For Richt, change will be tough; for Johnson, it won’t be

This is not a man you want to disappoint. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

PJ isn't a man to disappoint. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Having witnessed Mark Richt’s media briefing Tuesday in Athens, I was struck — not for the first time, and surely not for the last — at how resolutely positive this man is. No, things aren’t going well, he conceded, but his Georgia Bulldogs “are battling as hard as you can battle.”

And I thought, again not for the first time, that Mark Richt would be a mighty fine boss to have: Loyal, circumspect, unwilling to assess public blame.

Then I read the transcript of Paul Johnson’s concurrent media briefing at Georgia Tech, thoughtfully provided by ace publicist and fellow Vinings dweller Dean Buchan, and this passage fairly leaped off the computer screen:

“There’s no doubt about it. We have to get better [on defense]. In my mind, when you play the way we played on Saturday, everyone is accountable. The coaches, the players and I’m accountable because I’m the ultimate guy. I see guys not playing fast and not flying to the ball.”

And I thought to myself, “Paul Johnson might not be the greatest boss, but he’s exactly the sort of man you’d want running your business.” He didn’t candy-coat the Florida State effort by saying his guys made the stops when stops were needed. He said: “We have to get better.”

Again, I’m not trying to suggest one style is better. Mark Richt has won two SEC titles at Georgia and was part of two national championship teams at FSU. He’s a fine coach and a fine fellow. But this much I do know:

Mark Richt will have a hard time shuffling his staff no matter how this season plays out because that’s the kind of guy he is. Paul Johnson won’t find it so difficult to make changes if he determines change is needed. Because that’s the kind of guy he is.

376 comments Add your comment

BugKiller

October 15th, 2009
1:48 am

and that’s exactly why Paul Johnson has a chance to win a national title and why Mark Richt never will…

Like Meyer, Miles, Carroll, and Saban, Johnson is WILLING to do what it takes to win.

Mark Richt simply is not willing to do what it takes, whatever it takes.

This is why I am firmly in the Mark Richt must go camp, now.

And every member of Dawg Nation who wants a disciplined, smart, and WINNING football team should be, too.

Mark Richt is a guy who can steal a few SEC Titles when Ron Zook and Mike Shula are running teams in the SEC.

He is not the guy who can even beat frakking Lane Kiffin!!!

All of you people satiated with 10-win mediocrity and stupid, undiscplined football teams can have your Mark Richt.

Give me Paul Johnson or Chris Peterson or Brian Kelly… guys who can take chicken s–t and make Thanksgiving dinner out of it.

man

October 15th, 2009
1:50 am

one is a man and another want to be a soft priest. You want a man to run your program not a priest wannabe. Mark Richt is softer than tissue paper.

Mark Bradley

October 15th, 2009
1:51 am

Holy smoke. What are you folks doing awake at this hour?

man

October 15th, 2009
1:53 am

Georgia is home to the best players like Texas, Florinda, and California but our priest can’t manage to do any with it. Winning 10 games a season ain’t jack crap with the kind of talent Georgia have.

man

October 15th, 2009
1:54 am

can’t sleep because of our priest…very angry thinking about him!!!!

BugKiller

October 15th, 2009
1:54 am

I have insomnia brought on in this last month by… well, that’s private.

What’s your excuse, MBrad? Hehe.

Mark Bradley

October 15th, 2009
1:56 am

My excuse: Had to get started on tomorrow’s writing. About to go to bed now.

Mark Bradley

October 15th, 2009
1:56 am

Oh, and I should probably say: Nighty night.

BS Patrol

October 15th, 2009
1:57 am

Amen & Halleluyah!
For old man gutter weasel Grinch & all his other aliases, suffer in the sewer,toad. BTW, ((((((((((45-42)))))))) BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Meanwhile...since they built it, Mark Richt should come

October 15th, 2009
1:57 am

CMR might not want to shuffle the deck as far as the coaching staff, but when the deck keeps on giving you over 21, that’s a bust in football as well as blackjack. Eventually, even Richt is going to want a new dealer.

