Is Mark Richt capable of making the ‘changes’ he says are needed at UGA?

Mark Richt is talking about "change," but will it be too little too late? (University of Georgia)

Mark Richt is talking about "change," but will it be too little too late? (University of Georgia)

Talking after the humiliating defeat to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl gave UGA its first losing season in 14 years, Mark Richt tried to buck up support for his program among the Bulldog Nation with this assessment:

“There’s reasons why we ended up the way we did. We’ve got to make changes. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the future.”

But then he added: “When you start saying ‘change,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean personnel. … It’s more of how we go about our business. We’re going to improve. We’re going to get Georgia where it belongs.”

Richt didn’t spell out the “reasons,” but since the only staff change he’s chosen to make is in the strength and conditioning program, you’ve got to wonder if the weight of turning around a program that’s been sliding for three seasons now is being placed on the admittedly sturdy shoulders of Joe Tereshinski.

Granted, strength and conditioning is an area where major improvement is needed. All season long, the Dogs have gotten shoved around on the line of scrimmage and have tended to fade in the fourth quarter.

But a whole lot more needs to be fixed than just strength and conditioning. And with the same coaching lineup in place that produced such underwhelming results this year, is it really possible to fix it all in the one season that Richt likely has to turn things around?

Sure, Todd Grantham’s defense might improve next year, though likely only with some fresh junior college linemen.

And a five-star running back would be a plus (if they can sign him). But that back would still be running behind a line coached by Stacy Searels, who has demonstrated no ability to mold even veteran players into a dominating force.

And then there’s Mike Bobo, a talented quarterbacks coach who as offensive coordinator can’t ever seem to sustain momentum, even when it’s handed to him.

Take Friday’s game, for example. The second quarter began with the Dogs, who were leading 3-0 and had just snagged an interception, completing an 18-yard pass to A.J. Green. This would have been the perfect time for Georgia to take control of the game.

On the next play Aaron Murray got thrown for a 13-yard loss on a naked bootleg where the defender sailed in unblocked. OK, hang that one on Searels’ group. But then on second and 23, Bobo has Murray hand off to third-stringer Carlton Thomas for short yardage. And then on third and 20 a screen pass is thrown to Thomas for no gain. Time to punt.

Carlton Thomas??!! This is the beginning of the second quarter and Washaun Ealey, the starting tailback, isn’t in the game? Is that a conditioning problem? Or in Bobo’s playbook does second and 23 call for handing the ball to your smallest running back? Did Bobo feel comfortable sitting on a 3-point lead?

Unfortunately, scenarios like that were all too common the past couple of seasons.

And then there’s the attitude adjustment that’s needed, on and off the field. Both kicker Blair Walsh and athletic director Greg McGarity called out the Dogs after the game for a lack of effort in Memphis. It appears a misplaced sense of entitlement has settled on a group of players who have done absolutely nothing to earn it. Caleb King, who apparently can’t be bothered to show up for court dates or academic meetings, has become the poster boy for a team that seems to be defined by its lack of discipline and dedication.

The big question hanging over the Georgia program right now is whether Richt and the staff he has assembled — and apparently is going to keep intact — are capable of changing that culture enough in just a few short months.

Most Dogs fans I’ve encountered over the past couple of days are skeptical.

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835 comments Add your comment

Louisiana Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:49 pm

I think it is time for Coach Richt to go. His team has no discipline, no respect for him and they have lost the want to win. It is completely unacceptable to have 11 players arrested!! We are NOT Miami. The arrests are an obvious sign that the players have lost all respect for Coach Richt. I think he is a fine man but he has lost it as a coach. We need to right this ship now. Coach Richt should have cleaned house last year but did not. He must live with that decision and it should cost him his job now and not after another horrible season. Why on earth would you kick a field goal and not go for 7 in the first quarter?! I am from Savannah, went to LSU but was raised a Dawgs fan. It is killing me to see UGA at this sorry level. It needs to be fixed now, the forst step is to get rid of Richt!

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:49 pm

I’ll tell you who UGA’s next coach needs to be….Bret Eldridge.

Here is a guy that is tenacious, love to win, and loves the Dawgs.

dawg2

January 2nd, 2011
11:50 pm

Did anyone watch Alabama play and that Damn big O line!

Richt wanted Cam Newton as a tight end?
All SEC teams will be alot better next year!

