Finally, a positive spin on Richt’s future at UGA

Do you see Mark Richt growing old at UGA? (Associated Press)

Do you see Mark Richt growing old at UGA? (Associated Press)

It’s a given that Mark Richt’s program lost a little momentum last season, which in the knee-jerk world of college football “analysis” prompted the “hot seat” talk that reached a crescendo during the prolonged search for a defensive coordinator. After Kirby Smart decided to stay at Alabama, MrSEC.com declared flatly that Richt was “in trouble” and “his days are running out.”

The hiring of Todd Grantham calmed the waters a bit, but there’s still a contingent of pundits who seem to think that anything less than an SEC East title this fall will leave Richt with a tenuous grip on his job.

So it’s refreshing to see ESPN.com’s Chris Low opining that if any SEC coach is in it for the long haul, it’s Richt.

Low says that “Steve Spurrier told me last summer that he doubts the SEC will ever see a head coach again who endures at one place for 16 or 17 seasons the way Phillip Fulmer did at Tennessee. The money coaches are making these days is out of control. The pressure to win (right away) is even more out of control. But if there’s going to be another guy who makes it 15-plus years in this league at the same school, my money’s on Richt.”

Not only that, but Low says that while it remains to be seen if anybody can catch Alabama or Florida in the league,  “if anybody can, I would go with Richt and the Bulldogs. He’s shown a willingness to change by overhauling his defensive staff, and they’re again working on a top 4 recruiting class nationally. And even after a disappointing season in 2009, the team didn’t get away from him and actually played its best football at the end. Let’s see what the next couple of seasons hold for the Bulldogs before we start writing Richt’s demise.”

Amen to that. I see Richt at Georgia for the long haul. What about you?

THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN

Turnovers. The problem that plagued Georgia’s football team in 2009 was also responsible for the basketball Dogs’ loss to Florida Wednesday night despite strong scoring showings from Trey Thompkins and Ricky McPhee and the Dogs shooting 59.6 from the floor, a season high. It was nip and tuck for much of the first half before Florida went on a run in the last 4 minutes. The culprit mainly was poor ball-handling. Georgia turned the ball over 19 times, which translated into 33 points for the Gators.

Best assessment of the game I’ve seen so far came from coach Mark Fox at Georgiadogs.com: “We didn’t take care of the ball well enough or rebound well enough, and [Florida’s] points-off-turnovers and second-chance points ate us up tonight. … When we didn’t turn the ball over, we were pretty good at finishing plays. We have to defend better on the road if we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win. We have to rebound better on the road. We didn’t do either of those things.”

That’s a hallmark of a young team like Fox has this year. But they’re learning. The Dogs finally managed to put a game away against Tennessee. Now it’s time to grow up some more and win one on the road this Saturday against South Carolina, which upset No. 1 Kentucky this week.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE … OR FOUR

If you missed David Hale’s report on Orson Charles in Bulldog Blog, check it out. As part of a military science class he’s taken, Charles has decided to join the early morning ROTC physical training sessions at UGA in addition to his football conditioning. Reports Charles: “It’s definitely different than football — way different. In football, the most you’ll probably run is probably 200 [yards] back and forth. They go miles and miles and miles, and my whole method is just trying to keep up with them.”

Charles found he wasn’t in as good a shape as he thought he was, but he’s relishing the challenge of the 4-mile runs. “It’s more something I wanted to see if I could do,” he said. “Hopefully it rubs off on football.”

I like what this says about that young man.

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449 comments Add your comment

mike

January 28th, 2010
10:58 am

J dubb

January 28th, 2010
11:01 am

I agree Bill…wish there were more like Orson Charles. I have so much anticipation and excitement for our BB program in a year or so, and now i’m getting really geeked up to see how our FB team looks in the spring.

TommyP

January 28th, 2010
11:07 am

Orson will be All-SEC next season. He’s a beast in the Shannon Sharpe mold.

GatorChomp

January 28th, 2010
11:10 am

Richt and the UGA program will do just fine. The Grantham hiring is def a plus. The FL/GA game this year will be an interesting one. Both teams start new QBs, have new DCs (which came from NFL)…etc. Oh my!

JoeFann

January 28th, 2010
11:11 am

Agree that Charles has a world of talent. Questionable size for a TE, but a good season catching the ball and running with it after. LBs will never effectively cover him. After the excessive celebration call, questions remain about his maturity. Hopefully, this is evidence of his moving in the right direction. Can we sign up the whole team?

