Calls to fire Richt definitely premature

Mark Richt isn't yet on the hot seat. (UGA Sports Communications)

Mark Richt isn't yet on the hot seat. (UGA Sports Communications)

Back in June, John Pennington of MrSEC.com wrote that the two SEC coaches who would be on the hot seat if they had bad seasons this year were Mark Richt and Les Miles.

Pennington was inundated with attacks from Georgia fans. And, he notes, “Even Bill King of The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Junkyard Blawg took up the issue. …He provided a G-rated commentary on my commentary (unlike a lot of the emails I received) and concluded it as such: ‘We’re disappointed, but we’re not deluded. Georgia fans know we have a good thing going with Mark Richt and that it’s only a matter of time before he brings the Bulldog Nation another national championship. … Richt on the hot seat? Only in some strange alternative universe SEC.’”

Not surprisingly, after Saturday’s meltdown against the Vols, and with Georgia looking at a struggle to try and get a winning season, Pennington thinks we’ve moved into that alternative dimension.

And he’s issued a challege, asking me to write about “the mood of the fanbase right now” and whether I now admit “that Richt’s seat can get (and is already) warm?”

OK, I’ll bite.

Are there Georgia fans calling for Richt to be fired? Sure. Are we hearing such calls from more than just the usual lunatic fringe? We are.

Is it a realistic response, and do I really think Richt’s job is in jeopardy?

No and no.

As Chris Low of ESPN.com put it, “Richt has been too good, too consistent and too classy for any reasonable Georgia fan to call for his job.”

Now, Willie Martinez’s job definitely is in jeopardy. In fact, I’d say barring a miraculous turnaround like he pulled off in 2007, Martinez is gone. Mike Bobo? He might skate by if he can discover a running game and make the Dogs respectable on offense by the end of the season. But his seat definitely is warm.

Do I think Richt needs to take decisive action in upgrading his staff after this season to avoid putting himself on the old hot seat?

Yes, without a doubt.

But those of us who recall the Years in the Wilderness (also known as the Ray Goff era), know that just because Richt’s program has faltered a bit and isn’t performing up to the high standards he set for himself early in his tenure, that isn’t a rational reason for a coaching change. I still think Auburn was insane getting rid of Tommy Tuberville.

So in answer to MrSEC.com, as I read the Bulldog Nation, fans are unhappy. Very unhappy. And as I wrote earlier today, many fans don’t like what they’re hearing from Richt so far. But there is not currently any widespread support for getting rid of him, especially among those who have the ear of Damon Evans or Michael Adams.

If we’re still having this discussion a year from now, that’ll be a different matter altogether.

414 comments Add your comment

41 38 49 38 45 24 37 41 17 20 45

October 12th, 2009
2:03 pm

L-Dawg

October 12th, 2009
2:05 pm

GLORY GLORY TO OLE GEORGIA!!!!

WHAT TO GEORGIA TECH FANS AND UGA FANS HAVE IN COMMON?? THEY BOTH OBSESS WITH THE DAWGS!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!

LOOKING FORWARD TO CHEERING THIS SATURDAY!!!!

Dave

October 12th, 2009
2:07 pm

With the disaster that this season has become (or doubtless will be by year’s end), Richt will HAVE to shake up his staff in order to get better results. The Dawgs obviously have the talented players they need to win games, it’s just a matter of motivating them and putting them in the right schemes. If anyone can get it done, Coach Richt can.

GeoffDawg

October 12th, 2009
2:07 pm

I’m not an alarmist and generally believe that we have the right to be optimistic with CMR in charge given his track record. That being said, if there aren’t some major personnel changes this offseason, there’s a real risk of alienating a whole lot of Georgia supporters. Fans are getting increasingly fed up with the lack of execution and the subsequent lack of (at least public) consequence. Willie Martinez has often had to deal with issues beyond his control but at some point, you have to make the determination that the responsibilities of his position are just beyond him. He’s not cut out to be a coordinator at a major program. Fabris, on the other hand, needs to just get out of football entirely. With his stubborness and failure to recognize when something’s not working, maybe a career in politics would be better suited to his talents.

