On a tepid Signing Day, there’s still reason for UGA to believe

Rodney Garner and Mark Richt on Signing Day 2010. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Rodney Garner and Mark Richt meet the press on Signing Day 2010. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Athens – Just as it would be wrong to make too much of one lost recruit or one tepid signing class, it would likewise be wrong to ignore current events. And those are: Coming off its worst season on the field under Mark Richt, the Bulldogs have assembled their lowest-ranked recruiting class, according to Rivals.com, since Richt was so new to the job he hadn’t yet coached a game.

“I don’t expect Bulldog fans to be excited over an 8-5 season,” Richt said Wednesday, briefing the media on a subdued-by-Georgia-standards Signing Day, but that season is done and this recruiting class is essentially complete and  the Bulldogs move on. And the question becomes: Is Georgia better suited today to win big than it was 12 months ago?

And the answer is: Yes.

We cannot know how good Da’Rick Rogers will (or will not) be at Tennessee, but we can know this: Georgia was never going to play for another SEC title with Willie Martinez coaching its defense. If firing Martinez and two assistants made for what recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner called “some difficulties,” that’s a trade-off worth making if in fact Todd Grantham, Martinez’s successor, is as clever as advertised.

“That’s why I did what I did,” said Richt, responding to a question about Georgia’s positioning for the future. “That’s the only reason I did what I did.”

As much as Signing Day matters, coaching matters more. Richt’s program had become the place where big-time defensive players came and were left to their own devices. Were recruiting alone the secret to success, Georgia and Richt — eight consecutive Top 10 classes, according to Rivals — would have taken a BCS title by now.

As disappointing as Rogers’ defection was, Georgia fans should nonetheless find reason to believe this February. Because the head coach bears a lean and hungry look. “[Last season] has given me more resolve to get this program where it belongs,” Richt said. And then: “We have everything we need to get that done.”

Last season wasn’t good. (No good seasons lead to Shreveport.) The coaching search took six weeks and included three high-profile turndowns. The recruiting class of 2010 numbered 18 commitments last fall and wound up with 19 signed letters-of-intent. But all that is past now, and what remains is a better defensive staff — couldn’t be worse, could it? — and a rejuvenated Richt. And also this:

“We’ve got some darn good football players,” Richt said. “That’s got me excited about what the future holds.”

429 comments Add your comment

Lakedawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:08 pm

Nice article ! Thanks.

Circus Act

February 3rd, 2010
3:08 pm

Fire Garner !!!!

BullDawg Rick

February 3rd, 2010
3:09 pm

We loaded up on the D side.. We’ll be better in ‘10!! Havinf Figgins & C Durham back will more than adequitly fill the spot of the unporven..

Grant

February 3rd, 2010
3:10 pm

I love how people are somehow blaming UGA for losing Rodgers when it is clear some dirty tricks were being played by his buddy’s dad and UT.

Good luck coming back to Calhoun Dooley…

Mark Bradley

February 3rd, 2010
3:12 pm

Lakedawg with kind words and a first! Double kudos!

SagaciousSam

February 3rd, 2010
3:12 pm

WonderDawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:12 pm

If anyone really cares about recruiting rankings, ESPN ranks UGA’s class 9th in the nation, though 5th in the SEC. This ranking is after the two losses this morning and the pickup (Thornton). Just saying …

Blind Homers Club

February 3rd, 2010
3:13 pm

I think these comments from CMR reflect closely as what he said a year ago… hmmmmm

madison dawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:14 pm

matt

February 3rd, 2010
3:15 pm

This will turn out to be a solid class of Dawgs! GATA!
P.S. I am tired of throwing the ball so much anyway!

The D

February 3rd, 2010
3:15 pm

Get off of Garner, he is unbelievably valuable to the program, This is a great class for the areas we needed to address

GeoffDawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:17 pm

IMHO, this tepid class is somewhat mitigated by the relatively small number of signees this season. Perhaps a better approach would be to determine the average star ranking (for whatever that’s worth) and compare that against a team’s most pressing needs.

