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.

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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

Free Textbooks Anyone?

January 3rd, 2011
11:07 am

01Hawk I hear Bama’s giving away free textbooks again. Then again why do they need textbooks at Alabama anyway? How soon you forget 6 in a row mullet!! Oh that’s right I forgot ya’ll were “down” during those years so the one for the thumb doesn’t count!

Free Textbooks Anyone?

January 3rd, 2011
11:08 am

Hurry now 01Hawk I hear they are going for 28-27 % off this year LMAO

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:08 am

If the gloves don’t fit, the team will quit.

The CEO must go!

5IML

January 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

How bad was it on Saturday? This is BAMA’s third string nose guard:

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/fan_shot_images/169579/9164212-large.jpg

Due Diligence

January 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

CMR is a great guy. Sometimes great guys don’t have it. Sometimes great guys have slumps and rebound. I don’t need to list the coaches who have tanked only to come back strong again. That’s life! But another year with CMR gives UGA more wiggle room. If he turns it around great! He is very capable and I won’t be surprised. But if he doesn’t turn it around, let’s start investigating “other” possibilities. Due Diligence!

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

Too whoever said Malzahn for UGA coach should forget about it. His offense pre Cam Newton pretty much sucked. He is a gimmick coach who will only have success once every 5 or so seasons when he gets a rare talent like Newton or Tebow caliber. I would rather have a defensive mind like Kirby Smart who has the “Saban Blueprint” in his back pocket.

Beast from the East

January 3rd, 2011
11:11 am

Tony,
Based on what I’m reading here, the Dawg Nation doesn’t want to “hear” anything out of Richt. They want to “see” something different. All of the talk in the world will not quiet the naysayers at this point. It’s time to put up or shut up for Coach Richt. 2011 will decide his fate.

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
11:12 am

@Junkyard Dawg

I would have to agree that if CMR gets the axe Kirby would and should be 1st choice to run the program……… Then Adams steps in and mucks it all up

Free Textbooks Anyone?

January 3rd, 2011
11:13 am

LMAO at a MARBLE-MOUTH UGA fan calling Auburn hicks. You must not live in GA because buddy I do and believe me there are some “Hicks” in “these parts of the woods” LMAO

BULLDAWG BILL

January 3rd, 2011
11:14 am

Tony, you are asking Richt to be something he isn’t — a fireball of expression. He can’t do it and his only resort is to win football games. I fear that he has let the program slip too far for his type of leadership to bring it back. Next year will be a long year of gradual death for the program. I wish he would just leave now and let McGarity get on with finding a hot new coach.

kybodawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:14 am

ok buck futt youre going to keep beating us. i belive the record for the last 5 yrs is 1-4. as for championships you have 24 seniors a tim tebo clone on steroids and youre best d player will be gone after thjis year. good luck next year when youre 5 and seven.

Big John Dawg!

January 3rd, 2011
11:16 am

Coach Richt overall is a great man and a great coach! But Nobody is great all the time! I believe with Murray, should be the best quarterback in the SEC, we win the East and get back to a BCS bowl. Mark knows how to motivate his players and this year he will do just that! I beleive we will have a great year and a fun year! Coach Richt will deliver!

Ted M

January 3rd, 2011
11:17 am

This is a a great post.

kindergarten math

January 3rd, 2011
10:25 am

Sometimes one decision says all that needs to be said. When CMR went for the field goal on fourth and inches, he was telling his players , coaches and the whole world that he had no confidence in their ability to get half a foot against players from Central Florida. Is there any surprise that Georgia was flat for the rest of the game ? How do you feel, as a player and coach, when your head coach makes that announcement to the world ? Contrast that decision with Coach Mike Smith and the Falcons, who routinely go for it on fourth down because they believe in their players and coaches abilities. Making these first downs are not only inspirational for the team, but itis also a morale crusher for the opponent. CMR should apologize to his players, coaches and fans for that humiliating, emasculating decision. It sent the message that he did not believe in them. If he didn’t believe in them, then is it any surprise that they just went through the motions from that point on ? It is very discouraging to see the emotion and coaching that takes place from the sidelines from other head coaches in the bowl games, and contrast that with CMR’s “whatever” attitude.

That was a great post.