Arkansas is next

October 12th, 2009
2:08 pm

How bout’ that Gator D. 5 Games = 2 Touchdowns Allowed

jaxdawg

October 12th, 2009
2:09 pm

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 12th, 2009
2:10 pm

Behead those who insult St. Richt.

jason

October 12th, 2009
2:12 pm

Fire Richt? Are you nuts? Just because you tell the players to do something doesn`t always pan out. Ask a coach, teacher, or parent. It`s decision making is something we can`t do for them. Honestly some guys have stepped up and some haven`t. The staff could be looked over but Mr. Richt has done a great job.

Frank Lane

October 12th, 2009
2:13 pm

I agree. Richt now has a great opportunity to show just what kind of coach and leader he is. He cannot accept mediocre results. That is the nature of responsibility and leadership. He does not have to fire anyone. He just has to produce results. If he can do it with his current staff, I will worship him.

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 12th, 2009
2:16 pm

I’m sure St. Richt has just let off a huge sigh of relieve after reading this blog.

Andy in Blairsville

October 12th, 2009
2:17 pm

After 2 SEC losses 2 weeks in a row I was curious whose head the fair-weather segment of the UGA fan base would be after…..now I know.

Pathetic but so predictable.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

October 12th, 2009
2:18 pm

I believe even ol’ Vince Dooley had a clunker of a season now and again. This year may be that. Still, I think some adjustments are needed to get things back on track. That likely means saying goodbye to l’il Willie Martinez.

GSU Eagle 91

October 12th, 2009
2:18 pm

Dawg Nation, you have an excellent Head Coach, and the pasture is not greener on the other side, in this instance… The Defense is lousy, and needs an overhaul. And where is the running game? There is a ton of talent in Athens, and probably always will be. But Paul Johnson ( who was 62-10 at my alma mater) will recruit well at GT, and win 9-10 games per year until he moves on.
I think the Dawgs will be 6-5 going into the Tech game, and there will be a lot of jobs on the line that day…

J. Tenuta

October 12th, 2009
2:18 pm

Hey, I hear Tenuta might be interested.

Mustang

October 12th, 2009
2:19 pm

As a Dawg fan. I really was shocked to see that on Saturday. He will show us what he is made of (as a coach, we know what kind of man he is). We need someone with some fire on that staff. They are too dang nice all the time. Nice guys finish last.

P

October 12th, 2009
2:19 pm

Oh please fire him, please, please, please, please….Please kill the golden goose.

MoDawg

October 12th, 2009
2:19 pm

Not a big fan of the “fire Richt” crap that’s going around. That does not make sense. That said, we would all feel better about the state of affairs with the program if Richt would show that he is sick and tired of the mediocrity. Reading some of his comments from the press conference, I’d say he’s beginning to show it. We need some fire within the ice, Coach!

Bring back “evil” Richt…

Einsteindawg

October 12th, 2009
2:19 pm

The obvious things about our team are unprepared, undiscipled, and out of shape in the second half. We also look confused and frustrated. I don’t know who is at fault, but I do know that CMR is well-paid to correct these problems. If he doesn’t, he should be fired. Just my opinion.

Dave In Tampa

October 12th, 2009
2:19 pm

CMR needs to stay. However, the DC & OC need to be demoted or fired. I was hot the other day and still am very dissapointed. At saying that I will support this team through think and thin like I have for the past several decades.

Ramble on!!! Why the “St. Richt” comment? Oviously, you don’t share the same Christian values as CMR. Football aside, your on the wrong side of that issue. Let’s keep it as a football blog. Knock me, Knock UGA as a whole, but why take a shot at someone’s faith. It just shows the lack of class when any individual go after someone’s Christian beliefs regardless of the Institution.

cajdawg

October 12th, 2009
2:20 pm

I want Richt to say, but the built in premise is that he makes changes, WILLINGLY. If he won’t make signficant changes than he forces Evans to make a decision.