Bling and blang

February 3rd, 2010
3:17 pm

Is CMR and CRG sporting black hoodies in the photo???

Will

February 3rd, 2010
3:18 pm

Ten starters back on offense with two splendid, highly ranked QBs competing for the 11th spot. Four previous top ten recruiting classes and Boatloads of highly rated redshirt freshmen. The schedule is easier, UT has an unproven coach and UF has a nut job for a head coach.

No excuses – no exceptions. 2010 should be a top ten, nationally competitive BCS team.

redeployed dawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:19 pm

Although I think recruiting rankings are overrated (specialty players tend to get more stars than the big boys who win games), I think it is worth noting that for all those years we had top 10 recruiting, we had other SEC schools that were higher. It seemed like no matter how good things got for us, they were always better for UF, LSU, and, more recently, Bama. Anyway, I don’t think losing one WR will break this class.

UGAgrad71

February 3rd, 2010
3:19 pm

I think MR found some “fire” in his belly. Football is a game goverened by emotion and attitude. There is nothing wrong with being “nice”, it just not have a place on a football field. I cannot remember a time in the recent past when I had more desire to see spring practice start right now!

Lakedawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:20 pm

I like the looks of our class. Keeping
Da’Rick would’ve been nice, but if he’d
do this then he probably needs to be
where he is. We’ve got only 19 signees,
and the quality per man is high. Da’Rick
and his QB friend and their Dad can play
football in the yard in the offseason
while they’re sitting at home (the new
Tennessee tradition during bowl season),
and watch our bowl game on TV, along
with Alabama’s, Florida’s, LSU’s, and
Auburn’s. I like how we recruited on the
defensive side of the ball. Go Dawgs !

Get the Picture

February 3rd, 2010
3:21 pm

New attitude and fresh coaching blood will coach em up this spring and summer..Dawgs may surprise some people. Watch T. King opposite AJ this year!

26.2

February 3rd, 2010
3:21 pm

Loved your line ” no good seasons lead to Shreveport”. Food for thought – wonder how many 4 and 5 star recruits schools like TCU, Boise State, Iowa, GT, Cinncinnati have yet they were in the BSC Bowl games last year.

OSCAR

February 3rd, 2010
3:21 pm

Why are they wearing black?

Circus Act

February 3rd, 2010
3:22 pm

Could someone please come and play with me. I’m just so miserable. I hate everybody!

bruce mac

February 3rd, 2010
3:23 pm

Touche Mark, good balanced article. I assume you will only get a couple pages of comments. It is what it is now. GO DAWGS, 2010 is around the corner and I feel good about it.

jellybeandawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

Historically the offense under Richt/Bobo has been far worse then the defense. I do believe the defense will be better and the offense will flounder and look totally clueless as usual. The good news is that we cut 1/2 of the cancer out that plagues the program. Now if we can just get rid of the big over tanned tumor at the the top we can start to improve.

KIRBY SMART

February 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

CHRISTIAN GREEN WILL BE A WIDE RECEIVER FOR GEORGIA TOMORROW BY NOON I GUARANTEE IT!

UGA 82

February 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

Why do we continue to harp on one recruit….he’s gone, move on. We are not lacking in playmakers on offense, defense is where the weakness has been. It looks to be solid class on defense. It’s funny looking at the headlines on ajc for GA and the trade school. Tech gets “the guys they need,” however UGA is in trouble with the 16th ranked recruiting class. Is is it bias??? Thats not for me to judge. Good luck to all the youngmen and Go Dawgs!

