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

JB

January 2nd, 2011
9:23 pm

Those calling for Ealey to get the Ball 40 times a game…..Through WHAT HOLE. Our OL is probably the worst in the SEC.

Rest of the SEC

January 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

I really hope Richt stays at least one more year. You know its bad when the rest of the conference wants him at Georgia. And trust me. We do. We all smell blood in the water, the sharks are circling, and Georgia’s elite recruits are going to be picked off by more successful programs like Bama, AU, UF, and quickly resurging teams like FSU and UT which both are on the upswing now under 2 youthful coaches.

I would be shocked if the crown jewel prospect in Georgia Isiah Crowell chooses Georgia over Bama after the 2 program’s respective bowl performances this weekend. Does the kid want to be a title contender at an elite program like Bama? Or does he want to be on a sinking ship where the coach will surely be fired after the 2011 season?

Every dawg fan on here knows that even if Richt turns it around somewhat in 2011 it won’t be enough to get to 10 wins and save his job. They might as well fire him this year. But lets hope not!

DAWGS forever

January 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

Kramer I loved you on Seinfield and I love you here. NO

Russell

January 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

Confirmed, Aaron Murray has transferred to Idaho State, big fan of potatoes apprently.

col fot

January 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

“the hounds are baying at the heels” as they well should be. The teams, offense or defense have no synchronizaton, they’ll make one good play and follow it up two or three bad plays. It all comes down to repitition and coaching, it appears their lacking both. Coach Richt needs to really get tough with his staff and if that means hurting some fellings…so be it!

browndog

January 2nd, 2011
9:25 pm

7 and 5 in 2011 will be very difficult to achieve. If they lose to BS in the first game (I expect that they will) things will go downhill fast.

Rickky

January 2nd, 2011
9:25 pm

ealey averages over 5 yards a carry, he finds holes where none exist. Averages more ypc than Lattimore, it’s ture.

Rickky

January 2nd, 2011
9:26 pm

Did Richt really hire Gruden as OC? WOW!

Chase

January 2nd, 2011
9:27 pm

Brace yourselves for 2011, I see no change.

thomp

January 2nd, 2011
9:27 pm

Mediocre is as mediocre does!

McGarity evidently can’t see what every one else can. I do no think McGarity has what it takes to be our AD.

From the lost season to the next year’s what a waste season…

We need to get some folks that love UGA and will do whatever it takes to make us champions. I don’t doubt McGarity’s love for UGA, but he is not showing me it has the skill set to do what it takes…

old dawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:28 pm

what will cmr have to say after boise st body slams the dawgs in the opener next year? what you going to change then?
here is an idea.. since the coaches are going to watch off season workout tapes, why not post them on the internet and let the bulldog nation see how much dedication and progress they are making. or should we just watch the new episodes of “players without rules” on court tv?

dawgster

January 2nd, 2011
9:28 pm

@S.E. Dawg…you are correct it does start in the weight room, a new attitude is needed, i don’t have the answers, but someone on the dawgs staff had better..but you are correct, we can’t seem move the other line, some of that is techique and some of it is strength, but alot of it is just “attitude”..you have to to have the will not to let the other guy across from you beat you…when the dawgs develop that you will see a huge difference..I’m hoping Joe T. can change their attitude…a

S.E. Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:28 pm

ugafan42, CMR in fact did own up to the mistakes he made even to his boss. Those mistakes at the beginning of the season.

ugafan426

January 2nd, 2011
9:29 pm

just wondering…….why is everyone throwing aaron murray under the bus??? he had a great season- 3000 yards, 61% completion rate, 24 tds to only 8 interceptions and he is only a freshmen.

Phil

January 2nd, 2011
9:29 pm

Jay,

When you are 6-6 why not go for it on 4th and inches? What have you got to lose at that point? If it had been a yard to go, I might agree with you. I think a QB sneak could get you a few inches.

But your point about scoring first a good one. That’s why I can’t figure out for the life of me why Richt ALWAYS defers to the 2nd half when winning the coin toss. The idiot does it every time. He’s letting the opposition have the opportunity to score first and that’s exactly what happens a lot of the time.

