Fan talk: SEC expansion, Richt’s contract, outdated offense and more!

Did Mark Richt get the contract terms he deserves? (Associated Press)

Did Mark Richt get the contract terms he deserves? (Associated Press)

It’s been a while since we’ve checked out the Junkyard Mail, so let’s get right to some of your letters. …

Jackie Logan writes: So, Bill, if all this talk about Florida State and/or Clemson jumping to the Big 12 comes to pass, what do you think are the chances the SEC decides to expand again to 16 teams? And if so, who should the conference go after besides Virginia Tech?

I’m hoping the SEC doesn’t have to expand again, because I frankly don’t think even the addition of Virginia Tech to the conference would increase the TV revenue enough to make up for it having to be split 16 ways. You’re right, though, that the Hokies are the natural target for the SEC, should it come to that. In fact, I thought they would have been a better 14th team instead of Missouri. When it comes to a 16th team, if you take Clemson out of it (and, frankly, I think they’d be much more comfortable in the SEC than in the Big 12), the choices aren’t that great. Many observers figure that if FSU, Clemson and Virginia Tech were all departing the ACC would fall apart and the SEC likely would take the best of what’s left there. Matt Hayes of the Sporting News thinks the SEC would go after VaTech and North Carolina. While the Tarheels wouldn’t add much to the conference in terms of football, they certainly would be a major upgrade for the SEC in basketball. I’m not sure UNC would want to make that move, however, unless the ACC was completely falling apart.

Dodge Dawg writes: Bill, what did you make of the lack of a salary increase in Mark Richt’s new contract? And what’s up with the continuing delays in getting it hammered out?

Richt’s 10-win 2011 record, coming off a losing season, was good enough to get him off the hot seat and win him a contract extension, which was an absolute necessity for recruiting. But a year that saw the Dawgs lose to the four best teams they played wasn’t good enough for a ringing endorsement, which is what a pay-raise would have constituted. He got what was necessary, not an atta-boy. And if I had to hazard a guess about the “nitpick lawyering” that Michael Adams referred to as holding up the contract, I’d say it’s over the language of the buy-out clause, which Greg McGarity indicated will be adjusted. A buy-out clause is designed to make a coach think just a bit harder about leaving of his own volition. The higher the buy-out, the more the school wants to keep him. Frankly, I don’t see UGA agreeing to pay Richt any more than he was already guaranteed as a buyout. As for the doubling of the performance incentives McGarity mentioned, I think that’s mainly a PR ploy aimed at the Bulldog Nation, allowing UGA to say, “We’re not satisfied until we win championships.” I don’t think it’s really aimed at prodding Richt into doing better. This isn’t a man who seems driven by financial incentives. He gives money away to charity in huge chunks. He has paid staffers out of his own pocket when he thought the athletic association wasn’t fairly providing for them. And Richt already is a competitor. The idea that he’d try harder to win a championship just to double his incentive money is laughable.

Andrew Smith writes: Hey Bill, I just watched ESPN’s Top 20 Roundtable discussion of UGA. The defense was praised with mentions of Jarvis, Kwame, John, and Alec. The offensive line and Aaron Murray were praised for potential but had their consistency questioned. The “weak” schedule was mentioned as an opportunity to make a run. These were all topics that you and others have alluded to often; however, the major standout for me was the question of whether this talented group of Bulldawgs will get out of their own way. After years of paranoid Munson mantra filled the airwaves I can’t help but wonder will the initial suspensions be all there are? Is Crowell really a different guy, tough enough to handle more than one offensive series a quarter? Intrinsic attributes are key!

The “College Football Live” discussion of Georgia’s 2012 prospects, which can be seen here, was overall pretty much on the mark and fair. They noted all the returning starters, the stout defense, Aaron Murray’s experience and the soft schedule, but also discussed the challenge of rebuilding the offensive line and Murray’s tendency to struggle when he’s under pressure. David Pollack also brought up Georgia’s offense being “a little bit dated” at times and the need to play even more uptempo than last year. But you’re right, I think Mark Schlabach and Todd Blackledge touched on the major question about this Georgia team in the face of starters missing games on suspension because of various infractions: getting out of their own way. The Dawgs have shown an alarming tendency to shoot themselves in the foot in recent years. Blackledge also makes a good point that it’s time for Murray to step up and be the leader this team needs.

