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

oldyeller

January 2nd, 2011
11:12 pm

It appears to me that the two best coaches out there would be George O’Leary and Ralph Fridgen. Why not they appear to have the number of your school. Big George continues to whip you guys every chance he gets, plus the fat man can really coach offense.

VA DAWG

January 2nd, 2011
11:12 pm

The problem is we hired an ACC coach who turned us into an ACC team. Fire him now. Heck Maryland fired the Fridge because they didn’t think he could get the job done and he had a winning season and was ACC coach of the year!!

Herry Perry

January 2nd, 2011
11:13 pm

Go Gators/Go Bama, aka closet Yellow Maggot. Nice try “lil” man.

drunkyard dogs

January 2nd, 2011
11:13 pm

hey great idea about having Richt run out of the tunnel first leading the team, led them down the highway to ____ as AC DC would sing it for you

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:13 pm

SEC statistician You need to reread my post pal- I said over the past 10 years!!! LSU has won 3 times – the onlt team to do so in the past 10 years. Check it out.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:15 pm

Snooze…I’m sure the powers that be want to win as much as you do. They just have a difference of opinion on how to get there.

SnoozeULose

January 2nd, 2011
11:16 pm

As for calling out ALL players, I don’t believe any kid leaves it on the field more than Aaron Murray. He’s the best all around package we’ll probably ever see in our lifetime – passion, game prep, film junkie, conditioning, toughness, guts, accuracy, elusiveness, quickness, strong arm, game smart. If he were Mallett’s height and age, he’d go before him in the draft. Georgia’s HUGH gain and UF’s loss…..!

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:16 pm

VA DAWG What an ignorant post that is. That ACC team won 2 NC’s with him as OC. They did pretty well for about 15 years running. Please stop with the ACC bashing- Miami and FSU were kicking ANY SEC team’s butt during their runs. AND they will both be back.

Bob C

January 2nd, 2011
11:18 pm

I hope Bill King and the rest of the Richt bashers will do us all favor and stay home for next year’s games. (In fact, I doubt very seriously that most do not attend anyway althoug Bill King does). Someone who has won 75% of his games deserves a chance to right the ship. I know. I know. You want to look at the winning % for last couple of years, but you let’s look at his entire 10 years. And don’t whine about winning with “Donnan’s recruits”. Please. Stafford and Moreno and 2007? Donnan’s recruits?

Every good coach goes through some down years. Heck, why doesn’t Texas just fire Mack Brown after a 5-7 season? Oh. I know. Let’s give him one more year, right? and then gripe about the play calling.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:19 pm

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!!!

They will and long before Georgia does.

Herry Perry

January 2nd, 2011
11:20 pm

Coach Dooley, a small point that should be taken into consideration, is UM anf FSU were not in the ACC when they had there runs and that was like 20 years ago.

80sDawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:20 pm

Richt will have essentially the same roster in 2011 as he did this year. What makes anyone think he can motivate them? he hasn’t done it in two years. He never deviates from his coaching style. He’s normally good for 9-10 wins a season, but doesn’t have that “it” factor needed to be a championship guy. 2011 will be another wasted season if no change is made in the coaching staff. I think Richt should stay, but Bobo needs to go. If Richt stays, maybe we can have a decent season. If he goes, we’ll definitely have a horrible season. The SEC East should be wide open next year. No reason why we shouldn’t win it. Even if it’s a down year in the SEC

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:21 pm

Bob C…I completely agree with you…but it didn’t help Phil Fulmer. He won 75% of his games…had a NC also…but they ran him off and look what happened.

The problem is that fans want to win at ALL costs. It doesn’t matter how you do it, and if you have to sell your soul to the devil in the process…so long as you win. It’s sad.

Be careful that you want what you pray for. Just ask a TN fan.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:22 pm

GatorBait 18-3 Yeah- that’s what you said last year- and Brantley was the best QB in the land, etc etc etc. SC will probably win the East again next year. Not UF.

AthDawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:22 pm

Richt’s lack of energy and motivation on the sidelines has definately become the team’s personality. The “change” that Richt speaks about should be his own attitude and demeanor on the sidelines and in the locker room. Then he should grow a pair and evalute his staff with an open mind.

