Richt: Starting a freshman QB now would be like ‘quitting’

Mark Richt will not look toward 2010 season in 2009.

Mark Richt will not look toward 2010 season in 2009.

ATHENS — There are enough things that Georgia coach Mark Richt is being criticized for these days. So I figured this would be a good time to tell you something he is doing right: sticking with Joe Cox at quarterback.

What’s important to remember here is that this is college, not the NFL (even if the line between the two is somewhat blurred in the SEC). It’s common for pro teams in any sport to start playing younger athletes late in wasted seasons to prepare for next season.

Sorry. It’s different on a campus. And it should be.

It’s different when you have senior players who may never step on a football field again after this season. If Richt started a freshman quarterback, believing he’s not ready but ostensibly to get him ready for next season, the coach basically would be telling his players, “We really don’t care about these last few games.”

Richt did a better job articulating this at his weekly news conference Tuesday than I could. When the subject of sticking with Cox and keeping the redshirt on freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger was  broached, he reiterated that Cox “gives Georgia the best chance to win now,” and that nobody else has earned that spot.

Then when asked about the mindset of playing a freshman for the potential benefit of next season, he said: “I can’t do that. I can’t do that to our seniors. I can’t do that. We tell our guys to finish the drill. We tell our guys to never quit. And if we made that move with a young guy, then I’d have the confidence to say in all honesty that he gives us the best chance to win. And because we couldn’t come to that conclusion, we went with the guy who gives us the best chance to win right now. If we said, ‘Hey we’re playing for next year,’ then in my mind we’d be giving up on the season. We’d quit. We don’t quit at Georgia. We don’t teach our guys to quit.”

Now, this shouldn’t be taken as a statement that Cox is great. Logic says backup Logan Gray will get increased playing time Saturday against Tennessee Tech and the rest of the season. But this isn’t the time to tell a freshman, “Rescue us.”

187 comments Add your comment

Abilene

November 3rd, 2009
1:41 pm

I agree with Jeff on this one.

Abilene

November 3rd, 2009
1:50 pm

I do strongly disagree with Richt when he says “We don’t teach our guys to quit.”

Too many of his players have already quit. Richt recruits way too many players who can barely read and have a very casual attitude about obeying the law. Follow that up with very poor coaching with no attempt to improve these players’ attitudes, and you get guys who do quit, who get arrested way too often, and have no self-discipline or motivation. And Richt uses a band-aid approach to solving these problems, saying he needs to make sure they all have drivers’ licenses. Like that will solve everything. Right.

Richt has to go before the program goes so deep into a hole that it will take years to recover.

gomdawg

November 3rd, 2009
1:50 pm

You got to start the drill to finsh it ????

Paul in RDU

November 3rd, 2009
1:51 pm

I also agree with Jeff. This is college ball and Richt does owe it to his players to try to win this year.

Heck – they could win 4 in a row (although I wouldn’t bet on it)

TommyP

November 3rd, 2009
1:52 pm

I agree 100% with Schultzie and Richt. Too pull the redshirt off Murray (Mettenberger would never be discussed) for just 4 games would be asinine. Murray will be a 4 year starter since he’s too short for the NFL’s liking in the 1st round.

Let’s get Murray ready for the job starting in January. That means he’ll have had 2 January’s, 2 spring practices, 2 summers with the team before taking over. And 4 years remaining eligibility.

Great (non)move by Richt.

Recruiting - Coaching = Rebuilding

November 3rd, 2009
1:52 pm

I see his point, but I don’t agree that Cox gives us the best chance to win.

I think Richt is just sticking to his talking points. He’s been repeating the same lines all year long. I guess memorizing them for next year.

nemov

November 3rd, 2009
1:53 pm

I agree with Richt on this point. Cox is the scapegoat for one of the worst defenses in UGA history. Cox isn’t the type of QB that can win shootout games. Our defense has been terrible all season. A couple of stops in the first half and the Dawgs had a real shot against Florida. We were running the ball and making the pass when we needed it.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stop the gators and we had to make desperate passes. Stafford threw a few picks last year too.

