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

Fartin-dawggie

January 2nd, 2011
6:57 pm

I’m glad I got a Chevy Silverado truck. Was I the only one shocked that A.J. Green didn’t have 20 catches and 3 tds ?

bigdsel

January 2nd, 2011
6:59 pm

Richt can save the program ,if he wins the SEC. UGA used to be the team people were afraid to play, now UGA is getting chumped by any team with a winning record. Richt better show some improvement next year or the boosters will want him gone for good. I want to see Richt succeed. Hopefully he gets it done next year or he is gone.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:01 pm

CMR has UGA looking like a Bowden program-Tommy Bowden’s Clemson prgram before they ran him off. UGA = Clemson. Lot of hype, but not alot of results, and that hurts.

Spike

January 2nd, 2011
7:03 pm

I have been a CMR supporter, big time, until now. After the Colorado game, I was willig to give the whole staff a break, and be patient. But after the Liberty Bowl, no more from me. What a pitiful lackluster display of football. And a month to prepare for it! At a minimum FIRE Searles, and FIRE Bobo if you do not have the guts tou run them all off. That O line play was without a doubt the worst I have ever seen by a UGA line. And kicking a field goal after a 98 yars drive, in a bowl game against UCF, on NATIONAL TV? Shameful. Enough is enough. No more $ from this old grad.

champdawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:04 pm

There are few men with the chacter of CMR but he is way over his head now in coaching in the SEC. ALL the other schools have past us by. It is time for a new life for UGA.

Fartin-dawggie

January 2nd, 2011
7:05 pm

Does any Dawgs fan think this mess of a team can compete with LSU,Fla.,AU,Bama,Ark,or Tenn. for the SEC title the next 3 years ? I don’t. UGA needs a new coach with a new scheme and recruiting power to keep all the top Georgia high school players at UGA.

1999Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:05 pm

I think CMR has lost the attitude he had when he arrived from FSU. He came in with a quiet bravado but now is just quiet. He does not set the attitude that we EXPECT to not only win but to CRUSH the opponents! I heard Saban’s post game speech yesterday where he talked about DOMINATING the opponents. When, if ever, have you heard CMR talk about dominating an opponent lately? On the radio call in show after the game, everyone kept talking about getting a big time RB. If the O-line does not get more physical, it won’t matter who is running the ball. And with Bobo never committing to the run, why would a big time RB won’t to come here? Remember the 2008 Florida game when we ran 9 times in a row to open the game and pounded them the entire game? Where is that attitude and commitment to the run been? CMR needs to set the tone that we will dominate every phase of the game and are going to pound people into the ground. I also think he needs to start calling plays again. I hope we get back to playing physical football like we did when CMR first got to UGA! And lets whip Boise!!

Spike

January 2nd, 2011
7:05 pm

And kick Caleb Kings ass of the team!!

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:05 pm

Mark Richt has no passion, no concern and no desire to coach the Bulldawgs, he just needs the money to support his family and all the mission work he and his bride are doing.

Vick=Dog killing Thug

January 2nd, 2011
7:06 pm

Why should a coach that has been at UGA for 10 years making 3 million per have to make changes? Hasn’t CMR had plenty of time, money, support, fan base ect to come up with a iron clad system by now?

You would expect the program to be among the top 2 or 3 in the nation. You want to support the man and I have. Just not sure anymore….

Soulja Boy

January 2nd, 2011
7:08 pm

When Richt was winning nine or ten games a season, nobody cared about the ten arrests a season and all of the personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Georgia has regularly underachieved or choked in critical games because they have played as entitled individuals, grooming themselves for the NFL. Entitlement and lack of discipline has caught up with UGA, but Richt is not going anywhere. The fact is, a top coach will not come to Georgia and put up with Adams’ micromanaging, and the fat cats have closed their checkbooks. The “dream team” is just another empty epithet, like “finish the drill.”

Big Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:09 pm

Great comments here tonight. Everyone seems to see the time is up for CMR……except McGarity. He says that he “understands and gets it”. Really? If McGarity was watching the same garbage we all were watching, he would be holding a press conference tomorrow morning to announce the only real ‘change’ that could fix this whole mess. And he will hold that press conference someday, but it may not be until later this year unfortunately.

