Richt gives no reason to believe he can turn Georgia around

Mark Richt finished with his worst record at Georgia (6-7) and the Dogs had their first losing season since 1996.

Mark Richt finished with his worst record at Georgia (6-7) and the Dogs had their first losing season since 1996.

MEMPHIS – Mark Richt says he is disappointed. He says he has to make changes. He says the Georgia football program is not where it needs to be, and when a once-respectable SEC program ends its season by failing to score a touchdown against a team from Conference USA, nobody is going to dispute that.

Here’s the only matter up for debate: Does anybody believe Mark Richt can still get it done?

It didn’t look like it this season, when the Bulldogs finished with a losing record (6-7) for the first time in 14 years. It didn’t look like it at Mississippi State or Colorado or in Jacksonville (again).

It didn’t look like it Friday night, because if the average Georgia fan considers it humiliating having to win in the final week of the season just to become bowl eligible — and then get stuck with the Liberty Bowl — what do you call it when the Bulldogs lose to Central Florida, 10-6?

This is what it looks like: Mark Richt has lost control of this program.

At the very least, he has lost the benefit of the doubt. The win totals in the last four seasons: 11, 10, eight, six.

Before Georgia’s game against Tech, I stated that Richt’s early success in Athens (two SEC titles in five seasons) earned him another year and the right to fix the problems. A part of me still believes that. But there’s mounting evidence that’s not going to happen.

The Dogs open next season against Boise State. Is there any part of you right  now that says Georgia will win that game?

Ten days before Auburn will play in the BCS championship game, four days before Arkansas is in the Sugar Bowl and on the same afternoon a story broke that new Florida coach Will Muschamp is on the verge of hiring Charlie Weis as the Gators’ offensive coordinator, Georgia lost a bottom-tier bowl game to a team from Conference USA, which is a hiccup ahead of the Sun Belt.

If the damage from this was limited, it’s only because Uga VIII stayed home with a stomach virus.

Hopefully, the dog wasn’t watching on TV when Richt sent the worst possible message to his team on their opening possession. The offense had just driven from their own one-yard line to the UCF three. But on fourth-and-1 — and in the first quarter of the Liberty Bowl — Richt opted for the field goal. He defended the decision afterward.

Is that how Richt now defines finishing the drill?

The Dogs didn’t necessarily look emotionless. They just looked pointless.

Central Florida, coached by the familiar George O’Leary, smacked them in the mouth. Georgia didn’t look equipped to smack back. They couldn’t run the ball. They couldn’t get tough yards. They couldn’t make a big play when they needed one. They were 3 for 14 on third-down conversions.

Aaron Murray completed his first seven passes. Then he went 14 for 31 with two interceptions. A.J. Green had eight catches but they covered only 77 yards (9.6 average, well below his 15.7 season average).

Say goodbye to A.J.: He didn’t make it official afterward that his next catch will be in the NFL but logic says that Liberty Bowl humiliation won’t be enough to keep him in college.

This is worse than Starkville, even worse than Boulder. It came at the end of a season, after a month of preparation, when Georgia should have worked out some of its problems.

Also, Colorado doesn’t play in a conference made by Fisher-Price.

In his typical postgame monotone delivery, Richt said: “We’re all disappointed. We didn’t want to finish with a loss. We didn’t want to finish with a losing record. Nobody would’ve predicted that. But it is what it is. There’s reasons why we ended up the way we did. We have to make changes. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. We have to change how we go about our business. We’re going to improve. We’re going to get Georgia where it belongs.”

Do you believe him? Because from here, it looks like Georgia just turned into Kentucky – a school looking forward to basketball season.

Georgia loses almost annually to Florida. Now it loses to Central Florida. Get ready for 2012: Florida Atlantic is on the schedule.

Don’t laugh. It’s not that big of a step down. And things are headed in that direction.

– By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

2,265 comments Add your comment

Bane of our existence

December 31st, 2010
9:05 pm

Buh bye, Richt, you loser.

Doug

December 31st, 2010
9:05 pm

Well said. Who can possibly believe things will be any better next year?