So we fall behind right out of the gate and the other team gains the momentum. The idiot can’t even get the coin toss right.

I am the Monkey on CMR's back.

January 2nd, 2011
9:29 pm

LeMay played two years of high school football against mediocre talent and skipped his senior year due to he and his father not wanting to live by the rules of his school. Murray played with and against 100s of Division 1 recruits and SEC signees. Murray kept UGA in many many games this year and took beating after beating play after play and just face it folks the talent around him is not that good and is not getting any better, LeMay is going to be a malcontent just wait and see. He abandoned his fellow players in High School and every recruiting service has downgraded him for missing his entire senior season.

LeMay is better than Murray…what a joke of a statement, get a running game then you can throw the ball, not the other way around.

S.E. Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:30 pm

Dawgster, ++1

Dawgster

January 2nd, 2011
9:30 pm

Why is Caleb King still enrolled at UGA? This punk should have been dismissed and sent home months ago. He’s like a cancer to the team.

Potatodawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:31 pm

Quit blaming Bobo he didn,t make the call to kick the field goal from the two. The buck stops with the head coach, if Bobo’s the problem why has he kept him so long or Martinez or Van halenger or the other underachieving coaches trying to execute his passive game plan philosohy . CMR needs to go now before Boise State puts up 50 on us. I never thought we UGA fans would have to fear Boise St. Much less central Florida . They kicked our butts and CMR is not sure what happened. He doesn’t realize that his players (and fans) are uninspired. They don’t seem to want to play hard for him.

dawg777

January 2nd, 2011
9:33 pm

GET EVERY ALUMI AND GEORGIA FAN TO EMAIL,CALL AND WRITE TO McGARITY.TELL HIM, WE WANT MARK RICHT OUT, TIME FOR A CHANGE.

Sitting Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:34 pm

There really were a lot of things for the dawgs to celebrate this year. Let’s see…

1. A drunken, whoring athletic director.

2. Twelve players arrested.

3. A player suspended for violating NCAA rules.

4. Winning the Fulmer Cup for the most players arrested.

5. Winning the title of #1 party school (i.e., the most drunken student body in the USA).

6. A sleazy assistant coach who razzes opposing players, unethical coaching conduct in violation of NCAA rules.

7. A super sleazy head coach who thinks he’s a saint, but recruits thug wannabes, gangbangers, and illiterate morons.

8. A 6-6 record despite having a team full of 4- and 5-star recruits.

Really something to be proud of!

JB

January 2nd, 2011
9:34 pm

2011…..If the team that played in the bowl game Friday is our team next year less AJ, Durham, Houston and the two down DL, we lose to BS,SC,Fla,AU ,MSU……..Who will roam the sidelines in 2012? Please don’t say Kirby Smart.

bwell

January 2nd, 2011
9:35 pm

Hey Bill, I think Coach Richt is still a good coach but watching him come out of the tunnel he did not seemed energetic and not going for it on 4th and inches set the tone for the game, he should have gone for it and I would make coach Bobo the qb coach and get a OC this has to stop but I still support coach Richt.

Gladys05

January 2nd, 2011
9:35 pm

He’s proven he’s not head coach material. UGA needs to cut its losses and find someone who really is a coach. Why do all the good, winning coaches go to other schools, and we can’t find one for UGA.

BamaMick

January 2nd, 2011
9:36 pm

CMR is a nice man. And therein is the problem. I’m a Bama fan and have no hatred for UGA. Nick Saban is not a nice man–he is a hard-assed MF who hates to lose. It shows in his players. UGA under Richt is a soft football team that is feared by no one.

In 2008 lots of Bama fans were concerned about playing UGA in Athens at the “Blackout Game.” I told my wife not to fear because we were much tougher than UGA and would win easily. I knew how tough Bama was and how soft UGA was (despite having marquee skill players like Moreno and Stafford).

I hope y’all do well next year in the SEC East; however, you are going to need a tough-minded head coach to win and Richt ain’t it.