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:18 am

CMR is too loyal to his assistants. He would rather put his own job on the line instead of finding the right OC and DC to assist him. His friends will be the downfall of him as a head coach because he is too worried about their careers rather than his own mess. He has to understand that this is a business and not some coaching interim BUDDY SYSTEM. In other words he is putting “pleasure” before business and this is the ultimate formula for failure.

Due Diligence

January 3rd, 2011
11:20 am

“Big John” – Agree!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:20 am

When was the last time UGA lined up and physically dominated an upper echelon SEC team?

That cannot be answered entirely on S&C coaching. It is more so on a coaching staff’s philosophical approach to winning games.

CMR now has to make the Alumni and Fanbase that he is capable of changing essentially everything that has got him to this point. How can we believe this?

Proactive or Reactive? The time is now….

oakwood dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:21 am

Bart, I mostly agree with you. CMR, in 10 years at UGA has had 6 great seasons(10 or more wins), 3 good seasons(one 9 game win,two 8 game wins) and this years terrible loosing season. Thing is once we got use to winning at least 10 games, we were upset at anything less. Of utmost importance too, is the fact that he has only beaten UF twice in 10 years. CMR is a good person that has now become a not so good head coach. I don’t know what has happened to him but I don’t think he can handled it anymore. Because of his overall record, he probably should have next year to prove himself but I don’t see it happening i.e.having a good season. To my way of thinking, CMR should retire now and save himself what will be a very embarrassing season next year. There is always abundant talent in the state of Georgia(every year) and with the right coach to get a big share of that talent AND COACH THEM UP there is no reason UGA can’t be one of the top 3 teams in the country year in and year out.

Dennis

January 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

Richt is a great guy…that being said, he’s consistently out-coached by teams that have nowhere near the talent UGA does. His teams are undisciplined which starts with the coach. I’m all for family atmosphere; at the end of the day, you’re being paid top $ to win football games, not be sluggish and have the “I wish it would have gone differently” mentality. TIme to step up or step out.

Hike !!

January 3rd, 2011
11:22 am

This is a little story about college football past.
Before the story, let me say that all college football players should receive some monetary compensation for the all the money they produce for the colleges they represent. This would help eliminate those temptations to “steal a laptop, Cameron”; “sell a jersey, A.J,”etc.

I recall talking with our high school all state running back, who was playing for UGA. This was back in the late 60’s. It was at a BBQ joint and I had commented on how much I liked his brand new Chevy. I ask him what it cost to which he replyed…”oh, I only had to pay one dollar, they said that made it legal”.
On to Ga Southern. Three years ago I was talking to a former GSU linebacker about his playing days there in the late 80’s. Erk was their coach ( the best coach ever ). He talked about those Alumni parties held after each home game. “Coach made us all attend and wear Blue blazers and ties”. The alumni would come around and put envelopes inside our coat pockets. If I had a really good game I could get as much as $500. Man I loved those parties”.

Which brings us to CMR. I cannot imagine him allowing “anything” illegal in his program, but what about his competition. I am not confident that this “alumni participation” doesn’t continue in this modern era. Anyone else, out there have first hand stories they would like to tell ? No names, please.

gomdawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

OK CMR IF I WERE YOU, 1ST. I WOULD TELL ALL MY PLAYERS THAT NOBODY A STARTER YOU NOW GOT TO EARN THE STARTING JOB FROM IN COMING PLAYERS TO SENIORS AND NO REDSHIRTING THIS YEAR YOU PLAY THE BEST I DONT GIVE A DAMN . WE SHOULD HAVE -PLAYED KEN DAMN RED SHIRTING HIM.

Buckeye

January 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

Oakwood,

Top 3 in the country year in year out?. Please. You are occasionally a top 20 program and some years not even that. Always have been, always will be.

Barry

January 3rd, 2011
11:25 am

In my opinion, Tony Barnhart’s article is the best, most accurate and fairest assessment of the “way it is” and what is needed with Coach Richt and the Georgia football program. We have a wonderful human being at the Bulldog helm, but also a man who may have become too nice and too soft for todays big league caliber football players, many of whom are “street kids” who need a lot of tough love…. not just love. I want coach Richt back for the 2011 season, he has earned that with what he has done since he has been at Georgia. But it has become obvious that some major changes/additions need to be made both in personell, and in demands for discipline. As Barnhart said – the program and it’s leadership seems to lack “passion”, at least what is shown to those of us who watch and care.

