Richt looking forward to putting Dogs’ season behind him

Mark Richt enjoyed a rare highlight with the win over Georgia Tech but can't wait for this year to end.

Mark Richt celebrated after beating Georgia Tech but he can't wait for this season to end.

ATHENS – The final home practice of the season had ended Tuesday, and Mark Richt acted like somebody just surgically removed a bowling ball from the top of his cranium.

He smiled. He cracked jokes. He probably hadn’t been this relaxed since word first leaked of some NCAA investigation into A.J. Green back in July.

“It’s the last day,” Richt said Tuesday, almost giddy. “It’s kind of like just before the first day of summer when the kids can’t wait to go on vacation. What they don’t realize is the teachers are even more excited than the pupils. I’ve got four days now where hopefully I don’t have to do anything. That would be awesome.”

Can you blame him?

It’s not that Richt isn’t looking forward to Georgia’s final game, the Liberty Bowl against Central Florida. But mostly he is looking forward to this season officially being over. Losses, suspensions and arrests have worn on him (it’s worth noting Richt’s qualifier: “… where hopefully I don’t have to do anything.”)

The season can’t be fixed. It can, however, be dropped into a waste basket.

Richt recognizes the problems. It’s why he churned part of his coaching staff last year and recently demoted his strength and conditioning coach. Defense is an issue. Mental and physical toughness — definitely issues. The Dogs are losing too many games late and too many games on the road, which used to be a staple under Richt.

Resolve, resilience — those are just words now.

Richt: “We played close games but close doesn’t get it done. We talk about finishing the drill, but we certainly didn’t live up to that.”

He won’t wait until the spring to talk to his players about next season, or until the day after the Liberty Bowl. The 2011 season, he said, starts when the scoreboard clock in Memphis hits 0:00.

“Here’s how I look at next year: When we play the [bowl] game, and it’s over, and we’re in the locker room, I’m going to thank those seniors for everything they did, and hopefully they’ll have a smile on their face,” he said. “Once I tell the seniors thank you, I’ll talk to the juniors and I’ll say, ‘OK, from this moment forward, it’s on your watch. This is your team. What are you going to do with it?’ We’ll immediately start talking about next year.”

And then this: “When the game’s over, we’re turning the page.”

Does this sound like a man ready to move on?

Of course, Richt recognizes that it’s really he who’s on watch next season, more than the returning players. He has been questioned in Athens like never before. A segment of the fan base wanted him out. Since winning two SEC titles in his first five seasons, he has seen other programs pass Georgia. South Carolina just won the East. Only three schools – Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Mississippi – won fewer conference games this season than the Dogs.

Georgia’s 3-5 record – the same as the recently imploded Tennessee. Nobody expected that, least of all Richt.

When athletic director Greg McGarity reaffirmed before the Georgia Tech game that he wasn’t going to make a change. I’ve stated before, that’s the right call. Richt has built up enough credits in 10 years that he deserves an opportunity to turn this around. If he can’t do it next year, then the subject is certain to be revisited.

Richt knows this. But he feels good about quarterback Aaron Murray. He feels confident the defense will improve. He thinks changes in the strength and conditioning program are “going to make us better.”

A win in the Liberty Bowl would be nice, Richt said. But it can’t wipe out the last several months — and he is so ready to move on.

Earlier posts

NFL MVP race: Vick and Brady are even (Ryan, White close behind)

Site says Georgia No. 21, Tech unranked going into 2011

Poll time: Are Thrashers destined for a better year than Hawks?

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

344 comments Add your comment

DawginLex

December 21st, 2010
2:52 pm

He better talk to his entire team about the following:

1.) Staying out of trouble
2.) Getting ready to beat Boise State and play like it is their last game
3.) Pay attention to coach T and follow his strength training regimen and get bigger, faster and stronger
4.) Repeat 1 and 2

Richt needs to recruit like there is no tomorrow because for him, there might not be one if he doesn’t win at least 9 games next year.

Robert

December 21st, 2010
2:54 pm

Moonpie

December 21st, 2010
2:58 pm

I agree with Richt.Throw 2010 in the waste basket and start on 2011.Good riddence to the 2010 UGA Football year!

Pooh Pooh Platta

December 21st, 2010
2:59 pm

How many times has that picture been used?

Supes

December 21st, 2010
3:00 pm

2011 will be a make or break season for CMR and the UGA program as a whole, it starts with recruiting, signing impact guys or guys who are willing to do whatever it takes and bleed UGA red/black….then with the off-season strength/conditioning…the spring practices…and the practices leading into the Boise State game.

We’ll have a great chance to have a turn around season…but it’s up to Richt and the other coaches…and then to the players.

