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

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
9:49 pm

Richt is awesome. You guys should definitely keep him. I’m sure he’ll have your team turned around in no time.

Herschel Walker syndrome

January 2nd, 2011
9:50 pm

Nothing short of shocking that I’ve seen 4 or 5 posters who think that this LeMay kid can just come in here as a freshman who skipped his sr. year in high school, take the job from Murray, and singlehandledly save the UGA football program. Delusional.

The Paul and Mark Show

January 2nd, 2011
9:51 pm

Paul Hewitt and Mark Richt. Two good people but lousy coaches that cannot be fired. Stay tuned for part 2.

Jimmy

January 2nd, 2011
9:51 pm

I have defended Richt.
After that game on Friday…I can’t anymore.
HE CANNOT BE SERIOUS ABOUT MAKING CHANGES!

The only change we need is for him to resign.
The evidence for it is clear…the offense in 2010 was the same inept offense of past seasons.
Offense is Richt’s “specialty”.
The defense will improve next year, I am certain.
The offense will BE THE SAME.

Richt has to go.

Go Bama

January 2nd, 2011
9:52 pm

Go Gators,

I’m with you dude. Man I hope the dawgs keep Richt. We pick up Georgia this year. Licking my chops over the thought of another blackout game.

UGAalum

January 2nd, 2011
9:52 pm

Bring in Mike Singletary. I don’t know if he can coach on the college level, but he might help with the discipline problems.

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
9:54 pm

Go Bama,

Sssshhhhh! I’ve almost convinced these idiots that Richt is a good coach. It’s not hard to mislead these fools. They’ve bought the “culture change and wait till next year” BS from their coaching staff for the past 3 years.

icedawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:55 pm

Jim Donnan was a great coach and got the shaft.

extrapoint

January 2nd, 2011
9:56 pm

Thank you Coach Richt. It use to be when the Dawgs loss, I couldn’t go too sleep and would replay the game throughout the night. Well, with our loses piling up, I’m now so use to losing, I don’t have any trouble falling to sleep.

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

January 2nd, 2011
9:56 pm

Recruiter

January 2nd, 2011
9:56 pm

What’s it gonna be Mr. Crowell?

Play for a lackluster sinking ship of a program at Georgia with a lame duck coach?

Or come to a Bama recruiting class ranked no. 2 in the country that will finish as the top ranked recruiting class for the 3rd time in 4 years with you and 1-2 top flight recruits comin onboard?

Stay on that sinking ship or come to Bama and compete for championships???

Easy choice Mr. Crowell.

Dawgx2/Board Member/Season Ticket Holder/Donor

January 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

CMR must be dismissed ASAP. It is entirely about leadership. There is no confidence in CMR, apparently even from the AD. McGarrity says he talks with CMR everday. Why! The AD is responsible for 20 sports teams, not the football team alone. He is not qualified to coach college football, he is the athletic director. Would he go in, former coach, Suzann Yucolans office everyday and discuss gymnastics? I hope not. As a CEO myself, you hire great people and let them perform. If they are not you make changes, but you don’t micro-manage the CEO of the football team. If I was CMR, or any other UGA coach, I would tell him to get the xyzp out of my office and never to talk to me again. Do you think Nick Saban would put up with that. It sounds like McGarrity wants to be in the football coaching business, rather than the AD business.

BTW, spoke to a top 11 prospect for 2012 whose brother is a senior on the UGA football team and little brother has not considered any school but UGA. Guess what, older brother said do not play football at UGA. Also important, younger brother plays for the high school that sends more players to Division One schools than any other in Georgia. CMR has become a recruiting liability.

Big Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

Burdell90

January 2nd, 2011
9:58 pm

I jsut wanted to let you dumba$$ rednecks know something…this is some pretty funny stuff!!

BeachDawg

January 2nd, 2011
9:58 pm

Everybody needs to listen th “thomp” @ 9:49….

