Richt’s words, actions haven’t changed ugliness at Georgia

HOOVER, Ala. — Mark Richt says he has “really enjoyed this summer.”

Given that seven of his players have been arrested, three have been kicked out of the program, another transferred after being suspended for half the season, his boss was arrested for a DUI and ultimately was forced to resign and the NCAA just phoned to announce their impending arrival in Athens, we’re left to wonder: Just how low does Richt set the bar for his summers?

Mark Richt has had a tumultuous summer. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

Mark Richt has had a tumultuous summer. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

Or has he just become used to this sort of thing?

“It’s like, you know [something is] gonna happen,” he said Thursday morning. “It’s just like a ballgame. You know there’s going to be a penalty or a turnover, even though you don’t want there to be. Now you have to decide: How are you going to react to that? You can lose your cool and start spouting things you wish you didn’t say. Or you can just take care of the issue and move forward. That’s what I try to do.”

Problem being: It’s not working.

We can go round and round about how players are individuals who make individual choices (sometimes dumb ones). We can talk about how a coach, who has given a thousand speeches and made a thousand threats, may be on a remote tropical island while his quarterback is drinking himself into oblivion and groping a woman in a small-town bar. But does it really matter?

Whether Richt is saying the right or wrong things, or recruiting the right or wrong players, or setting the right or wrong tone, this is his program. He knows that. Anything that happens, whether it’s a stirring win in Tuscaloosa or an ugly arrest in Remerton, reflects on him.

Right now, the ugliness reflects on Mark Richt.

When he met with a small group of media members Thursday, prior to his main news conference at SEC media days, Richt was typically calm and cordial, even as a storm swirled around the program. Some would say that’s one of his strengths, not seeming like he’s going to put his fist through a wall every time something goes wrong. The downside to that is it gives others the perception, whether accurate or not, that he’s either bringing in the wrong players or he’s not a strong enough disciplinarian when they get here.

Question: Do you get a sense that when Nick Saban walks into a locker room that every one of their players is just a little bit intimidated. If so, do you get that same sense with Richt?

“I’ve got a process of handling these situations and I think I do a good job of it,” Richt said, calmly.

He was asked if he has tightened restrictions on player, in light of the arrests this summer. He declined comment.

He was asked later about some media outlets having him on a “hot seat,” partly because of last season’s 4-4 conference record.

Insulted?

“Not really. I understand the business,” he said. “I don’t worry about it. My goal is to focus on the important things and the things I can control.”

Coaching at the same SEC school for 10 years will grow a man some thick skin.

“In the end, we’re still in process of educating young people: How to handle adversity and rebound from that,” Richt said. “[Former UGA linebacker] Dannell Ellerbe. He had an issue early in his career: a DUI and a car wreck. I said, ‘Look, what you did damaged your reputation and Georgia’s reputation. But it didn’t destroy it. It only destroys it if you let it destroy it. If you allow this to put you in the tank, then you’re probably not going to make it.’ He was on his last leg at Georgia. But he got his act together.”

He has had those success stories. But arrests and losses have a cumulative effect. To use Richt’s words, they can damage the reputation of a man and a school.

Previous SEC/Georgia posts

SEC media days: Waiting on Richt as NCAA hovers at Georgia

NCAA inquiry is the last thing Georgia and Mark Richt need

It’s no coincidence Saban suddenly is concerned about agents

SEC media days: Hey, who let the BCS in here?

We’re LIVE at SEC media days (with no shortage of storylines)

NCAA reportedly investigating Florida (but temper excitement)

Can Dogs end Alabama-Florida monopoly in SEC title game?

Listen up, Ole Miss: I’ve got Colonel Reb’s replacement

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

713 comments Add your comment

rj

July 22nd, 2010
1:19 pm

first, but wish it was on a better article.

cadawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:22 pm

Enter your comments here

Mosley

July 22nd, 2010
1:23 pm

I don’t know what more Richt can do. For journalists to expect incidents NOT to occur, particularly since 75% are drinking related, these are college students, is naiive.