NewbombTurk

December 31st, 2010
9:06 pm

Yes, I believe in him. Next question?

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:07 pm

Prediction for 2011: UGA fans will predict an undefeated 2011 season.

Jeff Schultz

December 31st, 2010
9:07 pm

OK, NewbombTurk. So far the vote is 2-1.

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:07 pm

“Who can possibly believe things will be any better next year?”

Delusional dawg fans who predict undefeated seasons year in and year out.

rob

December 31st, 2010
9:08 pm

sad but true. happy new year everyone

gtne80

December 31st, 2010
9:08 pm

It will be better next year. One look at the schedule shows it. The question is: “will it be as good as it should/could be next year?”

bigupz77

December 31st, 2010
9:08 pm

Nut Job

December 31st, 2010
9:08 pm

The good old doom and gloom. Typical of you. Kick em while they’re down.

defacto

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

Jeff,

Although your style is normally somewhat cynical and pessimistic, this time you are spot on. It’s time for Richt to move on and save us from another season of misery. Being blown out by Boise State on national TV will be the death knell for this program.

If I am Greg McGarity, I’m on a plane to Pasadena with a blank check for Gary Patterson. Blow out all of the good ‘ol boys and start anew.

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

“It will be better next year.”

Like I said, dawg fans are predictable.

George O'Leary

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

XOXO Happy New Year Dawgs

THEMOB

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

I have been a Mark Richt supporter until today.HE HAS TO GO,NO EXCUSE FOR THAT PERFORMANCE TODAY

BigD

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

Richt gets one more year. Bobo is out. Win 10 games next year or it’s over for Richt.

Bob Didier Slept Here

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

I am thouroughly DISGUSTED with this performance! One More Year CMR……ONE MORE YEAR and if you cannot right this ship then I have to say it is time for you to set sail. I have ALWAYS been one of your biggest supporters but this past year you have shown not only me but the entire UGA nation that you have lost command of this team……..The State of Georgia deserves better than this!

In the immortal words of Jed Clampett……….Pitiful, Just Pitiful!!

jod

December 31st, 2010
9:09 pm

BWAHAHAHA… UGA THE BIGGESST CHOKE 5 STAR RECRUIT TEAM ON EARTH! LOST TO CONFRENCE USA UCF??? WTF! SO MUCH FOR THAT ELUSIVE SEC SPEED.

82Dawg

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

Changes = new offensive coordinator….

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

“One look at the schedule shows it.”

UGA could schedule GA State, Southern, West GA, Berry College and Emory and would lose every one of those games.

columbusdawg

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

I believe in him!

5150 P.O.A.D.

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

Thanks JEFF
I was mostly nice today. Be safe on the way home and Have a Happy New Years.

Chickamauga Dawg

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

Didn’t think it could get much worse until this game. No emotion, no fire, no desire on the sideline or on the field. CMR deserves one more season but unless the Dawgs go at least 10-2 I hate to say it but it will be time for a change. How much worse can it get? Once almighty Georgia losing to a Conference USA team. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Excuses won’t work in 2011.

john brewer

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

I agree. I am ashamed of how low we have fallen, Richt should resign.

Hunker Down

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

Wis, Wis,,,,WHO, WHO,,, Who let those neutered poodles out.

LMAO at you Rednecks!!!!

GT93

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

XOXO from George O’Leary … Happy New Year Dawgs

Paul in RDU

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

“Georgia just turned into Kentucky…”
and on the 4th down play Mark Richt turned into Chan Gailey – he’s the only other coach I can think of who would have kicked the FG in that game.

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

UGA is the Chicago Cubs of college football.

Bobby Y

December 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

Coach Richt has to make 2 serious changes….OC and DC.

bigupz77

December 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

I am not a “Johnny come lately” with Richt. I didn’t like him when he was hired. Now Florida looks even harder to beat. It seems he doesn’t even have the stomach to be a coach or no longer cares.

jod

December 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

THIS ONLY PROVES ONE THING TO GA FANS… YOU ARE NOT ELITE OR A BIG TIME PROGRAM. YOUR A MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AVERAGE FOOTBALL TEAM, LIKE TECH.

