College football head coaches have to walk a fine line when talking to booster clubs.
On the one hand, the fans who gather in the spring and summer to hear the coach preview the forthcoming season are looking to get revved up.
But there’s always the danger of getting expectations too high, as Jim Donnan found out when he said before the 2000 season, “I’ve been waiting 55 years to be the head coach of a football team that has this much potential. And I guarantee you that we’re going to get it done.”
Mark Richt usually is a bit more circumspect, sort of in the Vince Dooley mode, though he did fire up one booster gathering earlier this spring by saying, “Are we going to beat Florida? You’re dadgum right.” To be fair, of course, he didn’t say it would necessarily be this season.
Richt walked the line on Wednesday night when he talked to the Georgia Bulldog Club in Albany. As reported by the Albany Herald, the coach said he believes that if his coaches can sign all the “Dream Team” in-state talent they’re after, those players will win a national championship before they leave UGA. As for the coming season, Richt said, “I think a lot of the ingredients are there for a tremendous season. We’ve just got to go out and do it.”
So, no Donnanesque guarantee, but a pretty optimistic outlook.
In other comments to the Albany club reported by the Herald, Richt said he nearly tried to hire Todd Grantham as defensive coordinator a month earlier than when he finally did make the offer. But, he said, “I’m not sure we would have gotten him then. I’m not going to say why, but circumstances changed.”
Discussing some of the southwest Georgia players on the team, Richt offered a couple of appraisals that should ease the minds of folks worried about the Dogs’ retooled secondary. He praised safety Bacarri Rambo, who said he might have picked up Grantham’s new 3-4 scheme the quickest of the defensive players. “He’s got a great understanding of what to do.”
And he said he thought cornerback Vance Cuff “was the most improved player in the spring. He’s fast —might be the fastest guy on the team.”
As for quarterback Aaron Murray, Richt kept expectations in check in Albany. He said he wants the redshirt freshman to have a “healthy respect” for the ball (don’t turn it over like Joe Cox, in other words). His advice to the inexperienced Murray, who has 10 returning offensive starters around him: “You don’t have to be the hero.”
An enthusiastic but safe outing for the coach, I’d say.