What will UGA be….the same BS!

Fire Richt and Let new Head Coach pick his staff.

Gatored up for 2011

January 2nd, 2011
11:52 pm

“Things run in cycles. Florida has had 2 great cycles in the past 20 years, first with Spurrier for 10 and then the Tebow years under Meyer. The prior 60 years not so much”- Coach Dooley

Coach Dooley,

Hmmm! So Florida has had 2 great cycles. Sounds a lot like Georgia. Let’s see. Great teams from 1980-1982 a great 3 year run. Rest of the 80s and throughout the 90s- non existent. Same with the 60s and 70s. 1990s? Pretty insignificant except maybe 1-2 good years- no division titles of course. Another great 3-4 year run from 2002-2005. That’s pretty much it for Georgia football. 2 great 3-4 year cycles. At least Spurriers cycle was for 11 years and Meyer’s teams were good for 4-5 years.

I think you vastly overestimate your football history sir. You may have owned us way back when but your history aint much. Who do you think you are? Alabama? You aint no Alabama sir so please don’t act like your tradition is all that.

PHIL

January 2nd, 2011
11:52 pm

Most of you people wouldn’t know a football from a flying saucer. Never coached, never played. And one up above on this page even has advice on how to be an AD. What board are you a member of? The Wash Board? You people believe the most important thing in the world is to win a childs game played by young adults, that is where you 100% of your esteem and pride. You’d be glad to be in Auburn’s position knowing full well they may not even have a football team there four years from now. You’d love to swap places with Alabama where Saban takes signs more than his allotment then takes the scholarship away from some kid who has already put his two years in. That’d be just fine with you until it was your son he took it from. You gripe and complain about Grantham even knowing full well that if Kirby had come to here as DC, Grantham would be at AL and the results at both places would have been the same. You’d be saying “that idiot Richt hired Smart when he knew that Saban was really the DC at AL. And he’s no better than Willie.” You are all sick and tired of this and sick and tired of that. Would you collectively like a quarter to call someone who cares? Someone posted that McGarity is about to lose the alumni and fan base. I bet you the ranch if UGA is 2-10, 80,000 show up at Sanford Stadium anytime the lights are turned on.

Some rocket scientist posted that a recruit should go to Alabama because they will always be good. Until the last 3 years, Alabama was nothing. You were probably 10 and don’t remember. We beat AL just three years ago. Closer than it should have been. What did it take to turn it around? Unethical recruiting practices. What did it take for a coach with a losing lifetime record to turn Auburn around? Illegal recruiting practices. If winning is that important to you then please go be an Auburn fan. Someone posted that the AD at Maryland had the guts to do what was right to turn their program around. Really? Fire the ACC coach of the year. Say that out loud and see how stupid you sound saying that. It’s Maryland for goodness sake. What do they expect to do?

All that said, I think that was the worst, most uninspired performance I can remember ever seeing out of a UGA team of any kind. Even Scott Howard was boring calling the game on radio. But then again, the defense only gave up 10 points so maybe they weren’t uninspired. But that offensive line has underperformed for two years. You brain surgeons want to know why Bobo isn’t committed to the run its because it would be 3 and out every single possession if he did. Why did it work against Tech last year? It’s because they really, really suck, that’s why. Since, like most of you wanta be coaches and know-it-alls, I’m not there, I don’t know if it’s coaching from CSS or not. As a coach and a player I know you can’t MAKE a player play to his potential or give his whole effort 100% of the time. I know that you can’t bench everyone because unlike professional sports, in college the replacements are limited in both scope and talent. But I know something is wrong. I ADMIRE CMR for not throwing anyone under the bus publicly as to say what areas are of concern, but the O Line has to be one of them.

Another problem has to be recruiting. Any statement saying we get all these high level recruits soon loses it’s luster when compared to the recruiting classes of our opponents which for several years have been much better. Again since I’m not there, I don’t know if that is a Garner issue or a position coach issue. I am positive that it is not a CMR issue. The recruits enjoy CMR as opposed to say Charlie Weiss who couldn’t get along with any family of a player, couldn’t recruit and will be the undoing of UF in the next 3-5 years. Write it down I told you here. Players and their family’s HATE him. which reminds me. You people want a fire and brimstone coach, well now you got one in CTG. I don’t think that players like Ray Drew, Stephen Tuitt and Gabe Wright want to play for a coach that is yelling and screaming in his face all afternoon after a long day at school. I wouldn’t. I doubt you would.

