Mark Richt is not going to fire offensive coordinator Mike Bobo but he did suggest Wednesday that he’s going to be more hands-on with the offense and the team in general from this day forward.
Comment: That’s probably a good idea, given that it’s his job on the line.
Question: Why did it take a loss to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl for Richt to realize something was wrong?
In his season-ending press conference Wednesday, via our Tim Tucker, Richt said that he’s going to have more time freed up in his schedule “to [spend] more time doing the things I love the most, which is study the game of football …”
Later, he reiterated, “I’m going to have the ability to have the time it takes to truly study the game of football, the trends and what’s going on, so a higher percentage of my time is going to be able to be used for that.”
Those are interesting statements. They suggest that non-coaching activities have been taking up too much of Richt’s time and adjustments will be made in his schedule to prevent that from happening again.
I don’t doubt that can happen. The demands on a college football coach can be enormous, let alone a coach in the SEC. If Richt is going to tweak his weekly schedule and athletic director Greg McGarity does some things to give him more time to be hands on with his players and the game plan, that can only be good for the program.
But it shouldn’t have taken a 6-7 season for Richt to realize something was wrong. There have been signs of the program sliding for a few seasons, going back even to the 10-3 season in 2008. The Dogs were preseason No. 1 but were flattened in key games against Alabama and Florida. Both opponents looked better prepared. Both played with a physical and mental edge that the Dogs generally have lacked.
Things obviously have deteriorated since. Georgia is 5-9 in its last 14 SEC games. Since 2009, they’ve lost to LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Auburn. (Also, Florida twice.). Perception that the Dogs have been passed by other programs in the conference is now reality.
For what it’s worth, I believe the criticism of Bobo has been a little excessive. He deserves some credit for Aaron Murray’s development. In the last seven games of the regular season — before the 10-6 loss in the Liberty Bowl — the Dogs scored 41, 43, 44, 31, 55, 31 and 42 points.
What’s the bigger issue, the offense or Todd Grantham’s defense? In the SEC, Georgia finished fourth in scoring offense and seventh in total offense; seventh in scoring defense and fourth in total defense.
I’ve never believed the problems are as simple as changing plays or schemes on offense or the defense. It’s big picture stuff: preparation, mindset, toughness, focus, edge, consistency. It’s having an identity, knowing what a Georgia team is going to give you from week to week. That whole, “Finish the drill,” thing has been an empty rallying cry.
It’s great that Richt believes that something needs to be done. It just shouldn’t have gotten to this point. The question now is whether this is too big of a hole for him to dig out of so quickly.
– By Jeff Schultz