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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797 comments Add your comment

Spokesman for the SEC East

January 3rd, 2011
11:37 am

The SEC East is demanding that McGarrity give Richt & Co a contract extension.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:38 am

I dont think that he would ever do it…..he has no ties with UGA but…….Gruden would be a great “next” head coach! Recruits would flock to UGA. He is a no BS, hard nose type coach.
Would love to see him here.

Big Mike

January 3rd, 2011
11:38 am

All this UGA dithering, finger pointing, hand wringing, and excuse making is sad and funny at the same time. If your team was really an elite team, they would show it on the field. They are not. They got beat by a better team last Friday. Simple. They got beat by seven, count ‘em, seven better teams this year. Who cares about excuses, blaming, and the last 4 years (or whatever) results. GA doesn’t have a very good football team. But, they “own this state”. Congratulations. How’s that comparing yourself to TECH (Ha!) working for ya?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:38 am

St. Bernard,

Great points about the coaches. This is again similar to what Tommy Bowden went through at Clemson. On the hotseat, everyone knew it. Coaches using it against him in the recruiting battles. Makes it extremely tough to maintain mediocority, muchless less become champions. This is PROGRAM IS GOING TO TAKE ITS LUMPS IN RECRUITING! It can be a 1 year issue this year, or by keeping him it will become a 2 year problem, this season and NEXT. CMR has put McGarity in a no win situation.

Dostoveyskiy

January 3rd, 2011
11:39 am

CrackDad, you hit the nail on the head. LeMay exhibited mega-lack-of-character, and CMR ignored it.
What message did he send? I heard it loud and clear. So, there is no stopping to “knuckle-heading” at UGa under CMR.

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:39 am

No way Gruden would ever waste his time in Athens. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have him but let’s be real here folks.

To the curb

January 3rd, 2011
11:40 am

I always wonder what Richt was thinking when he just stand there looking off into space wearing those dark sunglasses. Now I know. Damn, CMR’s been watching movies during the game. See video glasses in Skymall magazine and tell me those don’t look like his glasses.
http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=203092986&c=102672398

He;s been watching movies instead of what’s happening on the field.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:42 am

CONTEST!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone post a real option as a replacement for CMR!
After we get a few we will vote!

Doc Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:42 am

If Gruden wouldn’t go to the U, which at least has some panache even though they decided graduating kids and getting off the police blotter was more important that winning, why does anybody think he would come to Georgia!?!

I like the idea of Leach. Some of these kids need to be put in the shed.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

Brian Van Gorder……hate to take him from Falcons but….

Driving Ms Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

@Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:30 am

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?

Keep your hands off of OUR Dooley. He has already endeared himself to the Vol nation –(even though better coaching would’ve beat LSU and NC). As soon as he was hired, I said it was a mistake because I knew Ga would come after him is he succeeded. Well, Dooley is not only very smart but he is also very committed to UT and he is his own man. He feels that Tn gave him an opportunity and he would not turn his back on them. Sounds naive I know(after Lame Kitten), but we have ourselves a truly southern gentlemen. His parents raised him well. And for that, we thank the Bulldogs.

Now, leave him alone.

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

Only way I could see Gruden coming is if UGA made him the highest paid coach in college football, then maybe he would come. It’s not like UGA doesn’t have the money. Hell, give him 5 million a year. Look at Kentucky how the made Calipari the highest paid basketball coach. If you want BIG NAMES then you are going to have to pay BIG PRICE TAGS for them. If UGA offered him a huge deal it just might make him move.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:45 am

qualifications
disciplenarian (sp?)
hard nose (get back to junkyard days)
runs a pro style offense

Robin

January 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

New Years Resolution:
I’m a die hard Georgia Fan . . . but . . I’m not wasting my Saturday’s any more watching Georgia football until they start winning or fire Bobo. I’m going shopping!

ylojkt

January 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

I hope AJ turns pro so Gailey can draft him, then he will have the pleasure of having been coached by the two worst, most passionless coaches the state of Ga. has ever seen.
UGA, please sign Mark Richt to a lifetime roll-over contract!