I think it is great that we all have opinions and have a forum to express them. But UGA has a patent on stupid fans. When you express that opinion in this authoritative manner like you know more than people who actually have played major college football, coach major college football and I can’t believe I have to say this, actually been an Athletic Director at an SEC school, you sound like a dunce. Then again maybe you’re just the whiny loser you seem to be.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:53 pm

IMO there is no way that the AD will fire Mark Richt before next year. I still have concerns about whether he still wants to coach right now-whether he is burned out. I wonder if he might resign.

dawg2

January 2nd, 2011
11:53 pm

rincon…you cool man, lol

lakerga

January 2nd, 2011
11:54 pm

i read that Lemay is the answer and i have to wonder what people are basing this on. He has not even played in a football game in over a year. He played in a lower division high school team when he last played. I would say he is a major question mark at this point. I think its desperation that would drive this type of thinking. Murray and or Mason will drive this bus for the next year or two.

Junkyard Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:56 pm

The thing that makes me the most mad about UGA is the Florida game. Every year we are always getting embarrassed by the Gators. I am personally a younger UGA fan who doesn’t remember the time UGA owned Florida. The farthest back of UGA I can remember is when Spurrier started this annual *** kicking in Jacksonville. I was too young to remember Herschel, or Erk. All I know if Goof, and Boo Boo. Do you get what I’m saying? Its sad that UGA fans my age haven’t had the luxury of even being able to witness the Dawgs constantly win the WLOCP.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:56 pm

Phil
And you sound like a dunce when you post things as facts that are not. Alabama and Auburn are good because of illegal recruiting practices?

It’s unfortunate, because I agree with a lot of your post. However, you cannot state “facts” without actually having them.

dawggone

January 2nd, 2011
11:58 pm

good night…the dawgs are in good hands.

Dawg fan

January 3rd, 2011
12:00 am

Dawg2,

Yeah. I watched Bama play and have to admit they look downright scary. Their O-line was massive. I watched it and the MSU game and when Bama is healthy on both sides they are about invincible and I can’t figure out how they lost 3 games. Bama fan I was watching the games with at the bar told me they only lose 3 starters on offense and that 4 of their O-line starters are back. The announcers said it was the first game since early October that their whole O-line had been healthy. He said their entire defense will return unless 1 or 2 of their jr players go pro early. Those guys are just freaking loaded with talent from top to bottom and we pick them up again in 2011. They pulled a lot of starters 5 minutes into the 3rd qtr and still beat MSU to a pulp. The 3rd team tailback shredded MSU. Not a good time to be getting them back on the schedule. Seems like we just got through playing them.

Coach Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
12:01 am

Gatored up for 2011 Well since I am older than you for sure- yes I think my knowledge of SEC football history is better than yours. I lived in Gainesville for 8 years ; was there during Spurrier’s Sr year. I remember well those swell years of Gator football before Spurrier. Spurrier was ahead of his time before other teams caught up with him- same with Meyer and he got great production out of Tebow and his coaching staff at UF. I did not go to Ga , nor am an especially great fan of them. I am an FSU grad and have followed SEC and later FSU/ACC football for over 60 years. And yes for awhile FSU did own UF although more recently while we were in the wilderness with Bowden’s ego games you owned us. But UF is not so great right now. You’re gonna have to regain it on the field pal.

oldyeller

January 3rd, 2011
12:02 am

I can not picture Saint Richt yelling or motivating a team. My take is he is to much of a nice guy to do that. I really believe as a college coach you need to motivate. These are just out of high school kids and still respond to the emotion and actions of the coach. His demeanor on the sidelines gives the impression that he goes with the flow. Adjust your sunglasses and make sure your hair is alright.

For goodness sake show some emotion. Your players watch and respond to what they see from their leader.

blue

January 3rd, 2011
12:04 am

The people who say give CMR one more year are the same people who give their wife another chance after she cheats

Question

January 3rd, 2011
12:04 am

oldyeller….
You don’t have to be a jerk to win football games.

MT

January 3rd, 2011
12:07 am

Gatored up for 2011

please don’t act like your tradition is all that.