Go Gators

January 2nd, 2011
11:23 pm

80sDawg is right. Your going to have the same bad players next year and the same coaches that don’t have the “it” factor (translation they suck too). Yet, you should keep them around because they are the best Georgia could hope to get. Finally a Georgia realist. Accept your mediocrity.

Herry Perry

January 2nd, 2011
11:24 pm

Gator bait a.k.a, dude that lives through a college football program to make himself feel like he is a somebody, and hangs out on a uga blog to talk smack to make himself feel better about the fact that everyone he knows laughs at him.

VA DAWG

January 2nd, 2011
11:24 pm

Coach Dooley, the problem is that was in the past just as our best years were in the first 5 years of Richt’s tenure. What have Florida State and Miami done in the last two years? Fired their head coaches. I am not bashing the ACC you moron. I live in the middle of it. If we had gotten Bud Foster from Va Tech we would have had a better defense this year. My point is that SEC football is smash mouth in your face run oriented game not like the majority of the ACC. Get your shorts out of the wad.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:25 pm

Coach Dooley

All I can tell you is an “AVERAGE” Florida team will always beat any Georgia team (excluding end-zone dancing contests) You may have noticed the worst Florida team in 20 years still beat Georgia in Jax this year.

suwanee dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:25 pm

Please stop with the Donnan recruits comments. We were pretty good in 05 and 07 with Donnan gone in 2000. Keep the facts straight. For those who say the defense is not the problem, they must of missed the Tech game (too bad we did not have Air Force D on the field). As bad as Bozo is for the O, I saw no improvment in the D this year. After reviewing the 2011 schedule we would be favored in 4 games if the lines were set now. Never thought it would turn to this, but go Falcons.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:26 pm

Herry Perry No you are wrong- FSU won their first ACC in 1992 and won their NC’s in 93 and 99.
They were in the ACC both of those NC years and during their great run.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:28 pm

Coach Dooley

SC should be the favorite—-Georgia won’t contend until you get rid of Richt—–the longer you keep him the more I like it———-I almost broke my Georgia friends when I bet them Goff would never beat Florida and he never did.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:29 pm

See ya Herry Perry.

SnoozeULose

January 2nd, 2011
11:29 pm

HerryPerry……………… cracked meup

Gator-Butt 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:29 pm

Guys I am totally responsible for what the Florida Gators do on the field and therefore tie my little ego in with what they do. I get on UGA blogs and call people idiots because I can hide behind my computer screen and feel like I am a somebody.

Rich

January 2nd, 2011
11:30 pm

You forget that Bobo also likes to keep Carlton Thomas in to pick up the blitz.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:30 pm

GatorBait 18-3 Since I am not a Dawg graduate I have no emotional response for you. Things run in cycles. Florida has had 2 great cycles in the past 20 years, first with Spurrier for 10 and then the Tebow years under Meyer. The prior 60 years not so much. Georgia once owned you and the worm has turned. But nobody fears UF anymore- you might need to deal with that fact. Until you can prove it on the field again- you are just an average SEC least team.

Junkyard Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:30 pm

I actually think Tennessee will be very good in the east next year. That Tyler Bray kid looked very good in the Music City Bowl. The Vols had a very young team and had some tough last minute lost games. I think their 2nd year under Dooley is going to suprise some people.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:30 pm

Herry Perry

Dial information and find someone who cares.

OldFan

January 2nd, 2011
11:31 pm

The shame in all this is that we UGA fans have had little reason over the years to believe that the Dawgs are a national powerhouse or an elite team. But we always had enough self-delusion to believe joyfully that “next year is going to be the year”. Now, unfortunately, CMR and his bumbling staff have deprived us of that fantasy and made us face the hard truth about our football program. That’s why everyone is so ticked off. The administration needs to make the tough call and restore our vain hopes and senseless optimism. Now, we’re losing more than just games.

Gawgadawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:31 pm

9 in the box and we are trying to run the ball and it was a tight 9 only a moron would run the ball against that defence. what is wrong with Bobo is he deff dumb and blind.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:32 pm

Junkyard Dawg…I agree.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:32 pm

Gator-Butt 18-3

I’m a sick puppy with no imagination

Gator-Butt 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:32 pm

Man gator fans don’t even like my a$$.

Question

January 2nd, 2011
11:33 pm

Old Fan…awesome post.

oldyeller

January 2nd, 2011
11:34 pm

Hire the fat man from Maryland as your offensive coordinator.

