UGA’s Richt might face a bigger challenge now that he’s off the hot seat

UGADayLogoMark Richt, along with Mark Fox, will be making the rounds of alumni association gatherings starting April 18 in Rome. The UGA Days tour will hit Albany April 24, Columbus April 25, Macon May 8, Charlotte May 9, the Golden Isles May 15, Valdosta May 16, Birmingham May 22, Tampa May 24 and Atlanta July 23.

This time last year when Richt went out to meet the fans, he was widely considered to be on the “hot seat,” coming off a losing season and a dispiriting bowl performance. The talk was what a challenge Richt faced just to keep his job.

But, actually, I think Richt faces a bigger challenge this season than last.

Consider: Richt had the enormous goodwill generated by the Dream Team in his pocket a year ago and the realization on the part of most fans that Georgia faced tremendous odds in opening the season with Boise State and South Carolina, though the schedule looked pretty manageable after that.

As it played out, the fan optimism surrounding the arrival of Isaiah Crowell and Co. in Athens was enough for Richt to ride out the feared 0-2 start to the season. (It helped considerably that despite looking awful much of the time in the Georgia Dome against Boise, Georgia actually outplayed South Carolina, even in Steve Spurrier’s estimation, in losing a close one a week later.)

The 10-game winning streak that followed put the hot-seat talk on the back burner.

By season’s end, most fans I talked with felt good progress had been made, even if Crowell’s difficulties staying on the field put an end to thoughts of him as the second coming of Herschel.

Still, although most in the Bulldog Nation didn’t really expect the Dawgs to prevail over LSU in the SEC Championship, the return of the all-too-familiar fourth quarter collapse in the bowl against Michigan State left the fan base grumbling a bit.

A year ago when Mark Richt visited with fans, he was on the hot seat. (UGA Alumni Association)

A year ago when Mark Richt visited with fans, he was on the hot seat. (UGA Alumni Association)

Then came signing day, which saw Richt get a solid class of recruits — ranked fifth best in the nation by ESPN — but fall short in a few last-minute courtships, taking a bit of the luster off Georgia’s showing in the minds of some recruitniks.

Actually, the self-dubbed “Ring Team” with Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley and John Theus has just as much potential as the previous year’s signing class, but they arrive in Athens amid a different atmosphere from a year ago.

Much more is expected of the 2012 Georgia Bulldogs, who return a host of starters, including most of last season’s fifth-ranked defense. Early on there was talk that Georgia might start the season as a Top 5 team, though that early optimism might end up being tempered somewhat by the fact that the Dawgs will open SEC play at Missouri with most of the starting secondary suspended.

And then there’s the issue of attrition, which some see as a big deal, though it appears to me to be pretty much business as usual for Georgia and SEC schools in general. Last year also saw some players getting “off the bus” to transfer elsewhere for various reasons and a handful of others shown the door because they couldn’t get in step with what Richt believes is the Georgia Way.

But even when the tailback corps was decimated by transfers last year, there was still that Dream Team fervor to counter it. This year the problems Georgia will face fielding an experienced secondary against Mizzou’s James Franklin seem to loom a bit larger in many people’s minds.

And with Georgia expected by many to win the SEC East, the stakes are just as high, if not higher, for Richt this season than when his job was believed to be on the line. As we’ve already discussed here, winning the SEC East a second year only to lose again to the West team in the Dome and wind up in another non-BCS bowl would be seen by many as underachieving or, at best, standing pat.

The last time a Richt team entered a season with lofty expectations placed on them — remember the preseason No. 1 in in 2008? — the Dawgs came a cropper, starting a slide that didn’t begin to turn around until that 10-game run last year.

Richt definitely doesn’t want to see that happen again. So with all those expectations and this year’s schedule even more favorable, Georgia’s head coach might wind up feeling more pressure now that he’s off the hot seat than when he was on it.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

362 comments Add your comment

Atlanta87

April 4th, 2012
12:12 pm

You heard, you heard heard what the man said.

AltamahaDawg

April 4th, 2012
12:14 pm

Nothing “so called” about that troll.