TommyP

November 3rd, 2009
1:54 pm

One more thing…all of those Stafford-detractors….want him back NOW?

Yep

November 3rd, 2009
1:56 pm

Time for a Hard Look

November 3rd, 2009
1:58 pm

If playing a QB that has thrown as many interceptions as Cox is playing the guy that gives us the best chance to win then they need to recruit better, coach better , or reevaluate what it takes to win. Because Cox would being wear headsets the whole game at Florida, Alabama, Tenn, etc., and even at Tech!

Bill Jones

November 3rd, 2009
1:59 pm

Richt quit last Saturday when he yanked Cox with over 7 minutes left down 17. That’s where you go hurry up and try to make it a 10 point game. Anything can happen. The Falcons didn’t quit last night and they had a chance at the end. I’m amazed that more people aren’t holding Richt accountable for giving up prematurely.

pt jackets

November 3rd, 2009
2:00 pm

I Agree with CMR. Get off his case and support him rather than trying to throw him under the bus. I’m not even a GA fan but the man is the best coach you guys have ever had in my opinion and that includes Dooley. (no offense Coach) CMR is a very good coach and I’m sure that he will turn your program around. As for who he gets… He is a football coach looking for players who can play football and stay in school. To often its hard to find both in the same body. CMR is not their Mom or Dad he is their football coach. What happens off the field is not his fault and he has very little control over what they do off the field. To hear some of you talk you would want him to lock them in their room chained to there bed until the morning when they could be let out to go to class and practice. These are college kids not NFL players!

mcdaviddawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:01 pm

Too bad we have a head coach who has quit. If Richt only did the things that he says. I don’t believe anything he says. His answer are always soft and with little respect to reality. Let’s get a real coach.

MIKE ON LAKE HARTWELL

November 3rd, 2009
2:02 pm

it is very possible to win the last 4. if the chips fall in the right places, UGA
could wind up in the outback bowl. (seeing as how some experts pick AUBURN
for that game, UGA will go by defeating AUBURN and winning out, and auburn
losing to ALABAMA which will happen)

GO DAWGS! a lot to play for.
2 rivalry games and a NEW YEARS BOWL!

Bigdawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:03 pm

Please, spare me. The seniors owe the team, the seniors owe to play better
the seniors should show leadership and not condone stupid penalties. The seniors, if not the best
at the position should sit. What happened in the pre season all we heard was how much leadership
was on this team, how focused they were. Answer: it was all bs. The senior leaders quit on themselves and the team. This season was over after tn. Spare me with “the seniors”.

Jeff

November 3rd, 2009
2:04 pm

Hey, maybe they can coach him up some more. Look how bad UT’s Crompton looked at the start of the year…they stuck with him and now he is playing quite well. Don’t throw your seniors under the bus.

kent

November 3rd, 2009
2:04 pm

This year is already lost but the coach doesn’t want to absorb the losses that playing a freshman qb would entail. Next year you’ll hear that UGA is playing a freshman QB so we have to be patient. The coach is in over his head and is overmatched next to the quality coaches in the SEC. UGA can’t get by any more on athleticism- you need coaching as well which this staff doesn’t provide.

GetRealDog

November 3rd, 2009
2:04 pm

The season is already in the toliet so a freshman should not be played this late in the season … that’s a different issue than him being ready to play … it would be wasting a year of eligibility for that redshirt freshman. Gray deserves a shot just like Cox did against Ole Miss three years ago when Stafford wasn’t productive. He can’t do much worse than lose three out of four like Cox has, can he?

UGA ALL THE WAY

November 3rd, 2009
2:04 pm

Sadly Jeff, i agree as well. it just REALLY sucks to be a HUGE UGA fan all my life and we go through a transition yr like this. It jus aint like UGA. SOMETHING in the organization is going to HAVE to change. People can say all that they want but its going to come down to whatever needs to happen, needs to happen, NOW!!!!!!

Recruiting - Coaching = Rebuilding

November 3rd, 2009
2:05 pm

Mike On Lake Hartwell…after reading your post I wonder if you aren’t Mike On A Fifth Of Bourbon.

