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

Freddie G

January 4th, 2011
12:26 am

Hell No.
I am for giving him one more year, but he will not turn it around with the staff in place. Will Muschamp gets it but Richt still has not gotten it after 10 years. Muschamp has gone out and surrounded himself with what may be the best coaching staff in college Football, but Richt handed his offense over to Bobo who had no previous experience as Coordinator, and his defense to Martinez who also had no experience as Coordinator. What Rich should have done was to get experience coordinators and allow Bobo and Martinez to grow more in their jobs as QB COACH AND db’S Coach. Vince Dooley has gotten off easily in all that is happening, but Dooley offered the Job to Richt on condition that Richt be the OC. To ask a new Coach without previous headcoach experience to serve as headcoach and Coordinator was asking too much; Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles, Tubberville, Fulmer, Chizick all had Coordinators and functioned as Head Coaches. Richt was hired on the condition that he was the head coach, and when he thought it was too much he handed it off in the most inexpensive way, which was to Bobo. instead of getting an experienced OC. I am not sure Todd Grantham will improve the Defense but I feel more confident of him doing so than in Bobo improving the offense.

Nope, Nope and Nope

January 4th, 2011
12:27 am

Mark Richt is not capable of making the necessary changes. If he were able to do so, he’d resign.
That is the move that is needed.

captguitarman

January 4th, 2011
12:30 am

CMR is a fine man, and he has had a fair degree of success (nothing spectacular, but some solid years) during his tenure at Georgia. But, it is now more than obvious that Georgia’s “Mike Shula” moment has arrived. Georgia must decide it is mad as hell and they are not going to take it any more, and make a conscious and deliberate business decision and create a business plan to rejoin the SEC elite (yes, big time college football is business – a very big business – but that is a whole other essay). Alabama did exactly that when they ponied up the big time bucks to hire Saban and his chosen staff, and the results are obvious. Or a deliberate choice can be made to continue to occupy the mid to lower levels with Tennessee, Vandy, Ole Miss, etc. And that is fine too, but the choice needs to be clarly made. With programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and LSU at the top, and programs like Arkansas and Mississippi state working hard to get there, Georgia can no longer pretend it is an elite SEC team and hope for the best. The recent bowl loss was a total humiliation, a complete disgrace, and there will be more to come – can you say Boise State? – and in the opening game next year. That ass-whipping will set the tone for the entire year. The time for a hard decision with money behind it, and a solid plan to set goals and to rebuild with the right staff, and re-enter the ranks of the SEC elite is required now. Or decide not to do that because of money, inconvenience, hoping things will get better, etc. and be what you are and be content with it. There are other great SEC teams that Dawg fans can pull for. Roll Dawg Tide, and War Dawg – you get the drift. Final observations. Any Alabama-type choice is iffy because Adams will have to buy in, and he tends to be a contrarian and loves to go against the obvious in things like this. The new recruiting class looks good, but a new coach and staff are still required. Someone needs to re-set the tone and put some fear and respect into these undisciplined kids. Like Spurrier said – Georgia gets all these great kids, but I don’t know what happens to them after they get there. A coach who leads with passion and fire and shows anger and demands discipline is not the same as having a coach who “blows his cool.” as many Dawg fans seem to think. Time to decide. The Mike Shula moment is here, and the time for one more year, one more chance, is gone.

Rabid Dawg

January 4th, 2011
2:24 am

This team started falling apart years ago when Van Gorder left. Ever since that time…this team has gotten worse and worse. Oh sure….Van Gorder left in 04 but we still had players that he recruited.

I say fire Richt….and offer VG the head coaching job. Going from a DC in the NFL is most likely a down grade. VG would probably get a nfl head coaching job within a few years if the Falcons continue to roll.

Just not happy with Richt. The team lacks the desire to win.

