Amid SEC numbers game, Richt lets his heart rule

I don’t pretend to understand all the nuances involved in SEC Commissioner Mike Slive’s attempt to come up with league legislation dealing with “roster management.”

I’ll admit, though, that my gut instinct is that anything Nick Saban, Houston Nutt and Gene Chizik howl about is probably a good idea.

And despite that howling, predominantly from the SEC’s wild West, I also have a feeling that Slive is enough of a politician that he wouldn’t have put the issue up for discussion if he wasn’t pretty sure the conference’s presidents will give him at least an approximation of what he wants.

I think Tennessee’s Derek Dooley’s stance might be indicative of what will come out of the conference gathering in Destin: The number of new signees each academic year might not be reduced from 28 to 25, but some of the loopholes being used by Steve Spurrier and others likely will be closed. As Dooley said, it’s not fair to the kids to let them enroll in summer school, see how they do in workouts, and then cut them before the season starts. And no matter what time of year a kid signs, he should count.

I like the position Mark Richt has staked out in all of this: There’s nothing wrong ethically with a coach telling a player there might not be room for him and that he might be asked to delay enrolling until January — the practice known as grayshirting — as long as it’s done up front, before the player signs.

But, as Richt said, “if you sign five over, and you get to the moment of truth, and you have to tell two or three kids that thought they were coming in with everyone else, and then all of a sudden you spring the news, all of a sudden there’s no room, you’ve gotta come in in January, I don’t think that’s right.”

Where roster management gets really hairy is in how some coaches appear to get creative in dealing with players being disqualified because of injuries. Some coaches have the reputation of using such disqualifications to run off players who haven’t met their expectations.

And then there’s Richt, who carried running back Albert Hollis on his active roster for a couple of years even though he knew the kid would never play for the Dogs. As the coach explained to The Athens Banner-Herald, if “you can still keep him on scholarship and you can help him get his degree and keep him in your program and have him help you coach or do something in strength or whatever to keep him where he’s part of the family still, he doesn’t feel like an outcast out there.”

With Hollis, Richt said, he could have medically disqualified him early on but “this guy’s got nerve damage, he’s got drop foot, he’s got some rehab ahead of him. I had to sit there and make a decision, what’s in the best interest of this kid. In my opinion the best interest in this kid was to keep him active in the 85. Once you DQ him, you can’t unDQ him two years later. He’s got at least a two year rehab. We felt like his best chance with rehab where he could walk again as normal as possible. He needed to have that carrot out in front of him where he might be able to play again one day.”

I won’t hazard a guess on whether Saban would have carried a kid who was never going to be able to play on his roster like that.

But I’m awfully glad UGA has a coach who did.

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

157 comments Add your comment

Hankie Aron

June 1st, 2011
10:57 am

Very true Bill nice job. Sad to say it but many coaches i.e Saban and others are very unethical but they continue getting away with this garbage

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
11:00 am

It all comes down to honesty and integrity and having character.

Our coach has it. He hasn’t won a BCS title yet but he is a winner in a bigger way.

In the end, he may never be successful in the world’s eyes but he is not striving for that. He is defined by his faith and being a husband and a father more so than being a coach.

I still have a feeling he has one last run left in him and he does not want to go out this way.

EDawg71

June 1st, 2011
11:02 am

Amen Bill! I really don’t think the Bulldawg Nation fully understands what we have in Coach Richt. Folks can slice it and dice it all they want, Richt is a man of integrity and heart and I’m glad he’s with us!

Hankie Aron

June 1st, 2011
11:03 am

I think he figures to go on antoher run. a BCS title isn’t out of the realm of possibility

Teasley51

June 1st, 2011
11:03 am

Amazing….But Richt is a good human being…he may not win the most games, but I am still proud he is our Bulldawg coach..

Inspector G

June 1st, 2011
11:08 am

I once saw Matthew Stafford bring a dead puppy back to life. A mean-gas guzzling SUV ran over it, Matt saw, ran over and waived his hand over the lifeless body and boom! That thing was back in action, although it still walks with a limp. The owner of the dog, a young pretty coed, decided to take Matt to Amici’s in Athens for some wings and buffalo chicken garcheemar to reward his awesomeness, which by all accounts was delicious.
-Inspector G

BigDawg

June 1st, 2011
11:12 am

Jim Tressel was honest, as are Spurious, Chitpile, Nuttcase and Satan!

solja

June 1st, 2011
11:14 am

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww…ain’t that cuuuuuuuute!!! Another touching tale of the Saint of Athens and his Godly ways. So pure….so much love….puuuuuuuke!! Get a real take on life!!