Hunker Down

December 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

Wis, Wis!!! LAMO at you rednecks

Who let the poodles out.

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

“Georgia just turned into Kentucky…”

But Kentucky actually beat a ranked team this year.

UOA1992

December 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

There is not much left to say anymore. The program is at a low point, and it is time for a new coaching staff in Athens.

Rodney Dangerfield

December 31st, 2010
9:12 pm

Tech only scored one Touchdown against AF most UGA fans remind me everyday on these blogs. your pathetic offense with your 4-5 star NFL caliber players could not score one measly touchdown against a Conference USA team. Talk about pathetic. You fans need to worry about your own team and stop coming to the Tech boards to rag on us. Go Russ!!!

Dawg-gone

December 31st, 2010
9:12 pm

Wouldn’t be a bad thing for CMR to leave. He wil have to fire Bobo to have any chance of staying.

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:12 pm

“YOU ARE NOT ELITE OR A BIG TIME PROGRAM. ”

They never have been.

Tucker T

December 31st, 2010
9:13 pm

Richt needs to go. Not going for it on 4th and 1 on the 1 tells the whole story. No confidence in himself. No confidence in his team. Hire a new coach now and start the rebuilding process.

Nick Fairley scares dawg fans

December 31st, 2010
9:13 pm

Elite football programs: Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska

GATA

December 31st, 2010
9:13 pm

So you decided to come out of your mourning Schultz of the Tech game, to bash Georgia’s terrible season. Of course this paper loves..and i mean loves Paul Johnson and the bumble bees.

Letterman85

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

If Bobo goes can ga insert a new Off system in time for success. Didn’t happen on the Def this year

Loyal Dawg Fan Forever

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

3-5 SEC record.

Without the Idaho Massage School for Ladies and the David Vitter Mud-Blowing Diaper Fetish Lafayette Republican School of Morals UGA would be 4-7 overall.

Rodney Dangerfield

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

You have a team with a bunch of “what have you done for me” players. What else did you expect? It appears UCF came to play. UGA came to take a big dump on the field. AJ has bigger fish to fry.

jod

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

NICKY FAIRLEY, DONT TELL THEM THAT…. THEY ARE DELUSIONAL TO THE POINT OTHERWISE.

Phil

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

Richt should have been fired LAST season. You idiots got you asked for by keeping this clown because he “deserved” another year. Does he deserve another year now??

Absoultely NOT.

Get Jim Harbaugh before somebody else does!!

Chris S

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

I’m watching ESPN, and Lou Holtz is saying he’s confident Richt can turn things around. Sounds like it’s all over for Richt.

monkey says

December 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

9 months of whining….and excuse making

Sickdawg

December 31st, 2010
9:15 pm

Just get use to it, Richt will not fix the problem. He is the problem and has been for 4 years. Only way it gets fixxed is fo clean house THEN SPEND FOUR YEARS TRYING TO REBUILD

JB

December 31st, 2010
9:15 pm

One game…..here and there…maybe two….but this team has looked lost for 3 years…..I really believe HALF the problem is a horrible staff. This team lacks fear of Richt and Athens is Nothing but party Central….A young LB on the team from Gainesville I know said Joe Cox stayed and sat behind Stafford for three years JUST FOR THE PARTYING. It’s broke. The line did not block today. I’m 57 and I think I could rush for 75 yards up the middle on us. That team was not ready to play today. The REAL story will come out when Richt is gone.

Rodney Dangerfield

December 31st, 2010
9:15 pm

Nick Fairley must be sixty. He still remembers when Notre Dame and Nebraska were elite teams.

UCFfan

December 31st, 2010
9:15 pm

Somehow, against all logic, Georgia fans have the impression that their program is a major player in college football.

Used to be but not now.

My suggestion to Richt is to put the next player in trouble with the police on the scout team for 12 months. Make it the automatic punishment.

Recruiting? Richt won big with Jim Donnan’s recruits. He is a disaster with his own recruits.