It’d be like a journalist being judged by their perfection at grammar in a blogging environment over 365 days. 1 mistake, or 12 mistakes, and they’re considered incompetant & they’re fired? Come on now.

georgia87

July 22nd, 2010
1:23 pm

Do you think that the kids were intimidated when John Wooden walked into the locker room? Probably not. But they learned about how to conduct themselves as men, not to cower in a corner because they are intimidated. Give me a man that teaches others to be men. Thanks, Coach Richt.

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:24 pm

See Tide Rising? Schultz is equal opportunity with the provocative articles.

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

JS – Didn’t you say this morning on the radio that you wouldn’t be intimidated by Saban walking into a room? He’s too short?

Mosley

July 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

Actually, it would be like a journalist being judged, not by his OWN mistakes, but by the number of grammar mistakes made by 120 OTHER journalist on their staff, over a 365 day period. Absurd.

greg

July 22nd, 2010
1:26 pm

same article. different day. you really should get some new material. this exact article (albeit with different words) was written yesterday. to think that at one time you were a good read in the ajc…
btw…please stop trying to make the NCAA thing a bigger deal than it is…jeez

Jeff Houston

July 22nd, 2010
1:26 pm

Remeber when you used to be a journalist, not some harpy trolling for hits? Kind of like prostitution, isn’t it?

Dash Riprock

July 22nd, 2010
1:26 pm

The perverted leftwing libtard editorials, the misspelled words, the elementary school grammar, the worship of Paul and his johnson, and the shrinking subscriptions all reflect on you Jeffie.

Mosley

July 22nd, 2010
1:27 pm

If Richt’s program, base don mistakes made by SOME of his 120 players over a 365 day period, is “ugly”, I guess most journalists are “ugly”, based on the sheer number of mistakes made over 365 days by fellow staffers, and at least 120 other journalists.

Dixie

July 22nd, 2010
1:28 pm

Richt’s a puss and his teams are soft.

1eyedJack

July 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

If your dog wets the carpet do you shoot the cat?

dawggirl

July 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Did you stop to think that maybe he enjoyed his summer, because he was with his family? Damn Jeff, I didn’t think you were that stupid.

TuckDAWG

July 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

I like how you are trying to pin Evans on him to CMR is a great coach and man everybody has issues quit blaming him for all of them. Once again Schultz you stay classy whata joke

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Regarding CMR, there has been some ugliness this summer but a man is measured by how he responds to adversity. He was proactive and showed a zero-tolerance for any type of sexual crimes with Mettenberger. He showed compassion by counseling Montez Robinson even after he was forced to kick him off the team, he likely would’ve suspended Dontavious Jackson for half the season had he not left school. I don’t have a problem with how he’s leading the young men on the team because he’s being an example of high character and integrity. What will get him on the hot seat is not underage drinking, if it happens, it will eventually be because he couldn’t get back to the top of the division and conference.

Also, Damon Evans’ problems don’t reflect on Coach Richt at all. He was after all, technically CMR’s boss.

ryan

July 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

If UGA can put all the distractions aside and play football win11 or 10 games and beat Florida and Tenn and Tech get to the Dome this summer will be forgotten.

Bama fans = UGA employees

July 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

UGA’s new fight song: “Tipsy” by JKwon

Tennessee’s new fight song: “Cop Killa” by Ice T

Dawgfan17

July 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

What do you propose he do that can be harsher to discourage kids than kick them off the team? Maybe he should take Meyer’s approach and suspend them a half a game, that would show them.

Boo Radley

July 22nd, 2010
1:33 pm

So Jeff, despite CNS’s “intimidation” why the Tide earn the Fulmer Cup in 2008? If he such a stern disciplinarian who intimidates players into compliance how did that happen?

Bye Bye AJ

July 22nd, 2010
1:33 pm

TMZ has the goods on you. Busted. Liar.
Enjoy your Looooong season.

DawgDan

July 22nd, 2010
1:34 pm

It’s waaaaay past time for Richt to go. Not only has he completely lost control of the goons he recruits, he can’t win the SEC. So why is he still head coach?