You can understand why the masses want Richt to travel to the Georgia Dome and secure BVG, but I would suggest his Field of Dreams for a defensive solution lies at Turner Field, for at Turner Field you have a man of unique ability whose skill easily translates to defensive minded football.

No, not Bobby Cox. Greg Norton, whose skill of course is, even from the batter’s box, having the unparalled ability to put defensive players directly in front of the ball so they can be successful.

CGN. That might be a win-win for two sports teams in Georgia.

BugKiller

October 15th, 2009
1:59 am

put my thoughts in another way:

Richt is a coach willing to excuse mediocrity in his coaches (Martinez and Bobo) and in his players (Cox) and has either lost his team (all of the indisciplined play in the last two years) or is simply unable or unwilling to correct it.

This paints a picture of a man who no longer deserves to coach a flagship football program, no matter what he’s done in the past.

BugKiller

October 15th, 2009
2:02 am

Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

G’night Mark.

Cuttysark

October 15th, 2009
2:12 am

Paul Johnson has won national championships and knows what is required to attain that goal. I’m certain that he will make the right choices when they are necessary. In the meantime, we have to move forward and see how we play not only this Saturday, but the rest of the year as well. Georgia Tech is on the rise because of Paul Johnson and Radakovich’s decision to make a hire that other AD’s would not have had the courage to make.

Go to http://isportsweb.com for more Georgia Tech Football articles on the Virginia Tech game, as well as how to properly cheer at the game. Go Jackets!

that guy

October 15th, 2009
3:22 am

Cuttysark, glad you need to advise your fellow Tech fans as to when and how to cheer at a football game. Says a lot about the type of fans GT has if they can’t figure that out.

UGASlobberknocker

October 15th, 2009
4:49 am

Johnson is a great coach..which is why he wont be at Tech for long.

hop

October 15th, 2009
5:19 am

mark, congratulations you have finally exceeded in getting the bulldawg nation into a total uproar!

these continued attacks of mark richt and the georgia program has created a hysteria within the state unmatched by any other ajc writer including furman bisher in my long memory of following college football.

it is high time that everyone take a breathe before someone jumps over a cliff over georgia football.the world is not going to come to an end because of mark richt’s football philosophy.

paul johnson does have a different method,that does not mean his way is the only one to achieve college football prominence.

even in the nfl, you have tom laundry and vince lonbardi,both winners,but different styles,not one style fits all.

mark richt for the very first time is facing a very difficult period and time will tell if his method works long term or not,but please lets just let the season unfold before we throw this guy to the wolves.

carney

October 15th, 2009
5:19 am

Hey Slobber, can you imagine Johnson at Athens? With the talent we have? I guarantee you that our team would be better disciplined and ready to play although I’m still not convinced that the option would work in the SEC (see Yech vs LSU last year). But I think a lot of our problems would get fixed fast under Johnson. Let’s hope CMR toughens up… NOW!

GATORMAN 722

October 15th, 2009
5:22 am

I heard the Georgia coach was having a hard time deciding who he is sending to the Arthur Murray dance studio from his coaching staff. He is trying to get back on sports center as a dancing team.

m

October 15th, 2009
5:27 am

Let me begin by Thanking God and Greyhound that chan gomer gailey is gone forever. Hallleeeeeeeedamlooooyah!!!

Secondly, which coach is more like gomer…..Richt or Johnson??? That’s right…Richt is almost a Gailey clone. Johnson is the anti-gomer.

