberty bowl.
also, mr. mccarity ,we do get it in the bulldog nation ,we just wish you did as well!

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
11:00 am

an insult to uga and his religion.

Colossians 3:23

CMR is not an insult to the Lord. I can promise you that. Please take a view of what this man does off the field with his time. He has been doing a poor job of coaching the past couple years. That’s the issue

UGA owns you tasty bees..

January 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

Buck Futt

January 3rd, 2011
8:30 am
Yeah, Georgia, you take Tony’s advice. Go right on making the fourth-best team in the West and the second-best team in the (lousy) East your benchmarks. Pay no attention to Auburn… we’ll just go on beating your overrated hides and playing for championships while you whine and act like spoiled brats. That’s a lot of fun for us.

LOL Nothing better than an IDIOT AUBURN “fan” who obviously just jumped on the bandwagon, or had their head in the sand the last five years. You are 1 – 4 the last FIVE GAMES, so it appears that we just took a short break this year from “beating your overrated hides”. Nothing better than laughing at comments from stupid people from the dirt road capital of the world, the state of Alabama. YOU and PEOPLE LIKE YOU are what define HICKS

Ralph

January 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

Barnhart says this: “That players are going to be disciplined on and off the field: I hear about this more than any single thing”, yet he has it listed as the THIRD item. It is obviously a very low priority for Richt and the thUGA administration which does not discourage recruiting unsuitable COLLEGE students.

GT Fan ...

January 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

You GA fans are FUNNY. Funny, I tell ya! If the dogs don’t go undefeated then “someone’s gotta get fired” – GOD DA*N!

There’s having high expectations for your program, then there’s what so many of you are screaming about axing folks. You folks need to CHILL…..

JB

January 3rd, 2011
11:01 am

Good insight Gen Neyland…….My biggest concern is that Richt is like a guy 40 pounds overweight trying to win the hundred meters, Line him all day, it ain’t gonna happen.

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

Paul The Vol

No disagreement from me. I am glad Meyer is gone; good ridence. He was tolerated because he produced, he has been lost since Mullen left. I am thrilled beyond words with the Muschamp and his hiring of Charlie Weis as his OC.

DawginLex

January 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

Richt needs to do what he has always done-THE RIGHT THING

The right thing is for him to resign now and re-unify Bulldog Nation.

I admire the man as a person and for what he has done for the program but his time has passed.

Resign Coach Richt and do it today.

jumbeauxtiger

January 3rd, 2011
11:03 am

Good points Tony but I don’t think Richt will change. He is who he is. A good man and apparently a not so good coach who does not instill discipline on and off the field.

Georgia should clean house starting with him. The Dawgs have talent and it wouldn’t take long for a capable coach to turn things around.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
11:03 am

GT Fan……do you want me to paste some post from Chan’s last year?

Todd from Birmingham

January 3rd, 2011
11:03 am

Mcgarity does not get it!! Mark Richt would have resigned this morning if he cared so much about the program..he’s a dead man walking, so why take the ship down with you ??? Fire his ass Mcgarity! Show the fans you truly understand and do what needs to be done- Mark, Your fired!

Mike Bobo 17 INT

January 3rd, 2011
11:03 am

Keep doing what you are doing and no one is allowed to criticize the UGA football program, no one.

Roark

January 3rd, 2011
11:04 am

As a big-time SEC head coach, CMR is a dead man walking (literal zombie). Couple the monotone lack of intensity and focus demonstrated by the coach with a team of average footballers and you get 6-7 at best!

Summit Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:04 am

If he doesn’t get rid of Bobo as OC, then he should be fired! He has no fire, no “BALLS!” He doesn’t even trust his own offense, when on the opening drive with inches to go for a first down and a potential 7, he calls for a field goal….I guess when he goes into recruits living rooms, he’ll say “come to UGA and we’ll show you how to kick fieldgoals!”

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
11:05 am

JB, even when Tech won the ACC last year, them and Clemson lost to UGA and SC. Too bad they cannot join a conference with Army, Navy and Air Force.

Mooty Squarefinger

January 3rd, 2011
11:06 am

Great article Tony… I agree 100%.

The other thing Mark Richt needs to do is tell all his Juniors thinking about going to the NFL – “FORGET ABOUT IT!” With the exception of AJ, there isn’t a single player on UGA’s team that could hack it in the NFL starting next year. Justin Houston is dilusional if he thinks he’s ready for the NFL. If he couldn’t sack Godfrey with UCF’s line in front of him, what makes him think he can do so where the Offensive Linemen are larger, stronger and WAY more experienced. The rest aren’t even worth discussing, when you take into consideration they’re associated with a 6-7 team.

NOBODYYOUKNOW

January 3rd, 2011
11:07 am

Many times the truth hurts. I have to agree with every thing in that article. A change would be tough but it may have to happen. And if a change is made us fans must be patient with a new system.

Top Recruit

January 3rd, 2011
11:07 am

This is what I’ve said for awhile. But do not get caught up in someone’s outside appearance. Get decisions from junior going pro this week. Need to know for recruiting and spring roster and practice, etc. Cut loose high maintenance players like King. The scholarship is not a gift from UGA. Earned it every year. Too many young men go to UGA and read all that bull on those blogs and think they are a “beast”. How long did it take CMR to understand he had issues on the O line. Too long. How can you say in August you will be surprised if you do not run the ball. Then in the first game LL has several penetration. But oh no all those bloggers sit there and see a high number on the score board. That do not see the sets, plays, and executions. Why in hell did the coaches not see that going into the fall. Yes, CMR has some issues!