Go Dawgs!

GeoffDawg

January 28th, 2010
11:12 am

Great commentary on Richt. He’s certainly the type of coach of which you can be proud to have him guide your program for 15 or 20 years.

Also, interesting note about Orson Charles. I really like the work ethic and attitude that he’s displaying. Reminds me of the way that Reggie Brown used to comport himself, i.e. riding his bicycle everywhere he could instead of riding the bus or driving. The real winners are those that take every opportunity to improve themselves mentally and physically and it’s what separates them from everybody else at the end of the day.

Not Disappointed

January 28th, 2010
11:17 am

Coach Mark Richt is a good coach!

Hope we beat you in Athens next year.

Ramblin Wreck!

Really?

January 28th, 2010
11:17 am

JoeFann – Really? One excessive celebration call and now the kid isn’t mature. So every time a guy in the NFL gets an excessive celebration call against him is it because they aren’t mature?

Slick Willard

January 28th, 2010
11:17 am

Damn, Mike. That “go dawgs” is so original and creative I’m surprised you haven’t been found by one of those New York advertising agencies! Keep your options open. I’m sure somebody will be calling soon.

Bremen Dawg

January 28th, 2010
11:20 am

I do see Richt growing old a UGA and bringing in Grantham is the way to do it. Remember every great coach, has great assistants. He needs his Erk Russell, just like Bowdon needed his Richt.

Ron Mexico

January 28th, 2010
11:20 am

I hope Richt is here for a long time, Go Dawgs!

Really?

January 28th, 2010
11:21 am

JoeFann – also don’t worry about his size he was an 18 year old freshmen in college. The kid will put on the necessary weight. Give him a full offseason before commenting on his size. Remember Brandon Boykin as a freshmen?

J

January 28th, 2010
11:22 am

No one does less with more than Richt. He will have another top 5 class that goes 6-6 as usual. He had Staffor and Moreno and did absolutely nothing with them other than showing a lack of coaching. On the other hand though, Kentucky fans love him and hope he is there for a long time!

Geez!

January 28th, 2010
11:23 am

Slick Willard – you do not make any sense! Quit talking!

Bob Sacamano

January 28th, 2010
11:26 am

Richt will retire in a couple more years and be a missionary. Book it.

11Dawg

January 28th, 2010
11:28 am

6-6 as usual? That’s funny, because the worst Richt has done is 8-5.

Sorry Guy!

January 28th, 2010
11:28 am

J – your post shows you have no idea what you are talking about and holds no creditability. Richt has never won less than 8 games in a season and has averaged 10 wins a season since he started at UGA. Please explain how averaging 10 wins a season is the same as going “6-6 as usual”? See I actually use facts in my post and I know you feel like an idiot now don’t you?

J

January 28th, 2010
11:30 am

Sorry I made a mistake. I didn’t realize that Richt was that good of a coach. Wow! 90 wins in 9 years. That is impressive!

Bremen Dawg

January 28th, 2010
11:32 am

Ok, no negative stuff today on Richt. He did what he needed to do for the program in bringing in Grantham. Grantham will need at least 2 years to get the D turned around. Yes, I think that Richt sound have let WM go after the 08 season but he stuck with his coach and gave him one more year. The D will be improved this year, but not dominate.

Sorry Guy!

January 28th, 2010
11:32 am

J – it’s ok we all make mistakes!

Buddy Curry made every tackle

January 28th, 2010
11:33 am

Georgia must establish themselves as a run first football team. The only way CMR is going to win the NC is to be able to consistantly run the ball. He loves the wideopen offense, but running the ball and winning the time of possesion is how one wins championships. We got killed in time of possesion last year. Way too many three and outs. At times there seemed to be no flow to the offense. Here’s the flow: run the damn ball.

Paul's Johnson

January 28th, 2010
11:34 am

Your article cites Georgia coach’s “willingness to change” as regards his defense. That’s hilarious. Being basically forced to overhaul his defensive staff or else is not exactly what I’d call “willing”. He never wanted to make those changes. This was not a proactive move. It was reactive….to the fans, his athletic administration and to him wanting to save his job. He read the writing on the wall.

swimdawg68

January 28th, 2010
11:37 am

Mark is a class act! He also happens to be a very good football coach. I remember Penn State several years ago went through some bad seasons, for them, some wanted Joe Pa out but he stayed and now they are back as a regular top 10 team. The really good coaches prevail through down seasons.