Ugag seriously considered hiring chan gomer gailey before they hired Richt. Maybe this time after Johnson beats him a couple of more times they will fire Richt and get the real gomer. LOL

Paul Johnson is like a train…he will run over you…back up…and run over you again (and in ugag’s case it is going to be again and again and again…)

Bama

October 15th, 2009
5:28 am

the option doesn’t fit every program, especially those with enough talent to run a pro style O. if you have the right personnel then it works (UF runs a modified option successfully but it only works because of tebow and they don’t run just the option). johnson seems to play the option almost exclusively although i havent seen enough of their games to know differently. for that reason johnson might be at tech for a while. if i were a dawg facing tech every year i would be more concerned about johnson in the next few years when he gets the players he thinks are ideal for his O instead of the leftovers from the prior coach. regardless, johnson is probably not going anywhere unless he does win a mnc.

Scrap

October 15th, 2009
5:38 am

By my count, this is installment number 4 in the Mark Bradley lets stir up the rivalry saga. 1)Which coach is inspiring 2)Lets move the game to September in the Dome 3)Which defense is worse 4)Now which coach has backbone…….I love the way you think Mark……This should be eight or ten pages of fuel for the rivalry fires. And I will be hear reading all the foolish posts. Mark, I love the way you think.

Larry

October 15th, 2009
5:45 am

Bobby Cox has exemplified poor game management and under achievement for years and years. Let’s give Coach Richt more than 6-10 games before declaring him a bust!

Many of you are kicking the man pretty hard right now while he’s down; somehow I have the feeling the best of Mark Richt is about to show up starting this Saturday.

VolMan

October 15th, 2009
5:49 am

I hope CMR is at uga for a verrryyyyy loooonnngggg time, LOL

DawgnMd

October 15th, 2009
6:12 am

I can’t believe that us dog fans actually thought we’d be better than last year after losing MS and KM. I hate seeing us get our butts handed to us as bad as anybody. We have already stunk up the joint at every game this year. Coach please get these 4 and 5 star recruits off the bench and like someone said in an earlier blog “play the spoiler” and look forward to next year. This one sucks!

George

October 15th, 2009
6:15 am

Mark: You’re going to bed way too late (early). But the AJC probably lets you drift in the office about noon-ish. Right? Anyway, I think you’re right-on about CMR v. CPJ. Nice guys usually finish last, or near the bottom. CMR is probably too many sins away from the priesthood, but there a plenty of Baptist churches looking for a good man. Let’s have something about the baseball playoffs from you.

Jonas Grumby

October 15th, 2009
6:27 am

Man, if you were lying awake at 2 am worried about a bunch of college kids who play football for your vicarious fulfillment, you should seriously get a life. Just because Mark Richt has the decency to not publicly upbraid his staff and players doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hold them accountable. Besides, Richt offered similar comments about himself, staff and players after the UT loss but that was conveniently overlooked.

Palm City Dawg

October 15th, 2009
6:38 am

Bring on Kirby Smart as DC and show BOO BOO the door as well. Or…bring in Will Muschamp and show them all the door.

hey, hop

October 15th, 2009
6:39 am

..I believe Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi are both deceased – you need to come up with some current analogies if you want to use the NFL as an example.

Top Dawg

October 15th, 2009
6:39 am

What about the UGA football teams suggests that they are well coached?

This will be the last year Richt is allowed to remain as head coach if staff changes are not made.

Why do...

October 15th, 2009
6:40 am

…posters continue to bring up Muschamp as an alternative as either the DC or the HC? TX is a MUCH better job than any at UGA!!!!!

Dawg Tired

October 15th, 2009
6:45 am

Well Jonas – I guess we’ll see if Coach Richt holds his staff accountable. However, regardless of what he does at the end of this season, the fact remains that he let Coach Martinez remain DC at least one year too long for the exact reasons pointed our by Mark in this article,to wit: It is difficult for him to replace someone in spite of their incompetence. As a result, we are looking at the worse defense at UGA in the modern era. This should have been fixed last year! Unacceptable.

