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.