What are key fixes Dogs must make for Richt to keep his job?

Stacy Searels' underperforming offensive lines have been a big problem for the Dogs. (Georgiadogs.com)

Stacy Searels' underperforming offensive lines have been a big problem for the Dogs. (Georgiadogs.com)

The list of things Mark Richt and his staff have to fix for the coming season in order to keep their jobs at UGA is pretty long. Chances are they won’t be able to get it all done, even under the best of circumstances.

But while the Dogs might not be quite as “close” as Richt touts them to be, they do have Aaron Murray and some other talented players, and if a few things break Georgia’s way a turnaround to challenge for the SEC East is certainly within Richt’s reach.

But in order for that to have a chance of happening the head coach and his staff absolutely have to get a few key things done. And those keys are:

Line play has to improve on both sides of the ball. On defense, if Georgia can land JUCO beast John Jenkins, who recently pulled out of his commitment to Okie State, it will be a big step toward fixing one of the major weaknesses of Todd Grantham’s defense: the lack of an effective nose guard. On offense, Stacy Searels has seen his troops badly underperform for most of the past two seasons. It’s time for him to prove he’s the coach UGA thought it was getting when he was hired away from LSU.

The Dogs have to develop an effective running game. The offensive line play has been a big negative factor here, but Georgia’s backs also just haven’t gotten it done. Caleb King can’t seem to stay in the lineup and Washaun Ealey seems more concerned with running his mouth than developing consistency running the ball. (It doesn’t help that Mike Bobo favors that running-back-by-committee thing and tends to insert little Carlton Thomas at the worst times.) Signing Isaiah Crowell definitely would be a game-changer for the Dogs.

Get the defense off the field on third down. Georgia ranked dead last in the SEC this past season in third-down defense efficiency. Plugging the middle with a big man like Jenkins no doubt will help in that regard, but the Dogs need more pressure from the linebackers and smarter play in the secondary. Time for Grantham to earn that big salary.

Georgia has to be stronger and better conditioned. Getting pushed around on the line and fading in the fourth quarter will pretty much guarantee you don’t win the close games. Richt is betting that “old school” Joe Tereshinski can whip the Dogs into shape by putting the focus more on hard work than mentoring. It’s a good sign that Christian Robinson was tweeting yesterday about having just been through the “hardest workout ever at Georgia!” Let’s hope there’s more than just talk there.

Any other “must” fixes you see in order for Richt and company to still be around in Athens in 2012?

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543 comments Add your comment

Vance Duly

January 13th, 2011
12:50 pm

Definitely, more cowbell. Also, fewer running plays up the middle on 2nd and 10 after an incomplete pass. Less of Carlton Thomas “pounding” the ball between the tackles for 1 yard with his beffy 175 pound frame………… More of Orson Charles (who averaged only 2 touches per game). I agree, we definitely need a strong running game, but until our offensive line performs up to expectations, we can’t rely upon the run. We lack a game-changing RB, and definitely lack a game-changing offensive line. Give us a Top 10 Offensive Coordinator, and a Top 10 offensive line, and more cowbell, and that’s all we need……….

Dawgie Bowser

January 13th, 2011
12:50 pm

3 key fixes:
1-WIN!
2-WIN!
3-WIN!

Special Teams Play

January 13th, 2011
12:51 pm

Whatever happened to our special teams play? The first few years under Richt, we were known to aggressively rush the punter and blocked quite a few of them. Even the ones we missed, we put enough pressure on the punter to alter. Not so coincidentally, we ran a few punts back for TD’s. Ever since we started to focus on returning punts, we don’t run any back, and even worse, have had several fake punts successfully run on us because of our hurry to get back and protect the returner. At the very least, going after the punter sends a subconscious message to our team that we’re AGGRESSIVE instead of passive (like not going for it on 4th and one from the 3 yard line), which can affect all facets of the team’s mentality. Creating some big plays on special teams used to be a plus for Georgia, and those plays have mysteriously disappeared right along with our coach’s cahones.

red hill

January 13th, 2011
12:51 pm

It is a lost cause when someone is making $3 mil/year and the employers must hold their feet to the fire to get them to do their stinking job. Richt should have already been run out of town on a rail. Going to make more time to be expert in football? You have got to be kidding me.