JB

January 2nd, 2011
9:36 pm

sitting Dawg…..I know you wrote that to be hateful….but sadly it’s true.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
9:37 pm

Phil Probably 95% of all coaches choose to defer until the 2nd half. You should know that by now.

KB

January 2nd, 2011
9:37 pm

Will everybody quit talking about what a “GOOD” man CMR is.

A “GOOD” man makes an attempt to earn his paycheck. A “GOOD” man is committed to those who make a commitment to him.

To quote CMR, “it is what it is.” Is that what a ‘GOOD” man says when faced with humiliation and obvious failure????

Samanatha

January 2nd, 2011
9:38 pm

Mark Richt is a great coach that has simply lost his confidence. The AD, President and all fans need to rally to his side with encouragement. He has the talent to take us back to the championships. He will need time to pull this together with new DC. I think he will fire line coach. You will not like this but CMR needs a three year contract to turn things around. Can’t do it in one year not with TG and the 3-4 and with the losses next year to NFL. I have heard rumors that CMR will be given a 3 year contract by weeks end that replaces his present contract and that AD will say that by year 3 we are back as a top ten program. Richt is the guy but has fallen on hard times.

JB

January 2nd, 2011
9:40 pm

If that team quit on that staff after kicking that field goal, which I heard there were words exchanged, then all is lost. Most people want and need leadership. Bama would kill for Saban, while cussing him sometime under their breath….but kill they would.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
9:40 pm

Sitting Dawg You are sadly mistaken if you think this Ga team is full of 4 and 5 star players. Truly you are!!!

Producer

January 2nd, 2011
9:41 pm

Coach Dooley, you are 1000000% correct that they are better. My point is that UCF is not normally considered on the same level as UGA. They had a record season this year…for them. They are to be congratulated and they did it at our expense. However, UGA should hang its head in shame to have declined to where they are.

Dawghater

January 2nd, 2011
9:42 pm

A better question is whether the puppy dawg nation can come to the understanding this program isn’t a Nat’l Championship contender every year. It was 1980, yes 30+years ago since UGA did this! Does anyone remember the last coaching search came up with Glen Mason? Go ahead fire CMR, we dare you!

JB

January 2nd, 2011
9:42 pm

Samanatha=Kathren Richt

Sean

January 2nd, 2011
9:43 pm

Murray is not the problem, the kid doesn’t have an O-line that protects!!! He runs the ball when necessary and plays with heart. Ealey has drastically improved after the 1st half of the season when he couldn’t even hold onto the ball. If the Dawgs can land the recruits, then I believe that they will have a winning season this yr. With Murray having the 1st season under his belt, and working on fundamentals in the off-season, he will be more than ready for the season. I want Richt to have one more yr and then we will see what needs to be done. GO DAWGS!

Jack

January 2nd, 2011
9:43 pm

Everybody keeps talking about how 2010-11 was a wasted year,,,,have we all forgotten about 2009-10 ? Why in the world did Richt continue to play Joe Cox, the worst quarterback in College Football history, instead of letting Murray get experience ? All we heard at the beginning of this year was how Murray is a reshirt, and doesn’t have the game experience yet ? What good did it do to let Cox play week after week, and looking horrible at it,, instead of going ahead and getting your QB of the future some gametime experience so that the next year wouldn’t be thrown under the rug as well ????

No Hope And No Confidence

January 2nd, 2011
9:44 pm

There is no way Ritch will change things…He and Rich Rodriguez look like the same coach…clueless..unsure..undisciplined..unmotivated…UGA has a long time before things get turned around Ritch will be fired by game #6 in the middle of the season next year. In the meantime, another year is wasted.

Tim E

January 2nd, 2011
9:44 pm

We lost to UCF….come on. Are you kidding me???? It’s time for a change.

Producer

January 2nd, 2011
9:44 pm

Agreed on the “good” comment. I don’t care if he’s chairman of the board of “Save the Puppies.” We need a cigar chomping a**hole to put the fear of God in these lazy kids. I want them all to be strapping a king-sized Depends whenever the new coach even looks at them sideways!

ActuaryDawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:45 pm

Hey McGarrity the ship is sinking! Quick, rearrange the chairs on deck! It’s the Georgia way.