Here are just a few of the reasons CMR needs to either resign or be fired:

With a 6-6 record, playing in the Liberty Bowl, he kicks a field goal on 4th and inches.
With the best WR to ever play at UGA, we lose to Colorado and UCF….in the same year.
He is far too loyal for way too long to his assistants when it’s apparent they are in over their heads.
He shows NO energy or enthusiasm, provides very little or NO instruction during the games, institutes very little discipline with the players, shows NO creativity in playcalling, and the list goes on.
He claims he wants to ‘make changes’, yet never seems to really MAKE CHANGES!!

I guess he thinks he’s at Slippery Rock or some school where the fans don’t pay attention. And if McGarity wants to be Mr. Nice Guy and stick his head in the sand too, he can get on the same bus leaving town as CMR. What would his mentor Jeremy Foley do you wonder? How about go out and hire an energetic defensive minded Georgia boy named Muschamp, who turns around himself and hires an offensive guru named Weiss. That’s how it’s done people, that’s how it’s done.

And for some interesting reading, check out this latest blog:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/559537-dog-gone-why-mark-richt-needs-his-walking-papers-at-georgia

Wally Butts' Designated Stumbler

January 2nd, 2011
7:09 pm

High dives and prayer…..the things that build championships.

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:10 pm

What can Mark Richt do short of pulling an Auburn and going out and buying a boat load of players who are NFL ready out of JC and High School?

Nothing, the program whether you like it or not is in shambles. From arrest to Driving violations to internal issues among the coaches the program under its current adminstration is beyond repair.

UGA is the 9th best school in the conference and look at the schools who are ahead and notice what they did to jump UGA to get there.

Camden Mark

January 2nd, 2011
7:13 pm

Love Mark Richt the man, a wonderful human being. Having said that I’ve been saying for some time a good football coach he ain’t.JD’s players graduated,VanGorder left and the program has been on a slow steady decline ever since, more than just 3 years.I’d go all the way back to the WV sugar bowl as an example of a badly coached game (season), coach Richt has done less with good talent as any coach in modern CFB history. He should do the right thing NOW, submit a letter of resignation tomorrow and let us find a coach befitting our program and expectations.

CSA

January 2nd, 2011
7:14 pm

I am afraid it is just not possible. Richt has lost tons of supporters. I don’t see 2011 being any better unless we land a great recruiting class.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:15 pm

All goes back to the game in Knoxville in 2007. CMR and the team never showed up for the game and got there arse handed to them. Since that game the program has been in shambles.

zzggyy

January 2nd, 2011
7:16 pm

I used to believe that Vanderbilt would be better off in the ACC & should be replaced by in the SEC by Va Tech. I now believe that both Vandy & UGA should probably join the ACC & be replaced by Va Tech & FSU. If UGA is going to perform on the ACC level, then that’s where they belong.

Delbert D.

January 2nd, 2011
7:18 pm

I don’t know what McGarity or his superiors are thinking, but I believe that Tom Coughlin is very likely to be looking for a job.

Camden Mark

January 2nd, 2011
7:18 pm

CSA we have seen “great” recruiting class’es every year, our current coach just does not know what to do with ‘em

mdawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:19 pm

It is what it is? He really seems to take no ownership in the current state of UGA football. Mack Brown apologized to the state of Texas. Where’s my apology Richt? Fire this loser now and let’s get on with rebuilding our program. If we don’t, he’ll be fired half way through next season and Bobo will take the helm for the rest of the year. I’ve known we needed to get rid of this guy since Bama smoked us in ‘07.

SoCal Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:19 pm

zzggyy – ACC level? Try MAC.

True Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
7:19 pm

First Bobo goes…..now…..then we see if CMR can turn it around.

RAID

January 2nd, 2011
7:20 pm

I sure hope McGarity is reading this stuff!….

The Truth

January 2nd, 2011
7:20 pm

Mark Richt is the Bobby Cox of college football. At least Bobby had 1 championship to point to.

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:20 pm

Saban is a defensive genius and his defenses play very well.
Mullen is an offensive genius and his team got better and better each week.
Petrino is an offensive guy and his teams got better and better and are in the Sugar Bowl.
Miles is Miles but always has good defenses.
Spurrier even calls his own plays and made it to the SECCG, poor play there but they were there.
Nutt is an offensive guy and had a down year but he does run his own offense.
Chizik just followed orders from Lowder and kept his mouth shut and used the players paid for.

Go For Him

January 2nd, 2011
7:21 pm

Mike Haygood is available. He would be a PERFECT fit as UGA HC.

DawginOH

January 2nd, 2011
7:21 pm

Firing Bobo is a good start.