just me

January 13th, 2011
12:52 pm

It’s one thing to throw around the future of the coaches, but lay off the kids. They have made no more or no less mistakes than any other college kids (on the field or off). Many of them are being mis-utilized or under-utilized. Trent Richardson from Alabama is probably one of the top ten backs in the country, but he didn’t start or split playing time because Mark Ingram IS the starting TB. Find a back and give him 30 carries a game. Georgia was Tailback U until Bobo became the coordinator. There will never be another Herschel Walker. UGA played for the national title all three years that he played here. But can we at least get a Terrell Davis, Garrison Hearst, or Patrick Pass?Caleb King doesn’t need to be off the team. He needs to be returning kick-offs and punts. Move Branden Smith to receiver on 3rd down situations. Use a 2-back offense from time to time. And if my 7th grade football team knows how to stop the option (held 3 option teams scoreless), your defensive coordinator should know the same. You not only have to know coaching strategy. You have to know what your players are capable of. Richt and his staff do not. And with BCS champs coming from Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU, it’s time for UGA to put itself back on the map. Richt just needs to decide if he will be on board.

Time-outs don't carry over.....

January 13th, 2011
12:53 pm

How about PLAYING TO WIN! Richt used to do this but not in the last few seasons. Case-in-point…the Liberty Bowl.
1) The first drive – you drive 90+ yards down to UCF 2 yard-line and kick a field goal???? You could see at that moment on the side-line that the players lost confidence in the coaching staff. Go for it!
2) Just before half – There are 40 seconds left on the clock, you have two time-outs, the best receiver in the country, one of the best kickers in the country, and a quarterback who can move the ball (preferably without the glove). Give these guys a shot to try and put points up on the board. Calling a running play and taking a knee is unacceptable.

Grab some sack and Play To Win!

Bill Lewis

January 13th, 2011
12:53 pm

Carlton was right on with his commits !

Dawg 39

January 13th, 2011
12:55 pm

I think you nailed the 5 things that need, have to be, done. I agree because they are exactly the same 5 things that I have been saying need, have to be, done. If those happen, some of the other problems that are mentioned will be taken care of also.

roughrider

January 13th, 2011
12:55 pm

UGA needs to get back to the basics. Blocking , tackling and running until gameday is considered a break for the players.

JoeFan

January 13th, 2011
12:55 pm

For CMR to keep his job, UGA must focus on being an elite University in terms of higher education and recruit accordingly, leave the SEC and join a conference with similar goals.

jaydawg

January 13th, 2011
12:55 pm

It does not matter what we or anyone else thinks needs to be done because this STUBBORN AND INCOMPETENT “COACH” has proven time after time that he is either unable or unwilling to make the necessary changes to improve things.The best thing that could happen is for a season rocky enough to force his termination so that Aaron Murray’s last 2 years wont be wasted like Eric Zeier’s was with Ray Gump,er Goff.

cs

January 13th, 2011
12:57 pm

Keeping the “leader” whose team has embarrased the state the last three years is idiotic. Hope they lose all 12 games.

Special Teams Play

January 13th, 2011
12:57 pm

“Just me” – great point about Trent Richardson, an unbelievable runner, not getting to tote the rock because there is just simply somebody better. Our commitment to the running back by committee is evidence of the fact that we don’t have a dominant runner. Once we get that type of runner, you’re right, commit to the running game, and play with toughness. I don’t know if we’re truly capable of associating our Dawgs with toughness at the moment.

Macclenny_dawg

January 13th, 2011
12:58 pm

I agree Bill but you have to add toughness and special teams!!! We have to rush the punter if we put Gray back there to fair catch it!!! Special teams is 1/3 of the game!!! Be more aggressive sometimeswhen you have momentum go for the juggler!!! Playcalling has to quit being so predictable. Just because you put a gameplan together doesn’t mean you can’t adjust it!!! SEC Championship or bye bye Richt!!!

r2chs

January 13th, 2011
1:01 pm

Why this is even a point of discussion is well beyond me. I admit I am not a coach, I am not even a self-appointed expert in college football strategy. But I can read the avalanche of criticism. When an organization, sports or business, experiences a complete meltdown of this magnitude, it needs open heart surgery not aspirin.

Kneel Before Your Master McGarity!

January 13th, 2011
1:02 pm

If Interim Coach Mark Richt wants to keep his job, he better call Monica Lewinsky for some tips, techniques and coaching pronto.

Big Canoe

January 13th, 2011
1:03 pm

You are absolutely correct in your assessment. In addition to casting aside in the offensive scheme the notion of “running back by committee”, Coach Richt needs to strongly consider throwing away his erroneous belief in granting a redshirt to a running back. None…that’s NONE…ever stay their entire eligibity. So if he remember the play and run…play him now!

big root

January 13th, 2011
1:04 pm

Not only do the coaches have to no the team they’re playing the players have to smart enough to no what’s going on on the field, trick plays, onside kicks, fake punts. As a team UGA needs to play faster & smarter. Athlonsports rated UGA as the #8 program in the country so why are the top recruits in Georgia running away and why are former players not wanting to coach there

Falcon 34

January 13th, 2011
1:04 pm

Good artcile Bill.