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:48 am

If we were to make a move then it has to be a BIG NAME!
MANY recruits have said that if the staff is fired that they will go elsewhere.
If they are fired but replaced by a bigger….better coaching staff the recruits would stay!

Mr. Upshaw

January 3rd, 2011
11:49 am

Actually Tony was wrong about Justin Houston being one of 3 dawg players who could start at Bama. Houston plays the jack position- same as Courtney Upshaw at Alabama. Upshaw has 5 sacks the last 2 games and was named the MVP of the capital one bowl for 2 sacks and several tackles for losses. How often does a jack linebacker win mvp of the game award?

On top of that Upshaw also defines the difference in physicality between the Bama and Dawg players that Tony was talking about. Upshaw would kick Houston’s arse all over the place and beat him down. He’s 263 lbs of solid muscle and fast, fast, fast.

Its funny that Tony brought that up about strength and conditioning. I watched that UCF debacle and was amazed how that smallish UCF players pushed the dawgs around. Dawgs got slovenly players like Ben Jones- kind of tubby and chunky. Bama’s players are big, powerful, arms like tree trunks, and have all that power with speed. You got 9 months hit the weight room real, real hard before facing those men from Alabama. You better start today!

Tony was right about one thing though. The 2 dawg kickers are definitely better than Alabama’s 2 kickers. Have fun knowing your kickers are better than ours.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:50 am

I hope AJ gets drafted by ST Louis.
They have a great young QB, the D is comming around.
They have no recievers!! Throw AJ in there and they win the division.

Junkyard Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:50 am

Driving Ms Dooley

Derek would leave Tennessee in a heartbeat my friend. UT is a great program but this is Derek’s home, and it’s his family. Right now Derek’s home, and family needs him and you don’t turn your back on your family. I can really see CMR getting canned this season. I can also see Derek Dooley win ten or more games this year. His 2nd year at UT with that Bray kid will surprise the nation. Once he has this successful year I really think UGA might ask Dooley to come home. Just a thought.

NOVAJacket

January 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

Well done, Tony. I have to say that typically a team that lacks discipline off the field, won’t have it on the field. The Dawgs should be better.

Doc Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

How about George O’Leary? Only half kidding.

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

I dont want D Dooley!
We need a bigger name, tougher coach than that. He looks clueless at times!

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

We need the Mike Smith of college football!

Former UGA Letterman

January 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

First – You have to recurit players that want to be a Bulldog and has a heart and passion about wearing the red and black and then coach them the right way!!!! Second – You have to have a coaching staff that wants to be at UGA that has a heart and passion about the UGA Program!!!!! Third – As a Head Coach you have to put “The Fear of God” in your players and your coaching staff that if they are not doing their job then they are gone, like Coach Dooley did when I was in the UGA program and like Saban, Meyer, Patterson, Stoops and Steve Spurrier does now!!!!! A Head Coach is only as good as his assistants are!!!

AD Greg McGarity was at UGA when I was in the program and he will get this corrected. Greg has a HEART and a PASSION about UGA!!!!!

Go Dawgs!!!

Spokesman for the SEC East

January 3rd, 2011
11:54 am

The only thing better than having Richt at UGA would be Dooley; that makes me LMAO!! Dumbazz Dooley cost Tn the game at LSU and the bowl game. What a joke, but hey it would be even better than having Helen Hunt back for another year.

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
11:54 am

BILL CURRY!!!!…………ha, I could not help myself

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
11:55 am

Agree! Coaches and players should BLEED RED AND BLACK!

Instant Karma

January 3rd, 2011
11:56 am

What does Katherine think when she looks Helen Hunt in the eyes?

Gator Guy

January 3rd, 2011
11:57 am

Ga fans hypothetically say Auburn is an 8 win team without Cam.

But what about the hypothetical of Ga being a 2 win team without AJ? Wait…what? They were? UGA 2-11 without AJ. Its a reality. Wow…..that stings.

And even in Florida’s worst year since the Zooker, you still couldnt beat them. Sad sad….

UGA – the most irrelevant of the SEC’s Big 6 the last 3 decades.