He Won It

January 2nd, 2011
7:22 pm

It was announced yesterday that Mark Richt won the Vince Dooley Coach of the Year Award.

LMAO

Camden Mark

January 2nd, 2011
7:23 pm

Think Bill Cowher would take a stab at a collage team? Edsel,Whittingham,Calhoun,Coughlin.
Lota good canidates out there.

rpidge

January 2nd, 2011
7:24 pm

Tell CMR he needs to make the correct personnel changes immediately or else take atahe bull by the horns and get rid of all of them and start anew. Drastic, yes, but we need a sense of right direction and a lot of discipline with it. Tough call but it needs to be made.

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:24 pm

You get only one shot at changing coordinators and coaches and he dumped the defensive staff last year, dumping coaches does not work out for the most part. All that does is puts your program in the hole an additional year as the kids have to learn a new system. How many times did Bobby Bowden change OC’s after Richt left, 2 or 3 and he never won again.

Dump the coach and forget about the coordinators, the only reason McGarity is hanging on to Richt is the number of players still uncommitted to any school and UGA is still in the game on those. Otherwise he would have been gone on Friday.

He Won It

January 2nd, 2011
7:24 pm

Geez,,,least we forget,,,,GT is the state institution that has a prestigious national coaching award named after their former head coach.

aarh

January 2nd, 2011
7:25 pm

I hope so…

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:26 pm

Edsel is going to Maryland and in these meek eyes he is not much of a game changer coach, disciplinarian yes.

Hear This

January 2nd, 2011
7:28 pm

At least the AD’s at Maryland and WV had the gonads to make the necessary changes to make their football programs better.

peach dog

January 2nd, 2011
7:28 pm

KEEPING THIS OFF. LINE COACH IS BEING DEFIANT, BLIND BY RICHT. BUT IF RICHT WISHES TO LOOSE HIS JOB STANDING BY THIS LINE COACH SO BE IT. THIS OFF. LINE COST AT THE VERY LEAST COLORADO, S.C., MISS.ST.ARK,FLA., NO BLOCKING. I CAN NOT ACCEPT A COACH SO GOOD , COULD LOOSE IT ALL. DISCIPLINE IS A PREREQUISTE TO GOOD THINGS..IT ALL STARTS THERE AND THIS IS WHY WE NEVER GOT OFF THE STARTING LINE. SAD, PEACH DOG

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:28 pm

ABC Sports just announced they are changing the old “Thrill of Victory and Agony of Defeat” opening montage to now showing a compliation of CMR on the sidelines after various losses this past season for the AGONY OF DEFEAT footage.

Camden Mark

January 2nd, 2011
7:29 pm

Some may say I’m nuts but Troy Calhoun at AFA is the best overall coach out there, but I don’t think he would leave Air Force, for any job.

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
7:30 pm

Bite the bullet McGarity, I have a banana tree to get back to.

Why

January 2nd, 2011
7:31 pm

Why would any HC with any brains at all come to Athens, GA to be the head coach of team with a PINK POODLE as a mascot?

LMAO at you Rednecks!!!!

Big time?? Not

January 2nd, 2011
7:31 pm

tony

January 2nd, 2011
7:33 pm

No No No No No Disappointed Dawg, you are wrong about Todd Grantham. The defense is much improved from a year ago. Mind you, this is the man 1st season.

Total Defense under Todd Grantham………………………under Willie Martinez 2009
Rank 26th……………………………………………………….Rank 39th

Scoring Defense under Grantham…………………………under Willie Martinez 2009
Rank 35…………………………………………………………Rank 63rd

Sacks under Grantham……………………………………..under Willie Martinez 2009
Rank 71st………………………………………………………Rank 35th

Interceptions under Grantham…………………………….under Willie Martinez 2009
Rank 26th……………………………………………………..Rank 76th

Grantham will fit in very well as the dawgs next hc and here’s why.

1) He will not put up with foolishness

2) He is a in your face type coach which means players will think twice before make the wrong decisions.

3) He’s smart. Smart people get more respect than not so smart people.

4) He’s smart enough to hire qualified people to help him build a successful program.

5) He is an emotion coach. Players will feed off of his emotion.
and
6) He knows what the fans want. Todd Grantham: ‘I understand who UGA fans want to beat’

“I have always believed— and I believe to this day— that if we took the best players in the state of Georgia and within a five-hour radius of our school, if they come to the University of Georgia, then we can win the SEC championship and compete for a national title. And I think you can be better than Florida, you can be better than Texas, and you can be better than Southern Cal – if those players came to the University of Georgia . So that’s what excited me about coming here.” ( UGA Sports Blog)

When Dallas Cowboys replaced Wade Phillips the entire team played much much much better. I believe our young men will play much much better under Todd Grantham leadership.