Dennis

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

@Hike, these guys do receive compensation for playing football in the form of a very expensive scholarship plus room & board, etc. Enough of this “they don’t get anything for playing.” They get a ton & to give them more is to further strengthen the self-indulgent nature of young people which ends up with UGA players and those from other schools thinking they are above the law.

Coach Saban

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

I want to say what a fine man Coach Richt is and a great football coach. UGA suffered from alot of injuries and bad luck this year. I truly fear UGA and I think their players are very fast and very strong. Coach Richt should get a contract extension.
Regards,
Coach Saban

PS- I want to apologize to the Spartans for putting their whole team in the hospital Saturday. They were very fast and very strong also.

Free Textbooks Anyone?

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

Just to put this in perspective: Since Auburn ran afoul of the NCAA in “92, Alabama has been put on probation THREE TIMES and forced to vacate victories TWICE!! Auburn has not had ANY violations in 18 YEARS, yet in that same period Bama has committed at least 2 MAJOR violations, THREE probations, vacated over 30 games, and almost RECEIVED the DEATH PENALTY!!!!! Not to mention the humiliation of hiring a coach and having to fire him before he even coached a game, because he was down at the gentleman’s club getting a lap dance!! Nice Image for the state’s so called “flagship” university…..

Hammlett

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

If Richt had one shred of integrity, he would resign. But he’s in it strictly for the big bucks, so that won’t happen.

Denver Dog

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

doesn’t matter what Richt SAYS at a press conference, actions speak louder than words and his team plain sucks, period.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

THANK YOU COACH MARK RICHT!!!!! YOU JUST MADE UP THE MINDS OF ANY BLUE CHIP RECRUITS WHO WERE THINKING ABOUT UGA AS A POSSIBLE DESTINATION! THEY WILL NOW GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!
TIME FOR YOU TO GO!
4TH AND 2 INCHES AND YOU KICK A FEILD GOAL?????REALLY?????

Driving Ms Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
11:27 am

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:10 am
Too whoever said Malzahn for UGA coach should forget about it. His offense pre Cam Newton pretty much sucked.

I hope you guys keep thinking that way. As a Vol fan, I would rather face CMR than Gus. Another guy I would fear is Mike Leach. Quirky yes, but a proven offensive wizard.

CMR has let the game pass him by. He reminds me of Fulmer is his final days. I hope you do hire a defensive guy because if you hire Gus or Leach, your team would be dangerous and fun to watch. As a Vol, I would like to see Richt stick around for a while.

Jack

January 3rd, 2011
11:27 am

Tony-

I understand your frustration, but are you sure you feel qualified to speak for the entire fan nation? I don’t want to hear any of the things you wrote. I don’t want to hear anything.

I just want to see imporvement, more wins. And we will. Be patient, Richt’s only had 1 losing season in 25 years, develop a little more thick skin.

CrackDaddy

January 3rd, 2011
11:27 am

CMR could made a statement about “no more knuckle heads” by retracting LeMay’s scholly when he got suspended from his HS team. That showed that Richt will continue to be “business as usual”.

404

January 3rd, 2011
11:28 am

I would really like to know……..

How many UGAG fans actually paid the $10,000 in
pre-season 2008 to buy into the season ticket pool?

Those fools got screwed.

We

January 3rd, 2011
11:28 am

Go home Suckeye! No one rattled your chain. Your sorry team will fold like the rest of your league tomorrow night.

Doc Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:28 am

CMR is no more than the typical overrated “hot” assistant coach du jour that had early success but was not ready for the head coaching job and was not able to grow into it. Mindless loyalty to mediocre assistants being the most damaging of his faults. The whole program accepts mediocrity in all aspects of the game, the off the field shenanigans, the “party central” mentality, the “aw shucks” excuse making that permeates everything. Saban, Urban Meyer, and I’ll bet even Dooley’s kid run a tighter ship.

jarvis

January 3rd, 2011
11:28 am

I’m not going to say that his extreme is right either, but Tommy Tubberville would have fired Mike Bobo 28 times by now.