Buckskin

January 4th, 2011
5:44 am

No he doesn’t have a snowballs chance in ~~~~ of fixing the program. Mark is nice guy but Bulldog Nation wants a coach that is a winner. He doesn’t have what it takes to turn the program around. End the suffering – get rid of Mark early this year.

Hosea Williams

January 4th, 2011
7:22 am

Hell No !

Another arrest just came to light ( #12 ) and CMR was CLUELESS !!

The sooner he is gone the better off Georgia will be .

Dan

January 4th, 2011
7:47 am

Dawg fans are idiots.

DILMUS REED

January 4th, 2011
7:48 am

i have something to say i dont remember the players name but he is from ga #48 he killed georgia and on that note he is from canton ga ???? how did he get away??? also a personal homeboy of mine from rome ga #6 brian watters he destroyed ga and on that note he is from my home town of rome ga!! how did he get away??? enough said Mark Ricth go to rome cartersville canton rockmart cedartown ga you will find so much good good talent under your nose stop going to texas! ronnie brown from cartersville ga went to auburn duh!!!

THIRTY FOUR POINTS to your thirty one points

January 4th, 2011
7:54 am

mornin mutties

how’d that bowl game go?

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((34-31)))))))))))))))))))))))))
8 out of 10
18 out of 21
3 straight

Jeffro Bodeen

January 4th, 2011
8:07 am

Mark Richt makes me sick
Ford keys in one hand,
in the other his D***!
Wait a minute….that’s Coach Bobo in the other hand….sorry, honest mistake! :)

Gdawg

January 4th, 2011
8:09 am

Mr. McGarity, please fire CMR now while there are some great replacements available e.g. Smart, TCU’s head guy, and Utah’s head guy. Richt is not capable of running this team. He lacks vision and creativity. Most importantly, he cannot develop his subordinate coaches nor can he develop his players. I am telling you that you must stop the bleeding now, as there is no since in waiting for another year to justify this change. Richt has lost controlled and he just cannot compete with the great coaching minds that are in the SEC. I would rate Richt # 11 out of 12 SEC coaches in terms of credibility or ability to get the job done. Mr. McGarity, it is time for you to show that you are the real deal. Do your job please sir!

Why

January 4th, 2011
8:36 am

Why hasn’t Mark Richt dismissed Marcus Dowtin and sent him packing? He’s one more of Richt’s felons who was arrested, then tried to cover up the story. Well, sorry about that, Mr. Dowtin, but you got caught.

Who knows how many more ticking time bombs like Dowtin are in Athens.

georgiadawgg

January 4th, 2011
8:37 am

yeah, there is a reason the way wound up the way we did. you mark richt. i hope they fire you.

Scorekeeper

January 4th, 2011
8:41 am

I believe that Marcus Dowtin’s arrest makes UGA’s total for 2010 at 13.

The Fulmer Cup win looks more impressive every day.

Yes, there’s a reason why UGA is called The Cesspool of the South.

Mark Richt won with Donnan players and BVG

January 4th, 2011
8:48 am

CMR should put a clock on the practice fields,locker rooms,team meeting rooms and weight room to read 10 to 6. It will remind the players and inept coaches of this past Fridays debacle bowl loss. Heck maybe even a clock at the swimming pool and bowling alleys too.

Vince Doooley

January 4th, 2011
8:58 am

Why didn’t CMR dismiss Marcus Dowtin the minute he learned of his arrest for felony assault?

Richard Dawson

January 4th, 2011
9:02 am

No.

FIRE MARK RICHT.

crossdawg

January 4th, 2011
9:18 am

CMR doesn’t appear to have the right body parts to take charge of OUR team, he doesn’t have them to fire booboo, and he doesn’t have them to resign. He’d rathe stick around and take our $$$.

Big Mike 42

January 4th, 2011
9:21 am

It is time for Mark to go. He looks the part of an SEC coach, but simply cannot surround himself with the correct type of personnel to sustain victory for UGA. The players have no respect for Mark and he is not able to control their behaviors.