SEC statistician

January 2nd, 2011
11:34 pm

Coach Dooley,

I did read your post. And Saban has won it 3 times in the last 10 years. Nobody has won it more than Richt because there are only 10 years and so between Saban’s 3 sec titles, Meyer’s 2, and Richt’s 2 sec titles that doesn’t leave a lot of room for anyone else to have won 3 sec titles. Your stat that no one has won the sec more times in the last 10 years than Richt is not only erroneous but is statistically difficult to begin with due to the low sample of only 10 years. What a dumb stat for you to come up with.

Gator-Butt 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:35 pm

Gator Bait I’m sorry you have no imagination, especially for your mental illness. Know I think we all understand. You can feel free to go take your medication son.

bwell

January 2nd, 2011
11:35 pm

Rather than worrying about who would turn pro the team should have been worrying about showing up and playing UCF! To much attention given to these guys for what? ALL OF THEM SHOULD RETURN, if you have to get an eval from the NFL then you ain’t ready. Houston, Boykins, both kickers, and both Offensive lineman need to come back or we may be better off without them!

Red Panties

January 2nd, 2011
11:35 pm

Gator-Butt 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:32 pm
Man gator fans don’t even like my a$$.

I like it!

Hairy Perry

January 2nd, 2011
11:38 pm

I’m out guys good night and happy new year.

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:39 pm

VA DAWG No but you do suffer from the same SEC superiority complex that most in the south do. The SEC has 2 or3 great teams each year but many of the others are not so hot. The West is loaded this year and the East sucks. And that is part of the problem that many Dawg fans have- they believe that just because they are in the SEC that out of conference teams will roll over for them. Ga is 6-6 going into the bowl game and yet they are favored by 6+ and fans think that even though their team is average at best that they are going to kick UCF all over the field. Totally unrealistic. And the game showed it.

cs

January 2nd, 2011
11:39 pm

Richt and Goff are tied with an 80% losing percentage to Florida. If Richt stays, Goff will move ahead of him. I guess I can start buying ‘bama, LSU, and Auburn hats and shirts so i can be proud to display a college program. If Richt stays, can we make them take Ga off their stuff? Its embarassing and the Athens Bulldogs dont sound bad.

GatorBait 18-3

January 2nd, 2011
11:39 pm

Gator-Butt 18-3
January 2nd, 2011
11:35 pm
Gator Bait I’m sorry you have no imagination, especially for your mental illness. Know I think we all understand. You can feel free to go take your medication son.

You are truly an ignorant fool. That quote was under your name and attributed to you.

That’s about what I would expect from a high school drop out.

WHATEVER

January 2nd, 2011
11:39 pm

Junkyard Dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:40 pm

Muschamp and Weis could end up being a hell of a combination at UF. You have a young, hungry, man on a mission to build a dynasty at UF in muschamp. Then he has joined forces with an offensive guru like Weis? I love the Dawgs and wish them the best but people how in the hell are we going to compete with that? Weis > Bobo ???? Does anyone else see whats wrong with that picture?

I really believe that CMR could save Georgia. It’s not going to be easy, but it can be done. We need someone that is the real deal at OC first of all. Then we really need to get our O and D lines BEEFED back up. We simply don’t have enough BEEF to bang in the SEC. Last but not least we need a leader. The Dawgs truly have no identity right now. They are lost and it shows there is no leadership in the locker room. Hell, you know things are bad when someone that doesn’t even practice fully with the team(Blair) calls them out.

JaxDawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:41 pm

There is no hope for next year with CMR at the helm! He WON’T make any personnel changes (period)! Why do we have to stand for this type of performance? BRING IN SOMEONE WHO IS HUNGRY TO WIN!!!!!!

dawggone fan

January 2nd, 2011
11:43 pm

I agree with disappointed dawg fan 110%.

I love Coach Richt as a man with high morals and character. However he has become the Paul Hewitt of UGA and must move on. We at UGA are not like GT (can’t afford $$$ to fire Hewitt) we can afford to fire any and all football coaches and start over..NOW is the time!!!!!

Coach Dooley

January 2nd, 2011
11:44 pm

SEC statistician Can you even read???? I said LSU won it 3 times over the past 10 years- comparing schools over 10 years- not coaches.

Only LSU has won it more times than Richt(GA) over the past 10 years.

rincon dawg

January 2nd, 2011
11:45 pm