Jeff2u

October 15th, 2009
6:51 am

Okay, enough is enough. All you folks are forgetting the years when we were supposed to finish 3rd in the East and came away with the SEC trophy and a trip to New Orleans. I wish CMR would sign a lifetime contract at UGA. And by the way… this is no place for haters to comment. Gators eat boogers. If Tenn were playing the taliban, who in the hell do you pull for???

dd

October 15th, 2009
6:52 am

Bugkiller, everyone’s got an opinion, but your spelling is awful dude.

Why should we put any credibility in what you have to say? At least, Richt can spell.

Jerry G

October 15th, 2009
6:59 am

Mark, I agree with your assessment of the differing leadership styles in Johnson and Richt. Johnson has “edge”, Richt does not. What that means in terms of wins and losses, I don’t know. Obviously, things must change.

However, suggesting that Johnson is equal to or better than Richt, or for that matter,suggesting Tech and UGA are equal, is premature. Tech has a long way to go before they are on par with UGA. One win–a close one at that–doesn’t parity produce. Tech plays in the ACC, a sub-par conference. Tech struggles there…help me, when did they last win an ACC title? Even on a bad year, like this one, Tech will struggle mightily to beat UGA. Last year’s win was an aberration. UGA, even this year, will beat Tech and Johnson’s high school offense run by the worst qb in football will take their rightful place beneath UGA in the hierarchy of college football.

Old Fan

October 15th, 2009
7:00 am

UGA has discovered that other teams can play a game it excelled at for decades–special tutors for academically unqualified players, recruiting five-star athletes, a pro-ball atmosphere, oodles of alumni cash, etc. Get used to mediocrity. Replacing a few coaches isn’t going to change the future.

jerry

October 15th, 2009
7:00 am

Points scored by the Guru’s offense:

Vs. South Carolina: 14,12,18,17,20,13,9
Vs. Tennessee: 14,14,18,19,9
Vs. Florida: 10,14,10,13,13,10

Is this what the Guru is paid over $2 million a year to do? As Lombardi said: “What the hell is going on out there?”

Tony B

October 15th, 2009
7:03 am

OK all you Mark Richt haters, be careful what you wish for…

Jerry G

October 15th, 2009
7:05 am

The more I think about it…the fact that we are even having a discussion about the quality of the UGA program compared to the Tech program, is less a statement about the improvement of Tech, and more about the deterrioration of the UGA program this year. The only way such a discussion makes any sense is for UGA to descend into the mediocrity of the ACC and Ga Tech…which is, I’m sad to say, what appears to be happening in recent games, but only recent games. On the whole, these programs are not close to being equal.

Carlton Powell

October 15th, 2009
7:06 am

Everyone relax. I think we all need to realize that if D.Evans is stating in public that he is concerned about the football team, his REAL feelings are CONSIDERABLY more pointed. Nothing should be done right now. This season is in the books. It would not surprise me if notices have not already been issued to staff coaches advising them that they will not be offered contracts for the ‘09-’10 season, and that the UGA AA will assist them in locating new positions elewhere. The hard truth is that UGA has been walking this tightrope of falling off the cliff for several years, and somehow managed to survive. In ‘07 the team “caught lightening in a bottle,” so to say. I would not put my hopes in such a similar scenario this year. Let the players currently playing play through the FL beatdown. Then the ‘10 season begins. Let the young guys play the entire month of November. They can get lots of good experience and set the table for a much improved next season. Yes, the program has won 10 games over the past few years, but often the losses were against teams that UGA measures it’s program against, so the results are somewhat skewed. I have had this discussion with several “old line” UGA boosters and contributors in the past several days, and this is the message I am getting. They ALL acknowledge changes have been/are needed, and are watching carefully to see how the situation plays out. Should be an interesting December.

please

October 15th, 2009
7:13 am

Gt beat Ga last year 45-42 for the first time in 8 years an all of a sudden there the better program, they beat Fsu in a shootout an all of a sudden they ar BCs contenders I don’t Get it . I admit Ga. has problems But until wich is probally never Tech wins at least A acc crown I cannot drink the koolaid. They will get beat this weekend an then maybe Mark you can write about the Falcons who have really impressed this year. God bless