If he doesn’t get it done in 2011…

Bob

December 21st, 2010
3:01 pm

and next year won’t be any better. this isn’t 2005 mutts.
boise is for real and if you don’t come prepared, which you haven’t much this season, you’ll get pounded. of course the pollsters will rank you much higher than you’re worth because
1. you’re in the sec
2. you’re playing boise and they want to get as many eyes on it as they can. an unranked uga, which is where you should be after losing half your offense, just won’t bring the eyeballs like a 18th ranking will.

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:01 pm

2011 will be huge……….For Coach Richt……………My guess is 85% of UGA alum likes him, 75% of just fans, but I’d say, if asked, 50% would say that he needs to show significant improvement to keep his job. I’d say 7-5 might even keep him if the defeats are hard fought and close. Liking Mark Richt is not the question. Being competitive in the SEC is. The schedule sets up nice for him next year. AU should even be a win at home if Cam leaves, and he will. This team could lose to Boise,SC,and Florida….and 9-3 would bring him back. A lot of fellow Bulldog club members I talk to are worried about this class upcoming. They think it’s fading….

Supes

December 21st, 2010
3:01 pm

One last thing…can we got one season without making the police headlines with various arrests? It would be nice not to be known as a place where the players get in trouble every other weekend…

Bruce Mac

December 21st, 2010
3:03 pm

Apparently all CMR needs to do is read this blog. Many many Vince Lombardi’s here. DUH!!!!

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:05 pm

Bruce….. the concept is a blog…..The writer throws out info….and people comment on it…..Geez.

ryan

December 21st, 2010
3:06 pm

This recruiting class will be Richt’s last chance and looks like its going to be a good one and appears that UGA will play some Midwest teams in the future i am hearing Ohio State or even Notre Dame.

D A Double U G

December 21st, 2010
3:07 pm

Jeff, I feel the way you wrote this article, you are trying to paint the picture of Mark richt taking the Eeyore approach of “oh, botha”.

Any Tech fan that reads this will interpret this like Mark Richt is just moping around the practice sidelines, wondering why he even interacts with this team anymore.

So I copied this link from Georgiadogs.com of today’s practice session to paint the picture that REALLY should be painted about the attitude in Athens.

http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/122110aae.html

GO DAWGS!!!!!

joe

December 21st, 2010
3:10 pm

Pay raises for the assistant coaches? for what?? A 6-6 season??? You gotta be kidding me. Thats like giving congress a raise for their 13% approval rating.

takedowndawg

December 21st, 2010
3:10 pm

I would scratch the MOTIVATION TOOL of jumping from the pool high board bit, next season, CMR. The players need to know that you are on a mission and you’re “taking no prisoners”. Whether the “prisoners”(no pun intended!) are players or they are coaches who are not smart enough to make game adjustments that give the DAWGS the best chance of being successful in tight games. The real need for them to call plays that exploit your opponents weaknesses rather than playing to your opponents strengths. The coaches in the booth MUST see what the fans, like me, are seeing. We stay in losing strategies much TOO LONG during quarters. I guess to prove a point! Expensive stubborness, in my opinion. If something is not working. Cease the activity! Next, I am very worried about the recruitment coming up. The last two season records for UGA is hurting us. Hope we get a few Christmas surprises in the form of 4-5 defensive animals! We need them badly. Just remember CGT. We are not very patient when our defense loses games for us.

dawgit

December 21st, 2010
3:11 pm

With the talent UGA recruits any less than 9 wins is underachieving.

Lindsey

December 21st, 2010
3:11 pm

Best of luck at the Liberty Bowl and for the 2011 Season to CMR and the Bulldogs!! GO DAWGS!!!

dawgfan

December 21st, 2010
3:14 pm

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blobbity blah blah blah. Blobbity Blah blah, blah blob blah. Blobity donkle blah.

What a waste of time. Wake me up for the bowl game and when Boise comes to town.

D A Double U G

December 21st, 2010
3:18 pm

takedowndawg,

you honestly think that Coach Richt taking his team to the pool (like he has done every year since being at UGA) for one afternoon during Summer camp, and creating a bonding atmosphere for the KIDS on this team, is the reason we went 6-6 this year?

Honestly?

Come on man. A college football team is not a boot camp or punishment for chosing that school. I guarantee you Saban, Meyer, Chizik, Spurrier and every other coach in the country do things every year to let the kids have fun and bond as a team.

The only people who say this Dawgs team is not close with one another, are the frustrated fans who want to take extreme measures so you can have an extra bragging right or two over the offseason. Go ask ANY of the players on this team is going swimming was a disgrace to them, and weakened their ability to gel together and win games, and they will laugh in your face.

Go join the military, buddy. And cheer for their intramural teams if you want 100% serious faces 100% of the time.