Camden Mark

January 2nd, 2011
7:35 pm

Agree 100% on Granthem, I’d like to see him hang around awhile. Don’t know about HC though.

hop

January 2nd, 2011
7:36 pm

i question when our new AD greg mcgarity states that he gets it ,but one has to question
if he really does, when we see a program in total disarray .

we heard the same answer with coach richt last year that change was coming and would result
in a return to football competitiveness.

what happen was a further decline to the uga football program.

now, we are hearing the same message of changes that need to be made ,but again we heard that
last year with litttle to no result.

the loss of frontline players this year is far more this year than last and we contiune to hear only general
comments,but nothing specific .

mr. garity if you really get it then do something because another year of the so old excuses,will get us the same results in 2011 ,if not worse.
it is time to right the ship and get a new staff who can make the tough decisions that were not
made last year even though we were told they were.

drew

January 2nd, 2011
7:40 pm

I hate the word deserve. Nobody deserves anything… yeh he’s a good guy, but do you think a good guy working for a multi million dollar company, who just lost $5 million in one year, then $10 million in the next “deserves” a chance to make it up? Thats $15 million!!!! Richt is $15 million in the hole as far as im concerned. College football, especially the SEC is a business, you have to compete 24 hours a day 365 days a year and thats the truth. Look at what urban myer gave up (and trust me i hate the guy but you got to respect him) to win 2 national championships. Thats what it takes in this league. Does anyone honestly believe that Mark Richt wants to win more than anything in this world? heck no. But like i said this is business, and sometimes you have to get dirty, you have to sell out to be great in this world. (look at auburn for god sakes)

I love coach richt, i know he is a great guy, but not the right guy for the job at this point. I want whats best for this team. And he isnt the answer. Call me a sellout and a hater, call me what you want but I’m a true dawg fan. I want to win just as much as anybody. If i were the owner of a busniess and my best friend worked for me and had lost as much as mark as lost for my company then i would have to let him go. Mark has to realize that he his hurting more than he is helping and this is the new age and everyone has surpassed him, auburn, florida, south carolina, miss state, alabama. I’m tired of watching all over our rivals succeed the way they do and we are the laughing stock of football.

Its not personal Mark, Its just business baby!

Don't Have A Clue

January 2nd, 2011
7:40 pm

My opinion is that McGarity has no clue and is in a business way over his head. Since MISS ST gave Mullen a contract extension McGarity is turning in circles.

jojo

January 2nd, 2011
7:41 pm

Not a UGA fan just an observer-saw UGA play twice this year.(Arkansas and Auburn)
Recruiting is the name of the game. UGA does not have the players or the level of depth the powerhouse schools have. For all of you screaming about talent level being that of other schools: UGA does not have it.
Get a new recruiting coordinator.
for those of you who will scream at this. In an average year I see 15 Division 1 teams play(in person).
It is a hobby as I am retired. Again the talent level at UGA is not there-mentally and physically.

dawgster

January 2nd, 2011
7:41 pm

Change…there will be no change, just the same old same old…I have always been a huge supporter of Caoch Richt and still will have great respect for him and what he stands for..but he lost me with the wimpy field goal when we had 4th and inches at the 2 yard line…i mean we are 6-6 and playing for a winning record against UCF, no insult intended, but Coach Richt shows no confidence in the team…what kind of message does that send to anyone…if you don’t make it you have UCF backed up to their endzone..worst non-call i have ever seen in game like that…I thought we would win and help send us into the off-season with a great recruiting class coming in…but now, i think we lose many of the recruits that were sitting on the fence, i hope i’m wrong, but the team showed no emotion with this game…I really don’t see how our AD can let this continue, and as much as this will set our program back, i’m afraid it will need to be done..I will add that if i though Coach Richt would make the tough decisions, and replace some coaches in particular our O-line and OC along with a RB coach, i might could see him staying, but i don’t think he will make those changes..You know i never call for coaching changes, but somebody with this program has to take some leadership, if the players are not going to then maybe some coaching changes would lite a fire…

ECB

January 2nd, 2011
7:41 pm

Good/Nice guys finish last! This from a season ticket holder.