Welcome winds of change hitting Athens

Mark Richt seems to be embracing change. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt seems to be embracing change. (Associated Press)

A head coach having to completely overhaul half his staff might be looked on as a negative development or sign of desperation by some. But as we look ahead to Mark Richt’s 10th season at UGA, I think the fact that there’s a narrative of change, as my son calls it, going on in Athens is a completely positive thing.

Some of the changes haven’t come as quickly as some of us would have liked, and there’ve been more than a few missteps along the way (I’m thinking of how special teams have been botched the past couple of seasons, particularly the mishandling of placekicker Blair Walsh in his freshman season).

But I like the fact that Richt, Mike Bobo and Stacy Searels finally figured out how to get the running game on track this season and didn’t hesitate to throw offensive balance-for-the-sake of balance out the window when it became necessary to come up with a new game plan. They finally settled on the right two running backs and, by all appearances, the Richard Samuel experiment is over and he’ll wind up at linebacker next year, where he actually has star potential.

A little over a week ago, Richt said the Dogs weren’t planning on signing a quarterback in this year’s class, but now amid unconfirmed reports that backup Logan Gray is being moved to wide receiver, the Dogs are in search of a freshman third-stringer to back up Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger next year. The move with Gray should have happened a year ago, but better late than never.

It’s a good time for Richt to undertake wholesale changes in his program. As Eric Zeier noted in his recent talk to the Touchdown Club of Athens, sometimes when you’re successful, you tend to get complacent. I think that’s what we’ve seen with Richt’s tenure in Athens. Fresh blood should mean more fresh thinking, and that’s the best way to rejuvenate a stagnant Georgia program.

While he’s at it, I hope Richt rethinks a few other things. One of my brother Tim’s pet peeves is that Georgia has wasted a coaching position by having separate defensive line and defensive ends coaches, forcing special teams coordinator to be an add-on job. I’d like to see the new defensive staff have one coach in charge of the line and ends and a full-time special teams coach so that one of the weakest and most erratic parts of the Dogs’ game can once again become a strength.

A bit of tough love for the generally undisciplined Georgia players wouldn’t hurt, either. Can we dare hope that Richt’s more aggressive behavior on the sideline of the Tech game, including chewing out Bryan Evans for the premature dumping of the victory tub on the coach, might be a reflection of a change for the better in this area? Perhaps that’s the answer to the turnover and penalty problems that have plagued the Dogs the past couple of years. Richt needs for the players to know he loves them, yeah, but he also needs for them to be at least a little bit afraid of him.

As we embark on a new chapter in the Richt era, what other changes would you like to see the head coach undertake?

245 comments Add your comment

Al Beeski

December 3rd, 2009
10:23 am

second, fourth or sixth, which am i?

Dawgfan

December 3rd, 2009
10:24 am

Dawgfan

December 3rd, 2009
10:24 am

Dang, second

J Dog

December 3rd, 2009
10:25 am

Bubba Sparxxx

December 3rd, 2009
10:26 am

Bring back Uptown Lounge!

Dean

December 3rd, 2009
10:26 am

Just cut down on the dumb penalties and play some defense!

Bryan G.

December 3rd, 2009
10:27 am

I think you’re spot on about needing a special teams coordinator. However, from Richt’s comments yesterday, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

I recall when we hired Smart and Jancek in 2005 that Richt hadn’t decided who would coach where: RBs or LBs. Boy we made the wrong call on that one.

Deep Ball

December 3rd, 2009
10:27 am

Defense wins championships…turnovers lose them…2010 HAS to be a better year!

You guys are morons...

December 3rd, 2009
10:28 am

…”Richt needs for the players to know he loves them, yeah, but he also needs for them to be at least a little bit afraid of him”

That is the need in a nutshell – well said, Mr. King, except they need to more than “a little bit afraid”.

Bryan G.

December 3rd, 2009
10:28 am

I couldn’t agree with Bubba more. Man it was fun being a freshman in that place.

Blindog

December 3rd, 2009
10:31 am

Blindog

December 3rd, 2009
10:32 am

damn I’m slow

BobDog

December 3rd, 2009
10:32 am

I feel badly for the guys who lost their jobs. It is a tough go for the amount of money they get, lots of hours and time apart from their families. I am grateful for all of the assistants for what they do.

Dawgs73

December 3rd, 2009
10:32 am

Bill, I agree with you in the fact that Mark looked like a new/different coach on the sidelines against Tech. It was a geniune fire and disgust that had been lacking for quite some time. It almost seems like he had to kick himself in the butt a little to realize that change is not bad (and blind loyalty is not good).

I was impressed with the attitude of the team against Tech, and for he new direction that Mark wants to take this team/program. He looks like his is finally willing to take on the Great Satan at Bama & Meyer at UF. He is more than capable, now he just has to keep this fire lit, make the right coaching hire(s) and get our beloved Dawgs progressively moving forward.

Bo Williams

December 3rd, 2009
10:32 am

Are we looking at some of those guys at UNC? They have a top-notch defense.

