Is it ‘hot seat’ time already for Mark Richt at Georgia?

Georgia football coach Mark Richt  (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Mark Richt is coming off a 4-4 SEC season at Georgia. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Sometime last season — probably between the 45-19 loss at Tennessee and the 41-17 loss to Florida — I lost track of the number of times I was asked on blogs, emails and radio shows if Georgia coach Mark Richt was in trouble.

My response now is the same as it was then: He’ll be in trouble if he has one more bad season. I’m not sure if that qualifies me as being among the “handful of anonymous Internet trolls,” that Bill “Junkyard Blawg” King referred to this morning.

Fact is, even most fans who wake up every morning in their Bulldog boxer shorts must understand that life in the SEC is different than any other conference in America.

This is a topic now because a few publications are compiling their coaches-under-the-gun lists. The latest came today: The Orlando Sentinel is running a five-part series on coaches on the hot seat.

Part I focused on Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez, and you can hear the laughter all over West Virginia from here.

Part II focuses on Richt.

An excerpt:

Two words: National Championship. It’s been 30 years since the Bulldogs won their last title and Georgia fans are getting restless. Watching Florida, LSU, and Alabama win the past four BCS titles hasn’t probably helped either. Or the fact that Georgia has gone 2-6 against the Gators during Richt’s tenure.

But problems have dogged the Bulldogs program in recent years.

In the offseason, Richt decided to shake up his staff, firing defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and two other assistants. The Bulldogs went after several big-name coordinators eventually settling on Todd Grantham, an NFL coordinator [sic] with the Dallas Cowboys.

Then the program was hit with a string of arrests culminating with starting [sic] quarterback  Zach Mettenberger’s arrest outside of a bar in Valdosta, Georgia.

In many ways, Richt is under more pressure now than ever before. While expectations certainly aren’t meteoric like two years ago, when the offense included Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, Richt knows going 4-4 in the SEC again won’t cut it in 2010.

Because if that happens, folks, the seat would be very hot in 2011.

Agree? Or do you think Richt is on the hot seat already?

Earlier posts

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736 comments Add your comment

Give the man some credit

May 18th, 2010
3:00 pm

Riley

May 18th, 2010
3:07 pm

Seat isn’t hot yet. But another year where Richt doesn’t fix problems like defense, turnovers, penalties, losing to Florida, etc, it will be hot.

I like Richt. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to fix these problems, because they happen year after year. So I don’t think he’ll be around much longer.

ChippersLoveChild

May 18th, 2010
3:07 pm

Jeff…. completely unrelated to the topic, but have you seen this story? http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BBM_RANGERS_SALTYS_STRUGGLE?SITE=WIMIL&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT reminds me an awful lot of your blog the other day…

Col. Mustard

May 18th, 2010
3:11 pm

The seat is hot, hot hot baby. Flaming. If CMR doesn’t pull off a 4-1 finish to the season, he’s canned last year. More talent than almost any other school, great state to recruit in, no national championships, very few SEC Championships.

Richt sabotages himself with penalties and turnovers because he’s afraid to succeed.

Dawglasville

May 18th, 2010
3:15 pm

It doesn’t matter what we think. All that matters is what the money thinks. I hope not but the all mighty dollar will decide that. I worked for one of the big fish for five years and believe it or not, he never pushed his opinion on Coach Dooley one time. Not on Goff or on Donnan. Of course, I’m sure he is a rare breed.

Steve

May 18th, 2010
3:17 pm

I think he needs to win 10 games and go 10-3. Anything less and he is in trouble. UGA actually has a decent schedule for a change. The 3 losses will probably be at SC, UF, and at AU. We know Tech is a win for sure.

gdawginkalamazoo

May 18th, 2010
3:18 pm

Jeff, As I have mentioned before the only “hot seat” he will be on is if he leaves the heated seats on in his Ford truck this summer.

NRBQ

May 18th, 2010
3:19 pm

Congrats, Jeff, on joining the Parade of Stupid on this particular non-subject.

74Dawg

May 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

Whoever wrote that article obviously does not know much about Georgia football. Grantham was not a coordinator at Dallas,he was linebacker coach. Mettenberger was never the starting quaterback,never even projected as that. In fact,he would supposedly have ended the spring as third on the depth chart.
The article fails to mention that he was kicked off the team. How any of that reflects negatively on Richt,I have no idea. If this was an actual employee for the Sentinel ,they should first get their facts straight. And second they should talk to people close to the program,not read what the lunatic fringe posts on blogs. Stuff like this can actually make one appreciate the quality of sports writing at the AJC. Oops,did I just say that?

tt44

May 18th, 2010
3:21 pm

CMR WILL RETIRE @ UGA! GO DAWGS!

Steve

May 18th, 2010
3:21 pm

NRBQ, you are the one commenting. Must make you pretty “stupid” too huh?

dap01

May 18th, 2010
3:22 pm

CMR has pushed all the right buttons this offseason. He is not on the hotseat.

The defense will be ready, the special teams will be special again and the offense will be ok with 10 returning starters.

