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

Ummm

January 2nd, 2011
10:27 pm

I Skipped straight to the comments before reading this article….I pose this…

Do you really believe you do not know the answer to the question that you are posing to us FANS? C’mon, really?

You know he can’t, so why even try and patronize us with this question? He has proven the last 3 + years that he just doesn’t get it. It is what it is. Now we need to let him go and move on to another chapter, because repeating the same mistakes that he (CMR) himself has told us he knows about for the last 3 years would be what?

INSANE!!!

Recruiting

January 2nd, 2011
10:27 pm

AD has already said Richt is back for 2011.

The single most important thing to watch is how Georgia ends up with the 2011 recruiting class. If the dawgs lose several elite instate players such as Crowell, etc. then it will be clear to all that the high school kids and their coaches lost faith in Richt. At that point its over barring a 10 win season in 2011- and that aint gonna happen.

So watch very closely to see what happens with Crowell and other elite Georgia prospects.

Is There Anyway

January 2nd, 2011
10:27 pm

AJC Editors,

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

dog forever

January 2nd, 2011
10:31 pm

AS LONG AS RICHT IS NOT HERE

Is There Anyway

January 2nd, 2011
10:31 pm

We can recognize Doggie fans as the world’s funniest COMEDIANS!!!

LMAO at you REDNECKS!!!

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:32 pm

So let me get this straight Barry. You think that Gruden has taken a few years off of coaching and turned downed multiple offers just waiting for that perfect opportunity….And you think that he will come to Athens to coach a 2nd or 3rd tier college football program. When will you Dumb Dawgs realize that to the rest of the country you guys are on par with Wisconsin or Missouri. You have some good years, but bad to mediocre is the norm that has come to expected.

Super Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:32 pm

Seriously, how can we not block one fricking punt all season long?

onegadawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:32 pm

The first things CMR should do if he is not fired is to demote Bobo to qb coach, fire Searls and maybe Garner. Someone who knows what is going on should evaluate what Rodney Garner is doing with recruiting and determine if he is still effective. C. King should not be allowed back on the field in Sanford Stadium. I am sick of his and his other uncomitted teammate’s drama. AJ, please go pro and take Sturdivant and Glen with you. I don’t know how you can make it in the NFL though when you could’nt even block the Miller kid from Canton. Murray, when Brady, Ryan, and Brees start wearing gloves, maybe you should too. The lunatics are running the asylum!

Kingdawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:34 pm

Dabbo Sweeney fires two coaches…Richt needs to take a lesson from a coach who sees a problem when you have a losing season. Obviously Sweeney wants to keep his job.

NOBODYYOUKNOW

January 2nd, 2011
10:34 pm

DREW, your post was frank and right on. 689 Belue, no we’ve never thrown a wet football. 10 plays and UGA would be undefeated? Who called the opposite of those 10 plays? Anyway those plays were NOT called and the dogs LOST. What are you trying to say? Go back to 680 and run your red neck mouth.

Super Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:35 pm

Go put on your jean short pj’s and go to bed you Gator jacko’s

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:36 pm

Richt will turn things around next year. He will win 10 games and the SEC East. He will also capture a unicorn and an elf. He will write the great American novel and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Pope UGA XXIII

January 2nd, 2011
10:37 pm

Anybody who is expecting major improvements from this team
without a complete overhaul of the coaching staff and a lot of the
players probably believes that Obama is a fiscal conservative !!
This program has really deteriorated and is going nowhere fast.
A total embarrassment to the Bulldog Nation.

dawgbites

January 2nd, 2011
10:38 pm

Love your F150 Ford commercial . . . “Hey Honey say UGA go(ne) to the dogs ALREADY!!!!

Richt Wins

January 2nd, 2011
10:38 pm

Mark Richt wins the Vince Dooley Coach of the Year Award.

Mike Bobo wins the Vince Dooley Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

LakeDawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:39 pm

Its already been stated numerous times, but if CMR could learn from his mistakes he would have by now. Its not in him. He was talking about more physical practices THREE years ago. Yet he starts this season with NO two-a-days and plays “thud” instead of scrimmaging. The man is totally lost. He doesn’t understand football. He might be a good strategist (not really) and qualify as an OC, but he cannot function as a head coach. He doesn’t truly understand what football is all about. I don’t mean X’s and O’s, but understand the true emotional spirit of the game. Remember, he was a QB. They don’t go through what an LB or a lineman goes through. Still, some QB’s instinctively understand the game. CMR is not one of those.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
10:39 pm

I have a legitimate question…where is the OUTRAGE from UGA fans on the dirty play from Sturdivant? If this was an opposing player, it would be all over this blog.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
10:39 pm

Go Gators

Yes, Charles is the tight end they don’t throw to, but you forgot they have a clown BOBO as the OC.

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:39 pm

I do see a strong parallel between Richt and Obama.

“Hope and Change”

vs.

“New Culture, New Leadership, New Attitude.”

Both depend on gullible idiots to buy their platitudes to stay in power.

