Judging by fans I’ve talked to and those commenting online, Mark Richt’s postgame performance in the wake of the Tennessee game is taking almost as severe a drubbing as his staff and players’ performance in the game itself.
Despite the fact that Georgia fans had long ago grown used to Richt’s seemingly unemotional demeanor, many found his flat tone in the locker-room radio interview after the game disappointing. As a caller to one of the postgame radio call-in shows put it, he wanted to hear some passion in the coach’s voice.
The only public emotion Richt showed after the game was when he unwisely got kind of curt with a reporter wondering if he still liked Mike Bobo’s playcalling.
The less than specific comments on what he intends to do about his team’s problems on offense and defense also haven’t inspired a lot of folks in red and black.
“We’ve got to get better at defense, got to get better at offense, got to get better at coaching,” he said.
No kidding. As brother Tim said, that sounds a lot like Ray Goff’s infamous “We’re gonna work harder to get better” refrain.
Now, in terms of substance, I really don’t think we could have expected much more out of Richt’s mouth at this point.
He’s certainly not going to trash Willie Martinez and Mike Bobo publicly. (Here’s hoping Richt has at least in private put both men on notice that if they can’t get a better performance out of their players, they may not be around next season.) And Richt has never shown much inclination to publicly berate players, with the exception of kicker Blair Walsh, whom he’s inexplicably and unfairly thrown under the bus a couple of times.
But I think the UGA fan and alumni base would be a bit more comforted if we got at least a glimpse of some sort of fire in our head coach. Former QB David Greene talked on the Georgia radio network Saturday about how competitive and emotional Richt is away from the public eye, saying the coach even talks trash when he competes athletically.
A trash-talking Rich, we don’t need. But a flash of an angry Richt who lets us know he’s as fed up with subpar play and coaching as the fans are would be a big step forward. And a Richt who addresses specifics in a decisive tone that at least gives us the feeling he knows what needs to be done and intends on doing it, no matter the consequences, would go a long way toward quieting the unrest in the Bulldog Nation.
Coaches, particularly head coaches, are supposed to be as much motivators as they are teachers and strategists. Public relations is a big part of their job, too.
That calm, sleepy-eyed half-smile and numbing monotone we normally get from Richt won’t cut it at this point.
What would you like to hear out of Richt?