Suzanne Copeland writes: In reading about the UGA athletic board’s discussion this week of what to do about empty student seats at home football games, I was surprised to see talk of taking priority away from fifth-year seniors and giving it to freshmen. Why would they want to do that? Doesn’t seniority count for anything any more?

The idea is that freshmen, who in recent years haven’t been able to get tickets to all home games, are likely to be more enthusiastic about actually attending the games than upperclassmen. Plus, if you get them in the habit of attending games from the start of their days at UGA, perhaps they’ll be better about continuing to show up in future seasons than the current upperclassmen. Basically, though, I think the only real solution is to return to hard tickets, instead of electronic tickets on student ID cards, and remove restrictions from students reselling their tickets. Until that’s done, you’re going to continue to see empty seats in the student section.

A fan wishes Georgia would return to a road jersey like the one Herschel Walker wore in 1980. (Associated Press)

A fan wishes Georgia would return to a road jersey like the one Herschel Walker wore in 1980. (Associated Press)

Scott Cooper writes: Hey Bill. I have been trying to get people persuaded that the uniforms that we wore back in the ’80s were the best looking uniform in college football. What would it take for us to get back to this clean and classic look? It’s a pretty good look wouldn’t you agree? And a lotta good teams wore them. We are not far off. Just want those 3 stripes back on the shoulders. Can you pull some strings and get them back?

If I had those kind of strings, I’d probably pull them in some areas other than uniforms, but I agree that the white road jerseys from the Herschel Walker era have a more classic look than what Nike currently has the Dawgs wearing. Perhaps they’ll show up again if Georgia plays a road game against a team that wants to go “retro” for the day. I think that would be pretty cool.

Jeremiah Johnson writes: Always love the Blawg! I’ve been catching wind of [Alabama coach Nick] Saban engaging some of Georgia’s commits, first Brice Ramsey and now Derrick Henry. I won’t lie, I kind of like this. It says something about the status of the program I think. If we lose one, I’d be willing for it to be Derrick Henry because the backfield is beginning to look a bit full. Your thoughts? Also, what do you think of the new Durante hire?

Hmmm, I suppose taking pride in Saban trying to poach UGA’s commitments is sort of like a guy who gets a kick out of other men hitting on his wife. You’re right that it does show Georgia is going after blue-chip players. I have to disagree with you, though, about losing Henry to Bama. In the SEC, you can never have enough top running backs. As for Danna Durante replacing Jay Clark as coach of the Gym Dogs, I don’t think it’s a move that is likely to wow many folks in the gymnastics world. Most of her experience is at Nebraska, a middling program, and her one year as head coach at California didn’t go that well. So I’d rate this hire as a wait-and-see. She’s coming into a difficult situation, with the legendary Suzanne Yoculan’s success still looming over the program.

Haden Mullinax writes: Hello Bill, I know there is a lot of serious concern about injuries during kickoff returns in football at most levels. I was wondering if the kickoff was made a flag football play? The runners would still be able to show their talents as a returner and the defenders could also continue to go all out to remove that flag. I would hope that would take away the dangerous contact without taking away a very important and exciting aspect of football. I have tried to get this suggestion to CMR at UGA but have not had any success. I know he considering alternatives. I would welcome your thoughts on this.

I’ll say this for your idea, it’s the most unique suggestion about making kickoffs safer that I’ve run across. Honestly, though, if the concerns over injuries/concussions gets to the point where they’re seriously considering altering or doing away with kickoffs in college football, as Mark Richt would like to do, I think treating it like a touchback is a more likely consideration. As Richt put it last year when discussing kickoffs, “I would just place the ball at the 23-yard line or whatever the average has been.” But, Richt noted, he doesn’t think the kickoff is going away any time soon.