1eyedJack

November 3rd, 2009
2:06 pm

Was just perusing the Scout.com site looking at remaining eligibility.

How can Alabama and Ole Miss have 120+ players on scholarship? Everybody else is around 85.

SadDawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:10 pm

Yeah, let’s just keep our 2 picks/game QB. We’ve gotten so far with him. We’ve got a guy (Murray) who won the Elite Eleven last year, over USC starter Barkley among others sitting on the bench getting no experience. He could finish this season like Stafford in ‘06, and be ready to LEAD next fall. But yeah, let’s stick with the (Richt’s words preseason), “probably the most accurate passer we’ve ever had at UGA”, “he is the leader of this team”, “he will be a game manager” QB that’s gotten us where we are 4-4. What crap.

Dawgday

November 3rd, 2009
2:11 pm

Nice to see this article after the garbage coming from Mark Bradley yesterday. Joe Cox is the best option right now. Idiot fans want to blame him for the loss in Jax?? It was a combination of undisciplined team going up against a great UF team that made some incredible plays (ie. Cooper 1-handed catch and the batted pick at the beginning of the 2nd half).

Good luck to Joe the rest of the way. This true Dawg fan appreciates the sacrifice he’s made waiting for his time this year and having to put up with all of the morons (BRADLEY INCLUDED) that want to throw him under the bus.

Good call CMR. Good article Jeff. Go Dawgs!

cattle dawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:13 pm

I agree with richt to not remove the redshirts. I just want to see what Logan Gray can do when is back isnt against the wall. Let him gameplan an play a few series other than one play.

lawzoo

November 3rd, 2009
2:13 pm

Just remember you can’t spell quit without “u” or “i”. Think about it.

SadDawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:14 pm

Yeah, Tommy P, like Cox had 4 Januarys, 4 spring practices, 4 summers before taking over the team. All of that ain’t the same as game experience – see COX!!!!!!

AJC writers wanted no needed!

November 3rd, 2009
2:14 pm

!st – “What’s important to remember here is that this is college, not the NFL (even if the line between the two is somewhat blurred in the SEC).” Are you freaking kidding me? The SEC for one has been exposed all season. Only reason Fl hasn’t, well look at their OOC schedule. nuff said.
2nd – Crox signs the coaches pay check, right? Hel* no! Wins sign the coaches pay check. Look at the fans on here. oh oh oh ma, ma, mommie hold crox hand an let him finish… BS get him out and give your team a chance to win the remaining games.

firemarkricht.net

November 3rd, 2009
2:15 pm

After reading this article my one question is:

What does Richt have left after playing the sympathy card?

fanfromathens

November 3rd, 2009
2:16 pm

Thank you Jeff for highlighting what should’ve been an obvious point (Many Dawg fans are so blood thirsty right now, they need someone to staple such rational arguments to their foreheads). I couldn’t agree more.

This isn’t the NFL. Thank you to CMR for recognizing that.

By the way Recruiting-Coaching=Rebuilding, how on earth do you know who gives us the best chance to win now? You been attending all the practices, taking notes, watching film on Murray and Cox? Or are you just another blowhard who speaks upon things you know little about?

SadDawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:17 pm

And Murray is 1 inch taller than Drew Brees.

nemov

November 3rd, 2009
2:17 pm

The biggest question for Richt is who is going to coach the defense next season. Also, can really afford to demote CWM? Does anyone really want that guy coaching our secondary?

PHIL

November 3rd, 2009
2:19 pm

WHo would ever have thought that JS was smarter than Mark “Paul Johnson is my hero……today” Bradley? I honestly think the AJC has directed him to write things so outlandish and stupid that he doesn’t even believe them. Like Terrence Moore did.

