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.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

157 comments Add your comment

Bryan G.

June 1st, 2011
1:32 pm

I have a lot of respect for Richt as a person.

I hope we win with him as our coach – I really do.

But if we’re irrelevant again for the 3rd straight year in October, it’s time to go.

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
1:36 pm

Agreed Bryan G

Bill

June 1st, 2011
1:52 pm

Most all Coaches have a heart for their players. All coaches have story like that (someone’s life that has been touched) by them are vice-ver … Most all coaches love and respect there players. I don’t give a blank what others think.

Barry

June 1st, 2011
2:08 pm

Amen, Bill!!! I for one am very glad UGA has a coach to represent the university like that. I have my disagreements with his football decisions sometime, but I would way rather have him thatn 99% of the coaches in college football.

Dawg39

June 1st, 2011
2:09 pm

First I agree with everyone about what a great person our coach is. Makes me proud to be a BullDawg.
Where we disagree is: I believe that Richt is the best football coach the Dawgs have had in my lifetime & i have been a loyal Dawg Fan since Coach Butts was the HC. Still proud to be a BullDawg.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 1st, 2011
2:25 pm

The stat line Murray needs to try and replicate is the one against UT last season. That is where he probably can be if not this year but certainly by his Sr. year, he is that talented. Aaron Rodger like is I am so bold.

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 1st, 2011
2:28 pm

I guess I am old school because I believe that CMR is the right coach for the job and I believe he should be an inspiration to his players like he is. I would much rather play or be part of a team where I knew I could trust the coach to be also concerned about my life after football, and know he is interested in me as a person also. My military career took it’s toll on my health to a certain extent but I am sure of a few things. Honor, respect for your fellow human being, pride in your country, and dedication to your job, were traits that were taught, and I never regretted my time in the service. In a way, CMR is the type of leader these kids need and can trust. The same as a lot of my leaders in the service were. If not, I probably wouldn’t have followed or trusted them. Certainly not, when it came to a decision of putting my own life at risk to accomplish the mission.
If Football is so important that it trumps, integrity, then this country really has gone down hill. I can rest assured and be darn proud that at UGA, at least it is not short of the things that matter in life. If that means we don’t win the MNC every year or ever, I will still be proud of the way, CMR goes about his business.

GO DAWGS

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 1st, 2011
2:31 pm

Also as a person UGA fans love CMR. It is when you have Meyer in his 2nd season win a NT, Saban in his 2nd year win a NT, Miles who has won 2 NT! Chizik in his 2nd year win a NT. It is the immediate success of so many while CMR is now not even reaching moderate goals.

CMR would never lose the job if it was rewarded on being a damn good man, but unfortunately it is often deceided on a what have you done for me lately society, and frankly CMR does not have much to stand on in that category. I hope it changes as I do like the way he represents the University.

DawginLex

June 1st, 2011
2:39 pm

Meyer won because of Tebow. Florida won’t win another one for a long time. No Timmy=No Title. That’s why Meyer kissed him all the time.

It wasn’t the spread. It was Timmy. He saved Leak’s butt time and time again then did it all himself in 2008. Plus they had a monster defense.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 1st, 2011
2:41 pm

It doesnt matter as to how he won it. It is the fact that he won it and with a rapid speed, as Saban, as Chizik, as Miles. Hell if recruiting Tebow would have gave UGA a NT sign me up. Tebow was a helluva football player.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
2:46 pm

7576DAWG

Also a good point. You can do the right thing for a kid and still do what is right for the program. I feel this way about other aspects as well. Say what you want about the Howard Schnellenberger’s, Jimmy Johnson’s, and Barry Switzer’s: but those guys knew how to win championships. Clearly they were doing some things right! You can still learn from them! You take the positives and disregard the negatives.

decisiveleader7

June 1st, 2011
2:52 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://GoGetBids.com

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
2:54 pm

@DawginLex

I have to disagree with you about Tebow doing it all by himself in 2008. The Gators had a great array of talent on offense & defense: Tebow, Percy Harvin,Louis Murphy,Riley Cooper, Aaron Hernadez, Joe Haden, Brandon Spikes, the Pouncey twins etc. Meyer also had great coordinators in Dan Mullen and Charlies Strong. That team was anything but a one man show. In fact if anything, it was the defense that carried that team. I think they were like +22 in turnovers or something crazy like that. As much as I hate to say it, that 2008 Florida Gator team was one of the best National Title teams I have seen in the last 15-20 years.