Georgia Bulldogs number 11 in all time victories, way ahead of hogtown.
number of Florida victories over Georgia from 1905 to 1990– 23
Just remember Ray Goff Jim Donnan and apparently Mark Richt is our Doug Dickey
and Ray Graves. We’ll be back.

Dudley

January 3rd, 2011
12:07 am

Get a new QB. Worked for Auburn.

Coach Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
12:08 am

Every coach has his own style of caching. There are those that show a lot of emotion and yell and scream and others go just the opposite direction. Neither has the corner on winning NC’s. How much emotion did you see by Bowden, Miles, Brown, Pete Carroll, etc.

Bama recruiting numbers

January 3rd, 2011
12:08 am

“You’d love to swap places with Alabama where Saban takes signs more than his allotment then takes the scholarship away from some kid who has already put his two years in. That’d be just fine with you until it was your son he took it from.”- Phil

Since you’re so smart Phil show me the name of one single Alabama football player who lost his roster spot after 2 years so that Saban could make room due to oversigning. Just one smart guy!

James

January 3rd, 2011
12:08 am

Get a NT for the 3-4. That’s the Bama formula.

Judge

January 3rd, 2011
12:08 am

Murray’s out, Lemay’s in.

Emmit

January 3rd, 2011
12:09 am

Run the ball 50x a game.

Dawg in Kentucky

January 3rd, 2011
12:11 am

yes he can and he will

USMC dawg

January 3rd, 2011
12:11 am

Mark Richt CANNOT turn this football program around.
He has been a good coach for our program in the past, but his time has come to an end.
We need a Fresh start with a new Head coach and coaching staff in Athens.
I personally will be boycotting my University’s Football games until a coaching change has been made.
I have been embarassed ever since the stomping in the endzone in Jacksonville a few years ago.
I will golf, play tennis, vacation, camp, fish, etc…anything but watch Georgia football next Spring.

Bama recruiting numbers

January 3rd, 2011
12:12 am

“We beat AL just three years ago. Closer than it should have been. What did it take to turn it around? Unethical recruiting practices.”- Phil

Last time I checked Georgia’s 2007 win at Alabama went into overtime. How this idiot Phil thinks it wasn’t close is amusing.

Unethical recruiting practices? Phil, I’m still waiting on your proof. Where is your proof of unethical recruiting practices? Still waiting on you to name just one single Alabama football player who was run off his scholarship after 2 years. Show me just one Phil.

Question

January 3rd, 2011
12:13 am

USMC Dawg…me too, I’m with you!

Wait…no I’m not.

oldyeller

January 3rd, 2011
12:14 am

Hey Phil, I think you are full of yourself. You claim to have been the athletic director at a S.E.C. school is embarrassing. A full page of verbiage no one understands is boring and non meaningful. Hey pal what’s your point?

Emmit

January 3rd, 2011
12:15 am

Mark Richt turned it around from 2006 to 2007. Unranked to finish #2 in the country in 1 season.

YEAH bABY.

UGA? R U Kidding?

January 3rd, 2011
12:16 am

Relax dawg fans; I know you like the back of my hand. In six months, you’ll have all but forgotten what a disaster your program is. You won’t remember that a strong case can be made that you are the most under performing program in the FBS. No…you’ll be talking your usual, mindless trash, bragging about your most recent top 5 recruiting class, predicting first place in the east and making reservations to the Rose Bowl. That’s just what you idiots do. (until Boise State hammers you by 20). Then the crying will start all over again.

MT

January 3rd, 2011
12:16 am

Junkyard Dawg

Too bad your not old enough to remember 1982 We
whip the Gators 44-0. Herschel was great!
Beat Tennessee 44-0 the year before(we didn’t play them every year back then).

Emmit

January 3rd, 2011
12:16 am

Judge,

I agree, Lemay is amazing.

Derek

January 3rd, 2011
12:17 am

Disappointed Dawg on Comment #3 said everything that needed to be said. Fantastic post and I hope you send that on to McGarity. In fact… I’ll see if I can get your post around the forums/articles as well.

Emmit

January 3rd, 2011
12:17 am

James,

Good point. We need a big ole JUCO transfer at NT like ole Mt. Cody.

Coach Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
12:18 am

USMC dawg Sounds good. We will miss you.

James

January 3rd, 2011
12:18 am

Emmit-

Insightful.

Brilliant post, and so true.