Royal D

January 4th, 2011
9:37 am

At this point, I see no reason to to be optimistic for the Dawgs 2011 season. Richt will not make the kinds of changes necessary for sucess. He resisted multiple seasons before pulling the trigger on Willie Martinez and is doing the same thing now with the Bobo offense. Richt no longer seems to have the passion and drive he once held. Most of the players appear totally dis-interested while on the field and off the field is not any better. 12 arrests made for the 2010 season. Even worse, players seem to hold little respect for the Mark Richt program. If they did, we would not continually hear about players being arrested or failing to appear in court, etc etc etc…. The only bright spot possibly lies with the Defense IF Grantham can land some solid Junior College recruits. So far, even that is uncertain so I dont see anything to be looking forward to in 2011. I think the 2010 season should have been the make or break season for Mark Richt. Now, we have to wait another year.

jwr

January 4th, 2011
9:55 am

Of course minor coaching moves and a few 5-star recruits aren’t going to “right this ship”, but quite frankly, we’re satisfied with beating tech, and that is something that Richt has done consistently. Ask any UGA booster if he would rather have an SEC championship but lose to Tech or go 5-7 with a win over Tech, he will choose the loosing season w/ in-state bragging rights EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Richt knows exactly what he’s doing. His job security hinges on beating Tech, nothing more, and he isn’t going to alter his winning recipe now.

Steve

January 4th, 2011
10:02 am

If CMR is serious about “turning the program around…” I will believe it if I see him make 2 simple changes…

1. BoBo goes back to QB coach.

2. CMR calls the offense again. He was the difference in his early years. Meanwhile let him recruit a top of the line offensive coordinator.

jwr

January 4th, 2011
10:34 am

A top of the line OC isn’t going to come to Georgia with Richt at the helm.

Nobody likes to admit it, but statistically Bobo isn’t doing any worse than Richt at playcalling. We forget, but Richt made some apparently boneheaded calls that cost momentum and games as well, and it was Richt-called offenses that could never quite seal the deal every year until Bobo took over playcalling.

I’d rather see UGA focus on the offensive and defensive lines, both in recruiting and coaching, until we’ve established that we will consistently control both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Seminole Uprising

January 4th, 2011
10:35 am

That dust in your lungs that is choking you is coming from the Tribe of Seminoles that just scalped the SEC East and thundered by on Appaloosas. After 1 year, i can safely say UGA can keep Richt, Jimbo’s just fine with me. In one season, Jimbo beat the Gators by 24, the Canes by 28 and smacked a Spurrier led USC team in the mouth (literally) right here in the SEC’s capital city. I’ll not even mention the wealth of talent coming back and coming in with recruiting. Bye-bye, UGA, I hope you enjoyed those 6 weeks in 2008 when you were on top. It’ll be a while till that happens again.

I LOVE IT!!!

Gerald Rushing

January 4th, 2011
10:36 am

Coach Richt shows no emotion are concerns on the field win or loss, take control of the team they are getting a free $100,000 education with the chance for a multi million pay check and they don’t want to show for court or practice and stay out of trouble get rid of them, why isn’t there some discipline on and off the field and some emotion

Mad and tried

January 4th, 2011
10:45 am

Pay me the $5,000,000 that CMR gets and I will so you discipline and players that want to play and stay out of trouble with the law

Sick of Richt

January 4th, 2011
10:47 am

The biggest change that CMR needs to make is to stop recruiting the low-class illiterates and thugs who he seems to think will win for him and keep his oversized paychecks coming in. People like Marcus Dowtin, A.J. Green, Washaun Ealey, Caleb King, and others too numerous to mention are not team players, they’re thug wannabes who are much closer to a gang than a team.