The schedule is much better than last year’s killer. Ga Tech will lose again. Life is good in Athens.

innocent bystander

May 18th, 2010
3:22 pm

He’s NOT on the hot seat nor should he be. We are spoiled because we compare early Richt to recent Richt.When you look at UGA history without a tailback named Herschel Mark RIcht has worked wonders. You would think the Orlando Sentinel would do a little homework instead of trying to kick up dust. SInce when was Mettenberger a starter?

bali

May 18th, 2010
3:23 pm

hot, it aint even summer yet, now come July or august, a seat will get pretty hot

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:23 pm

ChippersLoveChild — Hadn’t seen the story. Hey, it’s today’s 24-7 online media food chain.

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:24 pm

Col. Mustard — It was you! In the library! With the lead pipe!

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:24 pm

Gdawginkalamazoo — Do you work for Ford or something?

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:25 pm

NRBQ — Thank you. Do I get a certificate or something?

Col. Mustard

May 18th, 2010
3:25 pm

Anyone notice Richt’s record has gotten worse, 3 years IN A ROW!!!!!!!!!

loyal dawg

May 18th, 2010
3:26 pm

With that schedule…yes, 4 or more losses and he will be (and should be) on the hot seat! CMR is a fine man, but it’s been several years with nary a hint of the SEC East crown. We don’t want to wait and watch the Gators continue their dominance…and losing to TN…better not happen this year!

baldy

May 18th, 2010
3:26 pm

We’ll know how the season is going to go in the first two games. If we can keep the average number of penalties down to something like, say, eight per game, then we’ll know the coaching staff is getting a better handle on the players. If not, well the inmates are still running the asylum, and it’s time to find someone who can actually lead. If you’re going to recruit a bunch of thugs disguised as “student-athletes,” then you’d better have someone who knows how to keep them in line and out of trouble – and at least onsides and remembering the snap count. And I don’t mean that as a knock on Georgia – that’s what all high-profile football schools do. The successful programs have people who can manage kids who’re about a half step above animals and transform them into something other than thugs who get to play ball and pretend to be in school.

Valdostan surrounded by nothingness

May 18th, 2010
3:26 pm

What’s the problem up there in North Georgia with Richt?
Richt has the only program in North Georgia including Falcons, Hawks
Braves, Thrashers, etc., that your North Georgia losing fans expect.
Oh well, time to take off work and get in 18 holes before supper.

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:26 pm

74Dawg — Good point, in fact I felt the need to add [sic.] after that just because you pointed that out.

pj

May 18th, 2010
3:27 pm

SEC or SEC EAST Titles

Goff – 0
Donnan – 0
Richt – 3

Hot seat my arse.

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:27 pm

TT44 — I agree, Mark Richt will retire at Georgia. But when?

TIRED OF THIS TOPIC

May 18th, 2010
3:27 pm

Can we please move on? CMR has done everything but win a MNC. He has had UGA on the cusp several times (02, 05, 07). Multiple Top 5’s and Top 10’s. He is doing a “dag-gum” good job at UGA.

11Dawg

May 18th, 2010
3:27 pm

What a horribly researched article (the Sentinel one, I mean). Mettenberg as the starter? Richt being on the hot seat EVERY YEAR? I guess they’ll let anyone be a journalist.

Col. Mustard

May 18th, 2010
3:27 pm

Anybody notice, Georgia was last place in offensive giveaways, and defensive takeaways, kick off coverage was pathetic, averaged less 100 yards LESS rushing than Bama or Florida, -16 in turnover margin was LAST in the NCAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11Dawg

May 18th, 2010
3:27 pm

Mettenberger, excuse me.

Chiquita

May 18th, 2010
3:28 pm

Why do Georgia fans think they’re so great, when they finished #45 in the nation last year and went to the Independence Bowl in… good grief… Shreveport?

It’s kind of sad to see all the Dawg fans getting so excited this year (justlike the year before, the year before that, etc.). How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t
been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the seven or eight wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 10-2 or even 11-1 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 15 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 25, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent. It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans, like FSU and Ole Miss fans, need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Bulldog Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many
blue chip high school plays go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and
irrelevance. 

Col. Mustard

May 18th, 2010
3:29 pm

Any one notice, Georgia has had a BRAND NEW QB 3 YEARS IN A ROW!!!!!!!!!

Jeff Schultz

May 18th, 2010
3:29 pm

Col. Mustard — Actually, it has dropped in the last 2, not the last three
2006: 9-4 (4-4)
2007: 11-2 (6-2)
2008: 10-3 (6-2)
2009: 8-5 (4-4)

11Dawg

May 18th, 2010
3:29 pm

Wrong, Colonel. Stafford was a 3 year starter.

Col. Mustard

May 18th, 2010
3:30 pm

90+ PENaLTIES A YEAR 3 years in a row!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Grinch

May 18th, 2010
3:30 pm

Richt will be fine. Grantham and Lakatos will fix the D, and Richt can go back to worrying only about the offense. Now if we could just get a new strength and conditioning coach…regardless, I see a 10 win season and a general upswing in the program.