Run the ball, simple as that. 50 times a game, oh year, Herschel like.

benchwarmer

January 3rd, 2011
12:18 am

Richt must go. The Memphis”thing” was final proof of that. What a sorry program UGA football has become. Losing is one thing but becoming the home for bad boys on top of that is just too much.

MoDawg

January 3rd, 2011
12:19 am

First the O-line is confused and not even the slightest motivated because of our play calling(PERIOD)drive, drive drive keep it simple keep it clean and punish the opponents, Second the Defensive secondary when recognizing a run play is transpiring they never go up and attack .. its either wait and arm tackle or strip the ball(Blue, Davis, Jones and company) will never allow a play to be over without delivering punishment to whoever was toting that pigskin, trust me after a first half of getting the $&%@ knocked out of you… when the 2nd half rolls around you do not want to see them guys back on the football field. I leave it at these two things for this team to improve on 110%. We have the players we just need the attitude to Finish the Drill, and I guarantee you, we will go back to being a 10+ win team every year and recruits will have to prove themselves to be in our program

GA Shawty

January 3rd, 2011
12:19 am

MARCUS DOWTIN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE ASSUALT
http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20101230/WCT01/12300328

Why hasn’t this been reported? Coincidentally, he’s charged days before he’s not allowed to play in the bowl game yet UGA claims it’s a “coach’s decision.” Is UGA trying to cover up arrest #12?

James

January 3rd, 2011
12:20 am

Dudley,

I agree, a chance absolutely MUST be made at QB.

Did you watch the game? Murray was abysmal again in the 4th quarter, with a decent QB, Georgia goes 10-3 in 2010.

MT

January 3rd, 2011
12:20 am

UGA? R U Kidding?

But of Course! Because we’re just better than you.

UGA? R U Kidding?

January 3rd, 2011
12:20 am

Thanks for bringing up the early 80’s. Hey, a quick show of hands…….all fans who’s teams have won a national championship in the last quarter century………

GA Shawty

January 3rd, 2011
12:20 am

MARCUS DOWTIN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE ASSUALT
http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20101230/WCT01/12300328

Why hasn’t this been reported yet? Coincidentally, he’s charged days before he’s not allowed to play in the bowl game yet UGA claims it’s a “coache’s decision.” Is UGA trying to cover up arrest #12?

James

January 3rd, 2011
12:20 am

Florida fans on here trying to get Richt fired.

they did thew same thing in 06′.

Richt finished #2 the next year.

Chuck Uga

January 3rd, 2011
12:21 am

Wrong, Bill King. We aren’t skeptical anymore…we are CERTAIN Mark Richt cannot right the ship. It’s a pattern of ineptitude. Amazing Greg McGarity cannot see beyond the 2010 season. Guess he isn’t going to consider the inconsistencies of the past two seasons and the continued ineptitude of Mike Bobo, Bryan McClendon, Stacy Searels, etc. Some housecleaning is in order, recruiting be damned. Who cares about recruiting when coaching isn’t working…doesn’t matter who you recruit if they are overrated or cannot perform!

USMC dawg

January 3rd, 2011
12:21 am

“USMC dawg Sounds good. We will miss you.”

Thanks Corch Dooley, that means alot to me coming from you.

Bama recruiting numbers

January 3rd, 2011
12:21 am

Hey Phil,

You know what a stupid fan really is? A stupid fan is some moronic know it all who starts making charges of unethical recruiting practices without knowing what in the hell he is talking about.

Still waiting on your proof of just one single Alabama player who was cut from the team to make room for another player because Saban oversigned. I’m betting $500 you can’t come up with one. Matter of fact you aint got to put up a dime. All you got to do is provide your proof and I’ll send you a cashier’s check.

Still waiting on your proof Phil.

UGA? R U Kidding?

January 3rd, 2011
12:21 am

yeah sure…when I think UGA football, I think “wow, they sure are better than me” LOL Georgia Football Saturday….built Matel tough

GA Shawty

January 3rd, 2011
12:22 am

MARCUS DOWTIN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE ASSUALT
http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20101230/WCT01/12300328

Why hasn’t this been reported? Coincidentally, he’s charged days before he’s not allowed to play in the bowl game yet UGA claims it’s a “coache’s decision.” Is UGA trying to cover up arrest #12?

Coach Dooley

January 3rd, 2011
12:22 am

GA Shawty You already said that. Do you stutter?