Go Bama

January 2nd, 2011
9:59 pm

Go Gators,

I think these fools will buy that ” Wait till next year BS” again. They now think this Lemay kid who didn’t even play his sr. year in high school is going to come in and save the whole program all by himself. I’m serious. Several of them actually believe that. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jerry

January 2nd, 2011
9:59 pm

Richt and the coaches do NOT have the respect of the players. They all see the $$ signs in all the coaches and see that for themselves, win or lose, in a couple years. Add to that, the propensity of UGA for recruiting thugs, armed robbers, drunks, and rapists who can’t read and you get what they have now. How about retooling starting with the ENTIRE coaching staff? Get a Bobby Knight type who has super strict rules about personal appearance, curfews, grades, behavior, language, etc,…..No tattoos, no long hair or predator dreadlocks, etc….. If you violate, you are OFF the team. It might take a couple of years, but eventually it would work.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
10:00 pm

Go Gators UF will have some tough days ahead before they can hope to return to their salad days.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
10:03 pm

There is no shame in losing to U of Central Florida. Don’t you people realize that there are 6 schools as big or bigger that UGA. (Florida, FSU. Miami, Central Florida, South Florida and Florida Atlantic)

At least 4-5 of these schools can and will be Georgia–they are getting better and Georigia is getting worse. Sorry, but it is what it is. That is, until you get rid of Richt.

2nd Recruiter

January 2nd, 2011
10:03 pm

Bama: Be hyped on ESPN as the next link in the chain of heisman candidate Bama backs. Be seen and discussed regularly on national television behind a proven offensive line.

Georgia: Be largely unknown. Struggle to put up decent numbers under a offensive coordinator that refuses to establish the run and behind a line that stands around pointing at each other after giving up another play for a loss. All of this on noon SEC network televised games week after week. On the plus side, Richt might take you to some crappy island to help dirty, poor people during the offseason.

dawgster

January 2nd, 2011
10:03 pm

I agree with a previous blogger regarding Coach Richt and this years recruiting class…If we don’t land the guys we are going after or at least most of them, then i’m afraid something may happen, but that also would be devasting for the program, so have to hope things work out…Obvisously the recruits see what is going on, so you have to wonder how that will affect their decisions..I’m afraid our performance and the negative status of our program is going to cost us some very good players…i hope i’m wrong, and if i could say one thing to them it would be that there is an opportunity to play immediately with this team and help bring back some respect…go dawgs

Tampa Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:04 pm

A Central Florida fan passed me on the road today waving their Golden Knight’s flag out the window, while pointing and laughing at my Bulldog decals. Living with the Gator fans is tough enough, now this? Thanks Mark Richt. Drive 96 yards to kick a field goal on 4th and inches? Way to “finish the drill”!!! Ray Goff could have done what you have for the program for FAR less money.

It’s rough being a Dawg’s fan down here, or any place else for that matter. How long must the bleeding continue?
Sincerely, ANOTHER DEJECTED DAWGS FAN

onegadawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

CMR can’t turn it around but maybe he can put together a decent recruiting class. With UGA’s 2011 schedule, 8-4 with a loss to Florida should and will get him fired. 8-4 will be impossible if UGA loses the first 2 games which is likely. The 2012 recruting class will suffer. ADGM needs to make a statement with the hire after the 2011 season unless CMR pulls off the miracle. It needs to be a Saban or Spurrier like name. It will be 2014 at the earliest before UGA gets it turned around.

Samanatha

January 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

You guys are going to be so mad when Richt gets a new 3 year deal replacing his present contract (not extending) but in essence is a vote of confidence and some time and space to get all the new stuff in place especially defense. OL coach is gone for sure. The sky ain’t falling folks. Richt is fine and will be in Athens as UGA coach for many a year. Get used to it you short-sighted weasels.

ReddDawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

After the Liberty Bowl, Richt tried to compare losing to game the children at St. Jude Hospital. If Richt wants to be a preacher, that is a noble profession. If Richt wants to be a fund raiser for diseases, better hospitals & equipment or to relieve hunger. All are very noble callings.

Last year after a loss, he said that the Georgia fan base was too stupid too understand the complex defensive calls and therefore were unable to assess whether Martinez was doing a great job or not.

Well Richt, you are correct. I am stupid, but I promise you this, I am not dumb enough to ever call you a coach again, and I am certainly smart enough to close my checkbook as a supporter for any team with which you may be affiliated.

Coach Scott

January 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

We need a coach who strikes fear and respect in every player, coach, cheerleader, and even that dog. Maybe it’s not the head coach, but it needs to be a worthy assistant who is given a long, long leash.

rm

January 2nd, 2011
10:06 pm

if the AD can’t see the problem with cmr then maybe he is also part of the problem. CMR talks about a dream recruiting class. Well guess what – isn’t this supposed to be the goal every year. LOOK the reality is CMR has lost his desire. It is time for MR to move on B4 the UGA program becomes the dregs of SEC EAST, oh sorry its already there.