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

121 comments Add your comment

epic quibble

May 26th, 2012
10:56 am

clempson still sucks.

nobody

May 26th, 2012
11:02 am

just move the KO back to the 40 yard line….as “shooter” would say “that ought to do it”….as for the uniforms, I agree with Scott Cooper…and remove the shadows from around the numbers….too busy…Hershel’s era uniforms were classic, plain, simple….outstanding….look at Alabama….they impress by playing football, not by wearing different uniforms every game

Vinings Dawg

May 26th, 2012
11:02 am

Nice Blog Bill. I too agree with the ESPN overall view. We have a chance this year. Lets not blow it ourselves…

AugustaDawg

May 26th, 2012
11:04 am

We never hear of CMB visiting other coaches to learn how to utilize players or change up and add wrinkles to the offense. I know Swinney went to Oklahoma state to see how they moved Blackmon around so they can do the same with Watkins. Does Bobo ever visit anyone other than Jim Donnan’s playbook? We have tons of weapons and would love to see them used and as David said update the playbook.

Ravon

May 26th, 2012
11:10 am

Would not UNC recruiting improve (and thus their fb program) should they end up in the SEC? All those good NC highschoolers who have been going to UGa and Fl, would they now not go to UNC?

CHDawg

May 26th, 2012
11:12 am

I thought Todd made a great point, too–the suspensions are very bad in and of themselves, but they can affect team chemistry. It is unpredictable, though. Last year I thought some of the injuries and suspensions made us deeper. The year before, AJ’s suspension seemed to affect the team mood negatively. Georgia is deep, and the extra stress early in the season could actually deepen us later next year. I’m not sure I would say UGA has a weak schedule. UF and USC are going to be pretty good, and if the Dawgs win, the road leads through the west champ. It could be a factor if you are happy with a 10W season, but it isn’t weak if you are talking about BCS rankings late.

AugustaDawg

May 26th, 2012
11:18 am

I like CMB, bright person, but causes headaches at time as well. If he would make some changes he would get people off his back. I don’t know if the o-line is the main hold up, but I hate to see all these talented athletes limited due to playcalling. Hope this will turn out to be a great year. Also Henry likely will play on the defensive side of the ball instead of running back, so we need to keep him. Maybe Nicky can mail him a gray shirt to let him symbolically show him Bama’s plans for him.

Dawg Haus

May 26th, 2012
11:20 am

Good post, Bill. The ESPN roundtable was very fair. Georgia’s biggest hurdle has been Georgia in recent big games, especially in that debacle in Tampa. If the Dawgs can finally learn to stay out of their own way, this will be a very special team in 2012.

CHDawg

May 26th, 2012
11:22 am

Our offensive line had awful sack and TFL stats last year. I sure hope the coaches are planning on working on screens till the O can do them asleep, and I hope they will develop more plays that attack other parts of the field quickly–quick passes to backs in the flats, rollouts, etc. Opposing DCs disguise what they are doing, but they wind up with 9 guys in the box way too much against the Dawgs. We need to make them pay for overloading the box like that, and then I think it will be much easier on our line.

DIT

May 26th, 2012
11:27 am

It all rests on Murray and the offensive line.

kingdaddy

May 26th, 2012
11:46 am

Bill (the real) King
Happy Memorial Day and kudos on the great blog! Any comments on how the Offensive Line is progressing?

DawgNole

May 26th, 2012
12:00 pm

Suzanne Copeland writes: In reading about the UGA athletic board’s discussion this week of what to do about empty student seats at home football games, I was surprised to see talk of taking priority away from fifth-year seniors and giving it to freshmen. Why would they want to do that? Doesn’t seniority count for anything any more?

The idea is that freshmen, who in recent years haven’t been able to get tickets to all home games, are likely to be more enthusiastic about actually attending the games than upperclassmen. Plus, if you get them in the habit of attending games from the start of their days at UGA, perhaps they’ll be better about continuing to show up in future seasons than the current upperclassmen. Basically, though, I think the only real solution is to return to hard tickets, instead of electronic tickets on student ID cards, and remove restrictions from students reselling their tickets. Until that’s done, you’re going to continue to see empty seats in the student section.
_____________________

Why do so many continue to dance around the real issue with empty seats at home games, which is SOFT SCHEDULING. Fans/students increasingly are unwilling to endure the hassle of getting into and out of the stadium simply to see the likes of Coastal Carolina, New Mexico St, Louisiana-Lafayette, Idaho St, Tennessee Tech, Central Michigan, Western Carolina, and Troy. What a power-packed lineup! And that’s just the past 5 years–and doesn’t include the usual SEC doormats, KY, Vandy, Miss, etc.