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 1st, 2011
2:56 pm

UGAclassof2004,

Please tell me you do not think Jimmy Johnson was a people person, and cared a darn about his players. I may be getting old but I know that is a dream at best. He was a win at all cost coach in the NCAA and in the pros.
The other two were winners, and I think Howard was a decent man. Barry would cheat in a minute if he thought he could get away with it.

CHARLOTTE DAWG

June 1st, 2011
3:05 pm

I read the article but didn’t have time to read the comments. All I’ll say it this:

I find this article irritating. It is irritating b/c it is true: Richt does rule with his heart. And the consequences? Less hardware in the trophy case.

This guy is trying to be an honest man in a den of thieves ya’ll! And it is not working! He is up against ruthless, heartless machines that will stop at nothing to win…and guess what? They do! They win and they win big! Saban, Meyer, Cheez*ick…those are the guys that win championships b/c they have no soul.

That is unfortunately what it takes. And that is why Richt will not be in Athens this time next year.

Just look at our O-line issue! That can be directly blamed on Richt’s heart and morales as he stuck with two “blue-chip” lineman after devastating HS injuries…so what’s the result? THEY ARE STILL DEAD WEIGHT FOR US AND NOW WE ARE SO FREAKING THIN THAT THEY ARE LISTED AS #2′S IN THEIR POSITION AS GIMPS ON THE DEPTH CHART!

Richt is just too nice for this conference guys!

Mr. Dawg

June 1st, 2011
3:13 pm

I wonder if fans and supporters of Ohio State and Southern Cal consider the success they had in the last decade worth the trouble they find themselve in now. As a true Bulldog fan I’ll take Mark Richt and his record both on and off the field over that every day.

dawg85

June 1st, 2011
3:16 pm

I love the “11 other SEC teams are glad Richt will be back” comments. Best I can tell Florida fans are the only ones with a right to crow. Richt is 3-3 against LSU and has a winning record against EVERYBODY else.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
3:16 pm

@ Mr. Dawg:

“wonder if fans and supporters of Ohio State and Southern Cal consider the success they had in the last decade worth the trouble they find themselve in now.”

To answer your question: YES. I would venture to say %75 of these respective fan-bases are satisfied with how their programs performed over the last decade.

Ogeechee Dawg

June 1st, 2011
3:17 pm

Richt has earned the right to turn his program around after two years of decline.

He has brought in new coaches and changed strength and conditioning.

Our defense should be improved – which is huge.
I think we will be good at skill positions – and QB will be bery good.
That leaves our attention to the O-Line – which is the big question mark for this year’s team.

All in all – if we start off 2-0 – the confidence and momentum will help us in games against a much improved Tennessee and a tough Mississippi State team.

Florida is Florida – until we beat them – I can’t say much.

Auburn is losing a lot – but this and GT game are dangerous as well.

Ready to kick off – how about you!?

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
3:17 pm

@ Charlotte Dawg

Good point

Vince

June 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

Integrity———That’s how all of us will eventually be judged.

ugaclassof2004

June 1st, 2011
3:27 pm

Ogeechee Dawg

“Richt has earned the right to turn his program around after two years of decline.”

Wrong. Richt has earned ONE YEAR. That is it. Winning two conference titles 6 and 9 years ago does not buy you a lifetime pass!!! Richt is not Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno: he did not build the UGA brand!! This isn’t Vandy or Kentucky, where if you take a team to a bowl that is a successful season! This is UGA! The flagship university of the state! Only Braves baseball rivals UGA football in popularity! And you can’t keep putting a crap football team on the field. Richt goes belows 8 wins and he’s gone. He wins 8 games or more, and he earns another year.

S GA AU FAN

June 1st, 2011
3:31 pm

Please don’t throw Chiz into the Saben, Nutt Spurier crowd. I don’t think he belongs there and if you read up on Shon Coleman you wouldn’t either.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/01/three_in_auburns_2011_recruiti.html

coloradobulldog

June 1st, 2011
3:34 pm

Ask OSU or USC today if winning at all costs was worth it? Ask Auburn in a couple of years when their Championship is vacated?

hENNIK

June 1st, 2011
3:35 pm

AGREE WITH ALL HERE

RICHT NEEDS TO GET IN STEP WITH SEC AND DO EVERYTHING WITHIN RULES POSSIBLE TO GET GUYS TO COMPETE.

AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T BREAK RULES, NO PROBLEM.

solja

June 1st, 2011
3:55 pm

This blogger is constantly writing “feel good” stories about THuga and The Saint of Athens, GA. That’s because yall are LOSERS! Haa haaaa haaa Can’t find nothin’ else to say or write about…LOSERS!!! haa ha haaah aaaaa

OrlandoDawg1985

June 1st, 2011
4:03 pm

I don’t think there is another coach in the SEC that would have done that for the kid. It just shows the type of person CMR is. I am proud to have that type of person as head coach of the football team I love. It is a very cut throat business out there and any competitive advatage a coach can find, they will use. No matter what… This is not true of CMR. He does the right thing, not some of the time, ALL of the time. This is why we don’t have to worry about something like the whole tOSU scandle happening at our beloved university. And people want CMR’s head because of two down seasons. We are lucky to have him as head coach, and I pray every day that we have a good season so we will keep him. I want to win a NC just as much as the next guy, but I would rather win a NC and be able to keep it, rather than have it stripped away 7 years down the road because we won the NC with ineligable players. I believe that we will win a NC with CMR. Our time is coming!

trupert

June 1st, 2011
4:07 pm

Chizik oversigns just as much as Saban does. Chizik is only surpassed by the Nut when it comes to the dirty practice, but who could expect anything less.

Dawglasville

June 1st, 2011
4:08 pm

solja – You make a racist remark about football players by calling them thugs. You make fun of a man for living his Christian views. You make a blanket statement referring to all UGA fans as losers. Then you laugh at your own insults like you’ve typed the funniest thing in the world. Maybe you have an eye for losers or some special insight.

RGB

June 1st, 2011
4:10 pm

If Richt deserves credit for keeping Hollis with the idea of “doing right” by him, then he deserves heat for not keeping the other players on a tight leash. He does the “student athletes” no favors when they get arrested with no meaningful consequences. Withholding discipline to players who need it does not constitute “doing right” by them. Only when his job is on the line does Richt seem to have an interest in holding the number of arrests down.

If keeping someone on scholarship who will never play for you means that you are unable to add a much needed player to the team, then you are effectively penalizing every other player on the team for the sake of one player. I wouldn’t want to penalize my teammates if I couldn’t pull my load. Perhaps an alumni group could fund players who washed out medically if it were kosher with the NCAA.

Competition in the SEC is so tight that one player could make the difference.

SSIgator

June 1st, 2011
4:21 pm

Good Lord Bill. The next time you feature a story like this are you going to have choir music in the background with pictures of Richt dragging a cross with a robe on? The man is supposed to be a football coach. At $3,000,000 a year a very well paid one indeed. All these feel good stories are not going to save his rear end, but yet the KoolAid machine keeps humming along.

Overall picture

June 1st, 2011
4:24 pm

Top 10 final AP rankings in SEC since 2001
LSU 5
UGA 5
florida 4
Auburn 3
Alabama 4

Dogz

June 1st, 2011
4:30 pm

UGA class of 2004,i hope one day when you need medical attention your employer kicks you to the curb. Of course that is if you even have a job, Mark did the right thing by keeping his commimnet to Hollis.Of course your to young and dumb to understand there is more to life than winning every footballgame. Maybe one day when you have kids you will understand that son! For now get back in that ditch and keep digging until its time to punch the time clock.

Overall picture

June 1st, 2011
4:33 pm

Oops should’ve read years finished in the top 10 AP final rankings since 2001.

S GA AU FAN

June 1st, 2011
4:37 pm

@trupert

We have 74 players on the team and one of those has cancer, please tell me how you can claim Chizik oversigns??

http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/2011/03/27/now-we-know-why-tommy-tuberville-oversigned-every-year/

Overall picture

June 1st, 2011
4:37 pm

Forgot Tenn finished 4th in 2001, that gives them 1 over the past 10 years

Dawglasville

June 1st, 2011
4:40 pm

SSIgator – What I believe Bill is saying, like most of us on here today, is that we are very happy with the man we have coaching our team. Most of us care about the univerity and the kids who represent it. My life isn’t going to change whether my team wins a national championship or not. Most of us would rather pull for Hank Aaron than Barry Bonds.