Cuz

December 3rd, 2009
10:36 am

I would like to see Coach Richt get a new practice hat. One with a G on it.

jimmy

December 3rd, 2009
10:36 am

we still have bobo

GeoffDawg

December 3rd, 2009
10:37 am

Agree that special teams definitely needs more emphasis moving forward. We probably have both the best kicker and punter in the nation so there’s absolutely no reason why our special teams play shouldn’t be a huge strength on this team.

2009 Was Like Wooden's 1965-1966 for Richt

December 3rd, 2009
10:40 am

2009 has been a tough year for Richt. His mentor and spiritual father Bowden retires. 7-5 season. He has to fire 3 of his staff. Heck, even the dog died. Wooden had a terrible year in the 1965-1966 season. Wooden was never the same after that year. Losing taught Wooden how to succeed. He rooted out every limit to potential. He diagnosed with precision every fault and fixed every problem. Starting the next season, Wooden won 7 Consecutive Natl’ Championships. Georgia is about to go on a Natl’ Campionship and Heisman run like USC did. Richt will seek wise counsel to arrive at key decisions and he live up to his potential, which is as high as any coach who’s ever coached in NCAA football. Somebody needs to break Wooden’s record, why not Richt?

cajdawg

December 3rd, 2009
10:40 am

Back up the Brinks truck and pay Bud Foster +$500K

Hushull

December 3rd, 2009
10:41 am

I think UGA will be favored to win the SEC next year. They should be pre season top 15 easily. In fact right now they are playing better than any team in the country.

birddawg92

December 3rd, 2009
10:41 am

Smart, Foster or Tuberville? Smart really depends on if he wants to get out of the Saban shadow and if Richt would even bring him back—I hear there’s bad blood.

Foster: would be fantastic hire, but he’s had to have had chances to be a HC over the years and hasn’t taken them—why leave now for a lateral move (granted the SEC is a better conference and UGA a higher-profile job)? I think he’s “coach-in-waiting” in Blacksburg.

Tuberville: This is an intriguing idea. The Long-Eared Galoot is buddy-buddy with Richt and that may be why he would consider it—the only situation where he’d consider an assistant job, I’ll bet. But runs the risk of making Richt look over his shoulder if things go bad. Is Richt that brave?

I personally think Richt should get over the issues, if any, with Smart, and bring him home! If there’s one thing the Dawgs desperately need, it’s some of the allegedly hard-nosed attitude that Smart has been tutored in during his time with Satan.

http://www.saturdayinathens.com

Vick=Dog killing Thug

December 3rd, 2009
10:42 am

I think a player needs to know that a coach will support them or that he’s “got their back” if you will but this LOVE crap needs to go.

I know its a family and all that and I’m all for positive feelings but football is brutal game and their needs to be some fight among the dawgs.

Vick=Dog killing Thug

December 3rd, 2009
10:43 am

Hey pass that joint Husull, that’s got to be some mighty fine weed your smokin…

J Dog

December 3rd, 2009
10:44 am

I’m just shocked he fired anybody. It’s a good sign things are finally moving in the right direction. Can’t wait to see who he hires.

BILLY BOB

December 3rd, 2009
10:46 am

I LOVE Mark RICH, and his Mizzus shore is a honey. I went and bought me some new carpit for my trailer home because of her.

VININGSDAWG

December 3rd, 2009
10:47 am

Tuberville and Richt aren’t buddy buddy at all. There is no way Tommy makes this move. I am doubting he will coach again due to his neck and back problems. You think he wants to work that many hours as a DC. Ain’t going to happen. Foster is a pipe dream.

tizzle82286

December 3rd, 2009
10:47 am

CMR has promise the best of the best for the next defense coordinator and position coaches. I wanna see this!

Mikey

December 3rd, 2009
10:47 am

Logan Gray to wide receiver?
hahahahah
you gotta be kidding me.
The kid has guts but he is a big mac away from being 140 pounds soaking wet. He would get killed.
How many receivers do we have anyway? Is Mike Moore the only one we lose to graduation?

lastgrad

December 3rd, 2009
10:48 am

Coach Bobo will continue to grow into a great head coach. He is that good. The Dawgs need new blood on our defensive coaching staff. Sorry but change is needed. Heads must roll. What this fan base will need to do is jump in quickly behind the new defenisve coaches and let him know how much we need the Dawgs to return to the top of the class on the defensive side of the ball. And that will include conditioning.

Richard Hamilton

December 3rd, 2009
10:49 am

I would love to see a change to the conditioning program. Maybe mixing it up some and changing the overall routine could benefit the team. I would also like to see more leadership building exercises. You can’t neglect the mental aspect of football, most of these guys can do the physical side of it in their sleep.

BILLY BOB

December 3rd, 2009
10:49 am

How much does a round trip bus ticket cost to Shreveport? Me, my Mizzus Mary Lou, and Pulpwuds wants to goes to the GAME. I done went and got us a room at Charlie’s Motorcourt Inn.

birddawg92

December 3rd, 2009
10:51 am

Vinings-

Word I had was that they got tight during a trip to Iraq/Afghanistan with Charlie Weis and some others a couple years ago.

