Richt: Winner to whiner?

Some UGA fans appear to think Mark Richt’s latest incarnation, following the Iceman/Nice Guy of the early days and “Evil” Richt of the end zone stomp, is Mr. Whiner. First there were his recent comments about the annual game in Jacksonville (he’s right that it’s not a neutral site, but complaining about the weather there favoring the Gators was a bit of a stretch), and now he’s griping about his Dogs’ nonconference schedule this coming season.

“I’m not that thrilled about it,” Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald concerning facing what College Football News called “the toughest nonconference slate of any SEC team by far,” with games against Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Georgia Tech in 2009. 

As the ABH points out, of the 65 teams in the six Bowl Championship Series conferences, only two besides Georgia will play three nonconference games this season against teams from BCS conferences. And neither one of them has as tough a schedule as Georgia’s: Syracuse will go up against Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State while Georgia Tech faces Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Georgia.

“One would be plenty,” Richt said. “The plan was never to have Oklahoma State and Arizona State and Georgia Tech [in the same season]. That was never the plan.” Richt said the plan was supposed to be playing one other BCS team plus Tech in a season … and he’s not in love with even that idea. 

The upgrading of the nonconference schedule was “for the fans and to get out of the Southeast region” for recruiting purposes, he said. But Richt believes traveling 1,900 miles each way to Arizona last season impacted the Dawgs adversely the next week when Alabama jumped out to a big halftime lead in Athens. 

Again, with the whining: “That’s a tough trip,” Richt said. “It’s a tough trip to go all the way over there and then come back, fly back through the night and then just get ready to keep grinding, because it is a grind. You need rest. Not only your players, but your coaches need rest, too.”

Richt’s boss, athletics director Damon Evans, doesn’t sound convinced by the head coach’s arguments about the detrimental effect of traveling out west. Said Evans: “That’s his opinion and I’ll listen to his opinion, and I’m sure he has some valid points. … I do know this: That there are teams around the country that do it week in and week out. Sometimes you’ve got to get up and go. … This year we’ll probably be playing a night game at Arkansas. We’ll probably get in later from Arkansas than we will from Oklahoma State.”

Examining Richt’s stance on this, he has a point and he doesn’t. Yes, playing three BCS nonconference teams in one season on top of an SEC schedule is excessive. It’s certainly not the norm. Tennessee has the reputation for scheduling big-name nonconference opponents, but generally only one per year (California, UCLA in recent years), with the rest less than imposing. This year, they face Western Kentucky, UCLA, Ohio and Memphis. LSU’s nonconference schedule is Washington, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane and Louisiana Tech. Alabama does open with Virginia Tech, but its other nonconference games are against Florida International, North Texas and Chattanooga. 

Ole Miss has Memphis, Southeast Louisiana, Alabama-Birmingham and Northern Arizona.

And then there’s Florida’s embarrassingly light nonconference schedule, which has Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida International and not-what-it-used-to-be Florida State.

Evans gives Florida a pass on that schedule. “Certain schools have built up reputations because of what they’ve accomplished,” he told the ABH. “Florida gets a lot of credit. They’ve won two national championships. Let’s not forget that. You’ve got to work your way up and Florida has done that.”

Well, yes. But during their 2006 national championship season, the Gators’ nonconference oppoents were Southern Mississippi, UCF, Western Carolina and FSU. Last year’s nonconference schedule was slightly more respectable, with Miami and Hawaii joining FSU and the Citadel.  

So Richt does face a tougher schedule this year than the rest of the conference. But Evans says three nonconference BCS opponents in one season is not going to be the rule. More often, Georgia will play one BCS nonconference game besides Tech in a season. And that’s something fans, tired of all those yawner home games against schools with directional names, have wanted. There’s also the advantage of a tough schedule impressing the folks who vote in the human polls and bolstering the Dogs in the computer polls.

As for the trip to Arizona being a factor in last year’s showing against the Tide, Georgia didn’t look tired in the first half of the Bama game; they looked unprepared. As the game went on, the Dogs actually played better. Maybe it was the players getting too caught up in the whole “Blackout” thing or just the coaches not getting them ready or a combination, but tired from the previous week’s travel? I don’t buy it.

So what do you think? Is Richt justified in complaining about the schedule? Or does he need to quit with the whining and concentrate on winning?