DCJohn

June 1st, 2011
11:15 am

As am I Bill. I also agree with Hankie Aron. I’d much rather win a title the right way, then the “All in” way. The way coach Richt runs his program, he will win one the right way with Georgia.

Dawglasville

June 1st, 2011
11:15 am

I want to jump in before all the 20 – 30 year olds get on here and say Richt is a loser because he hasn’t pulled out all stops to win the national title. If Richt loses his job after the South Carolina game or if he loses it 20 years from now, he will be better prepared in the big picture than 90% of us. I love the blogs so far.

GeoffDawg

June 1st, 2011
11:16 am

Coach Richt is a classy, classy guy. He may or may not be our coach two years from now but I’m proud of the time he’s spent with the program.

Dawglasville

June 1st, 2011
11:18 am

solja You have your take on life. Others have theirs. I sounds like your take on life has left with some anger issues. Don’t puke. It’s just a blog.

BigRedDAWG

June 1st, 2011
11:21 am

CMR is the only coach in the SEC with a heart so they should do something about signing to many players. If the Dawgs could just sign as many players as they wanted, they would win the National Championship every year because Georgia has the best high school football talent in the world (I know because I played in Cobb and was going play for the Dawgs but I blew out my knee my softmore season).

The fact is Georgia is the most elite program in the country and all of the high school talent would sign just for a change to play for the Dawgs.

Bo

June 1st, 2011
11:26 am

solja, Richt’s take on life is the real one. Don’t fall for the fool’s gold you see everyone one else showing off.

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
11:27 am

solja

June 1st, 2011
11:14 am
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww…ain’t that cuuuuuuuute!!! Another touching tale of the Saint of Athens and his Godly ways. So pure….so much love….puuuuuuuke!! Get a real take on life!!

******************************************************************

What is your real take on life?

I’ll hang up and listen.

Elk

June 1st, 2011
11:29 am

Richt needs to get off his high horse.

If it don’t break no rules, what’s the harm?

Do what the best teams in the SEC are doing, get in step with the times or be left behind.

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
11:31 am

Since when is doing the right thing and being able to sleep at night “being on the high horse”????

Crush

June 1st, 2011
11:31 am

Ya’ll are so lame. Saint Richt has spoken, let us rejoice! (until he starts out 0-2, then here come da pitchforks.)

Johnny DangerDawg

June 1st, 2011
11:36 am

great article, Bill.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
11:37 am

I agree with what Derek Dooley is saying. A lot of these coaches want honesty from these recruits, but that knife cuts both ways.Richt allowing Albert Hollis to stay was a nice gesture, but at the same time, I wouldn’t hold it against other coaches for letting him go. Scholarships are for people who can play. Allowing a guy like Hollis to stay not only takes a scholarship from a guy who can help your team win, but also takes it away from a kid who deserves it and really needs it. Richt’s subjectivity is admorable, but at the same time its his lack of objectivity in regards to his players and assistants that has hurt the program in recent years. You don’t want to leave these kids out in the snow, but at the same time where do you draw the line?

Tom

June 1st, 2011
11:40 am

Yet he’ll bring in kids who had no legit business even graduating high school and somehow keep them “eligible” *wink*wink* for a couple of seasons before realizing their performance ain’t worth the hassle and kicking them to the curb?

Dbalcer

June 1st, 2011
11:42 am

When we will a championship if Richt is still our coach we won’t have to worry about vacating the wins after investigation. Coach Richt is a great coach who understands winning the right way. I am sad that there are so many who believe in win at whatever cost. I hope UGA holds on to Coach Richt long term he is a winner.

1eyedJack

June 1st, 2011
11:42 am

Calculus class must be over.

Patsy

June 1st, 2011
12:12 pm

boise is rated about #5…are you gonna miss me when I’m gone?

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
12:14 pm

Georgia 34
Boise 20

Who will you whine to then?

UGAgrad95

June 1st, 2011
12:21 pm

The Dawgs will win they’re 6th National Championship WITH CMR in the next two years.

