Can’t quite bring myself to bail on Mark Richt … just yet

Mark Richt is at a turning point in his coaching career. (University of Georgia)

Mark Richt is at a turning point in his coaching career. (University of Georgia)

Some of you are ready to write off the Mark Richt era in Athens.

I’m hearing this from fans who normally are not quick to call for a coaching change. They look at the downward trend in Georgia’s SEC results since the last conference title and figure the die is cast, even though most concede that Richt’s past record has earned him another season after this one, no matter how badly it ends.

And they’re not looking forward to watching that prolonged scenario play out.

Me, I’m not a big fan of change, as my wife frequently notes. I tend to stick with something way past when others would have bailed, whether we’re talking cars, VCRs, old shirts or football coaches.

I’ll admit, the precipitous decline of Georgia’s football program has me teetering when it comes to the Bulldogs’ prospects under Richt. The recruiting obviously has been subpar for several years, the development of talent has been less than impressive, and the players frequently look undisciplined, on and off the field, raising serious questions about the coaching.

It’s true, a couple of key blue-chip recruits can turn around a program nearly overnight, but as I’ve heard more than one fan say in the past couple of weeks, “Why would a five-star recruit want to come to Georgia right now?”

For me, the most disturbing aspect of it all is the seeming lack of urgency among the players and coaching staff. Facing the prospect of starting out “one and whatever the crap we are,” as Mike Bobo put it Saturday, they still were outhustled in Starkville, for crying out loud!

And yet … if Richt coaches his tail off and somehow turns this season around — which at this point would pretty much require winning out, including beating Florida — it will make for one of those feel-good stories that fans and sports media alike love.

Do I see it happening? Frankly, at this point, no.

Still, I can’t yet bring myself to say the words I heard an ardent and intelligent UGA fan utter Saturday night: “I’m done with Richt.”

A COUPLE MORE THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

I know, I know, it’s like picking at a scab, but I can’t let the Mississippi State game go just yet …

Like, for instance, what was going on with that Georgia drive in the fourth quarter where Bobo not only insisted on continuing to try to run up the middle, but was trying it with little Carlton Thomas, the Dogs’ third-string back. Had even Bobo given up on Washaun Ealey and Caleb  King?

It sounds like Richt was wondering a bit, too, as he said after the game, “At times we just called running plays blindly. We were going to run the play no matter what, and there were times where we had success and times where we got hit in the mouth.”

Maybe now Richt will bigfoot Bobo and insist on a change in direction. With the Dogs’ offensive line getting manhandled and the backs not breaking many tackles, it’s obvious that continuing to try running play-action out of the I-formation just isn’t working. Our main running threat is our quarterback!

Perhaps it’s time to go to the spread most of the time with Aaron Murray in the shotgun and let him just make plays, whether it’s slinging the ball around or running the QB draw. Spreading things out might make it a little less easy for opposing defenses to jam the line like they’ve been doing so successfully. And if we make opponents defend the pass first, maybe that increases the odds of occasionally breaking a long one on a misdirection counter play with our backs.

Couldn’t be any less effective than what the Dogs have been doing the past three games. …

As for the defense, I still think the linebackers and secondary will figure out the pass coverage one of these days. But Georgia is as soft up the middle as I’ve ever seen them. With our undersized line, everybody’s going to try to run up the gut against the Dogs. It’s well past time for Todd Grantham to figure out a way to bolster the middle.

The Dogs can’t wait for him to recruit the big bodies he needs up front. By the time that happens, this staff may not be in Athens any more. Time to earn those big bucks now.

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621 comments Add your comment

bigeasy830

September 26th, 2010
5:32 pm

FIRST!!!!!!!

TheTaxJacket

September 26th, 2010
5:33 pm

(((( 17 – 6 ))))
((( 31 – 24 )))
(( 24 – 12 ))

(((((( 0 – 3 SEC )))))))

thwg

(((( 45 – 42 ))))

Ralph

September 26th, 2010
5:33 pm

The thUGA Dwags* are a result of hiring from the FSU Criminoles mentality. But then that has been thUGA since before Jan Kemp. There is nothing about being college athletes at thUGA – these guys have been coddled gang-bangers like their former AD; they just don’t get fired. Vegas no longer has an over-under for thUGA scores, but 2010 arrests. Do you really wonder why there is a lack of respect by the players, fans, and the rest of the country (other than some alums and Mark Bradley who say it is just due to a lack of winning)? No longer the Fulmer Cup – Richt stole it, but his defensive coordinator should claim he EARNED it.