Our schedule looks very favorable for us next year, we will have a very good offense and I fully expect our defense to show tremendous improvement. The “trade school” boys are in for a serious beat down (once again) in November. This time it will be in Athens.

Otto

January 28th, 2010
11:41 am

The defense is hopefully on its way to being fixed. Next offseason the Offense will be the topic. Richt can make 15 years but not with a predictable offense that S. Car, UT, and UF can hold for the most part in check. CMR must step up and take majority of the play calling back.

Blackberry Cobbler

January 28th, 2010
11:41 am

It took CMR 3 years to make the changes on defense that should have been done 2-3 years sooner.

Not next year maybe, but if he doesn’t win the East this year or next, he’ll be gone. The well has been dry for way too long.

If you can’t win with the talent he’s been recruiting then need to turn the reigns over to someone else.

Dawg Nation

January 28th, 2010
11:45 am

Marc Richt has and always will be the right man for the job at UGA. He’s a solid man with values and morales that is very important when leading a bunch of young men. We are very fortunate to have him and there is noone else I would want on our sidelines!!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Blackberry Cobbler

January 28th, 2010
11:45 am

A lot of folks have great morals. He’s not getting paid to teach Sunday School, he’s being paid to win games and compete for the SEC and NC.

nemov

January 28th, 2010
11:51 am

Georgia’s offense isn’t the problem. It’s going to take two years to turn the defense around. 9 wins would be a nice improvement next season. 2011 and 2012 will make or break Richt.

Blackberry Cobbler

January 28th, 2010
11:52 am

And then maybe we can hire a guy like Kiffin.

Sorry Guy!

January 28th, 2010
11:53 am

nemov – how do you know how long it will take to fix the defense? Are you a psychic or something?

59bulldawg

January 28th, 2010
11:57 am

Richt had a huge reservoir of good will in the bulldawg nation until his refusal to deal quickly and effectively with his defensive staff. I really like the guy but his slowness at addressing problems drives me crazy. I’m happy with the long overdue defensive changes but now hope he’s not minimizing the amount of work that needs to go into our special teams next season. We have the talent to be great there but it needs to be properly coached! I really hope Richt stays here as long as he wants. But if he ever refuses to make timely changes in the future and the consequences are plainly evident on the field, he may not have that option.

RxDawg

January 28th, 2010
11:57 am

“Amen to that. I see Richt at Georgia for the long haul. What about you?”

Ditto, the nay sayers are either morons or opposing fans faking it just to stir the pot.

Without-a-clue

January 28th, 2010
11:58 am

Mark Richt is a fine coach and gentleman and we are lucky to have him at the helm of UGA. I hope he is there for many years to come.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 28th, 2010
11:59 am

I personally hope Coach Richt stays for 25+ years. Class act, outstanding coach, good man. What else can you ask for?

xtenshun

January 28th, 2010
12:00 pm

Dawg Nation is fortunate to have Coach on the sideline and will do very well to keep him there for several more years. Here you have the definition of what a college coach should be – respected, honest, a willingness to change in a deliberative fashion, successful and with no apparant career goals exceeding those as coach at UGA! Do you think TN would have rather not gone the Kiffin route…do you actually think Bama seriously thinks Saban will be there beyond 2 more years…do you actually think LSU beleives Miles is the better coach. The defense was inferior over the last couple of years and big changes have been made – this is a major program with a record of consistency that is an asset – you do not make changes on a dime. Kudos to Coach Richt for the job he has done, is doing and will continue to do at UGA for a long time!

Dawg

January 28th, 2010
12:03 pm

I would like to see Coach have a 25 year tenure like Coach Dooley. Couldn’t find a better man and he also wins!

BigDawg

January 28th, 2010
12:04 pm

Wholeheartedly Agree….as long as we win 9+ games in 2010 and 10+ the following two years. Otherwise we need a coach equal to our talent level. Coach Garner has certainly proved his worth!!! Now if only the others follow through!

RxDawg

January 28th, 2010
12:05 pm

TommyP, Orson is kind of like a Shannon Sarpe style TE. Nice comparison. Speaking of, isn’t it amazing Sharpe played at Savannah St.? Here is an old story, when I was at GSU (Southern) I spoke with an old football player who played against Sv. St. when Sharpe was there. The GSU player was a lineman, but he said his roomate was a CB and the fastest player on Erk Russel’s GSU team at the time. Well he said during the game on one of the first plays, Sv St got the ball to Sharpe and it turned into a foot race with his CB roomate. He said it wasn’t even close and that Sharpe left him like he was walking lol. I got a kick out of the story.