He is a great man and a great coach. Signing to many players is not the right thing to do unless you are upfront – I totally agree with CMR on this area.

Hey, BigRedDAWG...

June 1st, 2011
12:22 pm

…”softmore” season? You would have fit right in…now go back to Dairy Queen and make my Blizzard…

sprouse27

June 1st, 2011
12:24 pm

Nobody doubts he’s a Saint, the issue is winning football games. I’m sure he’s winning on God’s team, but God isn’t paying him $3 mil a year. UGA is and it would be nice to see those millions produce winning football teams.

Lorne

June 1st, 2011
12:31 pm

It’s like Richt’s still lost in a by gone era. This is the spread offense, NCAA legal to oversign players era. Richt seems like a coach determined to live like a dial tone phone in a cell phone world.

Bama fan

June 1st, 2011
12:34 pm

I won’t hazard a guess on whether Saban would have carried a kid who was never going to be able to play on his roster like that.

But I’m awfully glad UGA has a coach who did.- Bill King

No Bill. Saban wouldn’t have carried a young man who would never play again. Why should he? Its a heart warming story you tell about Richt keeping Hollis on the 85 man squad but there is a flip side to that. And that flip side is that by keeping a man on the 85 man squad who has no hope of ever playing again Richt was denying a roster spot for another young man who could have realized the dream of playing big time college football at a program like UGA. Is that fair?

As for motivating Hollis to rehab by keeping him on the roster so that he could one day walk again that’s nice but wouldn’t Hollis have rehabbed anyway? Wouldn’t anyone want to rehab if it means the difference between walking again and not walking? Wanting to walk again should be motivation enough and a big enough carrot for just about anybody.

Thirdly I don’t think that keeping the young man around on the roster really does anything for him as far as learning life’s lessons. His football life was over- that’s a fact. Life isn’t fair, especially in regard to injuries- just ask Tyrone Prothro, and Hollis would have been just as well off being moved to medical scholarship and dealing with the inevitable truth that football was over for him. Shielding him from this truth does him no favors.

Last in regards to Saban’s medical scholarships I can think of only 1 player at Bama who felt like he could have legitimately played and didn’t like being put on medical scholly. The young man had recurring shoulder problems throughout his career, he had barely played in scrub duty in 2 games, and basically had next to zero chance of getting into a game in his 5th season. Why not put him on medical? Why on earth risk the permanent health of a young man who had already graduated, who had a history of shoulder problems, and who was likely not to see the field. Why take the chance of yet again reinjuring that shoulder all over again in practice when the guy wasn’t going to play anyway? What sense does that make?

And btw this was his 5th year at Bama, the young man not only graduated but was allowed to stay I believe into a 6th year to finish his masters degree. After 4 years of eligibility there is no reason to carry and risk a practice injury to a player with a history of shoulder injuries who isn’t going to see the field anyway.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
12:42 pm

Good points Bama fan.

Outside looking in

June 1st, 2011
12:47 pm

sprouse27, 1 losing season, most wins as a coach at uga over his 1st 10 years. 2010 was a dismal year grow a pair and get over it.

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
12:47 pm

Lorne

June 1st, 2011
12:31 pm
It’s like Richt’s still lost in a by gone era. This is the spread offense, NCAA legal to oversign players era. Richt seems like a coach determined to live like a dial tone phone in a cell phone world.

Link Report this comment

********************************************************

Nah, Richt has a cell phone. Uses it to talk to God every day. Tressel/Spurrier/Cheatzik/Petrino have a “hot” line the other direction.

And I missed Bama running the spread 2 years ago to win the BCS title since this is the spread era.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
12:52 pm

@Outside looking in
I’d count that 2009 season as dismal too. That was quite possibly the worst 8-5 team I have ever seen. The only reason that team won 8 games was because of the talent, because it sure wasn’t the coaching. Back to back lousy seasons, and still the lovefeast for Richt. I just don’t get it.

jimmyjohn

June 1st, 2011
12:59 pm

I heard Richt was putting the team’s waterboy on scholarship next season. He said he helped the team by bringing them water and was a real nice guy, also they don’t need to waste it on any more linemen.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
12:59 pm

@ Lorne and DawginLex

I’d have to disagree that college football is in the “spread era” too. In fact if anything, teams are trending back towards the more traditional Pro-I formations in the NFL. Recruits feel like this will showcase their talents better to NFL scouts. Besides, “spread” is kind of a generic term kind of like calling Tech’s offense the “Triple Option”. There are “spread” passing attacks, and “spread” running attacks. The idea that teams need to convert to a “spread” running offense like Florida had under Urban Meyer isn’t accurate.

rabundawg

June 1st, 2011
1:03 pm

The Lord says your heart is deceitful above all else. Me thinks he followed his
Christian principle instead…

red&silver

June 1st, 2011
1:10 pm

Two lackluster seasons and, you guys call for the guy’s head to be put on a platter. Seriously, some of you guys are a bunch of cry babies!