Where to begin. Can I just say clean house and start over? No, that would be too simple and intelligent. So here we go………..

3) Joe T might be the answer, but a rational person could’ve seen for a long while that our players simply don’t match up to our many of our SEC brethren in terms of strength and speed. Whatever magic worked for Van Halanger when Richt first got here, has long since evaporated. Compare even our guys from our first Richt years: Musa Smith, Jon Stinchomb, Thomas Davis to our players now. Used to be big and strong, now we’re slow and weak. Again, none of this stuff will matter if they know they’re not held accountable by their Head Coach.

4) Attitude. Rule is made that if any player runs his mouth on the field, talks back to a coach, commits a stupid personal foul, dances around on the sideline, he’s on the bench. No questions asked. The players respect the coaches, listen to them, play their butts, stop showboating, or sit their butts on the pine. Period.

more to come………….

todd

January 13th, 2011
1:04 pm

I just hope that housefull of free flooring and furniture that Carpets of Dalton gave him is good quality, lasts a long time and ships well. I doubt they would give him second or third quality stuff now. On the bright side, he should have enough Ford trucks to haul it all on when that time comes.

Falcon 34

January 13th, 2011
1:06 pm

1) Buck stops at the top with Coach Richt. No more excuses about anything. Everything that goes on with the University of Georgia Football team stops at his door. He’s the one making almost $3 million dollars a year. He’s the one with the HC next to his name. Period. Take responsiblity for your football team and stop rationalizing that its OK to lose and get beat.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2011
1:06 pm

1. Fire Richt

schedule, schedule, schedule

January 13th, 2011
1:06 pm

We need to schedule more West Idaho States and fewer SEC opponents.

schmeckdawg

January 13th, 2011
1:08 pm

I think CMR has to win 10 games AND beat Florida to keep his job. I think the bowl loss really tightned the noose around his neck…at least IMHO.

Will

January 13th, 2011
1:09 pm

I think UGA should be a lock to win 9-10 games next year.
If you disagree, who do you think should be favored to beat Georgia?

We have the best returning quarterback in the SEC and have a boatload of red shirt highly recruited players waiting in the wings. Graham’s highly touted 3-4 defense will be in its second year and should be high powered.

We have a very favorable schedule. Auburn will be a 8-9 win team, Florida and Miss State much the same. Boise is losing half of its starters and, after all, is a mid-level team that we embarassed several years ago in Athens. South Carolina is the only team on our schedule that should be better than us but we have them between the hedges.

I begin each year assuming UF will beat us because they always do. I’ll add USC to the loss column and would guess one the following three – Auburn, Tennessee or MSU will get us. That’s nine wins at the very least.

If Coach Richt cannot win nine games next year, I think he will resign.

Falcon 34

January 13th, 2011
1:11 pm

2) Accountability in terms of discipline. This random discipine consequences has got end. Kick some kids off the team, while giving others 15 chances to redeem themselves. It’s an honor to playu for the University of Georgia and if you don’t take pride in it because you’re too self-absorbed and narcisstic because you’re “better” than the team, take it somewhere else and give me plenty of 3 star recruits who won’t get outworked and know its a priveledge to play for UGA. Many of the players simply don’t respect him or playing for the University of Georgia. Gone are the days of having guys like Pollack, Greene, and Shockley.

todd

January 13th, 2011
1:12 pm

They also need to put some weight on that O-LINE also. From the looks of Stacy Searels he needs to be feeding the O-Line instead of coaching it. As far as Bobo I still dont know what would improve him as far as coaching short of a brain transplant or lobotomy.

UGAX

January 13th, 2011
1:13 pm

Will-

Every year we have more talent than anyone in the SEC, yet every year we seem to fall short of our goal (with one exception). We have become the OLE MISS and KENTUCKY of the SEC. We haven’t beaten anyone in a long time. Other than our annual beatdown of Georgia Tech, who have we beaten lately?.

mambo

January 13th, 2011
1:14 pm

There are no fixes except getting a new head coach. The program under Mark Richt is dead.

NC Dawg

January 13th, 2011
1:15 pm

Who will be the next coach if Richt resigns/is fired?