* Dwag

— n
1. A typically disrespectful, lawless, University of Georgia football player with a low IQ (redundant). Unable to read or write. Mentally slow, dim-witted.

Matt in Athens

September 26th, 2010
5:35 pm

I’m not usually the reactionary type either, and I’m not calling for Richt’s head yet, but the moment I officially gave up on Mike Bobo was the draw play on 2nd and long with about 3:30 left in the game. The team was down by 11 at that point (a daunting but not insurmountable lead), but Bobo showed zero urgency and once again put Murray in another 3rd and long situation. Richt needs to take the playcalling back before the Colorado game if we want to have a chance of even approaching 2009’s abysmal low.

As I said, I have not and am not calling for Richt’s head. But week after week, with performances like this, the less inclined I am to take issue with people who are.

Randy

September 26th, 2010
5:36 pm

Georgia’s 3 part formula for winning every game:
1- hold other guys to under 18, richt wins 62 or 72 when this happens
2- score 21+, richt wins 62 out of 70 when this happens
3- get a 100 yard rusher–39-2 when this happens

Figure out how to do #3 for easiest turnaround.

Heck yea

September 26th, 2010
5:37 pm

I thought Dawg fans boasted loudly about their recruiting classes often. What has happened?

Mike

September 26th, 2010
5:38 pm

We keep making the same mistakes over and over. We are weak and timid. We start slooooow every week.

The coaching deficiencies are glaring.

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 26th, 2010
5:38 pm

Gordon

September 26th, 2010
5:39 pm

Is money an issue? Will UGA hesitate to pay $8M for a new coach if that is what the AD recommends? If it is, how much does that drop if he stays next year?

Mike

September 26th, 2010
5:44 pm

One more thing…. I’m sure Carlton Thomas is a nice young man, but he looks like he should be playing for Georgia State, not the University of Georgia.

He got tackled by the 35-yard line last night. I wonder if he ever makes plays in practice, because he sure as heck never does anything in a game.

And why didn’t Ealey dive on that loose ball in the endzone. You know, just for chits and giggles?

Frank lane

September 26th, 2010
5:45 pm

Excellent idea. Pass to set up the run. Recognize that can not overpower anyone. We must surprise on every play.

Jeremy

September 26th, 2010
5:46 pm

Hire muschamp or smart now

Raleigh Dog

September 26th, 2010
5:47 pm

They’ll be luck to win 4. And this was an easy schedule!! Next year they start with the first three at home. Two of those are Louisville and SC. Still as SEC schedules go, it’s not that tough. Richt will never beat Florida ever. That for me is the reason to say bye bye.

Mike

September 26th, 2010
5:47 pm

By the way, Bill…. I really appreciate your honest assessments and evaluations of this team.

Unlike Jeff Dantzler, who apparently thinks South Carolina, Mississippi State and Arkansas have out-recruited UGA the last few years, and repeats ad naseum that getting better recruits will solve everything. I don’t think he know who Mike Bobo is.

Yeah, Jeff. If only we could recruit as well as Mississippi State. Then we’d be fine.

dawginmemphis

September 26th, 2010
5:48 pm

We were 7-5 in the regular season last year and grossly underachieved the year before that. We have not been to Atlanta in 5 years. Tennessee went to Atlanta in 07′ and fired their coach after 08′. Why wait until we have fallen to the 7th layer of hell before making a change (assuming we’re not there already) ?

You wait too long and the rebuilding process becomes much bigger. The fact is that Georgia still has talent in the program. Not for long if this coaching staff continues to get a pass. Georgia is like a falling stock—do you really want to wait until it hits rock bottom before getting out.

Now is the time for change lest we suffer the fate of Tennessee staring a 5 year rebuild in the face.

Matt in Athens

September 26th, 2010
5:48 pm

@Gordon I doubt money will be a problem. It doesn’t come from UGA, but from the Athletic Association, which has more money than almost any other AA in the nation right now thanks to huge profits from football.

45ACP

September 26th, 2010
5:49 pm

I think we should go after more 3 star recruits with a work ethic mentality.
Guys who want to be part of a team rather than the “star” of the team.