If Martinez has any dignity and respect he will resign and won’t put Richt in a hard decision. Bobo will be demoted to QB coach, Richt will call O plays and a special teams coach will be hired.

jack bull

October 12th, 2009
2:20 pm

truly, whoever posted first, those numbers says it all… those are very BIG numbers that our defense is giving up. even if turnovers were the cause of half of those numbers.

scheme/philosophy has to change, personnel isn’t going to……

Villa Rica DAWG

October 12th, 2009
2:20 pm

Take Martinez and the Co-Coordinator too.

Chris

October 12th, 2009
2:21 pm

Thank you Bill for referencing the dark Goff years. Richt is the type of guy who will not do anything until the end of the year obviously but keeping Fabris in his current role would be inexplicable. It was heartening to see the punt defense actually rush the punter and force something to happen.
I understand the general philosophy to be safe and avoid turnovers but we can have the same number of current turnovers occassionally not calling for a fair catch or trying to block a punt.

Coach Richt brought us back to national prominence. He’s a very bright man and competent coach. He knows some serious adjustments are in order and it will be interesting to see how he responds.

Valdosta Dawg

October 12th, 2009
2:24 pm

I love these Tech nerds that think if Coach Richt stays around they are in good shape against us, he is 7 and 1 against Tech you idiots! 7 and 1! There is no way Richt should be fired, and I agree with you Bill Auburn was crazy to let Tommy go. Richt has done great things at UGA and now it is time for him to make the hard decisions a head coach must make. I remember a comment Bobby Bowden told Coach Dooley on whether Mark was ready to be a head coach, Bowden told Dooley the only thing he worried about was if Richt was mean enough to make some of the tough decisions he would face as a head coach. Well it is time to see if he is Mean or tough enough, to do what’s right for UGA. However I will say it again, firing Mark Richt is crazy. Now I would like to see UGA spend some cash on assistants like Tennessee did and lets bring the Georgia alum back to coach in Athens, Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart just to name a few. I know they are both defense guys but hey they belong at UGA!
GO DAWGS and to hell with Ga Tech!

heeldawg

October 12th, 2009
2:24 pm

We are over-rated, over-priced.

Fl fan here

October 12th, 2009
2:26 pm

please keep Mark Richt for another 6 years so that we can take the series lead from you…And to think we gave you a head start of 20 games…eat it poodles

GeoffDawg

October 12th, 2009
2:26 pm

Andy in Blairsville – at what point do you think someone should be on the hot seat? CMR, no. Willie Martinez, definitely. Do you mean to say that he hasn’t yet had enough opportunities to demonstrate his competence for the position? You act like this is the first time he’s ever had a subpar performance.

Villa Rica DAWG

October 12th, 2009
2:26 pm

In fact, why wait until the end of the season???

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 12th, 2009
2:27 pm

You guys made him a St., well, till he started losing. That’s why Dave in Tampa.

Ya’ll were so proud of it before. Now, Coach Bill King is knocking his demeanor.

chazzo

October 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

Richt is in a tough spot. If he doesn’t change the coaches, perhaps they continue to suck. If he does change the coaches, he is in a weak spot. His authority has been usurped. I trust that he will find the answers. Perhaps we should get off his back.

Richt’s game is all about excution. He will put a true freshman out there for a fourth and one play. It builds incredible confidence in his players. It is as if he says, “You are going to do this,” and when it gets done, it’s great. Since so much of gameplan depends on execution, naturally, it is an issue. I don’t see that as blaming his players. I like how richt handles his players.

As far as not putting the blame on his coaches publically and directly, well, that’s just class. We don’t know what is occuring behind the scenes. Humiliating someone could result in in-fighting and bring the house down. He is handling this okay.

As far as his demeanor goes, it is what it is. If he were a hothead, maybe he doesn’t have QBs who pull off last second plays like the hobnail boot or the fade against Auburn.