Praying for change

October 15th, 2009
7:15 am

I don’t hate Mark Richt. I love CMR and want him to stay for a VERY long time. But I realize he’s got to wake up and face the facts. Numbers don’t lie. We’re the most “outcoached” team in the BCS. Barely 500 and unranked for a major football power in the SEC. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s not talent … it’s coaching … Martinez, Bobo and Fabris all need to go and wipe the slate clean. New blood, fire and passion at Georgia is what’s drastically neede. I’m not so upset at the fact that we’ve lost and are losing. I’m upset at the way we are losing and upset at how little concern CMR seems to be expressing about losing. I’d be as made as Hades and I’d light a fire so big under my coaches that it could be seen all the way to Gainesville, Florida. What’s it going to take to get some fire in CMR?

BUGKILLERS MOM

October 15th, 2009
7:23 am

TECH WILL NEVER WIN A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE PAUL JOHNSON IS THERE. THAT OFFENSE WON’T GET INTO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, ALSO PAUL WON’T BE THERE FOR 50YEARS!!!

RealityTrain

October 15th, 2009
7:24 am

Generally, the mindset of hardcore fans who post on blogs is mystifying. With coaches, its strictly “what have you done for me lately?” and “lately” means last week. After LSU humiliated Tech in front of a home town crowd (a mere 9 months ago), PJ wasn’t seen as the second coming of Lombardi. Contrary to the impression created by the posts here, GT has not dominated anyone worthy this year, besides North Carolina. Whipping hapless MS State and eeking out a win against FSU (clearly in disarray) doesn’t warrant installation in the Coaches Hall of Fame. Why UGA fans are slobbering with envy over PJ is, again, mystifying. The so-called Bulldog Nation (stretching all the way from north of Jacksonville to south of Chattanooga) would be in an uproar if our team let FSU score over 40 points and happened to win just because they scored last. I liked the comment that PJ has “won championships”. So had Jim Donnanl.

UGA '67

October 15th, 2009
7:27 am

How much does it cost to fire Mark Richt? Where will the money come from?

jerry

October 15th, 2009
7:28 am

I don’t hate Richt. I just would like to see an offense that can score against someone other than cupcakes. Offense was his forte”, was it not? I think his offense is a finesse offense that just not work against good teams except for an occasional outburst.

bulldawg hater

October 15th, 2009
7:30 am

phil fulmer is looking for a job. then again, there’s no difference between fulmer and richt; it’s the same journey! enjoy your lonely descent to the bottom dawgs!

Tell it like it is

October 15th, 2009
7:35 am

Paul Johnson may have an offence but he sure as hell don’t have a defence.i thank we will all find out this weekend what kind of coach he really is.I look for tech to get blown out by V Tech.You can’ win games with the caliber of a team like V tech without a strong defence and spec teams.

[...] Mark Bradley of the AJC writes that change will be tough for Mark Richt, but not for Paul Johnson. [...]

Nativebird

October 15th, 2009
7:40 am

Correct-a-mundo about Richt, but maybe a little off base with your assessment of Johnson’s oh so brilliance, self-deprecation, self-critique and inner questioning. Are you kidding me? Take it from this huge Jackets fan, This guy is the poster-boy for “my-brilliant-schemes-or-the-highway” mentality. He makes Spurrier look almost down right modest! Look I wants to see Tech win as much as possible, but Pluueese enough with the fawning over CPJ brilliance and coaching style, ok? Hey, we’re in year 2 now, Gailey’s gone, the deicision is made, Johnson HAS the job. Yes I hope he’s successful for MY team as heck….but let’s be truthful…This guy IS ego-in-shorts-with-a-whistle.

Sautee Dawg

October 15th, 2009
7:40 am

Mark,
You sound like Chris Boggs. Go ahead and ride the Ga. Tech bus while it’s rolling but, when it hits a pothole you’ll be one of the first to jump off.