DawginLex

April 4th, 2012
12:17 pm

GTBob

boy are you easy to debate

From 2001-2005, FSU lost 20 football games

It took them from 1986-2000 to lose that many games

1987-2000 in FSU annals is called the dynasty.

There is no mention of anything good regarding FSU football from 2001-2010

Winning the ACC? Not much of an accomplishment. Tech did it in 2009 and we saw how that turned out.

Lakedawg

April 4th, 2012
12:17 pm

AMEN—-west ga dawg

78Dawg

April 4th, 2012
12:22 pm

I’d rather play with good character 3-star players than stupid ignorant 5-star recruits…IC and a few others are a disgrace to the University….

Buckeye

April 4th, 2012
12:32 pm

Another typical dog blog. Many words that say so little.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
12:38 pm

Yes Yes that is the Ticket. If UGa didn’t care about potheads on the team them they would be winning national Championships too.

harold

April 4th, 2012
12:58 pm

GLAD TO HEAR THAT UGA FANS ARE HAPPY WITH A 24-16 COACH OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS.

RICHT IS AN ABOVE AVERAGE COACH AT BEST!

this dawg want hunt!!

April 4th, 2012
12:59 pm

Will someone please tell me exactly what is the Georgia Way that Richt keeps talking about? Sounds to me like it means smoking pot, not playing up to your potential, not having the desire to win big games, not being competitive against quality competition, being coached by below average assistant coaches and position coaches. And the biggest Georgia Way starts at the top with a head coach that hasn’t got a clue how to evaluate high school players or assistant coaches. The biggest thing THE GEORGIA WAY stands for is not being held accountable as a player and as a coach. I think THE GEORGIA WAY sucks, and we need to dump the idiot head coach that keeps running his big mouth about it.

AltamahaDawg

April 4th, 2012
1:19 pm

Why don’t you just ask him?

AltamahaDawg

April 4th, 2012
1:22 pm

A Dozen personal appearances. One in your town I am sure. Phone, mail address, email, all listed for public reference.

What’s the hole up?

Big dummy

April 4th, 2012
1:24 pm

2011 : We beat 1 ranked team, lost to a mountain west team, lost to a big ten (or whatever it is now)team, barely beat the worst UF team we have seen in many years, barely beat Vandy, lost to a SC team that didnt have half of the talent we suposedly had and got KILLED in the SECCG. We have got to realize Richt is an average coach but happens to be in one of the most talent rich states in the nation. Its being handed to him and he still cant do anything with it.

dont get it

April 4th, 2012
1:35 pm

Well said Harold and Big dummy. Great man but an average football coach.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
1:50 pm

http://blogs.ajc.com/business-beat/2012/04/04/are-you-willing-to-pay-for-online-news/?cp=1#comment-48925

If this happens the Writers better get better and put out more articles. Also the Writers can’t be allowed to Ban any posters.

HardTruth Soldier For Life

April 4th, 2012
2:01 pm

Roll Tide, Yeah thats all well and good you sign these BIG GUYS, with 4 & 5 stars, but if you can’t coach them up then what? Do you know how many 5 star guys are waiting behind some three star guy? Coachability is more important than size. Oh and btw were did texas finish last year? Behind Georgia for sure.

typical uga-holic

April 4th, 2012
2:04 pm

If EA sports could simulate a game between the 1980 National Champion GEORGIA BULLDAWGS and the 1986 Chicago Bears, how many points do you think the dawgs would be favored by?………..i’m guessing by at least a touchdown, maybe as many as 9 and a half…….would love to see Herschel running over Singletary and that 46 defense…….and no way Walter Payton gets to 50 yds. vs that junkyard d…….Erk and his dawgs would just smother Chicago……

delusional uga-holic sponsor

April 4th, 2012
2:06 pm

see what i mean….sad really…..get help guys…..its out there, you just gotta ask……

typical uga-holic

April 4th, 2012
2:11 pm

Bama has a statue of the Bear and Saban. Why don’t we have a statue of Dooley and Coach Richt. Our two surely trumps those Bama losers.

DawginLex

April 4th, 2012
2:12 pm

uga holic-TROLL BOY

The only thing sad on here is you

typical uga-holic

April 4th, 2012
2:15 pm

If Coach Richt and Coach Grantham got into a tag-team match against any of the old Mid-South Wrestling tag-team champions in their prime, I’d go with our coaches to win any match rather easily. Go dawgs!!