Cali Dawg

January 13th, 2011
1:15 pm

Even though I follow the team vigirously from 3000 miles away, I can tell you Ga Football has become largely irrelevant nationally. It’s a shame, for such a well resourced program.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2011
1:15 pm

If he loses to another first year Florida coach then he should be fired before he leaves Jacksonville.

UGAX

January 13th, 2011
1:15 pm

Todd- My point exactly. Have you seen our assisant coaches- most are extremely overweight and appear to be out of shape- fat paychecks and no accountability will do that!! Except for Bobo, whom I hear maintains a healthy liquid diet, our Assistact Coaches need to go on Jenny Craig diet plan.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2011
1:16 pm

UGAX

January 13th, 2011
1:18 pm

Bob Stoops – you heard it hear first. He wins the NC next year at Oklahoma then moves on to AThens to reunite with his best bud, McGarity (from their Florida days together)…..

BOBO is a BOZO

January 13th, 2011
1:18 pm

You are the most out-of-touch columnist the AJC has. You were on Richt’s bandwagon all year, and for what reason? The UCF loss mattered more than not beating a winning team all season? Thanks of the obvious list, which a kindergartener could compile. YOU SHOULD BE ON THE HOTSEAT!

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2011
1:18 pm

…and I say Kirby Smart because of the following reasons:

(1) I am friends with one of Kirby’s best friends
(2) Kirby is the one taking all of our recruits
(3) We want someone defensive minded because our D is in the tank

I am not endorsing Kirby, just offer a small piece of perspective

It’s a valid point – if you fire Richt who do you get that you truly believe is better? Tough question…

A.H. Stone

January 13th, 2011
1:18 pm

Leadership sets the tone. Obviously there has been no leadership. Off field problems, thugs, assistant coaching turnover, play calling etc. Thank God basketball season arrived! Look what leadership did for the basketball team. Go DAWGS!

A Different Jim

January 13th, 2011
1:19 pm

Make CMR get a subscription to the AJC and have to read the sports section everyday until he wins the SEC East.

todd

January 13th, 2011
1:19 pm

NC Dawg, who cares since it appears they dont have one now. CMR is so far behind in studying SEC FOOTBALL that he is going to have to stay after school and go to summer school and try to catch up with everyone else.

Ceasar

January 13th, 2011
1:19 pm

Get rid of thr gangsta tgug music trashing Sanford Statium before the game. Put the redcoat Band to good use. Play DIXIE!!!!

JB

January 13th, 2011
1:19 pm

1. Get tough and in shape
2. Have a contest for any woman in the stands who wins will call the plays for an improvement over Bobo
3. Hire the OL coach from say Brookwood high for instant better results
4. Don’t give up when getting the ball back with 1:37 left to go in the half and run three times and punt……….AND GIVE THEM THE BALL BACK WITH 38 SECONDS LEFT.
5. Play to win, not to lose.
6. Have someone with a pulse jack them up before a game.
7. ADD say 10 plays to our offense to double our playbook.
8. Let younger, better players play
9. Put TWO LB’s in the middle and have them spy the QB&RB to stop those 10-15 yard gains up the middle.
10. Send me a check for all this…..LOL

UGAX

January 13th, 2011
1:20 pm

I’ll take Smart, Stoops, or one of the P’s from Boise or TCU.

dawginduluth

January 13th, 2011
1:20 pm

No NC with Richt at UGA. Never.

Gator Man

January 13th, 2011
1:20 pm

Auburn 2 years coach NAT, Urban Florida 2 years Nat, NicK Ala 2 years NAT, and you idiots are asking this questions at UGA.
Then you wonder why your program sucks, ha, ha,

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2011
1:20 pm

So if AJ goes first then that means UGA produced the top draft pick in two of the last 3 drafts. Has a program ever wasted more talent than UGA?

Richt should be fired for that reason also…

C from Marietta

January 13th, 2011
1:21 pm

Imagine that another fire Coach Richt blog. Please write about something else. This is really lazy. Same blog over and over.

Dawg Fud

January 13th, 2011
1:22 pm

Richt had his shot in ‘02 and ‘07.

He blew it. He lost to a Ron Zook Florida in ‘02. In ‘07 we failed to score a TD at home versus South Carolina and lost.

Those were his two chances to make the title game and we wet the bed.

UGAX

January 13th, 2011
1:22 pm

Gator Man- you’re right UGA football has become the laughing stock of the SEC these days. That’s why a change is needed at the top- right now, not next year or the year after.

big root

January 13th, 2011
1:23 pm

I heard UGA was looking for an OC check our resume Chad Morris, Matt Campbell, Justin Fuente, Mick Mccall and STEVE AXMAN. Coach Richt give one of us a chance to help you keep your job