Dawg 3/20

May 18th, 2010
3:30 pm

He is 2-7 against Florida, has a loss to Vanderbilt, and did a very poor job with recruiting this past year. 10 of 12 Under Armour All Americans from Georgia are leaving the state to play ball.

Col. Mustard

May 18th, 2010
3:30 pm

11, 10, 8, what’s next, 6 wins???????

Gravy Train

May 18th, 2010
3:31 pm

Fact: There isn’t a better HC available for the job. Compare Richt’s record to Bryant or Dooley.
Fact: Coach Richt isn’t going to sell his soul to get a NC. Urban and Saban are okay with having murderous, female beating, drug pushing criminals play. They even get free books to resell and not go to class in some cases.
CMR just made some very tough decisions in regards to the direction of the program, smart money waits to see how things shake out.

The Grinch

May 18th, 2010
3:31 pm

And the columnist for the Sentinel is an idiot; Richt didn’t make Mett grab that girl’s booty.

gdawginkalamazoo

May 18th, 2010
3:32 pm

All I want to see this season a defense that has greatly improved and moves in the right direction in stopping our opponents. I would even give Richt another 8-5 although I don’t think that will happen. I say another 9-10 win season is more like it. We all know what the problem has been the past two years and that has been corrected. It might take a year or so to get the defense entrenched. That being said, with the recruits that Grantham is drawing in UGA may be looking at the next great defense in the SEC (which means nation also).

Preston

May 18th, 2010
3:32 pm

Col., That’s because of Martinez’s defense. Thank God he’s gone! Look for the Dawgs to make some serious noise this year. The first month is very scary though with a new defensive coordinator, but as the year progresses, UGA will be a force to be reckoned with. Let’s hope we can get past SC and Arkansas because they’re dangerous early in the season even with less talent.

Dawglasville

May 18th, 2010
3:32 pm

I guess we are just fish in a barrel. This gets written, our record against UF gets published yesterday and it is a blog frenzy. Georgia fans are going to blog. Techies, Florida, Bama, Tenn., guys are going to pile on. I guess it is so much easier to hit us. The only people who will comment on Tech stuff is Tech and Georgia fans. They really do need to move to another conference and get a few more enemies.

baldy

May 18th, 2010
3:32 pm

Amen on the penalties comment, Col. Mustard.

Duck a Fawg

May 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

>TIRED OF THIS TOPIC…I agree this is a tired subject and I do not believe Richt is even on a “warm” seat….but “on the cusp?” really?

Tucker T

May 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

Some say that Richt will retire in a few years to do missionary work, I don’t know if I believe that. I do agree with Jeff, he gets one more season on the cool seat and then the fire will be turned up if there is only a mediocre season in 2010.

Valdostan surrounded by nothingness

May 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

Must be an exciting job as a sports journalist in Atlanta
writing about all them winnin’ programs ya’ll have up
there in North Georgia, and especially the loyal fans
and their enthusiasm and support of their coaches,
players and teams.

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

“HOT SEAT”? HELL, he is on the Bruce Wills Hair Plan but he just doesn’t want to accept it. Bobo has to go after the easy schedule uga has this year. Can RUSS become VIII and not have to get his butt painted?

Patrick Sulley

May 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

He is NOT going to be let go:

He is 24-7 against the SEC West.

He is 28-16 against the SEC East.

He is 38-4 against nonconference opponents.

He is 8-1 against Georgia Tech.

He won four of his first five games against Tennessee, but has lost three of the last four against the Vols since then.

He was born the same year as Chuck D of Public Enemy.

Ranks third in winning percentage among active college coaches that have coached for at least five years, now that Pete Carroll left USC for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

He is 90-27, trailing only Urban Meyer (96-18) and Bob Stoops (117-29).\\yeah he is pretty damn good

Mark Richt is one of only six coaches to win two SEC football championships in their first five years coaching. He is also one of only five head coaches in SEC history to record four straight 10-win seasons

Coach Richt’s Red and Black outfits have never posted a losing record in conference play and six of his last eight squads have finished 6-2 or better in regular-season SEC contests.

Mark Richt’s overall success in Southeastern Conference action—including two SEC titles, three conference championship game appearances, and four finishes of no worse than tied for first place in the East, with no losing records in the process—is without parallel in Georgia football history.

Bryan G.

May 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

Jeff, I agree with you. I’m an alum/season ticket holder and he’s not in trouble with me. If they go 8-5 this year with the favorable schedule, though, 2011 will bring a “significant improvement” mandate (remember Dooley’s famous quote in 1995???).

I think Richt can get it done, but the difference in his first 4 years and the last 5 has been the defensive coordinator. I look at this as Richt 2.0 starting this year.

Patrick Sulley

May 18th, 2010
3:34 pm

Nick Saban went 6-5, 6-6, 6-6, 7-5 at Mich St.

He went 8-5 at LSU 2x

He went 7-6 at Alabama.

Saban has gone 5-3 or worse in conference 8 times.

Richt has only gone 5-3 or worse in conference 3 times in his first 9 years.

Compare that to Saban’s record and consistency in his 1st 9 years.

Richt has NEVER had a 7-6 or 6-6 season, Saban’s done it 5 times, including once at Alabama