I was flat out disappointed Saturday, and, as Bill suggests here, I spoke out of frustration.

We will see how it goes from here.

Me

October 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

Fire Bill King instead….things have gone downhill ever since the AJC got cheap, gave up on real coverage and went to this freebie ”blog”. The Cox family has no shame…..

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

heeldawg, you have to be rated to be over-rated. Just a thought.

misterwax

October 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

How much louder will it get when they lose to Vandy on the road in 5 days?

Disgusted and Embarrassed

October 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

CMR is long over due to make changes to his coaching staff. Why did we allow Vangorder to get away? We should have paid him head coaching money to stay. Our defense has been porus with the exception of 2007 since his departure, especially over he last 2 years. Our team is down right embarrassing. We let a punk coach like Kiffin come in and just totally dominate us. CMR I hope you are just as embarrassed as I am. Where is our pride? Why can’t we finish the drill? Georgia is nothing but a lot of talk; we are a wanna be. Top ten recruiting classes year in and year out, and we give up 30+ frequently now. Where is our tradition? I heard no complaints this year from the players about mat drills….ect… CMR what are you going to do about this mess? How did you allow this program to descend to the this bottomless pit? Why can’t you guys close on some top defensive and offensive lineman? I thought Sereals was the real deal; why can’t he close on some top notch OL? What the hell has happened to our tackling? We look like a bunch of girls out there grabbing and ducking like we are scared to hit. I know what the deal is: we just want to be pretty boys with our dancing and stupid untimely celebrating. When we scored against ASU to win the game you would have thought that we just beat USC West. Evans, what the hell are you doing to help Richt in his quest to regain control of this team? Adams, what are you doing other than just talking. It is time to start walking the talk instead of talking the talk. The fans do enough talking for you guys, it is your responsibility to walk the talk and take a more business approach at doing your jobs. I have been spending roughly $1500 to $2000 a year on Georgia football. This figure includes: tickets to games, shirts, and other collectibles, but until I see changes I am closing my wallet. You guys don’t deserve the facilities that you have nor the attention that you get. Adams, Evans, and Richt, it is past time for you guys to begin managing our beloved bulldogs properly. I am very concerned that our football team is going to end up just like our basketball program. In the toilet!!!! Get it together guys. Stop trying to play Mr. Niceguy Mark Richt and run this team like it your own business.

NC Mtn Dawg

October 12th, 2009
2:29 pm

I watch our defense and I see alot of confusion and missed assignments. We recruit great talent, but maybe we need just one defensive back who has more smarts than natural ability. He can help some of these guys from on the field, because they all seem to be looking to the sideline for instructions. Whether this is from incompetence or insecurity, I don’t know. I have seen so many plays where the corners or the linebackers never move more than 3-4 yds from where they were when the ball was snapped. Are they afraid of making mistakes because they’re not sure what to do or has WM paralyzed them with indecision by his coaching method? In business, bad management always leads to insecurity and indecision from fear of making mistakes. I do think that we need to start doing alot more stunts and shifts in the defense to confuse quarterbacks. As it is now, we set up, he reads the defense, and they pick our zone apart. Our pass rush seems to funnel in through the center, when it exists, and the quarterback simply rolls outside where there is no pressure.

dnorwood

October 12th, 2009
2:29 pm

I agree with every word in your article.Mark Richt is the best coach we could hope to have and is an outstanding represenative of the University.All the great coaches have bad years throughout their careers.We need to stick by Coach Richt,he’s the best.

Bulldawg65

October 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

I agree. As a devoted Dawg fan, I’m angry at what I feel are “coaching” mistakes made this year and do feel that if something isn’t done Richt “might” be in jepordy, but I dont think it’s time to call for his head on the preverbial “chopping block”…yet. After all, who’s going to replace him? I’ve got the upmost respect for Coach Richt and although frustrated by his lack of emotion, I do commend him for his composure, from one Christian to another. But I will admit, in Athens you can’t keep loosing to Tennesse, Florida AND Tech, plus no SEC championship and feel safe. I hope and pray that this embarrassing loss is the final kick in the pants they need to make the right changes and get the Dawgs back on top!