It’s sickening to see felons and goons like these representing the state’s flagship university.

big root

January 4th, 2011
10:50 am

coach a change is needed not just rearranging your staff in house go out and bring in some new blood.Why do you think the best players in GEORGIA are choosing to go elsewhere,they understand that your staff is not up to par with other coaching staffs.you got to be ready for everything trick plays,fake punts,GET FASTER AND MORE PHYSICAL OR BOISE STATE WILL SCORE 50 ON UGA REMEMBER GO HARD ON EVERY PLAY AT PRACTICE.IF A PLAYER WON’T GO HARD AT PRACTICE YOU DON’T NEED HIM ON YOUR TEAM.THEY’RE NOT BABIES

LawDawg

January 4th, 2011
11:00 am

Richt cannot, cannot, CANNOT keep Stacy Searles on. Not hiring a new strength and conditioning coach, but just shuffling the pieces already in the program is back enough. But our O-Line is PATHETIC and is definitely the main weakness of the offense over the last 2+ years (Joe cox notwithstanding). Murray played like a Freshman because he was running scared all night. You could probably pick 5 guys off Broad Street and end up with a better O-Line than this group of nothing. And Bolling is still hyped as an All-SEC, first round pick? Amazing.

LawDawg

January 4th, 2011
11:01 am

Sick of Richt: What has AJ Green that is thuggish or gang-like? Selling a shirt?

big root

January 4th, 2011
11:08 am

COACH RICHT your best teams was with coach donnans recruits. Was VanGorder the real COACH

KB

January 4th, 2011
11:29 am

Face it Dawg fans we have been chucked under the bus.

For whatever insane reason we have to endure one more season of CMR and his band of buffoons and criminals representing the University of Georgia. While we watch recent opponents like Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Colorado progress and move forward we get to watch our team continue to slid into complete chaos and irrelevance.

Does anybody else realize UGA has been replaced by S Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State in the SEC pecking order? We are officially at the bottom of the SEC. Most likely Tennessee will pass us by in 2011 leaving UGA to slug it out with Vandy, Ole Miss and UK for worst in the SEC.
Somebody please give me one valid reason why the University and its fan base have to be subjected to this?

CMR has been paid 15-20 million dollars over the last ten years, he is not “entitled” to anything. The University of Georgia has made CMR a very rich man. If anybody is entitled to something it is the fanbase and loyal UGA supporters. We are entitled to hear CMR’s explanation of why the program is in disarray, not some meaningless and disrespectful comment like “it is what it is.” We, the fan base, are entitled to an explanation of how CMR is going to turn the program around. The fact that CMR thinks no more of the UGA fanbase than what he has demonstrated is proof enough that UGA needs a new head coach.

Staying the course is going to be an economic disaster for UGA. With UGA being a low-level team there will be less TV money generated by UGA (I know it goes to SEC and is divided but bottom line less TV money). Donations for season tickets are going to drop as are overall ticket sells. Most likely UGA will not generate a bowl appearance and pay-out next season. Merchandise royalties are going to drop drastically.

Again why is CMR entitled to continue making millions while costing the University millions and alienating the fan base?

RiffRaff

January 4th, 2011
11:35 am

Richt needs to step down. Can we get Jim Harbough from Stanford? They looked great against Virginia Tech.

big root

January 4th, 2011
11:42 am

UGA defenses talent is built for a 4-3 Washington & Morant & Smith & Lott are DE’s & DT’s not LB’s & NG’s. Offense give LeMay & Marshall & Mason a shot at the starting QB job, go to 3wr set and put pressure on defenses. King,Brown,Wooten,Conley,Charles,Malcome,Ealey keep them on the field and maybe you will find a PLAYMAKER

DavidW08

January 4th, 2011
11:58 am

Mark Richt is UGA’s best option at HC to win a national championship. What are all of you people thinking? As we speak CMR is putting together one of his best recruiting classes yet. Immediate playmakers dubbed the in-state dream team have came together and bought in to Georgia football and CMR. If you people think he can’t turn it around because of a 6/7 record, think back to 1979. We were 6/7 and went on to win it all next year under the very same circumstances. Geeze… We will be lucky if he even wants to coach for us after this episode