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
1:16 pm

Richt has to win now.

He knows it.

All his staff knows it.

His players know it.

I would love for the defense to be good enough so we could play Dooley ball and run the ball 60-70% of the time. Have games with scores of 20-14 and the like.

Everyone is complaining about the o-line but the only problem there is depth. The first 7 guys are good. We have a 265 pound fullback and a line that averages 325! Run the ball and only make Aaron throw it 16-20 times per game.

Of course if we can’t stop anyone on 3rd down again, throw all that out the window.

4th and inches inside the UCF 5

June 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

This is the reason the rest of the SEC hopes Richt gets a lifetime contract.

7576DAWG

June 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

Unfortunately that type of chivalry doesn’t go very far when recruiting high school players. They are not going to care about how much integrity CMR has and they are not going to say “I have to come to Georgia because of that”. Now , a few have picked Georgia because of the way CMR conducts his liFe but only a few.
What happened to Hollis is terrible but he should have been changed to a MEDICAL SCHOLARSHIP, his situation is exactly what that particular scholarship is in existence for.That would have freed up one more scholarship , which could have been important.
I think sometime CMR’s values get in the way of very ethical and moral decisions that could have been handle with just as much integrity, ethics and moral but in a different way. THAT’S WHY I HOPE WITH THE HIRING OG MCGARITY THAT THIS TYPE OF DECISION ,CONCERNING HOLLIS, WILL BE OVER SEEN BY SOMEONE THAT ISN’T SO CLOSE TO THE PERSON ON A PERSONAL BASIS.

Gene Chizik

June 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

THIS IS GARBAGE!

Nick Saban

June 1st, 2011
1:25 pm

I will do whatever it takes to win. I don’t care if junior has a problem with me yanking his scholarship after a year or two.

Win at all costs!

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
1:26 pm

4th and inches inside the UCF 5

June 1st, 2011
1:22 pm
This is the reason the rest of the SEC hopes Richt gets a lifetime contract.

**************************************************************

Georgia 34
Boise 20

Georgia 17
SC 14

This is why we are going to take great delight in never hearing from you again after Richt makes you eat crow deep fried.

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

June 1st, 2011
1:28 pm

Bama Fan is quite correct that there is a flip side to keeping an Albert Hollis on scholarship for a couple of extra years. BF’s right that keeping Hollis on scholarship means some other deserving player is not on scholarship.

Having said that, there is a flip-flip side to the Hollis story as well. Albert’s experience at UGA shows Georgia recruits’ parents they are entrusting their sons to a decent man. If other coaches would have discarded an Albert Hollis like so much garbage, there but for the grace of God goes my son.

Not every potential Georgia recruits’ parents will find Richt’s approach appealiing, but many will. Those that won’t are free to send their sons to Auburn.

In the long run, it pays to be decent. Richt seems to have learned that lesson and seeks to live it.

Congratulations, too, to Bama Fan, for writing a sensible and readable seven paragraphs. Did you matriculate elsewhere?

The Joker

June 1st, 2011
1:29 pm

A lady called the UGA police to report a carjacking. They said they were too busy right now and for her to just get the jersey number and call back later.

Please, oh please!

June 1st, 2011
1:30 pm

“…the rest of the SEC hopes Richt gets a lifetime contract.”

That would make eleven other teams very happy. :-)

Outside looking in

June 1st, 2011
1:30 pm

4th and inches 1 team in SEC has winning record against Richt, Only LSU (with 3) has won more SEC titles since Richt took over the program in 2001. Ever played or coached football on a collegiate level ?

The Joker

June 1st, 2011
1:32 pm

Good one, DawginLex!

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
1:32 pm

4 Auburn football players in the back of a car.

Who is driving?

The cops!!!!!!!!!