I’m not sure what to read into Mark Richt’s sudden decision to cancel his scheduled Sunday night conference call with media members because of a reported “family function,” other than, well, a reported family function.
But with strong and protracted speculation that there are going to be significant changes on his coaching staff at Georgia — including either firing or demoting defensive coordinator Willie Martinez — Richt should not let this matter linger much longer. Either announce the staff will remain intact or make changes. The public guessing game helps nobody.
This generally is the week firings happen. (Virginia already has fired Al Groh.) It’s an important time in recruiting, and teams also want to get an early jump on potential replacements. There’s no reason to wait until after bowl games. Bowls generally are inconsequential, as it relates to a coach’s job security.
All that said, it would stunning if Martinez is back, certainly as coordinator. Martinez’s supporters shouldn’t get too drunk over the 30-24 season-ending win over Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs played better defense at times against Tech than they had this season. But the Jackets were held to only a field goal in the first half largely because Georgia’s running game kept Tech’s offense off the field. They had only four possessions. (The others: missed field goal, interception, time expired.) If any coach redeemed himself Saturday night, it probably was offensive line coach Stacy Searles, not Martinez.
In the second half, Tech scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions and fumbled to end another drive near midfield.
As our Tim Tucker points out, Richt has done little to defuse speculation that he’ll make changes. Sometimes saying nothing on the subject — as he has done most of the season — is a greater indictment than anything else. Bottom line: Martinez’s body of work, and certainly the Dogs’ defensive problems the last two seasons, speaks loudly. Change is needed.
But regardless of Richt’s decision, he needs to clear the air quickly.