Alphare

January 3rd, 2011
11:29 am

Before the game, how many UGA fans thought UGA would easily beat UCF because they were UGA?

Did Tony think that?

Yeah, UGA coaches and players thought the same thing.

So here you have it: all UGA fans, players and coaches all thought they would beat UCF simply because they were UGA.

Why only fire the coaches? what about the fans?

Driving Ms Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
11:29 am

@Coach Saban

January 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

Now that’s funny.

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
11:30 am

@Coach Saban – L.O.L.!

jarvis

January 3rd, 2011
11:30 am

Great point Alphare. And by great point, I mean that was pretty stupid.

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:30 am

Even if we canned Richt there are only a VERY few good coaches available. Who would you guys add to this list?

Gary Patterson – would be my TOP choice, but no way in the hell he would come to Athens. This guy is doing more with less and that 4-2-5 defense was very impressive in the Rose Bowl.

Jim Harbaugh – Michigan/49er/Denver Bronco bound, we just don’t know which one

Kirby Smart – Has been a long time student of Saban’s and could really turn things around defensively. It just makes me feel great knowing that he could possibly install a Nick Saban mentality into our program which is exactly what the Dawgs need.

Derek Dooley – Could probably be a steal for UGA. Someone who has passion for the Dawgs. He is going to really turn things at Tennessee around next season with his young talent. I believe Dooley would love to take over UGA and follow in his dad’s footsteps. Could you guys imagine how much the Dooley’s would mean to UGA if Derek came and saved the Dawgs?

Charlie Strong – Has had very good success at Florida with scrappy, nasty defensive units. Strong would love to return to the SEC and knock UF in the mouth.

Bad Dog

January 3rd, 2011
11:31 am

Maybe Richt is praying his team will start winning like the movie he was in Facing the Giants.

CMRikkt

January 3rd, 2011
11:33 am

does Dowtin’s arrest count since it wasn’t in Clarke County? Since it was so close to the end of the year, can it be counted on the total for next year’s defense of the Fulmer Cup? I need a ruling..

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:33 am

Time to fire him now. It will hurt recruiting but…………………………………………………………….
The Muschamp / Weis duo will lure all big recruits for the next few years anyways.
We are going to have to take the lump sonner or later…..might as well get it over with now.

dawgmeister

January 3rd, 2011
11:33 am

Tony, that is an excellent article. It said what needed to be said. I as a member of the Bulldawg Nation am not happy with what has been two horrible seasons: 14-12, 7-9 (SEC). $7 million is a lot of money to buy out Richt’s contract and like you said Tony when you add the assistant’s money it brings the total buyout to over $15 million. There’s an old saying “three strikes and you’re out.” Well for Mark Richt’s sake I hope that he realizes that he has two strikes on him. Since McGarity hasn’t been at UGA for a full cycle like you said Tony, perhaps it is best to finish up this cycle and if things don’t improve then fire Richt, Bobo and the rest of the coaching staff.

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
11:34 am

OK Alphare “Your Fired”

Get what your saying. I to thought we would beat UCF. In typical UGA years we would have wiped them clean. That’s why most of us were overconfident. I’ll admit, I should not have been this year with the play of the team. I would have to think that every fan thinks the same way of their team when playing a UCF. Would you not agree?

At saying that, I don’t want to take away from UCF what they did. They played a good game and deserved to win. Congrats!

St. Bernard

January 3rd, 2011
11:34 am

Bobo and Searls can’t be fired, because no one will come in to replace them with Richt on the hotseat. Why would a coach leave his job to move somewhere that he could be fired from within the next 12 months.

A good recruiting season and an uptick in emotion and energy is the program’s best chance for turning things around. Win 10, win the East and play in a January bowl game. That’s the only way these guys save their jobs.

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

I now believe that the University of Georgia will fire Mark Richt in the next two weeks if he does not choose to resign.

The Most interesting Man in the World on Mark Richt turning UGA around:.

January 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

……………………….No!

Silver Britches, Red Panties

January 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

On behalf of all fans of Florida, Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and LSU, thank you for defending Mark Richt.

CMRikkt

January 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

or maybe that wasn’t my Marcus Dowtin? Been so many arrested, I just assumed it is..Maryland is out of state isn’t it??