Quit being cowards like most of the other D-1 teams, and SCHEDULE COMPETITIVE OOC HOME GAMES! That will not only dramatically reduce the number of empty seats, but it will elimate the boredom generated by the aforementioned yawners.

Danny Ford

May 26th, 2012
12:07 pm

Gosh darn it. Them youngsters at West Virginia just scored again.

Jim Ponzi

May 26th, 2012
12:12 pm

Boo Boo’s offense is still vanilla! Bravo David Pollack!

evil empire

May 26th, 2012
12:21 pm

same dawgs, different day…yada, yada, yada…

Desert Fox

May 26th, 2012
12:21 pm

Ga’s playbook is so vanilla it leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many dawg followers and fans. In last seasons Vandy game, they scored two, maybe 3 TD’s on trick plays. Kudo’s to the vandy coaching staff and shame on the dawgs coaching staff for not doing the same by adding some plays to keep other D’s off balance and possibly opening up the running game. With the talented receivers they have a TB option/run pass would be a welcome sight and if vandy can score using it so should the dawgs. Even if it doesn’t work the idea of trying one or any other trickery would a pleasant change from the 3rd and up the middle for no gain but a bunch of groans from the dawg faithful.

mike

May 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

That’s enough

mike

May 26th, 2012
12:23 pm

Come on dude. That is getting old.

RHall55

May 26th, 2012
12:52 pm

This is the year to decide if Mike Bobo can win the big games as the OC!!! The year if Rodney Garner can keep the big time in state recruits!! And the year if Will Friend is a SEC OL recruitter and coach!!

Wilson Pickett

May 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

@rhall55…then we’re to assume Mark Richt has nothing to prove? Easy to understand why the leg humpers suck.

kingdaddy

May 26th, 2012
1:43 pm

55
You’re right,but it ALLfalls on CMRs shoulders. He is responsible for CMB making changes to the offense. Are we going to fool anyone with our play calling this year? Only if CMR allows it. Will CWF turn our OL into an SEC caliber (quality) line that fights for 4 quarters? CMR will have to verify that CWF is capable of handling this job, and this also is CMRs responsibility. Will the Special Teams improve their play over last years play? Nobody said it was easy being a HC! Every facet of the game is on Richts priority checklist and he has too do a better job this year on his follow-up. In the end, when CMB, or CWF or Special teams don’t preform, then it is DIRECTLY COACH RICHTS FAULT!!!

Student Ticket Solution

May 26th, 2012
1:43 pm

First Come First Serve.
Student tickets sold on gameday to the first to get to the stadium until the student section is filled.
Ensures the passionate and dedicated get in the stands. Late arrivals are SOL. They can pay $50 for nosebleeds from the scalpers if they must.

GT is 4th rate high school team

May 26th, 2012
2:51 pm

Unless proven otherwise, CMB and AM proved the mantra of “Paralysis by too much analysis”, LOL.

Paul in NH

May 26th, 2012
3:49 pm

“Would not UNC recruiting improve (and thus their fb program) should they end up in the SEC?”

UNC has had more 1st round draft picks in the last 5 years than UGA and has had the same number of players drafted in the first 3 rounds. There was nothing wrong with the recruiting under Butch

Pitbull

May 26th, 2012
3:55 pm

FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Miami will be moving to the Big 12 to join West Virgina and 3 other Big 12 teams to form 1 division of a 16 team Big 12. Just watch.

Paul in NH

May 26th, 2012
4:05 pm

Pitbull

May 26th, 2012
3:55 pm
FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Miami will be moving to the Big 12 to join West Virgina and 3 other Big 12 teams to form 1 division of a 16 team Big 12. Just watch.
————
The only problem with that little scenario is that with Mizzou and A&M leaving, they won’t have 16 teams.

kingdaddy

May 26th, 2012
5:50 pm

Is this still the Bulldog blog???

