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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