Any time you start out 0-2 in conference play, you can expect unrest in the fan base.
It’s been a rough couple of seasons in Athens, with a few highs and way too many lows. And the unhappiness with the mediocrity that the Dogs have exhibited of late has been exacerbated by the fact that Mark Richt had gotten off to such a great start in the first half of his tenure in Athens, with two SEC titles.
So it’s not surprising that most of the barking of late in the Bulldog Nation hasn’t been the kind the cheerleaders elicit.
But there are two sorts of college football fans: those who enjoy the ride on the bandwagon when everything’s going great, but are ready to jump off when it gets bumpy, and those die-hards who support their team even when they’re not happy with the way things are going.
A caller to Richt’s Monday night weekly radio show who apparently falls into the former category asked the coach to “sell” him on continuing to support Georgia’s football program.
Richt rightly demurred.
“The bottom line,” he told the caller, “is if you’re a true fan, in my opinion, you’re going to support your team no matter what. I don’t think you’re going to just love the boys when they win and hate on them when they lose, you know.”
I’m certainly not happy with the current state of the Georgia program. There’s lots of room for improvement.
But as a lifelong fan, whether it’s the mostly good times with Vince Dooley and Richt or the mostly painful times with Johnny Griffith, Ray Goff or Jim Donnan, I support the Dogs. I love it when they’re riding high, but I’m still invested in the program (literally, thanks to my season tickets) even when things aren’t going well.
I still think Richt is the right man to lead this program. Of course, that view might change at some point.
And as a fan I certainly reserve the right to criticize the problems I see, whether it’s the work of an assistant coach, players besmirching the university’s name with dumb decisions or the head coach who at times doesn’t seem to demand quite enough from his players or coaching staff.
But whether the Dogs are challenging the conference elite or struggling to keep from slipping into the perennial also-ran category, I’ll be there at Sanford Stadium, cheering them on and proudly wearing the red and black.
I grew up as a Dogs fan. I graduated from UGA.
They’re my team, no matter what. And nobody has to “sell” me on supporting them.
SPEAKING OF PROBLEMS …
I’m puzzled why Richt refuses to acknowledge (at least publicly) that Mike Bobo’s playcall on that third-and-4 sack Saturday was a bad one.
Talking about the play, Richt said, “I did watch the TV copy myself, and I know the commentators were saying … there was no outlet, there was no short route, that there ought to be. I don’t know what he saw, but there were actually two routes that were about a five- or six-yard depth and a couple of them that would be deeper routes.”
Maybe so, though you certainly can’t tell it from the replays. And obviously Aaron Murray didn’t see them, either.
As we’ve already discussed here, Bobo blamed Murray for holding on to the ball too long and blamed him for most of the six sacks the Razorbacks got. Richt did at least spread the blame around a bit more, saying, “It’s a combination of an offensive line issue, a running backs issue as pass protectors and quarterback issues. It was spread out across the board.”
He didn’t mention a “playcalling issue,” though. Whatever the problems with execution by the players, I’d feel a whole lot more encouraged about the direction of things if Richt was willing to concede that Bobo’s call in that situation at the very least did not maximize Murray’s chances of success.
Murray will learn and get better. But if his boss continues to give him a free ride, I’m not so sure about Bobo.
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