287 comments Add your comment

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:13 am

200 yellow cell phones just lit up!

RxDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:18 am

I guess it’s time to man up. If you want to be the best, you beat the best.

RxDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:22 am

As far as Richt being a “whiner”, I guess if the media blows up any and everything negative thats said by him then it could appear that way. It’s not like he gets up to the podium every press conference and starts making excuses.

theTruth

June 8th, 2009
10:25 am

BILL, is sounds more like you are the one whining not Richt. To think that playing ASU or any other ‘BCS’ school instead of a directional school doesn’t have an effect is ignorance. It’s much easier to play your guys for HALF a game and let them REST instead of a 4 qtr grind. The soft schedule didn’t hurt FLA last year nor LSU two years ago.

I too like seeing ‘bigger names’ coming to Athens, but last year’s and this year’s schedule is too much because everyone else has an advantage over UGA.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 8th, 2009
10:26 am

CRY BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boooo Freaking Hoooooo.

LSU Baseball SEC Champions

June 8th, 2009
10:29 am

richt has made an art out of pissing and moaning about everything.

GeoffDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:30 am

Even if the players weren’t tired by game time, all that traveling could’ve impacted their early week practice and gameplanning which in turn could’ve made them look unprepared against Bama. I don’t think that’s the only reason Bama jumped on them so hard and fast but it’s reasonable to think that contributed.

Regarding the whining thing – unless somebody has a history of complaining, it’s only fair to take him at his word. It’s not like CMR has broken down crying on tv like some other unnamed coaches. Also, I doubt he just volunteered that information. I would guess that he was giving his honest opinion in response to a reporter’s question.

tip

June 8th, 2009
10:30 am

RxDawg is correct. Good grief. The ABH wanted to do a report and he answered the questions honestly. He never once made excuses during the season. I think that any coach in America would want to watch the amount of travel their team goes through. If he said these things in response to losing a game or being shut out of a certain bowl game then that would be whinning. Doing so during the offseason when a local reporter asks the question is not whinning. However, when you write aboout it and make it into a big story you are not portraying our coach or our program in a fair light.

GeoffDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:31 am

lol LSU – I think it was Les Miles who got his panties all in a wad about ESPN’s coverage of him.

PMC

June 8th, 2009
10:33 am

Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime is the credo of any well performing program.

Wally Butts

June 8th, 2009
10:34 am

How in the H*** did you get this job???In 2 years you haven’t written a relevant column about UGA…If you do not have anything to do but rehash other articles that have already been written then take the summer off…Do you ever have an original thought…

david

June 8th, 2009
10:35 am

You are the one that is complaining, like most UGA fans. Richt is use to playing Miami (Miami was a part of the Big East when Richt was the OC at FSU) and UF as out of conference opponents. I heard David P on 790 the pre-madonna, cry about how UGA should play cupcakes because the SEC is so hard. Bell just railed him saying that fans do not want see UGA play I-AA teams at home. How about UGA playing Miami, FSU, North Carlina, or any team was of the Mississippi? Just like UF, that will never happen.

dap01

June 8th, 2009
10:44 am

It’s funny how Tech fans are one of the first on the UGA blog.

alsim

June 8th, 2009
10:44 am

In 1980, UGA played Texas A&M, Clemson, TCU and Georgia Tech. I don’t recall Vince Dooley complaining about the non-conference schedule.

.

george

June 8th, 2009
10:46 am

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Once again proves that the dawg nation is the biggest bunch of whiners from top to bottom. The pups play a game west of the mississippi last year for the first time in almost 50 years now people bitch about their hard ooc schedule. Holy crap that is comical. In the past 5 decades the pups have had one of the easiest ooc schedules of any team in the SEC overall. Now they are just starting to catch up with everyone else and it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Gotta love UGA fans. Why dont yall do us all a favor and go shed your tears over Lake Lanier to help fill the lake back up.

GeoffDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:46 am

29 years from now, I don’t think you’ll recall this either alsim.

superDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:51 am

well i say man up and beat the snot out of everybody the travel part of the schedule may be tough but bottom line is when you hit the grid iron bring a big stick.SIC-EM AND GO DOGS!

RedandBlack

June 8th, 2009
10:54 am

It just does not matter. Line them up. The Dogs will take them all on one a time. Anywhere, Anytime, Anyplace. The Georgia Bulldogs will hit them hard and often!! Woof, Baby, Woof!! Go Dogs!!!

uuugh.