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:07 pm

The only decent players left on the Georgia roster next year will be Aaron Murray, Blair Walsh, and Drew Butler. Yet you idiots think that replacing one of them with a true freshman is the answer. You guys truly deserve your coaching staff.

Ed (The Original)

January 2nd, 2011
10:07 pm

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

Yes, he can resign. I don’t think anything short of that will help UGA much.

Richt jumped the shark when he ordered that bizarre endzone celebration and uniform changes. It’s clear that he’s lost the ability to discipline and motivate the team. It’s no disgrace, just the way things turn out sometimes. But it’s clear to me that he has to go.

Who's Your Daddy

January 2nd, 2011
10:08 pm

I’ve been a big time Richt fan since he was hired though I noticed some game mismanagement in his first couple of years. I tried to keep believing the last 3 years, but enough is enough. We’ve heard Coach Richt’s same old excuses for too long. Great man, good offensive coach, but as the head coach he is totally lost and doesnt have a clue where to go from here.

Remember, this is his first head coaching gig, and he doesnt have a lot to fall back on as the decision maker. If he gets another year it will be more of the same, we will be a midlevel or lower team not able to beat the up and coming teams.

We’re not Kentucky, we’re not Tennessee, we just became Vandy!! Not beating a single ranked team this year, poor SEC record for the last stretch, the fans and players should not have to endure this. I’ve never before been glad to see the season over!

Mr McGarity I implore you, pull the plug, dont make the fans, alumni, boosters, players endure another year of mediocrity.

Dan Poole

January 2nd, 2011
10:09 pm

I bet you that fool wish he had tha MiamI JOB now. GET OUT OF ATHENS

GA Dawg in TX

January 2nd, 2011
10:10 pm

NO.. and it breaks my heart.
We need new coaches, players without a sense of entitlement and new direction… lots to ask for in a few short months.

74 UGA grad

January 2nd, 2011
10:12 pm

Pennsylvania governer Ed Rendell could have been talking about Richt and the Georgia football program when he refererred to the “wussification of America.”

The decision to kick the eatly field goal was a wussy move, plain and simple, but fits right in with Richt’s overall attitude. When he is inevitably replaced, one absolute necessity for his successor is to NOT be a member of FCA.

It’s ironic that our nice Christian coach has recruited so many criminals, but at least he’s coddled ‘em.

Georgia needs a new OL coach and a new recruiting coordinator. They also need someone who can either evaluate WRs or coach them. They keep bringing in these highly touted athletes who look good in non-football drills but apparently can’t run proper routes or make tough catches. Some DL would also be nice. Judging by Friday’s game, the ‘Dogs don’t have any.

Bobo is catching a lot of flak, some of which is deserved, but once he got Green back on the field, Georgia scored 30+ points in every game until the LIberty debacle. He’s not the problem, but O’Leary & his staff clearly had Georgia’s offense figured out, and evidently had DBs who could cover and a blitz scheme the ‘Dogs was unprepared for. They were a whole lot better defensively than Auburn, at least for that one night.

Or maybe it was Murray’s gloves.

You have to wonder about the character, motivation and dedication of a team that was in so many games before folding up time after time in the 4th quarter. Also about the coaching.

Richt’s past success has earned him one more year. If there is no improvement, there is absolutely no reason to retain him as head coach.

Curtain call

January 2nd, 2011
10:13 pm

Marck Richt deserves NOTHING, not another year of garbage football! He had a team filled with Stafford, Moreno, and Green and did squat (three first round NFL players mind you). He has had two sub-par years since then and he needs to go NOW! How many more years does this university have to put up with a “has been” coach who’s glory days passed him by years ago. Richt is a mold of Fulmer and Bowden, all three had their good years but the curtain fades on everyone in due time. Let’s end this show now.

Roadrunner

January 2nd, 2011
10:14 pm

After just 2-3 plays I knew we were going to lose that game. There was ZERO excitement by the dogs defenders and they were already walking around. You could tell that most of that team did not want to be on that field in Memphis, likely because it was beneath them. I hoped the fact they were playing for the difference between a winning & losing season would be enough, but it wasn’t. Its a shame because I know there are certainly individuals that give a d@mn, just no where near a whole team that do. I agree that the team bailed on Richt, deserved or not, and that’s a shame because he really is a decent man who deserves better.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
10:14 pm

Go Gators

You missed their best player—-Orsen Charles—————–that’s a man!!!!!!!!!!

LakeDawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:15 pm

Please, no more talk of Jim Donnan. He was a mediocre coach, who had proven the Peter Principle. Notice that no school of importance ever offered to hire him. The best offer he got was Kentucky, a school at the time that was barely above Vandy.

Junkyard Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:16 pm

Folks it is simply time for a change. I personally know a former Dawg player that was an offensive starter during CMR’s first Dawg team. This player told us that CMR was too conservative and nice. He also said that he wished that he would have signed with Florida while he had the change because Spurrier wanted him very badly. I can kind of see how some of you guys are saying the players don’t respect Richt.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
10:17 pm

Who do you like here, Charlie Weis’s offense or Todd Grantham’s defense going at it.

I’ve got a side I like.

Super Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:19 pm

Richt’s biggest problems – Quitting before the half with two minutes to go. When David Greene was QB and he had the ball with two minutes, we ran a no huddle and ALWAYS got at least a field goal before the half. Now we just down the ball…..

Why do we keep redshirting players?? We have to be redshirting more players than any other SEC team (top caliber). They’re NOT GOING TO USE UP THEIR ELIGIBILTY IF THEY ARE WORTH A DAMN ANYWAY!! THEY’RE GOING TO THE NFL RICHT. PLAY THEM ALL!!!

Why didn’t Mason get a shot the other night?? Murray was the biggest deer in the headlight I’ve ever seen in a college game since the Hawaii Sugar Bowl when we kept punishing their QB. Give the kid a shot. It’s the only reason we beat Colorado when Stafford choked against them and Joe Cox (what a joke) came in and saved the day! Sometimes it just takes some new fire!

And I’ll shut up after this one….are we the only team in America to not block one cotton picking punt this year!!!!!!!!

hunker down

January 2nd, 2011
10:20 pm

The OL was much hyped and way under performed. Gotta think CSS is not getting the job done. Think that CTG better show improvements this year as the jury is still out IMHO. Like Bobo as a person but the offense is not getting the job done.

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:20 pm

Orson Charles? Is that the tight end that Georgia fans say is so great, but only gets the ball passed to him once or twice a game.

Boston Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:21 pm

To fans who want Richt to take back play-calling: Have you watched UGA football before mid-2006? The offense sputtered worse under Richt than it has under Bobo. The reason UGA won more games back then was because the defense allowed about 15 pts per game, rather than the 40 ppg they give up now.

No doubt the offense needs an overhaul, but having Richt doing the playcalling is not the answer. They need a completely different offensive scheme, something not likely to happen under Richt.

Junkyard Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:21 pm

Weis is going to toast Grantham. I really hate how all of these elite programs are making moves and getting big time coaches. Georgia is the only one sitting here watching everyone else climb the ladder. UGA simply goes to Jacksonville every October, and bends over in front of UF and takes it straight up the @**. I am sick and tired of this and UGA needs a fire breathing SOB to fix this. The nice guy approach will not change this.

Barry

January 2nd, 2011
10:25 pm

John Gruden or Jim Harbaugh! Get one of ‘em on a plane now.

Is There Anyway

January 2nd, 2011
10:26 pm

AJC Editors,

Is there anyway that you publish the last 4 or 5 blogs regarding UGA football? This is seriously GREAT COMEDY!!! These Rednecks sure have go it GOING ON!!! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!

gatordawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:26 pm

And the next Dawg’s opponent is Boise State? Is it too late to change to Georgia State?

Super Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:26 pm

I think that Coach Mark Richt should send every fan that went to that game their money back for the tickets and $500 traveling expenses. I feel so sorry for some of my friends that went to that pitiful excuse of a game…

Taco

January 2nd, 2011
10:27 pm

Crowell don’t waste your talent, go somewhere else. Christian Lemay? Are you serious? this kid couldn’t even make to high school classes and UGA is giving him a full ride? For what? they have a great QB with no blocking and now no one to throw to. Remember Caleb King was much better than Jonathan Dwyer coming out of high school. Really? Xzavier Dickson I have seen you play every Friday almost here in Griffin, go somehwere you can be a factor on the national scene. Bama will always be great. Orson Charles will be a pro and he will be well rested when he gets there. AJ was the best I have seen since Calvin left town.

Junkyard Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:27 pm

Harbaugh is Michigan bound or the 49ers/Denver Broncos from what ESPN has said all day. I don’t think Gruden would come to Athens.