ElvinBishopBand

April 4th, 2012
2:34 pm

I bet Mark will be glad when spring drills are done. Spending all his time on football must be a struggle.

typical uga-holic

April 4th, 2012
2:41 pm

Is it true that all the major television networks are asking UGA to move the “G” day game to prime time, so they reap all the ad space $$$ that would generate? GO DAWGS!!!

JB

April 4th, 2012
3:08 pm

11 years. 2nd most profitable D1 program in the country. 5th richest D1 talent in the country year after year available…………And yet , here we sit. Fla won 2, LSU won 2, Alabama won 2, Auburn has won it. And we lose the last 2 bowl games. Haven’t beat a good football team in 3 years. Players leaving the program for all kind of reasons in record numbers. Can’t fill out the numbers and leads the league in walk on scholarships being awarded, players who never see the field and allow depth……………………………….And the man gets a raise and a extension……I don’t get it.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
3:16 pm

JB UGa is NOT the 2nd most PROFITABLE program. You need to find that link. UGa isn’t even the 5th most profitable in the SEC.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
3:20 pm

Mobile Dawg

April 4th, 2012
3:48 pm

meebo sounds like one of those words Foxworthy would use in a sentence. I’m gonna go huntin with meebo. Well, I did only score 3 on the wonderlic test.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
3:50 pm

Mobile….you would be an honor grad at all the Special Education Conference schools except Vandy & Florida then.

dawginduluth

April 4th, 2012
3:57 pm

Playing for mediocrity the next five years. All that money going to waste.

Insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Mobile Dawg

April 4th, 2012
4:20 pm

Appreciate the compliment. Lakedawg, my Kool Aid investment is paying off big today.

Newnandawg

April 4th, 2012
4:24 pm

It kills me to see Richt supporters pointing out 8-4 type seasons with no wins over any quality opponents as “success”. Our last game was a LOSS to a Big Ten team.

This is UGA, not Miss State or South Carolina, we don’t have to accept that.

We’re the richest SEC football program, in the second best state in the SEC for talent, and we have to hope that Tennessee and Florida are “down” to have a shot at the SEC East. Weak….

DawginLex

April 4th, 2012
4:30 pm

Newnan

We go 8-4 this year, I want Richt gone

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
4:33 pm

Newnandwag UGa is not the richest SEC football team. You people hear something and just repeat it without researching it.

http://businessofcollegesports.com/2012/03/21/highest-net-income-amongst-athletics-departments/

School Athletic Department Net Income Conference
Alabama $31,684,872.00 SEC
Penn State $31,619,687.00 Big Ten
Michigan $26,649,499.00 Big Ten
Texas $24,317,815.00 Big 12
Kansas State $23,395,408.00 Big 12
Notre Dame $19,147,710.00 Big East
Ohio State $18,630,964.00 Big Ten
Oregon $16,433,642.00 Pac-12
Oklahoma State $14,365,376.00 Big 12
Michigan State $13,512,269.00 Big Ten
Arkansas $11,285,623.00 SEC
LSU $10,401,982.00 SEC
Florida $10,056,601.00 SEC
Georgia $9,575,569.00 SEC

Newnandawg

April 4th, 2012
4:33 pm

Richt has had 11 years to try and make that Florida State cute offense work in the SEC. It doesn’t.

We’ll get to watch another 3 or 4 years of “He’s turning it around” though.

dont get it

April 4th, 2012
4:34 pm

Glad to see so many folks coming around. Richt is NOT the answer. Great man – average coach. In the SEC average dont cut it.

AltamahaDawg

April 4th, 2012
4:36 pm

Did you folks just find out Richt was going to coach the Georgia Football team this next season? What on earth twisted so many panties today?

Lakedawg

April 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

Bammer trollers and whiners definitely in control of a Dawg column today. Must have all the the Statues polished of bear and the midget.

Believe they have the fear of whats coming with Foster moving to Sandy Creek HS and knowing that again this year they will not be playing in SEC championship game.