I also like the “we beat dem Awbrens 4 years in a row!” statement…..how was the quality of those Auburn teams you beat? Last 3 years of Tubs and first year of Chizik – congrats Dawggies, you really beat some Auburn juggernauts there. Now, go have yourselves a cookie and remember how irrelevant you are.

BTW – this isnt a UGA message board. Its a comments section on an objective column. You don’t own it mutts. Prepare to be Fla, Aub, and Tenn’s little b!tches the next 3-4 years.

south

January 3rd, 2011
11:57 am

Auburns coaches plan…..
he won 5 games as a HC before this year…..
bought the newton kid…..and did great….
but will the tide ever roll next year….
ROLL TIDE
6 6 next year

Gator In Georgia

January 3rd, 2011
11:58 am

The Gators hire another coach who played at UGA and is from Atlanta:
The George Wynn File
Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations
George Wynn enters his sixth season as assistant athletics director for football operations at Texas. Wynn joined the Longhorn staff after spending the previous six seasons at Arizona State as director of football operations.
THE GEORGE WYNN FILE
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
High school: Fulton (Atlanta, Ga.)
College: Georgia (1992)
Graduate degree: Georgia (1995)
Wife: Leesha
Children: Royce, Lena

Not trying to rub anything in, I’m just agreeing with you and showing more ways Richt is falling behind.
Who do you want running your offense BOBO or Charlie Weis–not even close.
BTW, Muschamp is putting together a complete staff faster than Richt could find a DC.
Richt is out to lunch and the SEC is eating his lunch.

David

January 3rd, 2011
11:58 am

Have any of you guys ever consider that CMR just believes he is superior to the rest of us? If I am wrong, why wouldn’t he EVER take responsiblility for the losses? He let’s the fans and media throw the assistants under the bus and he says nothing.
He is not the Christian you fans think he is.
And that wife of his, can’t she go without the spotlight just one time?

NORCROSS DAWG

January 3rd, 2011
11:59 am

JEFFRO BODEEN—U GOT IT RITE! CMR WANTED TO MAKE SCAM NEWTON A TE ? HE SHOULDNT OF TOLD ANYONE THAT! PROVRS HIS LACK OF JUDGEMENT ON TALENT AND DO WE NEED TO LOOK AT CMR LACK OF JUDGEMENT ON RECRUITS CHARACTER? CMR IS A NICE MAN,,BUT NO HEART FOR WINNING,NO FIRE IN HIS BELLY, AND WHAT AN IDIOT WITH CLOCK CONTROL IN A FOOTBALL GAME..HE IS TRYING TO GET 100 BROTHERS MOTIVATED TO WHIP SOMEBODY’S ASS WITH A SERMON EACH SAT. MORNING? IT AINT GOING TO HAPPEN! I AGREE WITH BARNHARDT 100%. TO MUCH MONEY TO FIRE THEM ALL LIKE WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN. SELAH

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

Gator Guy

January 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

Tenn > Goergia as far as the better job.

Who would give up being on the edge of the Smokey Mountains in East Tenn to go to Hippie infested Athens to listen to Michael Stipe’s poetry and watch weirdos walk down the street?

in a nutshell

January 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

Richts Boys home of the South aint workin !

Whopper Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

Tony,

Those are fundamentals of a program that should not have to be addressed 10 years into a program, If you have to reinforce or establish those now, then you have truly lost the program and the players. Additionally, your areas of improvement really run the gauntlet of the basics. Better players, much better conditioned, more motivated, more passion from the coaching staff and players, etc, in and of itself is an indictment of the program under Richt.

I can argue that there are only two SEC programs that are clearly below UGA’s football program, Ole Miss and Vandy. All and I mean all the others are either are at par with or superior to UGA.

Richt has an easy schedule next year which will hide some sin, but the program is far from competing in the SEC.