I’m inclined to agree on Foster.

As a friend of mine says though, they could hire the defense coach from my alma mater, Franklin County High School (GA), and it couldn’t get any worse on defense. Just happy that Richt FINALLY pulled the trigger.

http://www.saturdayinathens.com

Top Dawg

December 3rd, 2009
10:51 am

Very, very good article, Bill. I think the new DC should have a lot of authority, almost complete authority as to the defense. (There needs to be some oversight by CMR, but ala Charlie Strong at UF, I think the new DC being strong, tough, mean, Saban-like would be just what the doctor ordered at UGA.) CMR could still be the good-guy, head coach, who needs to make sure that he will bench players when the players become sloppy and undisciplined (on and off the field), i.e. tough love, as you wrote.

SHREVEPORT

December 3rd, 2009
10:57 am

Recruits,,,Shreveport or MIAMI BEACH,,,where would you rather go? These neutered dog fans have been disillusioned all week!!!

chris

December 3rd, 2009
10:58 am

Richt addressed my two biggest concerns in the same day. That was D Coordinator and Special Teams. Bobo has had more good game plans than bad and I don’t think its time to make a change there just yet. I do hope they keep the game plan from the Tech game for 2010 reference because with a new QB next year we are going to need to use it frequently.

Bremen Dawg

December 3rd, 2009
10:58 am

Yep, Richt had gotten soft and will learn from this. No more promoting friends, tuff business and I like the change in Richts attitude towards the media, fans and alum. This program is so close to a NT with a few changes. Can’t get any better players. Go after the best DC in the cf and pay him the money. Heck, I will donate some money for that.

I agree that we need a full time Special Teams coach, that’s what is needed to win in the SEC. You have to have an edge to compete with Florida, Tenn, Ole Miss, Bama, SC and Auburn

Dale

December 3rd, 2009
11:00 am

I agree Hushull, I think Georgia will likely be preseason #1 next year. Unfairly getting passed over for this year’s Sugar Bowl should be motivation.

KY Jelly

December 3rd, 2009
11:00 am

How do you neuter a Dawg? With a GATOR OR WILDCAT!!!!

VOLLY

December 3rd, 2009
11:02 am

How do you neuter a Dawg? With a GATOR OR WILDCAT or a COONHOUND!!!!

senoiadawgs

December 3rd, 2009
11:03 am

Well it finally happened and thank goodness. I do feel for the men who lost their jobs and the CMR went ahead and pulled the trigger so these guys can land on their feet for next season.

It was certainly a different CMR on the sidelines at GT. Reminded me of the Vandy thing when we went on the run in 07. I think he may have realized he had to change somewhat as well.

So far the names mentioned I don’t really like at all, Foster, Tubberville, BVG, Smart, Muschamp, etc… and here is why. Nearly every one of these guys could be a 1 and done. No contract stipulations could stop it either as any team or program would pony up the money if they really wanted one of them. I am one who hopes CMR find several good coaches who are proven in the profession but would be more likely to gain some tenure if successful. Of the names above only Foster may be willing to hang around since it has seemed that he really hasn’t been interested in a HC job.

GeoffDawg

December 3rd, 2009
11:04 am

Shreveport – disillusioned means that you’re facing reality. I think the word you’re struggling for is delusional. As in tech fans are “delusional” if they think they can punch anyone in the face.

Dawgaholic

December 3rd, 2009
11:05 am

My god a Freshman!!!

Cla$$ic City

December 3rd, 2009
11:08 am

Call DAVID POLLACK for defensive line/ends coach.

NEUTERED DAWG

December 3rd, 2009
11:08 am

WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!WE’RE GOING TO SHREVEPORT!!!

Blindog

December 3rd, 2009
11:08 am

Yes,Richt has made it clear he really loves hus players,now he must show they should also really fear him. You think his players were not afraid of Bear Bryant,and his record was its self.

SuperB

December 3rd, 2009
11:08 am

Replace non-performers (like Bryan Evans for example) with players like Rambo– who can actually play in the secondary. Play more man-to-man instead of the poor zone we have employed with poor results.

Aaron Murray is a winner and I am looking forward to him running the show.

ACC Champs

December 3rd, 2009
11:10 am

I love that Tech fans are making fun of our bowl position. Techies, how does it feel to get repeatedly run over by that mean machine in red and black? D. Thomas is the only reason you were in the game, and he’s a significant part of why you lost the game. Have fun falling with your bowl projection when you lose to Clemson!

Blindog

December 3rd, 2009
11:10 am

sorry for the typo…should say …his record speaks for its self.

Georgia willl allways dominate GT!!!

December 3rd, 2009
11:11 am

The nerds have died and been reborn into Vols and Gaytors

jealous nerdy fools

Georgia will allways dominate GT!!!

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