JB

January 2nd, 2011
9:45 pm

Dawghater= Tech loser…..Only Techie uses the “hate” word. It’s taught from day one on that crime infested,overrated School of theirs. Tech has got BIG problems. They MADE A CHANGE and they are tanking big time.

clem

January 2nd, 2011
9:45 pm

Chris Durham is a dawg with the heart lion.

Phil

January 2nd, 2011
9:46 pm

Murray had a good year, you can’t blame everything on him. I think it’s obvious Murray had more talent than Joe Cox, so why in the world didn’t Richt play Murray last year instead of Cox? Once again, loyalty. Instead of putting the best players on the field, Richt will stick with the ones he is most loyal to.

Same with the coaching staff. As Chuck pointed out, Florida gets Charlie Weis and we are stuck with Bozo. No brainer there who wins that match up.

The only change in our staff is Joe T as strength coach. That is going to propel us from 6 wins to 9 or 10 next year?? Don’t think so. Look at our schedule. Without AJ, Kris Durham, Justin Houston and several more, how can anyone say we are going to improve next year??

So that is Richt’s secret weapon, Joe T as strength coach. McGarity, you are a compete buffoon to let this continue.

NOBODYYOUKNOW

January 2nd, 2011
9:47 pm

Does anybody remember back in August when all the preseason practice was just starting at all the programs and CMR told the press they would only be doing 1 a days practice when all others were doing 2 a days? I wondered why. That was unusual. Maybe he was afraid of injuries, but I think it started a lack of enthusiasm.

Cecil34

January 2nd, 2011
9:47 pm

If it is Not obvious now to the Dawg nation that Richt’s early success was done with Donnan’s players, then you need to finally remove the rose colored glasses.

As the rest of the SEC ramped up their coaching across the conference, it exposed Richt to be an incompetent coach whose lack of leadership skills and football savvy (hiring BoBO) will not change now, next year, or the next ten years.

As he says “it is what it is.”

Beating no talent, pitifully coached Tech teams is nothing to crow about and certainly nothing to hang your hat on.

Rich UGA alumni should march their happy azzes to McGarrity’s office and lay the law down like Taz Anderson does at Tech. When Taz has had enough of CPJ, he will be gone “johnson.”

Because one thing is for sure – this charlatan that poses as an SEC coach is not a competent coach and certainly has no guts.

Dawghater

January 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

Anybody stop to think that the off the field issues can lead to issues on the field. A lack of personal discipline translates to the disciplne on the field. First, recruit better athletes and I’m not talking about talent. Next, show the kids when they screw up punish them and not for a quarter in a no contest game. Finally, put some blame where it belongs. On the players and not just the coaches.

secbama

January 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

Isaiah 5-star ***** Crowell come on to ‘Bama land. Saban has the machine oiled and primed to win another National Championship. Come get your rings. Bring Xavier Dickson and Malcolm Mitchell with you. You, Dee Hart and Trent Richardson will be the most explosive backfield ever composed on the same team.

ROLL TIDE

William

January 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

the guy kicks a field goal on 4th and 5 inches in a meaningless bowl game…. ENOUGH said.

KB

January 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

Dawghater

Glen Mason was for position after Ray Golf. Richt replaced Donnan.

If any coach at UGA has ever been treated wrong it was Jom Donnan. He took over a very lowly program with no talent and truly turned things around. Remember Donnan beat both Tennesse and Florida.

If Donnan had been given 10 years he would still be at UGA, as UGA’s greatest coach ever. Richt’s best years where with talend recruited by Jim Donnan and defenses coached by Brian Van Gorder.

Jim Donnan has had his day though – he is in the College Footbal Hall of Fame. I don’t CMR will make to the Hall of Fame.

thomp

January 2nd, 2011
9:49 pm

The only thing Adams and McGarity will understand is a lack of cold, hard cash. Everyone must stop giving UGA a dime! I know this will be hard, but treating cancer is no fun. We have a cancer and if we don’t do what is necessary right now it will only get worse.

Watch how fast they take charge then!