Reporting

January 2nd, 2011
10:41 pm

UGA is hiring fired Pitt Coach Mike Haywood as the PERFECT replacement for Mark Richt.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
10:41 pm

GatorBait 18-3 Let’s remember all you Gators who after last year said so arrogantly on these blogs- we won’t miss a beat with Tebow gone in 2010. Brantley is a better QB than Tebow . We have 5 star athletes lined up begging to come to UF. We will contend for the NC again next year!!! There won’t be any fall off next year!!! How did 2010 work out for you Gators??? How’s that humble pie my arrogant friends???

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:41 pm

I bet Orson Charles sure is happy with his choice to go to UGA to get two passes a game. It is sort of a Catch 22 with players that Georgia recruits. If they are stupid enough to commit to UGA, then as a Gator, I’m relieved they didn’t come to Florida. They prove their ineptitude by their choice.

Stinger2

January 2nd, 2011
10:42 pm

Richt is a better coach than Paul Johnson! Johnson is the one that needs to be fired!

hangman

January 2nd, 2011
10:44 pm

how about Steve Spurrier?

Brian

January 2nd, 2011
10:45 pm

Did Aaron Murray get a new pair of gloves for Christmas? If I was a junior on this team I would have declared for the NFL right after that game. Furthermore, if I’m a high school senior looking at coaches and teams there is no way I go to UGA with that crew of misfit coaches. One word sums up this team and these coaches,” embarrassing “. However, will always be a dawg fan but please it’s time to make a change.

BamaMick

January 2nd, 2011
10:48 pm

Just curious . . . would UGA prefer Kirby Smart to Mark Richt?

thwg

January 2nd, 2011
10:48 pm

Please lay off Richt. He is a fantastic coach who has gotten the UGA program to a well deserved place. Next year like all prior years UGA is going to win an SEC and national championship. How can you possibly fire a coach who is able to set those sorts of expectations.

Signed
GT fans working to keep Richt

Rest of the SEC

January 2nd, 2011
10:48 pm

Go Gators,

2nd tier team comparable to a wisconsin or missouri. Yep. That’s pretty accurate. Pretty good years once in awhile like Wisconsin’s year this year. But usually 9-3 or 8-4 and never, ever good enough to end up in a bcs title game. Good enough to finish top 2 or 3 after the top 2 played in the bcs title game but never good enough to quite get into the top 2 to get into the bcs title game. Just like Wisconsin and Mizzou. That would be a pretty good description of Georgia.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
10:49 pm

Dooley

Just barely good enough to beat ya’ll for the 18th time in 21 tries. That said, I hope Brantley transfers, I bought the the Obama “hope and change BS”. Furthermore, I now realize Dan Mullen was far more responsible for Florida’a success than I realized—–all he does in his 2nd year is beat Floriga, Georgia and played Auburn their closest game all year, losing 14-17.

DiggityDawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:51 pm

Richt is in over his head. Just watching him roam the sidelines has become increasingly painful. Stick a fork in him. He’s a good man, but incapable of getting things turned around in Athens.

I’ll be happy to come help him move.

SnoozeULose

January 2nd, 2011
10:51 pm

I was talking at church this morning with a longtime friend who has a brother on the coaching staff at an SEC program and has had the inside scoop more than once. I was completely speechless as he was telling me and a few others how that a few days before he accepted the job at Florida, Will Muschamp had a letter delivered to Georgia AD Greg McGarity saying he was set to sign the contract at Florida but wanted to give GM the heads up first. Said he and his family would love to come home but things had to move fast if that was to happen…that he’d already turned down a 2nd very good offer.

Mr. McGarity, if this really happened and I believe at least part of this did, we missed an incredible golden opportunity to hire not only a DGD and passionate motivator in Coach Muschamp, but also an offensive genius in Charlie Weis. AND if that weren’t bad enough, now all of that good fortune ends up in the lap of one of Georgia’s most hated rivals and nemesis the past 20 years, the Florida Gators!!! I can’t believe it. This is almost too much for one man to stand!!! And for those who say UF’s gamble won’t pay off, just watch. They will win another BCS Title in 2012 or 2013. Mark my word.

Our program has fallen to the level of losing to a (good, motivated, and well-coached) Conference USA team, has become the butt of many a joke, and the laughingstock of the SEC. And I’m embarrassed and feel the worst for those players who chose Georgia over schools like Florida, Alabama, Auburn and LSU because they could have been playing for and winning national championships at those schools but instead they chose to come to UGA to play for the man Coach Richt. But if you can come up with just ONE reason to believe that Coach Richt will lead our program back to its rightful place in college football, I’d like to hear it. Right now though, I’m sick of hearing stories from once-jealous rivals about how great we used to be and how far we’ve fallen with no end in sight. Mr. McGarity, it’s gotten so bad and embarrassing to alumni and the SEC that even some of our most bitter rivals are calling for changes because they want us to get back to the level of competition we’re capable of! Please! Do something!

We are hemorrhaging internally and the only way to save ourselves is to go directly to the source of the bleeding! I hope you don’t wait too late.