June 8th, 2009
10:55 am

I think this year’s schedule should be the rule rather than the exception. I’d rather Coach say something about the dawgs rolling up their sleeves and going to work than talk up the schedule’s difficulty. Maybe he was asked a leading question…but he should be deft enough at dealing with the press by now that he avoids seeming like a whiner–he is the face of the program!

Just shut up coach. Get to work and develop some depth for the grind ahead.

Not only did Alabama seem to be much better prepared, they played like they wanted to win. Saban saying “We don’t care what color they wear” (or something like that) was the right approach. Richt didn’t take the right approach then and he is not taking the right approach now.

Stories like this make it seem like our coach is scared…or at least trying to hedge the expectations for the season or something. That we don’t need.

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2009
10:56 am

I have a feeling these “some fans”, (and who are they incidentally), that have labeled Richt as Mr. Whiner, are quite the whiner themselves. Hell, this whole basis of topic is whinny fans. The man answered a direct question. Was he incorrect? Would ANY coach say “I like it” about the toughest schedule by whatever standards? So?

My problem with his comments is that he even answers any question at all, ever. Why does he even acknowledge these sports tabloid-esque questions, just to have to put out a clerification about context later?

Just like the neutrality of J-ville. Asked did he think it was neutral, he said no. He wasn’t asked if thats an excuse, why they lost, move the game, given up for the rest of time, and yet, all that was read into it. I am positive in the year he won, and if he won 5 in a row, he would still say that he doesn’t think it “neutral”.

Nor would he ever say he want’s the SEC’s toughest schedule, and like it.

And its absolutely hypocritical of the the “some fans”, who whined we can only win 10-11 games, and whine that we can’t get what the gator fans got, and turn around and say they don’t want to have the type of schedule they put out as well.

murfdawg

June 8th, 2009
10:58 am

I don’t think we are going to go undefeated and win the MNC this year. Now, I would like to see some good games this year in Athens and get my money’s worth from my season tix and contribution. I would rather have an open date instead of playing Tn Tech. I have to make a decision of whether to go to my son’s ex-roommates wedding or go watch the Dawgs play TT. If we were playing a decent DI team, the choice would be easy. It doesn’t matter what we do with the out of conference games. Win the SEC East, win the SECCG and the BCS will take care of itself. Until we do this, the rest of the conference and the nation will continue to look at us as a bunch of whiners. Time to grow up Dawgs!!

Mike In Valdosta

June 8th, 2009
10:59 am

It may not be prudent, but I would take our schedule over Florida’s (or ours in the past) anyday.

I will always complain about UF having an open date before the WLOCP, but never the location.

Reebok

June 8th, 2009
11:00 am

Tech fan here. Yes, that’s a very tough non-conference schedule, but it’s a high-risk-high-reward deal, isn’t it? Opening with Okla State is a gutsy move and will pay big divedends in the polls if UGA pulls it out. Besides, the road to the SEC championship still goes through Gainesville (OK, it actually goes through Jacksonville, but you know what I mean). The out-of-conference games will affect UGA’s chances in the SEC not at all.

Reality Check...

June 8th, 2009
11:01 am

george needs a reality check….. dude we play Tech every year..Our OOC schedule is harder than anyone else’s for that reason alone…UGA fans are not whinning, we are stating the truth…Other schools have harder schedules because they play the SEC in their OOC…Perception is reality

GeoffDawg

June 8th, 2009
11:01 am

murfdawg – I think the bigger issue is what kind of man schedules his wedding on a game day?

Robert

June 8th, 2009
11:04 am

CMR is not a whiner. He’s just discussing relevant issues and being realistic about what he says. The Dawgs have BY FAR the toughest non-conference schedule in the SEC and one of the toughest in the nation. He is simply aware of this. He’s not making excuses. You’ve got problems when a head coach pretends everything is dandy and never discusses the negatives of scheduling, travel, etc.

JT

June 8th, 2009
11:05 am

Hey Tip. What is whinning? Is that whining after you win? Boo hoo. Once in ugays history they play some decent out of conf teams. Waa Waa. Like they have any chance of winning this year anyway. As for last year, it’s not like they came out looking like a top 5 team. They gave up 21 to Ga Southern and you barely beat So Caro. It’s called coaching. You weren’t a very good coached team last year. And with the depletion in talent, I don’t see uga winning but 7 games this season.