Cdpridg

May 26th, 2012
5:57 pm

Looks like a bunch of haters…lol…techies…techies pretending to be bama fans and some random dude in NH.

GTBob

May 26th, 2012
6:11 pm

The SEC still thinks they can get Virginia Tech? If they are going to expand then they should have gotten Clemson and FSU. They were probably the only two possible ACC teams they could get.

GoForTwo

May 26th, 2012
7:19 pm

In Bobo’s first regular season game as Offensive Cordinator he threw to our running backs out in the flats with great success. Our second game was with South Carolina and he ran the exact plays of passes in the flats and the South Carolina linebacker smothered our receives. Also, Bobo ran four to six trick plays of which none worked and one player was injured. Since that game, Bobo has been extremely hesitant on calling for trick plays. As for screen plays, if we could start them 15 yards down the field, we would run four or five a game. Pop Warner teams run better screens than we do, although they have used very successfully against us.

Ravon

May 26th, 2012
7:36 pm

Great to b ACC fan. Overflow crowd tonite at ACC baseball tourney in G’boro. Duke and Md in NCAA lacrosse semi finals. Both on TV. SEC waiting until football season.

DooleyDoo

May 26th, 2012
7:38 pm

Clemson and FSU fans writing Swofford hate mail.

Philip Tortora

May 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

Enter your comments It’s my best guess that the Big 12, which currently sits at 10 teams, is going to go after the four southernmost ACC schools: Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Clemson. All of them have rich football histories, and perhaps more importantly, all sit right in the heart of SEC country.

http://tortsreport.com/2012/05/26/684/here

Remember...

May 26th, 2012
8:31 pm

GEORGIA TECH OWNS THIS STATE!!!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

May 26th, 2012
9:08 pm

HOW can UGa EXTEND the Baseball season?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

May 26th, 2012
9:10 pm

Richt and Adams re trying to join the HOLY league with BC, Notre Dame, BYU and the other worthless GOD football teams.

rjpdawg

May 26th, 2012
10:36 pm

I agree with your comment about our new Gym Dog Coach. Personally I think it is a horrible hire. In Gymnastics we are the standard. How can you justify firing a coach who finishes third in the toughest conference and hiring a coach who finished last in a weak conference. I don’t disagree that Clark needed to go, but gezz could we not have gotten a top notch coach to come to the premier program in the country. I want to say lets wait and see how this works out, but I am convinced that our new AD that everyone is so convinced is great is but a wolf in sheeps clothing. I really believe that he is overmatched and will destroy UGA athletics considerably more than that jerk of a president ever did. Florida didn’t let him go wihtout a hidden agenda. Don’t kid yourself, he is no longer a DAWG after all those years at gator land.

nobody

May 26th, 2012
10:42 pm

what about KO coverage and uniforms?

Stephen A.Dogg : Richt's ACC offensive IQ

May 26th, 2012
10:50 pm

What is laughable at UGA is that they have a head coach that has no incentive to reach the incentive clauses in his contract. What good is Richt to Georgia football if he doesn’t have a drive to reach the monetary incentives for achievement in the contract ? His career at UGA has now become a waste of time and money because we will never win the national title with a content coach that has no drive or hunger for the success a national title brings

Paladawg

May 27th, 2012
1:07 am

A couple of things: I’ve known Greg McGarity since our teen years at the Athens Y Camp and he is one of the most honorable men I have ever known. If he takes UGA’s money to be their AD, then he will be the best dadgum AD for UGA that he can possibly be. To think that he would be more loyal to a former employer than his present one is absolutely absurd and indicates a complete unfamiliarity with the man, or perhaps a subconcious character flaw of your own. Next, I was taught that you didn’t complain about somebody else’s job performance unless you can do better. I know I can’t coach football better than CMR or CMB, so I haven’t applied for their jobs. I assume all you guys who know better than them have sent your resume in to Coach McGarity. I guarantee that he will give it all the consideration it deserves.

ole yeller

May 27th, 2012
7:48 am

Every thing is in place, lets see what happens……………..

McFly

May 27th, 2012
7:55 am

Haden Mullinax and Scott Cooper are a couple of idiots.