As for whiners probably never bought a ticket or contributed anything to program, but can go on Bill’s Dawg blog and show their envy and fear of CMR. So whine all you want true Dawg fans will be behind team, Moble you can drop Dawg anytime, good riddance. Bammer troll anyway.

DawginLex

April 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

alt

My stance has not changed. I support him but I have high expectations

Really does not matter what any of us think unless we make up more than 50% of Hartman fund $$$

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
4:39 pm

I guess AltamahaDawg more of the dWag fans are no longer as Drunk & Stoned as they once were.

Newnandawg

April 4th, 2012
4:42 pm

Still@theKool-aidBAR, you do understand that there is a difference in an “Athletic Department” and a “Football Program”, right? See below:

Football Profit
1 Univ. of Georgia $52,529,885.00
2 Univ. of Florida $44,258,193.00
3 Louisiana State Univ. $43,253,286.00
4 Univ. of Alabama $40,766,391.00
5 Univ. of Tennessee $39,236,601.00
6 Auburn Univ. $38,251,007.00
7 Univ. of South Carolina $35,471,948.00
8 Univ. of Arkansas $26,519,140.00
9 Univ. of Kentucky $17,984,848.00
10 Univ. of Mississippi $16,489,264
11 Mississippi State Univ. $4,600,178.00
12 Vanderbilt Univ. $0.00

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sportsmoney/2011/01/26/whos-making-money-in-sec-football/

No excuse for UGA to never be able to compete with top teams.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

Football drives the WHOLE Athletic Dept. UGa is not richer than 4 other SEC school alone. PROFIT matters not income generated. UGa doesn’t have that much to play with because of other financial commitments. Of the $52 mill there is ONLY $9.2 to use.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
4:48 pm

$9.2 mill to use on other things. UGa has committed most of the $52 to things. The Question is if that money is being spent well for Football?

AltamahaDawg

April 4th, 2012
4:51 pm

Lex, obviously that would not have been adressed to you.

Although I think it does matter what folks think. And they don’t have to buy a right to say it. They should state it. But then move on. As we are reminded, the definition of insanity: Pretending that complaining in a blog makes a real difference but knowing it doesn’t, then repeating it over and over and over ad naseum. My problem is not so much with the opinions, as much as the irrational behavior. Just so worn out and boring at this point to watch grown men, playing “oh let’s pretend.”

Newnandawg

April 4th, 2012
4:51 pm

Still@theKool-aidBAR You’re not a math guy, are you?

Lakedawg

April 4th, 2012
4:56 pm

Stiil at bar–Son you had one to many Bammer ranks 7th net profit football program 2011-2012

1-Texas——$68,831M
2-Georgia—$52,530M
3-PSU
4-Mich
5-Fla
6-LSU
7-Bammer–$40,767M

DawginLex

April 4th, 2012
5:01 pm

agree 100% alt

Dare I say it??

Has Bulldawg been banned?

Nah, probably not.

It’s not 4 am…………

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
5:01 pm

Lake they have MISUSED the term Profit. I showed the link from 10-11 to NET PROFIT. Read the Article.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
5:05 pm

LAKE as we know Football and basketball drive Athletic Budgets. The money they make has to be spent on the other sports and on as many WOMEN’S Sports. Football make $52 million profit but most of the money is already allocated to pay for other sports coaches and facilities. The TRUE indication of a Program is Net Profit of the PROGRAM not just baseball, golf, or football.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
5:07 pm

DiLex BuLldawg is also 13-1 & Thomas Brown. I don’t think so but BuLLdawg might be A Father too.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 4th, 2012
5:09 pm

Lake I don’t know how you can have numbers for 11-12 considering we are in April 12 right now. I gave the latest # I could find the was 11 season.

AltamahaDawg

April 4th, 2012
5:19 pm

Cut Mobile Dawg some slack. It is most definitely a different situation to be a (blank) fan and live in the middle of the (other blank) fans. I’ve known quite a few fans of other schools that live here and if thier team losses, they are brutal. Way Worse than how we would rag on them about losing. I would call it a ‘let me beat you to the punch’ deal. Living here in the middle of Dawg Country, we do get some buffer when things don’t go well, because we can commiserate.