Didn’t the Jackets lose 45-28 to N.C. State on Saturday?

Mike

September 26th, 2010
5:50 pm

Kevin Butler can suck it too. Stop interrupting everyone!!

Jake

September 26th, 2010
5:50 pm

Sounds to me like Ralph needs to get back to this decade after taking a trip back to the 1960s with that behavior on here. Yes, I am calling you out. I’m not overlooking the behavior of the UGA football players, but to belittle the way you have just shows ignorance, not a fervor for your own football team.

Dawgs73

September 26th, 2010
5:52 pm

Bill, what in anything that has happened this year would lend you to believe that Richt is going to “magically” turn things around? By definition, this is insanity.

UGA has been trending downward under Richt and are not fundamentally sound in any aspect of their game. They don’t tackle well, block well, play special teams well, and don’t utilize the strenghts of their players. Mark Richt and Bobo don’t know how to game plan and make proper in game adjustments that are crucial.

Bill King is a............

September 26th, 2010
5:57 pm

Bill,

I want the Mark Richt that told Quincy Carter that he wasnt guaranteed anything. Hence, he left and David Greene was born. I want that guy to come back to Athens. Coaching changes are never good and i dont want it to happen. But even more so, i’m tired of losing and the excuses that they give us. We have the same problems year after year and the players change from year to year. So it has to be coaching. They(coaches) do need to “look within” and do it pretty damn quick.

Dawg Tell

September 26th, 2010
5:58 pm

As we all say “WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR”! And the next and the next.

45ACP

September 26th, 2010
5:59 pm

Dawgs73 – and I am tired of seeing them get manhandled by every team they play.
We get blown off the ball on both sides of the line.

Bremen Dawg

September 26th, 2010
6:00 pm

At least tickets to games now will be cheap or folks will be giving them to you. Have to look at the positive things. Its seems to me that something is going on with Richt personally. He just looks lost, like he just doesn’t know what to do anymore. Its obvious that the players are.

music city dawg

September 26th, 2010
6:00 pm

I don’t think Bobo has a basic understanding of the game. I’m positive he does not know how long third and four is. There seems to be no long-range strategy; just random play calling. That didn’t work; let’s try this.

If we should change head coaching directions, we need to have someone that can compete on an emotional toughness level with Saban, Meyer, Miles. Someone with pro experience. I’m thinking Gruden.

I’m not ready to give up on Richt yet, either, but Georgia has fallen from a first to third tier SEC team. We will not get top recruits until we make some kind of change. Perhaps we can do that with a more evolved offensive scheme and a stronger defense. But the proof is on the field, and right now we are the worst team in the SEC.

long-time dawg

September 26th, 2010
6:00 pm

Bill; Mark Richt is not an old shirt, VCR, etc. He IS Georgia football and he has let it get away from him. It is time for us to get him away from us.

Bill King is a............

September 26th, 2010
6:00 pm

Mike, i can answer that real easily. But maybe you can guess what i want to say but dont need to.

Dawg Tired Of It All

September 26th, 2010
6:01 pm

Well one thing this has done is freed up my Saturdays. I’ll just catch ESPN for updates when I get around a t.v. I am so tired of the sickening sights I have witnessed the past two years with play calling and woeful play from both sides of the ball and the weekly arrest reports. It will make the rest of my weekends so much more enjoyable not rehashing the wasted time of the previous day.

Sad Richards

September 26th, 2010
6:02 pm

Bill….. its time to cut bait! The pattern has been in motion for quite sometime. I thought the program really dipped in 2007 when the team jumped up and down on Vandys mid field logo.

Ralph

September 26th, 2010
6:04 pm

Jake – “fervor for my football team”?

I’m ashamed of it, the coaches who recruited it and tolerated it, and the administration for putting up with this, and you for overlooking it while saying you’re not.

And yes to 45ACP – the Jackets did fall to N.C. State (a superior team than Mississippi State). But their fans and alumni are still proud of their coaches, student athletes, and University. Big differences. CLEAN IT UP!!