It’s only going to get worse.

Bud

July 22nd, 2010
1:34 pm

Wonder how many people in a Fortune 500 company were arrested this week? Should the CEO be fired for his ugliness?

Wonder how many kids forgot to do their homework this year, should the teacher be fired?

Paul

July 22nd, 2010
1:35 pm

and ryan…If ifs and buts were candy and nuts..

Really, Micheal Vick, Really!!!

July 22nd, 2010
1:35 pm

I guess UGA is the badboy in the SEC despite the fact that Florida has more arrests (a couple of them felonies) than any other program over Meyer’s tenure. But Urban Meyer’s heart my explode if anyone mentions that so the AJC decides to throw mud on UGA’s program as having a cloud over it. Good God, no wonder the Macon Telegraph covers UGA better than the AJC. If we win a National championship, people will finally get off his back.

SC Boy

July 22nd, 2010
1:36 pm

It’s about winning at all costs. Richt got it honest from Bowden. They recruit thugs and pray to God they don’t get into trouble. Compare to USC and Vandy. They win less but their kids are not always in trouble. Spurrier had some issues when he first got there but he cleaned house and righted the ship. 1 arrest in 2 years and that charge was dropped.

It can be done. Might have to win with 3 stars who come from good homes and are of unquestionable integrity.

Stacy

July 22nd, 2010
1:36 pm

One of the worst articles I have ever read. Shultz, you keep this up and I will quit reading your articles. I feel like I wasted a part of my day because of you.

Lol. Dixie, nothing to say to you other than you are trash.

dawgfan

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

Oh for the love of God. Shultz is Terrance Moore writing this garbage for you?

How many Georgia fans have to come out in support of Mark Richt before Shultz let’s this go? Why do you insist on trying to make a story that simply isn’t there Schultz?

willie b.

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

i dont care about intimidation of kids, i want them coached up to win football games and now we can do that. they will screw up when they leave or they will become men, we can only do so much wuth immature numbnuts, so lets win the games.

Howard

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

Jeff…down here in south Florida, Saban made the sports shows everywhere when he made a Dolphins lineman break down into tears during pre-season training one year…remember that?? If he can reduce a pro footballer to bubbling like a pre-school kid being denied his next ice cream cone, you just know how big an intimidation factor he is on college kids. I watched him on Bob Neill’s sports talk show last night…and I’m telling you Saban looks like a Mafia figure…I doubt he’d smile if he won the lottery. He’s scary…but maybe that’s what it takes today to keep these idiot, spoiled HS brats under wraps.

The UGA downward spiral continues

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

I told you last year it would get worse. This article summarizes it all. But there will be more. The program is in chaos. And until you remove the virus, it will continue.

Stupid Article

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

This is a dumb article.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

Jeff- You should try humor.

Jim Allen

July 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

I think this whole thing is overblown. These are college students who sometimes make bad decisions. I am a Georgia grad and very happy that the foolish things I did while in college were not front page news. The truth is that fans (and media) don’t know enough to make judgments on these things. We only know “what happened” to the extent that it is in the news. We don’t know the players. We don’t know their issues. We don’t know the coaches. We don’t know the internal relationships. We know next to nothing. Exactly what the columnists know.

The hardest part of coaching, I think, is having to deal constantly with complaints and “advice” from people who know less than a tenth of what you know about what you do.

SSIgator

July 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Great article Jeff. Right on point. Richt is still running with the Papa Bowden “aw shucks” approach and it will be his downfall. The UGA fans that don’t get this simply do not want to hear it.

Andrew

July 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Jeff, shut up!

gabeaux

July 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Richt has to grow a pair. He’s a wimp coach and his players are going to walk all over him because he has no spine. Every year his teams underachieve on the field and off. He has to get tough but seems incapable. This is going to be another so so year at best.

BTOWN DAWG

July 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

HEY SCHULTZ -

I gues from your logic Richt is responsible for the entire DAMON EVANS Debacle too?