John

June 8th, 2009
11:07 am

I think Richt is right, but he is probably lamenting the fact that he has a tough schedule, and he has to do it without Starfford, Moreno or Muhammad. That’s probably his biggest fear. I’m just glad all the patsies are off the schedule and we are playing a decent non-conference home game and at the same time, traveling to play a decent team from the Big 12.
You could easily see UGA 0-2 after the first two games (great math) with a loss to Ok St (new stadium and first game) and then having to play USC at home, where they have taken 2 games from UGA already since Richt has been coach.
It’s going to be tough, and hopefully a fun season.

big dawg, little dawg

June 8th, 2009
11:08 am

Come on Coach! Get over it. You are now playing not to lose rather than to win. It is so obvious that you are “relieved” or “grateful” or “satisfied” after a poor performance win instead of pushing the boys to their highest level of confidence and ability. I like the program, but this attitude is weak and demonstrates the dawgs would rather walk over bad opponents than face a tough schedule and see what happens. Accept the competition as a challenge, not an obstacle. GO DAWGS!

dawes

June 8th, 2009
11:08 am

bill king quit being cry baby

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2009
11:09 am

murphdawg, the entire nation considers the Georgia football program as a bunch of whiner? really? I know a lot of people around the country and I have never heard that from any of them. How does a lack of recent NC make somebody a whiner, there are plenty of high profile school that do not as well. I don’t get the correlation.

Now if they read the AJC blog comments very often, I could see where they get that impression.

Bill

June 8th, 2009
11:10 am

Bill are you telling me Jax is not a neutral site now and it was in the 70’s and 80’s?

Steve

June 8th, 2009
11:11 am

Stop whining and play!

uuugh.

June 8th, 2009
11:11 am

I think that might be ‘well coached’ JT. I agree that the coaching wasn’t the greatest last year but you are wrong about the depletion of talent. 2 big names doesn’t make a team. I think we will surprise some folks, beat Tech and give FLorida as much as they can handle. I don’t think 10 wins is out of the question.

Robert

June 8th, 2009
11:14 am

10 wins is certainly not out of the question. Those 10 wins would look mighty nice to the pollsters.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 8th, 2009
11:17 am

Actually I’ll give St. Richt credit. He answered the question that was asked. He’s not a whiner.

Now, 98% of the UGAg fan base is nothing but whiners, but I don’t believe St. Richt is. Vince Dooley, now there’s a whiner!!!

What’s ever funnier than who is the biggest whiner, Bill King or St. Richt is the prototypical UGAg fan ‘Huh?’ has just predicted UGAg as 2009 National Champions on GT blogs.

Sometimes I don’t know weather to, not like (I’m a lover not a hater) ya’ll, or pity you.

I chose to not like you, but sometimes I’m torn.

The Truth

June 8th, 2009
11:19 am

Florida and Georgia Tech ought to be embarrassed with the schedules they have. Florida will once again pad its record while beating up on teams with lesser athletes and resting their first teamers for the bigger SEC game. Georgia Tech pads their schedule because they know they can’t field a team capable of competing in the ACC and beating quality Division 1 teams outside their own league.Let’s face it…Tech can’t even fill up their own little stadium for home games. They have to rely on visiting teams they play to sell the majority of the tickets to their games.
In recent years only SEC teams like LSU, Auburn,Tennessee and Georgia have had the gonads to travel west of the Mississippi River to play other Division 1 teams.Its easy to sit at home, point fingers and tell everyone how great you are…..go on the road during the regular season to hostile environments outside your league and prove it ….its harder than you think!
To the LSU fan above…..Les Miles is the biggest whiner in the league! what a joke for you to even point fingers at Richt. Between Miles and Meyer the SEC leads the country in whining coaches and crybabies.I love it when Miles and Meyer cry on TV….they come off like a couple of spoiled children!

Robert

June 8th, 2009
11:19 am

Ramble On!!!…incoherent or ignorant?

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2009
11:21 am

2 big names do not make up for a lot of little names either. Even if you are good coached.

BAMA STAN

June 8th, 2009
11:24 am

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES

Richt is preparing the UGA nation for a 7 or 8 win season – it is a very tough schedule and the season is a grind…….. and the fact that the QB postion, RB’s and WR’s (depth) weakest since Richt has arrived.