AltamahaDawg

June 1st, 2011
4:50 pm

I think those kind of decisions just have to come down to the man making them. I’m not so convinced that Saban wouldn’t have done the right thing with Hollis. Maybe, maybe not. No doubt there are coaches out there that are far worse People than Nick Saban. It’s not so much , not doing the right thing, as it is defining what the right thing to do is. Everybody doesn’t always agree on that. I AM certain what Richt would have done, so that’s all that really matters to me.

This is not nearly as big of an ethics question as it is being made out to be. Maybe it should be , but that’s not really the driving force. Slive it taking this up to protect the SEC from the bad PR. Had this never made the national news, we wouldn’t be nearly as familiar with all these terms right now.

Chi Town

June 1st, 2011
4:50 pm

Respect Saban.

Evansdawg

June 1st, 2011
4:53 pm

Saban would have cut Hollis out like a gimpy old horse. He would just assume shoot him to put him out of his misery than risk a spot on his roster. Richt cares about the person as much as the game.

gt4ever

June 1st, 2011
4:53 pm

He has a Good heart, but has NO discipline…. His players are eating him alive….

AltamahaDawg

June 1st, 2011
4:56 pm

I’m sorry, I thought we had a topic here. I commented before reading above to discover this was going to be one more boring as hell worn discussion about firing coaching in the middle ofMay, I mean June.

Maybe sometime around the the 3rd week of August we can stop all the whining about last year and talk about the football team. I look forward to that.

AltamahaDawg

June 1st, 2011
5:03 pm

I completely agree with You Bill, on the topic, though. Roster management is NOT the issue, and I do think that in most cases recruits know what is happening.

It IS the loopholes (in everything) that is the problem. They are by definition an inadequacy in a laws or rules. Everybody should agree to the closing of these, while leaving the numbers (28) flexible enough to cover legit situations.

Close the loopholes, move on, everybody is even, everybody is happy. Nobody in the WSJ looking like a creep.

Hello doginbluegrass country

June 1st, 2011
5:05 pm

Rickt does not need a cellphone to talk to talk to the Lord, he uses knee mail!

get the picture

June 1st, 2011
5:35 pm

GT4ever get real! A Gt fan posting on a UGA/SEC blog , 15 wins over UGA the past 5.5 decades, Go to a Duke board , perhaps you would be taken seriously.

Darius

June 1st, 2011
6:03 pm

I’m sure Ealey, Dowtin, Gray & Mettenberger will be glad to know Richt has a heart.

bgdawgfan

June 1st, 2011
7:25 pm

What happened to everybody saying “Richt is too nice” We have a world class coach. I don’t care what the record is, it would be a mistake to fire him. GO DAWGS TIL I DIE!!!

CHARLOTTE DAWG

June 1st, 2011
7:52 pm

Ummm, I’m still here saying he’s too nice! You weanies putting ethics over wins disgust me. If that’s how you feel, don’t you dare come on here complaining about the play calling, this and that, etc. DON’T. Just sit back and say “La de freaking da….what a beautiful day it is and I don’t care if we got beat by Florida nor if we are now irrelevant.”

The SEC is a ruthless place and you have to put winning as a priority. And we don’t. That’s why our neigbors to the North, South, East, and West reel in championships while we sit back saying we’ll be better off judgement day.

TIRED OF THAT! TIRED OF LOSING. It is all about winning folks and our enemies have coaches that realize that and are as slimy as possible to get results.

Yet we sit back doing the right thing. Demand better Dawg fans! Richt is an honest man in a den of theives and it will be his downfall.

CHARLOTTE DAWG

June 1st, 2011
7:54 pm

And yes…..in case you are wondering..YES, I’d rather have a slim bucket like Nick Saban that gets me a championship than a nice guy that does the right thing but is hampered b/c of it. YES I SAID IT!

If that’s what it takes, BRING IT THE F ON! Absolutely wish Saban or an equivalent was in Athens! I WANT TO WIN!

Think Spurrier would have stuck with Albert Hollis? Think Saban would have stuck with Benedict and Austin Long? NOPE! The put winning in front of being a good person. And their fans get to swagger on Saturday while we come on here Sunday morning crying and wondering why not us.

So you pansies just continue to sit back and take comfort that we do it by the rules…….and don’t get mad about the lack of success.

Get over it

June 1st, 2011
8:40 pm

Listen to All the whiners because once again Richt is asleep at the wheel in evaluating talent and has been outsmarted in managing his roster. Notice the ones whining are mostly the ones that haven’t won anything yet as in the National Championship. Blah Blah Blah.