DAWG with a bag over his head

September 26th, 2010
6:05 pm

Amen, Dawgs73, I’ve been saying the same thing for the past several weeks. I see absolutely nothing that makes me think these coaches and players can turn everything around. Bill, it looks like you’ve been into the blind homer koolaide. The ONLY way to turn this around is to clean house.

edumacated

September 26th, 2010
6:05 pm

Bill, why do you continue to trash Bobo and support Richt? Isn’t it obvious that the problems start at the top? You are scared to go out on that limb arent’ you? Scared that once you say “Fire Richt”, you can’t take it back. You should get over it. This program isn’t turning around, and bad mouthing a coach who is behind the times and in need of replacement isn’t going to alienate you from the fans.

jack bull

September 26th, 2010
6:08 pm

I’m going to be very disappointed if he shows up in Boulder CO with all of the same guys doing the same exact things..he needs to show me, us, that he’s trying everything he can…and as far as all the “what ifs”, well, good teams don’t need the ‘what ifs’…
,
I still say Brandon Boykin is our best option at RB, am i the only one who thinks he could be real similar to Reggie Bush if he had the touches..

King Gator

September 26th, 2010
6:08 pm

I thought you said you couldn’t bring yourself to bail out CMR.. I’m sure you can understand why I may have read it that way with the recent headlines. Don’t bail yet, wait until the losses to UT and KY.. then there will be plenty of time for bailing; See you in Jax Bill! Go Gators!

rockdawg

September 26th, 2010
6:09 pm

Can somebody explain to me our punt return philosophy? We don’t try to block the kick and we don’t setup a return. What are we doing?

King Gator

September 26th, 2010
6:10 pm

..hoping for a penalty?

LakeDawg

September 26th, 2010
6:11 pm

Recruiting was down last year,but there is still a boat load of talent at UGA. Its coaching. And the recruiting will continue to slide if something isn’t done. Then it will be coaching and a lack of talent. The players aren’t thugs. They are like the majority of players, they want to perform well and please their coaches. They are young and need guidance/standards set by the coaching staff. Without that they will do what young men do in college…drink and get into trouble.

dawgdip

September 26th, 2010
6:11 pm

I used to say “you just can’t coach stupid” Now I must say ” stupid can’t coach stupid” OC Mike Bozo is stupid.

wildbill

September 26th, 2010
6:12 pm

I have wondered aloud about why Ealey just looked at his fumble into the end zone when a MSU guy fell on it. I don’t think he wanted it!!! He ran downfield with the ball in one hand, and when he was busted, he fumbled………. and then just looked at it. Somebody said he was stunned by the hit. He popped up and ran to the sideline. That didn’t look stunned to me. Maybe his jerseys aren’t worth $1,000. Maybe they aren’t worth 2 cents!!!!!!

45ACP

September 26th, 2010
6:12 pm

Ralph – I was on the Jackets game day blog. They are ready to run their coaching staff out of town as well.

South Ga Dawg

September 26th, 2010
6:12 pm

Soooooooooft football team! End of story!!!

Sad Richards

September 26th, 2010
6:12 pm

I fully understand that the dawgs are gonna lose a game but yeah its how you lose. I have seen no improvement whatsoever from our guys in the trenches. Maybe a couple of three players that are giving 110 percent but thats it. The coaches are another story.

South Ga Dawg

September 26th, 2010
6:13 pm

Jackar “the hit man”Hamilton. Gimme a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JOE LASSETER

September 26th, 2010
6:15 pm

I have been a bulldog fan all of my life…I live in st. Petersburg Fl and I am surrounded by Gators….I need for the dawgs to do something before I start growling at and biting gator fans….

carolinadawg

September 26th, 2010
6:17 pm

The time has come to make some HARD decisions. Where do you start? Where will the axe fall? The downward slide has made UGA football a laughing stock of the SEC. I support CMR and hope it turns around. But this has got to stop…..

bad apple dawg

September 26th, 2010
6:19 pm

Well Mark Richt must gotten the message as he has kicked that thug off the team. Finally !!!! Someone has the cajones to do the right thing ! Good riddance Mr. Baker !!!!

rockdawg

September 26th, 2010
6:20 pm

Jackar “the hit man”Hamilton. Gimme a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Could not agree more…this kid has no business being on the field right now. Also, if we are not going to use our tight ends on offense, let’s put them in at linebacker to cover the crossing routes. Our LB’s are not fast enough.

3DawgKnight

September 26th, 2010
6:21 pm

I say bring Donnan back…as Offensive co-ordinator!
And I’m as serious as I can be when I say that!

Then McGarrity said to Richt

September 26th, 2010
6:21 pm

Kick the THUG off the team ! NOW !

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