Get over it. There is nothing that Richt or any other coach can do to keep this kids from some of the behavior they’ve exhibited. All they can do is “coach” and “teach”. It is ultimately the indivduals choice in how they choose to handle these situations. There is only so much a coach can do…..

Please get over yourself…..I’d like to see you coach a HIGH PROFILE SEC TEAM for 1 season…..just as long as it’s NOT UGA!!!!

Andrew

July 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

SSIgator,

Worry about your own team.

J dubb

July 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

Jeff,

One of the only times i have felt that you are wrong with your opinion. What ugliness at UGA? D Evans? Richt has no association with that. Neither do the players.
What is the UGA players’ worst offense? Underage drinking? Riding a moped w/out a license? Unpaid parking tickets? Wow. CMR should be ashamed he’s recruiting such bad kids.
3 guys actually partook (?) in worse and CMR expelled them from the program right?
Richt is doing everything right except winning championships. If he continues to build his program the right way, and continues to make changes to his staff when needed, UGA will eventually win more SECC and probably a NC.
I don’t think he has a discipline problem. This goes on at most big-time programs, and most colleges period. When they’ re not athletes, its not news.

McGrew

July 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

“If your dog wets the carpet do you shoot the cat?”

Yes, don’t you?

RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!
RED PANTIES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!!

gumpdawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:40 pm

you people still do not understand. Athens is one of the few places in the US where officers are REQUIRED to make an arrest for an underage alcohol incident. THERE ARE NO WARNINGS. Look at places like Alabama and LSU. They have kids get citations for an MIP all the time, but it never goes to the papers because they are not arrested. If the same incident occurred in Athens, the person would be arrested and charged, not simply given a citation and a slap on the wrist.

Ex: If Athens was like the rest of the US, then T King would have been given a citation and asked to call a ride home. Only D Jax would have been arrested (obviously a DUI is an arrest anywhere)

Pi$$onaDawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:40 pm

Things I can CONTROL, Things happen and I will react to them? WTF? You can’t CONTROL your players? If they fear your Discipline then you will have CONTROL. RICHT you have kids and you can’t control them? Didn’t you make rules and enforce them with your kids? REACT to a penalty? Kids getting Drunk underage and Driving while Drunk AIN’T no Mother F..ing Penalty it is a DANGER to the PUBLIC. Grow a pair you joke CHRISTIAN. Jesus preached LOVE yes, but His DADDY gave man the LAW. There can be no Love without the LAW and vice-versa. GROW A PAIR RICHT. Mommy and Daddy are not their kids FRIENDS and you can’t be a Friend to your players. YOU MAKE THE LAW and have to enforce it harshly and evanly.

Dawg Days

July 22nd, 2010
1:40 pm

Every time an AJC writer bashes Richt and his handling of players, it just reinforces for me how good a coach we have at UGA. Schultz et al just don’t get it, basically because they don’t know what class looks like!

Roger

July 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

Nice article Jeff. I couldn’t agree more.

Bryan G.

July 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

SC Boy…”win less”??? Vandy wins about 3 games a year and (I assume you mean South Carolina) wins 6-7 games a year. Richt averages 10 wins a year. That’s a big distinction.

And…Spurrier “cleaned house”? Um, isn’t Stephen Garcia still there?

That said…Richt has to find a way to right the ship. UF and Bama win and don’t seem to have near the problems we do.

McDawg

July 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

“What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.” STOP THAT MOPED

CrackDaddy

July 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

When are you fools gonna stop blaming the coach and the university for the actions of the students! Parents often fail to control their kids while trying their best to do so. Hang the kids I say. Let them man-up.

layinlow

July 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

Schultz, I think you are much uglier than the UGA program.

George Stein

July 22nd, 2010
1:42 pm

GeoffDawg – I think you’re right generally. Richt can’t – and shouldn’t – monitor his players’ behavior all the time. It’s extremely difficult to be proactive because the only way to do it is to have predefined penalties for an action and, unfortunately, life isn’t black and white. So, coaches are forced to be reactive. And while I think Richt’s penalties may be too light on occasion, it’s hard to criticize him for his players’ (or AD’s) behavior.