Note: GSU trampled Sv St in the game though. Their team as a whole didn’t stack up at all against the Eagles back then.

Mike Jay

January 28th, 2010
12:05 pm

Blackberry. He is being paid to be the face of Georgia foootball, not just win games. It just so happens that Richt is perfect for that, the fact he has one of the highest winning %’s out there does not hurt.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 28th, 2010
12:09 pm

Blackberry Cobbler, He is most certainly being paid to give guidance to the players he brings in. In athletics, academics, as well as off field conduct, he is the one that is expected to instill the ethics (work and otherwise) in his players. If he chooses to use his personal faith in his teachings and counsel, far be it from you or me to take cheap pot shots at him for doing so. It appears to me that you missed some Sunday School days that you should have attended. It has been said that ignorance is bliss…….so have a blissful day

Johnny DangerDawg

January 28th, 2010
12:10 pm

I hope to see Coach Richt stick around Athens for a long time.
Very excited to Orson’s commitment to take his fitness to the next level!

Mike Jay

January 28th, 2010
12:11 pm

UGA will be the last coaching job Richt has. It has been the case for every coach since Dooley, in fact they all still even live in Athens. when taking everything into account there just arn’t that many better jobs out there than coaching in Athens. At least for the type of coaches UGA hires.

HardTruthSoldier...

January 28th, 2010
12:13 pm

Can I get some someone to agree with me when I say that some of these kids must not have parents who guide them! You top players in Ga, listen to a guy who’s been in this recruiting process, and had “real guidance”. First you won’t to find a school with solid academics, then you look for a school that has a history of winning, then young men you look at there coach(The Head Coach) and if he’s there year in and year out, you know he wins, and is stable. Next, find out, if you if you have aspirations of playing at the next level, how many players from that school are currently in the league(NFL) at your position! Last but not least, find out if in trying times if the coach is willing to honor his commitment to you as a young man(ask the Benedict kid), , who tore his ACL, but UGA has stuck by him, and then ask yourself if this ends for me in 4 years, will I be a better man, more educated, a man of honor, character, integrity, and a leader in all aspects of life? If you can find those are your goals, then find your way to UGA. Period!

OoltewahDawg

January 28th, 2010
12:16 pm

BC, if Richt is forced out, who are we gonna get that can win another 90 games in 9 years, with a few SEC Championships and a NC or two thrown in?.He’s one of the few that’s done it (90 / 9, w/ 2 conf. champs) and the rest of them would get huge raises to stay where they are if they were approached by UGA. UGA would be stupid to let him go.

Mike Jay

January 28th, 2010
12:22 pm

Hardtruth, I just got chills. Nice writeup.

HardTruthSoldier...

January 28th, 2010
12:22 pm

It’s all good in 2010!

HardTruthSoldier...

January 28th, 2010
12:30 pm

Mike J, Wouldn’t it be nice if all these recruits could see Charles Grant, Jon Stitchcomb, and Tim Wansley playing in the SB, and look at Ravens Danelle Ellerbe, who was in the running for AFC rookie of the year, along with Moreno, and the fact that we had the #1 Draft pick overall last year!

Bright Idea

January 28th, 2010
12:31 pm

So Richt ain’t perfect. Only 3 perfect ones out there. Saban is King in Alabama, Meyer is King in Florida and Paul Johnson has got the Techies hoodwinked. I consider UGA lucky.

1eyedJack

January 28th, 2010
12:31 pm

Wouldn’t trade Richt for two Spurriers and a Tuberville.

Otto

January 28th, 2010
12:32 pm

The defense and offense have both a problem. Turnover have killed UGA the past few years along with not being able to sustain drives regularly. Bama bet UF in the SECCG by opening the game with a very long clock killing drive. UGA has not done that regularly sicne DJ was QB and CMR was calling plays.

If you send the defense out every 2-3min expect the points to go up. Late INTs by the defense saved UGA at Auburn and UK last year, turnovers by the offense gave away the UK game this year. GT last year both sides are responsible for, we all know the defense gave up points but how many times did UGA’s offense have the ball and for how long especially in that 3rd Qtr where it was given away? CWM atleast had players in position the make the tackle but the chest bumped and arm tackled. Bobo has not had the players in the right place to make the play. Atleast fundamentals would have fixed the defense.