Richt knows that this is a down cycle year – plus a brutal schedule.

UGA should beat:
AZ STtate, and TN Tech

UGA should lose to:
OK STATE, Florida (will be an ugly blow out… again) and LSU.

UGA will be 50/50 or slight favorite over:
So. Car., Ark (upset waiting to happen), Tennessee, Vandy, KY, Auburn, GT.

UGA could possibly lose two to four 50/50 games.

Yes – a brutal schedule during a down cycle year = 7 win season.

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
11:24 am

I wouldn’t call it whining. Put it into perspective. UF wins National Championships playing Citadel & Freeshoes U. If the fanbase & the media is calling for National Championships from the Dawgs then we need to set up our schedule to give us the best chance at that. A week off before the Florida game & cupcakes to fill the schedule between SEC & Tech. Not top 25 out of conference opponents.

Look at it this way, if at work you get all the tough azz jobs but your co-worker doesn’t do anything but he makes 25k more a year than you. Wouldn’t you piss & moan?

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
11:25 am

BAMA STAN – Yes, you are still an idiot.

big dawg, little dawg

June 8th, 2009
11:25 am

Here’s the issue (not just with the schedule but overall): the UGA staff has lost its swagger and is now afraid to lose. So even the wins are “not losing” in mind, body language and game planning. It is so obvious the last two years…and PLEASE do not talk about a three hour plane ride as the reason they got blown out by ‘Bama. Get real, coach. Nice job by Bill K to point this out and nice job by AD Evans to get some exciting games on the schedule and get the program out of the southeast region. Let’s play some football. GO DAWGS!

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
11:26 am

I will bet anyone on this board $500 right NOW that UGA will win more than 7 games.

Put up or shut up.

Trey

June 8th, 2009
11:27 am

Anyone who doesn’t thinks travel and schedule strength effects a College Football Team is naive.

Ken

June 8th, 2009
11:31 am

I agree with Richt, we beat ourselves up on teams outside of the conference and then when we play in the conference, we sometimes end up with key people sittting on the sidelines. It is an advantage to have a soft non-conference schedule, like spring training in baseball and pre-season in the NFL. Every team needs time to re-cooperate and to be close to 100% at game time.

austindog

June 8th, 2009
11:33 am

GT has a solid OOC schedule because they play perennial top 10 Georgia. Georgia has a weak OOC because they play perennial unranked GT.

Bill King

June 8th, 2009
11:35 am

To answer who ” some fans” are who say Richt is whining, just check the bloggers and comments about the Jacksonville comments. And on the Banner-Herald site, check the comments on the article in which Richt talks about the schedule. Like I said, I agree with Richt that this year’s nonconference schedule is excessive. But I don’t think it looks good for him to be using scheduling as an excuse for the Dogs’ poor showing against Alabama last year.

YoungDawg

June 8th, 2009
11:37 am

I think CMR is expressing his frustration with AD & President! They both must go! How can we have a surplus in our AD budget & not get what the football coach wants done & keep up with conference opponents building programs?!? I know we’re expanding Butts-Mehre but why at the same time can’t we also get the indoor facility built, give Sanford’s outdated concourses a face lift & do something about Stegemen? So far I like what I hear about Mark “Who?” Fox but if that hire doesn’t pan out then it’s another strike against Damon! On top of all that Damon doesn’t listen to Richt on scheduling! I see the point somewhat that CMR is whining however I think CMR has a legitimate argument on this. Playing out of conference BCS opponents is fine if there scheduled properly. The AZ State game worried me all off season going in to last year & I said it’ll be hard to win that & the AL game due to the travel. We’ll unfortunately I was right & now CMR is saying that publicly. If there had been a bye week or at worst a weaker opponent the following week it would have been fine. We play Tech every year so them & one other BCS team in the right spot on the schedule should be enough! The problem here is President wants to capitalize on the AD funds & its directory is following orders in maximizing revenues. Let’s call them out not our coach who is just stating the facts! This keeps up we might lose CMR!

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
11:40 am

The Dawg’s poor showings against Bama & UF last year was because the team had no heart or discipline. Schedule didn’t have anything to do with it. Joe C. needs to be busting some azz in summer workout sessions.