GO DAWGS!!!

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:18 pm

The Presidents of Maryland and Miami had coach’s fired that won more games than Richt this year, just say’n…… Two things at work….. Mark is a very, very nice, respected man OFF THE FOOTBALL field…and 10 years at UGA, with some success……….Donnan got the hook pretty quick. I, as a fan and alum study this team and roster. I’m very concerned he is in a talent gap in players and coach’s at this time, and will not have the time to turn it around. Very telling that late in the second half of the Tech game on fourth and one our Veteran line could not knock Tech’s tired defense off the ball for a first down. They stuffed the play. Nuff said.

Supes

December 21st, 2010
3:19 pm

680thefan just reported that C. King is not eligible for the Bowl game…this is exactly the kind of stuff we don’t need at UGA…players who can’t pass their courses…

I guess it’ll be up to Ealey and Thomas to run the ball in the game against Central Florida.

Caleb King letting his team mates down for the game…what else is new?

RxDawg

December 21st, 2010
3:20 pm

“The season can’t be fixed. It can, however, be dropped into a waste basket.”

:lol: You ain’t kiddin!

The only saving grace of the season is that no one kicked our arse. We even went toe to toe with the best darn semipro team in the nation (a certain orange and blue Tiger team).

The low point? Losing to Colorado… that’s probably why King is playing 4th string

Matthew

December 21st, 2010
3:23 pm

Richt better hope that the Tereshinski move works out, but the main issue is players. As in, not enough really good ones. Name me one impact player on this defense. None. Maybe Jarvis Jones will be Boss Bailey and we will find a Jonathan Sullivan, Greg Blue, Thomas Davis, Tim Wansley, and maybe a Tony Gilbert or Will Weatherspoon in recruiting or at junior college. Otherwise, the Dawgs will be trying to hire Will Muschamp, or God forbid, Kirby Smart next December.

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:23 pm

Where are the hand holders to make sure King is eligible ? Is there is Management in Athens.

Paul H

December 21st, 2010
3:24 pm

And then this –> 42-34

Hit A Single

December 21st, 2010
3:24 pm

Dont’ mean to berate players, but UGA’s recruiting has been overrated. Our coaches have got to do a better job of evaluating and recruit not just talent but heart. I hope Coach Richt is at UGA as long as he wants to be. College football has big problems when you have people like Coach Friedgen getting fired and Bill Stewart. The coaching fraternity has brought alot of this on themselves by the big salaries, but it has gotten out of hand. I heard Coach K say if he started at Duke today he probably wouldn’t be at Duke 6 or 7 years. That is sad. We are a spoiled society and if we can’t win it all we lose. I like to win as much as anybody but the handling of coaches has gotten out of hand.

ARdawg

December 21st, 2010
3:26 pm

Wow Schultz! Looks like you and Richt made nicey? I have been part of that fan base that believes he has about wore out his welcome at Georgia. If he was one of my employees, he’d had been fired last year. It’s attitude not record. His attitude is on display on that field for 12 games this year. His performance review is unsatisfactory in all areas. My thought is, why waste another year? But, he is back and it is what it is. In my mind he has a year to fix it. Like a lack luster employee I don’t have much hope but, I do wish them the best. Good Luck and Merry Christmas Mark Richt! And your buddy Jeff too.

robert troup

December 21st, 2010
3:26 pm

2011 should be a good year-Arron Murray should see to that. Dogs need to beat Florida and why schedule Boise State for the first game. I’ve been a season ticket holder for almost fourty years and will keep on coming.

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:29 pm

Kirby Smart WILL be the next UGA coach……By firing Richt, we will have fired a coach with close to a 750 winning percentage, and most “name” coach’s will avoid those type jobs. Kirby will be hungry and willing. My 2 cents.

Hit A Single

December 21st, 2010
3:29 pm

The difference in UGA and Miami is that the Dawgs got better as the year went on. Maryland doesn’t know what they are doing. That is why Bobby Ross left and they never will succeed with those calling the shots. I do agree that Coach Richt better beat Florida next year or it could be over and I would hate to see that. And that is sad to put that on one game.

ARdawg

December 21st, 2010
3:29 pm

Hit a Single

I call BS on your post. The recruits were not overrated. They were under coached. They player talent is there. Look around and you can see some who have over achieved with much less. It ain’t the players. Get your head out of your azz

WDE

December 21st, 2010
3:31 pm

i’m not sure why he’s looking forward to next year. He’ll finish even further behind with UT improving in 2011

UGA Insider

December 21st, 2010
3:31 pm

I’m glad this season is over as well. I still don’t understand how this team is 6-6 when you look at them on a practice field. Bad karma I guess that started with Mettenburger. When that story broke I was worried it could snowball and it did. Even our sorry ex-AD was not immune to the sorriness.