Chris Phillips

January 3rd, 2011
12:01 pm

Thank you Tony. You said everything that I have been feeling. Why do you and others seem to get it and have solid answers, but those at Georgia don’t seem to get it and have any answers?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 3rd, 2011
12:02 pm

7 more days..leaving thurs night for Glendale…Can you SMELL what the Chizik is cookin! (ok wrestling reference was to soothe the UGA fans pain..you lost to UCF..you can’t whine about Fairley ANYmore! )

prediction AU 56 O 42

WAR!!!! DAMN!!!!!!!!!!! EAGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bulldogmaniac

January 3rd, 2011
12:03 pm

Gator Guy….That is stupid.
Athens has been voted…..for quite a few years in a row now….as one of the best college towns in the country!

Jeff

January 3rd, 2011
12:04 pm

Hey Saban…..pretty stupid comment on your part….from someone who lost to LOUISIANA-MONROE!!!! How soon jerks like you forget…..

Instant Karma

January 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

I would like to humpaTrishaDishaWarEagle!

Go Knights

January 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

IF Georgia players didn’t want to be there why were one of the players crying afterward and your RB instigating a fight. This sounds like a spin job to appease the masses* UCF physically dominated Georgia

DIT

January 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

@David
“He is not the Christian you fans think he is”
________________
Really? Please explain to me your version of a Christian. This should be entertaining. Do you even have a little bit of a clue on how CMR lives his life outside of UGA? Please get your facts before popping off!

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
12:06 pm

bulldogmaniac, even though I am a Gator, I agree. Gainesville has at least as many hippy types, not to mention the Hari Krishnas.

Vancy Duly

January 3rd, 2011
12:07 pm

Suggestions for 2011:
1. Move Bobo back to QB coach and hire a Top 10 caliber Offensive Coordinator. Bobo is NOT one. If he were, he would have had some head coaching offers by now…. Far too inconsistent and mind-numbing at times. (one example – GA Tech 1st half – 14 passes thrown, 220 yards, 3 TDs – 2nd half — 5 passes thrown (mostly short ones: 50 yds, 0 TDs). Bobo seems outcoached too often.

2. Instill a level of disclipline and accountability that would shock a Marine (if that’s even possible). This includes our troubled S&C program, but also our collection of mug shots……… The only progress we made in this area in 2010 was reducing the mindless late-hit penalties…….

3. Watch a guy like Tank Carder play for TCU, or the Miller kid for UCF (who grew up a UGA fan), and compare them to our graceful defensive players with beautiful locks of hair flowing from under the helmets. Then, check the stats, and see that it’s the Carders and Millers who make tackles and big plays, while our guys still look good in their pretty uniforms…………. Oh, David Pollack, please clone yourself – 11 clones needed in Athens ASAP……..

4. Focus on the line of scrimmage —- both sides of the ball. We have become weak, and by the 4th quarter, worn out……….. We could survive Bobo, mediocre running backs, and inexperienced QBs if our offensive line was kicking butts. The OL has underachieved for several years……. If we had monsters on the defensive front, perhaps we could afford a few more LBs and DBs with pretty hair, yet few tackles or broken-up passes……….

murfdawg

January 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

As a Dawg fan for over 40 years, this was a soft team this year. And it seems as if we get softer every year under Richt. When UGA took the opening kickoff and marched down field, I thought we were ready to play and have a good bowl game. When Richt made the decision that his team was not tough enough or mean enough to get one yard for a first down and then one more for a td, two things happened. The Dawgs quit and UCF got fired up and knew they were tougher and meaner than Georgia. The rest of the game was like flag football. AJ run deep and if you catch the ball for a td good, if not we’ll try it again. The players were waiting (and hoping and wishing and praying)for someone to make a play. We have turned into Dusty Springfield!!

One more thing. Before the bowl game, Richt would probably get a good grade for next year if he managed to get 8 wins. Unfortunately for him, the bar has risen to 10 wins and an SEC East championship. He must beat Boise,USC and Fl. Missy St looks like a loss. AU without Scam would be a toss-up. That leaves him one game to have a hiccup (and he always does.) He needs to coach like he has a 2 million dollar bet on every game. Which he does.

CatsFly

January 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

UGa needs to recruit players who are passionate about wearing the red panties!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

January 3rd, 2011
12:10 pm

Mark Stoops, watch him.

npgator

January 3rd, 2011
12:11 pm

Tony – very well stated.