NFL draft board

January 2nd, 2011
10:53 pm

AJ Green would be a fool to stay at Georgia. The only jrs who stay for a last year are guys who think their team has a legit shot at a title. Kinda like Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown both staying for their senior seasons in 2004 at AU. That would not be Georgia as they are light years from a national title.

Bama, LSU, and AU are up there now and Florida has the talent to turn it around in 1 year under Weiss as an offensive coordinator. But UGA? Nope. Aint gonna happen.

thwg

January 2nd, 2011
10:53 pm

Reporting, very good point – Mike Haywood would fit in perfectly with the UGA code of conduct. I hear if he can get the job he’s gonna hire Damon Evans as his recruiting coordinator.

I love UGA – Couldn’t make this stuff up! A completely irrelavent program. Must be hard sitting there watching AL, MState, FL with big AU and AK games forthcoming and knowing UGA is at the bottom of the SEC barrel.

And as far as the SEC, last time I checked it was ACC 2-0 over the SEC. Go Jackets!

dawg1967

January 2nd, 2011
10:54 pm

Talked with alumni in many other cities,promise and change has not been seen in two years, NOW is the time for change for a coach with desire and fire coach, real discipline begins NOW with CMR and offensive staff gone, make the tough but right call Mr AD, alumni are ready NOW make the call.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
10:56 pm

SnoozeULose…step back away from the ledge…it’s gonna be ok…just please step back away from the ledge.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
10:56 pm

GatorBait 18-3 And how do you think Muschamp will do next year? Please tell me you think UF will contend for a NC again!!!

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
10:57 pm

There was a reason that McGarity was the ASSISTANT athletic directory at Florida. As is typical with the players, our second string is equal to Georgia’s starters.

thwg

January 2nd, 2011
10:57 pm

Hey Question – got news for you, it’s not going to be OK and I love it!

Question

January 2nd, 2011
10:58 pm

thwg…i’m not a UGA fan…as you could tell if you read any of my posts…i was poking fun at Snooze.

Top Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
10:58 pm

A disappointing season at UGA is 9-4 or even 8-5. That is an off year. But 6-7, on the heels of last year’s debacle??? What about the years prior to that?

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
11:00 pm

I doubt Florida will be contending for a National Title next year, but I sure as hell think they’ll be in contention for one before Georgia. It is simply hilarious that our cast off assistant AD isn’t going to fire Richt. I wonder if is loyalty is still in the swamp.

MRBIGUNS

January 2nd, 2011
11:00 pm

I’ve said for the past 5 years. Richt will never get UGA past 10 wins and as the years follow the wins will decrease and guess what? It has come to fruitition. The Dawgs will never improve with Richt and keeping him will only prolong the inevitable. Losing seasons after losing seasons.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:02 pm

I will tell you this about Richt- in 10 years he has played in the SEC CG 3 times and won it twice. Only LSU has won it more times than Richt over the past 10 years. Has he had 2 bad years by comparison with the first 8- yes he has. But I don’t think he has forgotten how to coach- or how to win 90 games over those 10 years. The question I have is whether he is burnt out- whether he wants to do it anymore at this time. He seems completely burnt out to me. 6 of those 10 years he had Ga in the top 10 in the nation. 6 out of 10- not too shabby.

Top Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:02 pm

If nobody in power at UGA cares about the football program, then why should I care? Consequently, until I see that they do care, I am done. Sad to say, but I cannot continue to care when the players (except for Walsh) and the coaches are so ambivalent toward success and so content with mediocrity.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:04 pm

Go Gators That remains to be seen I guess- right??? I will tell you this- that Florida team that played PSU yesterday is an average football team at best. I don’t think Will will be contending for a NC anytime soon.

AlwaysADawg87

January 2nd, 2011
11:06 pm

fbrumormill: Lots of smoke at Georgia tonight. Could be staff changes. Could be more.”
–http://twitter.com/fbrumormill/status/21765005003194368

Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:08 pm

They are probably electing a new pope. Was the smoke white or black?

SEC statistician

January 2nd, 2011
11:10 pm

Coach Dooley,

You need some help with your stats. Saban has won the sec 3 times and played for the title 5 times I think. 3 times at LSU winning twice and twice at Bama winning once- 5 appearances with 3 wins in less time coaching than Richt. Urban Meyer appeared three times in only 6 years and won 2 of those three. Doing that in 6 years as opposed to what Richt did in 10 years puts Meyer firmly in front of Richt.

Big Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:11 pm

I thought when Damon Evans got fired and Greg McGarity came onboard that we were saved. But all we will be treated to it looks like is another year of Captain Sominex and his seven stooges. At least we can all take comfort in knowing that a leopard doesn’t change his spots, and CMR takes at least 5 years to change bumbling assistant coaches, so this time next year we can all celebrate and be proud of our program once more! McGarity obviously learned nothing in his seventeen years with UF under Jeremy Foley. Maybe he can pay attention though this fall when Muschamp and Weis rip us a new one.

SnoozeULose

January 2nd, 2011
11:11 pm

Question…….. Tough to stand by and watch your beloved alma mater falling to a slow death while the powers that be twiddle their thumbs.