I have had a couple of high school coaches tell me that some recruits are worried about the future of CMR. Our competitor’s are using that against us in every living room of each blue chip prospect as well. If we are going to stick with CMR I think McGarity needs to give him an extension through 2014. It’s the only way to sign a big class.

ARdawg

December 21st, 2010
3:32 pm

We need Kirby Smart like the football program needs the death penalty.There is nothing Kirby offers that UGA needs. He ain’t all that and a bag of chips. He is just a dude leading Saban’s defense. We need a coach, not a waterboy and go’fer

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:33 pm

As will Auburn WDE……………………..Earth to Auburn, you are re-entering our solar system. Please prepare to get back in your normal place………Copy Houston?

takedowndawg

December 21st, 2010
3:33 pm

d.a. double, you what you appear to be saying is that Coach Richt know worn out motivational tools are working for him? Like “finish, the drill”. I suspect that they might have had a positive affect some time in the past in the Pollack-Green era but I question their effectiveness now. If I hear the, “finish, the drill” one more time(in a commercial or a speaking engagement by Coach Richt, I may throw up! Two terrible seasons with a VERY GOOD young quarterback and several outstanding receivers and two or three defensive players of repute. I believe the trite slogans have very little, if any meaning, to the current players. Slogans, are supposed to change the heart of the player and make them give more of themselves. I don’t these slogans have any power or affect on this current crop of players. You and I can agree to disagree but obviously what is being using is not working. Who, with the few exceptions listed above, are playing with a lot of heart? d. a . double.

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:35 pm

I agree ARdawg,,,,,,but watch…. I would rather keep Mark and make him fire 3-4 coach’s and give him the saved buyout money to get a great staff in here. We need one.

WDE

December 21st, 2010
3:35 pm

yeah…after this BCS championship game you may have heard about

WDE

December 21st, 2010
3:36 pm

it will feel bad if we drop down to the independence/liberty bowl level. oh that’s right…you’re already there

DodgerDAWG

December 21st, 2010
3:37 pm

By the way Boise State Football players were involved in a brawl with Utah players in Las Vegas (http://college-football.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/24156338/26563117) and Vols report secondary violations regarding special treatment going back to the bar brawl on July 9th (http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/14473444/vols-report-possible-violations-regarding-special-treatment). Figured since it was not UGA related bad news the AJC would not publish it

D A Double U G

December 21st, 2010
3:38 pm

takedowndawg,

You made a comment on going to the pool. Now you are revamping your argument with these slogans.

I want to hear you say that going to the pool as a team bonding activity is the reason we are 6-6.

Get a life man, and quit obsessing with perfection so much. Go be a NY Yankee fan if this is your attitude.

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:38 pm

UGA Insider….on ONE condition…..He replace most of this staff……….Nobody, I mean nobody comes sniffing around this program looking to hire a coach…..This staff is a 4 on a 1-10 scale.
The true success is from the staff.

mcdaviddawg

December 21st, 2010
3:38 pm

Unfortunatley, we can’t put Richt behind us. We must give him a third year to get it right.

Joe Tess Fish House

December 21st, 2010
3:40 pm

They should fire Mark Rick now and hire Dan Reeves.

Paul (You doesn't have to call me Johnson).

December 21st, 2010
3:40 pm

Richt must win only 4 games…..Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech. If he can win those games the rest of the season should fall in place.

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:40 pm

The only people in the WORLD that thinks Cam came to AU for FREE is AU people.

D A Double U G

December 21st, 2010
3:40 pm

WDE….

remember a VERY VERY short time ago when Auburn didn;t not even qualify for a bowl, and you had fans arrive at the airport to welcome Chizik with BOO’S????

Yeah, that was only December of 2007.

I would think you of anybody would recognize that just because a program is a little down, does not mean they are out. Enjoy probation in a year or so!!!!

JB

December 21st, 2010
3:42 pm

Sorry, please don’t crank up 2 pages of Cam stories…….

valdosta

December 21st, 2010
3:43 pm

King can barely read. That’s the REAL issue.

And it’s been “mostly” well-hidden by
the UGA athletics office for TWO FULL YEARS.

Looks like UGA cant hide it any more.

Rumor also has it that Ealey is in a similar position.

St. Clarkston

December 21st, 2010
3:44 pm

All I know is that Nick Saban has built two programs into elite, national championship teams while Richt hasn’t really come close.

dawgit

December 21st, 2010
3:44 pm

With the talent UGA has and this season’s relatively easy schedule, any decent HIGH SCHOOL coaching staff probably could have finished 6-6. I don’t know what has happened to Richt. I used to be a fan, but now, not so much.