Sanford Drive

November 3rd, 2009
2:20 pm

The only thing that could make me hate Richt any more is if he removed the redshirts. Mark Bradley is the only one dumb enough to think that’s a good idea.

bob horner stayed hurt

November 3rd, 2009
2:20 pm

I don’t believe CMR is telling the truth….there is no way Murray is worse than Cox….no freaking way……Cox is really bad…great kid…I admire his loyalty to UGA but he’s not a good quarterback…CMR is sticking with him out of loyalty…IMHO

Matt

November 3rd, 2009
2:21 pm

Yeah so next season we start all over again with the same crap. Can’t wait

Doak

November 3rd, 2009
2:23 pm

I told you months ago richt would stick with cox throughout because he’s always been that way. He was the same way at FSU.

common sense

November 3rd, 2009
2:24 pm

Can someone please tell me that last time that Georgia lost to Tennesee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech in the same season. Has it ever happened?

Recruiting - Coaching = Rebuilding

November 3rd, 2009
2:24 pm

fanfromathens…I say that because of Cox’s stats. Do you stand beside Richt because of his abilities as the CEO of the program, his tan, or his loyalty to his friends over the university? He hasn’t been coaching at UGA for a decade while the school’s been playing football since 1892.

Love the tan or love the tradition.

45ACP

November 3rd, 2009
2:25 pm

I concur. If the Dawgs had a better QB than Cox I’m sure he would be playing.
Stafford and Moreno leaving early really hurt the Dawgs.
I don’t blame them for taking the money though.

SLIM PICKENS----Nesbitt for Heisman

November 3rd, 2009
2:25 pm

Last year, Paul Johnson played the freshman Jaybo Shaw quite a bit. He started one game when Nesbitt was hurt. I think Joe Cox has been hurt (in many ways) most of the year.

Ray Charles

November 3rd, 2009
2:27 pm

Urban teaches his kids not to quit too. Urban says don’t quit poking till you send them to Ray’s clinic.

We're # 1

November 3rd, 2009
2:27 pm

In Penalties!

jsmuga

November 3rd, 2009
2:27 pm

If Cox is the best chance to win; then one more win is on the horizon. He has not progressed at all this year. I am not sure Kentucky is a win with him playing. I am not saying there is a better choice but why not see if the freshman can play.

SadDawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:29 pm

45ACP, so that’s why Richt stuck with Joe T? And why He stuck a redshirt on Knowshon in favor of Brown? Sure, if we had better, they would be playing….

Droopy Dawg

November 3rd, 2009
2:31 pm

Bill Jones??? You are very correct!!!

fanfromathens

November 3rd, 2009
2:32 pm

“What does Richt have left after playing the sympathy card?”

How about a great career that speaks for itself, including 2 SEC rings.

I see a bunch of grown adults on these boards who appear to be soiling themselves over a 4-4 college football season. “Oh lawd, I jus cant take no mo loses! I’m so depressed. I wanna die cause my beloved dawgs aren’t national champs every year”

How pathetic it is to get so worked up over a game played by school kids that you go online and start screaming for people to lose their jobs and dumping on students for not playing to your satisfaction. Grow the F up.

Leslie

November 3rd, 2009
2:32 pm

Richt has a very sexy tan. That means a lot to me but the men in my family wish he could coach his way out of a phone booth. Does he get Botox too? I’ll go on a trip with him but I’ve heard from the men I work with that following him into a foxhole might not be a good idea.

45ACP

November 3rd, 2009
2:32 pm

That’s what I’m saying.
Coach Richt sat Joe T and played Stafford.
If Murray or Logan or Mett were ready to play I would have to believe that CMR woud make the change.

Bill

November 3rd, 2009
2:33 pm

You’re right…and Coach Richt is right. Thanks for reminding us all. (Never thought I’d ever say that to a Sports Writer; sorry, Journalist.)

gdawginkalamazoo

November 3rd, 2009
2:34 pm

That’s what I thought Richt might do and say and if you are a plyer you have to like that. Know that your coach isn’t going to Spurrier you the second things go bad. The seniors have been on those winning teams, it will be up to them to help make a difference in the remaining games. Can’t imagine they feel any better about all this than any of us fans. Split some time between Cox and Gray and see how that works. Look at that roster this is a young team.