Class A

May 27th, 2012
8:02 am

Empty studect section isnt all about scheduling. Even Auburn game had empy seats at kickoff for a late start. The real issue is the admissions standards. UGA is not admitting students like my son, who bled Red & Black while growing up, and is now attending Clemson and going to EVERY game. Half of the kids with 1310 SAT scores at UGA couldnt care less about football.

DogsonTop

May 27th, 2012
8:04 am

The dogs will be a lot better this year with a better D and better QB / RB play. They should easily win the SEC east again and play alabama for the sec title. This year, the dogs will pull the big upset and win the SEC—take it to the bank!

Never forget...

May 27th, 2012
8:06 am

GEORGIA TECH OWNS THIS STATE!!!

Sugar Hill Dawg

May 27th, 2012
8:27 am

I was a freshman in the fall of 1971 – I had no problem getting a season ticket in a much smaller Sanford Stadium. Exchanging the coupon for a ticket was somewhat of a pain (for example my fellow UGA student/Brumby resident date and I sat in the aisle for the Pat Sullivan Wins the Heisman Game), but to my knowledge anyone at orientation could order a season ticket – not so anymore. I just finished a four – year tour in enemy territory (my oldest was in the Auburn band – graduated in May) and I can tell y’all the Jordan – Hare gameday experience was much more like what my wife and I remembered from our Sanford days that what I have seen lately. (True – I’ve only been to two home games during the last four years – two wonderful trips to watch the Dawgs lay the wood on Auburn’s Tigers, but it sure seems to me the University has decided the non – gazillionaire alum no longer matters to them!) As far as the electronic ticket thing – Auburn uses the system – I don’t recall an empty student section (except the Louisiana – Monroe game two years ago) when I was in the stadium. I like the idea or hard tickets, first come – first served! Let student capitalism work its magic!

Snake Plisskin

May 27th, 2012
11:02 am

Let’s face it, UGA is farm system for the pro’s…the offense can not, and does not, been able to compete with the elite college programs…the pro style offense that is so good at turning out pro players for the next level, can’t compete with the speed and athleticism that exists at the college ranks…sure UGA has some great players, but when they line up against players of similar talents, coaching, etc, it seems that although they can play them tough and get close, but there is always a let down where UGA can’t stop the running game, can’t stop the pass rush, can’t cover receivers one on one, can’t contain the special teams, can’t play a whole game (conditioning), can’t, can’t, can’t…it seems that every quality team figures out a way to beat the offensive game plan, or pass coverage, or the special teams, they always find the weak link and exploits the heck out of it…sometimes it nothing more than a running back that can’t pass protect block, or the D coordinator knows that the OC is so predictable in his play calling, that they gamble and usually it pays off…UGA is a good college football team, but will it ever be great…

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

whiskey breath

May 27th, 2012
11:05 am

Do you think McGarrity would consider getting Jax State on the schedule? I have a friend that is President of the Univ I think I could get his commitment for a game. They beat Ole Miss a couple of years ago and almost beat Florida State. What do you have to lose? Think about it dogs, you could brag about it for a couple of months.

Stephen A.Dogg

May 27th, 2012
11:21 am

Good for you Paladawg that you are content with the medocrity that currently exists at UGA. I take it you are an old school kool aid drinker or leg humper that feels like UGA might as well settle for mediocrity because the future unknowns of change is worse. Paladawg, insanity is doing things the same way and getting the same results. Soft season schedules are going to hurt UGA in the end as last season proved. No one has to be a football coach or AD to know that Richt’s tenure at Georgia is coming to a close if he doesn’t have the ability to reach the incentive clauses in his contract. Nobody cares about what you were personally taught, because this isn’t about you. All Georgia fans want is a team they can be proud of that earns national respect. And for all the blue chip players that come and go, and despite all the money UGA spends we STILL don’t have a team we are truly proud of and we don’t get national respect. So how much longer is Georgia football to continue to be a mediocre and underachieving team ?

Vince D!

May 27th, 2012
12:19 pm

the new president needs to hire back Dooley as AD. mcgarity doesn’t know what he is doing.