Valdosta Dawg

October 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

Fl fan you did not know what football was until Spurrier got there, and y’all still wear jean shorts and have mullets. Remember there are only 11, count them 11 teams in the history of the sport to have over 700 wins, and Florida is not one of them!

Dawg Blawg

October 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

another performance like the one in Knoxville and somebody should go!

Norman Bates

October 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

Georgia fired the best coach they ever had. Yes, Jim Donnan brought in top athletes. Donnan could motivate the players. Richt would do better as a professional poker player as his emotionless manner does not put any incentive into his players. Vince Dooley was a joke. He was a master at scheduling weak sisters to play and poor mouthing all accomplishments. Adams needs to fire Richt and crawl on his knees to beg Donnan to come back.

Saint Simons

October 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

45 – 19 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Gary

October 12th, 2009
2:31 pm

No – Richt’s job is not in jeopardy at this point. He has earned the right to make changes and get it right – heck even Donnan and Goof (sorry his coaching tenure earned that nickname) had a chance to change coordinators and turn things around. Only the foolish are calling for his job right now. Simply correct the problems and make a few changes and I guarantee those voices calling for his ouster will be silent. Of course, the success we have been spoiled with early in his tenure and up to 2007 needs to return.

Stat Man

October 12th, 2009
2:31 pm

First, let me point out that I am a TECH fan.

That said – the worst thing for UGA would be to do anything to Richt. I’m not the straight tunnel vision fan and spew hate in all directions not located in the Flats, and in fact Richt almost (remember I say almost) makes it hard for me to hate UGA (another reason I’m glad Larry retired – he too almost made it impossible to hase UGA. He is just that classy of a guy, on and off the field.

For goodness sakes UGA fans – just 19 games ago you were ranked #1 in the nation – so for any of you to scream for Richt’s job are only proving your ignorance.

Now then, after all that “love” I just showed – I also want UGA to start playing better (you only have one patty cake left) so when we beat you again this year, it won’t be beating a team with a 5-6 record!!

Dave In Tampa

October 12th, 2009
2:31 pm

No Ramble, you said said. Own up to it! We all want him as our coach. Bill King is not a coach. He’s posted an article. That’s it. Get a clue! Show me one Georgia fan that said that CMR is a Saint? You can’t. You created it because for his 1st 7 years you couldn’t touch him. Think about.

DawgDoo

October 12th, 2009
2:32 pm

The dawgs have quit, somebody needs to take responsibility for that, it starts at the top, period, end of story.

dawginduluth

October 12th, 2009
2:32 pm

Hmmmm. The “he’s better than Goff” logic doesn’t do much for me.

Keep Richt and we will never have a national championship while he’s here. If you can accept that fact, he’s your guy.

If you want an occasional shot at the SEC crown, he’s your guy.

If you want a losing record against Florida, he’s your guy.

He ain’t my guy,

Kincade

October 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

Breaking News Buck: Tennessee just scored again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hint for RAMBLE ON!!!

October 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

Ramble, I like your bloggin style and I like your team. But you gotta try to acquire some word usage skills. I see embarrassing miscues in about every other one of your posts. You come across like a mutt. .

L-Dawg

October 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

I usually do not read the responses in these blogs, but I decided I wanted to know what the UGA fans were thinking on this topic……

And as I said in my firt post at the top…..

What do Georgia Tech “fans” and UGA fans have in common?? They are both OBSESSED with The Dawgs!!

Tech “fans”… welcome to our blog and happy stalking of our program. Just do nto obsess with us too much and forget to buy those Thursday Night tickets. I would hate for your players to be playing in front of a non-sold out 55K Stadium on a Thursday….. oh wait……

GeoffDawg

October 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

Norman Bates – It’s hard to take football advice from someone who dresses up in his mother’s clothes.