Bob Sacamano

February 3rd, 2010
3:27 pm

Therein lies the problem. Good players make good coaches. Not vice-versa as Richt is saying…

Ginger

February 3rd, 2010
3:28 pm

Agree—we are experiencing a let down in star rating for recruiting , in most part, for the results on the field this yr. We gave opposing teams plenty of ammunition to tell-twist to the recruits. But have a lot of positives…Richt let go of 3 defensive-special teams coaches who were not getting results on the field. If we lost some players because of the coaching changes–that is ok… UGA is a million times better off with Todd Grantham as DC….It has also been shown in the past that star ratings are sometimes accurate and sometimes not accurate….Nick Saban coached up a 3 star rating class in his first yr at Bama to a pretty good record and even better record in 2nd & 3 yrs. UGA got some very good football players today who want to be at UGA and all seem to be good kids who want to get better….so that fits in very nicely for UGA and future of the program. Look for UGA to add another very good defensive coach in the future. Future is bright for UGA

Gratefuldawghead

February 3rd, 2010
3:28 pm

DAWGS #9 on ESPNU

Tech signed 0 players from Georgia….0!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Mark Bradley

February 3rd, 2010
3:28 pm

Thanks, 26.2. At the risk of rank immodesty, I kind of liked that one myself.

Mark Bradley

February 3rd, 2010
3:29 pm

Those were zip-up fleece jackets, as best I could determine. They bore the Georgia logo. They did not come with hoods attached, Bling and blang.

ringthebell

February 3rd, 2010
3:31 pm

next year is the important recruiting year, the state is loaded.with that said winning the east in 2010 will be an absolute must!Give the DC sometime to get thigs going,he also told a few to take a hike!

UGA Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:31 pm

We also need to realize that UGA only signed 18 players. If they would have signed the 25-26 that most other schools signed then they would be in the top 5. To be where they are ranked with that small of a class says something about the job Richt and Garner did this year.

Dawgman566

February 3rd, 2010
3:31 pm

Get back with me in 3 or 4 years and I’ll tell you what I think about this class. When did signing season get as big as the regular season?

winterville

February 3rd, 2010
3:32 pm

I agree. People get too hyped up about how many stars a kid has. Academics, discipline, and luck (injuries) and such have a way of making ’stars’ turn out to be duds. UGA is better off today that it was two months ago. Godspeed Bulldogs!

timthebrave

February 3rd, 2010
3:35 pm

Besides a few teams not much difference between #3-#20. Look at average ranking and you will see Auburn has an average of 3.5 and ranked #3 and uga has 3.42 and ranked #16. Looks to me Fl, USC and TX got top classes and everybody else in top 25 about equal

Richt's Plan

February 3rd, 2010
3:35 pm

Richt’s got all this figured out. He’s way ahead of everyone. After signing all these top 10 classes and getting blown out almost every year by Florida, Tennessee, etc., he’s decided that recruiting lower ranked players will give him an edge in the big games, since everyone will be overconfident when they play UGA!!!! Mark–you’re a genius. Now I see why you make the millions!!!

Coach Mark Richt

February 3rd, 2010
3:36 pm

Though our recruiting class is near the bottom, I have come up with a couple new ideas to inspire the team this fall. I have been working on my Soulja Boy routine since we got back from Shreveport. Man, can I bust a move or what? Also, I working on a plan to black-out all home games this year. We will be in solid black from head to toe and even have a black G on our helmets. We will also black out our teeth which I think will really scare our opponents. Plus the best part is…..we have all home games at night and play with the stadium lights turned off when the opponent has the ball!!! Am I a genius or what????? Woof Woof

Dawg 3/20

February 3rd, 2010
3:36 pm

Oh yeah, Gators just got another top recruit, Chaz Green OT – #52 ESPN150

Dawg Trainer

February 3rd, 2010
3:37 pm

Ah, yes. A brand-new crop of Dawgies to train. All jokes aside, this Vol appreciates your work today, Mr. Bradley.

Coach Johnsons Paul

February 3rd, 2010
3:37 pm

By all accounts this was a down year for HS talent within the state of GA. With what you have pointed out regarding the past season and what looks to be a bumper crop of HS talent in the 2011 class I expect Richt and Staff to pull all the stops out and turn up the energy on recruiting from this point forward. BTW-Like the gets on the DL as that is a huge need for UGA this year.

layinlow

February 3rd, 2010
3:38 pm

Green just chose FSU.

Jona

February 3rd, 2010
3:39 pm

jellybeandawg

You add nothing of substance to the blog. Go play

NC Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:39 pm

Coaches can wear black…but please, no more black uniforms!

ugaaccountant

February 3rd, 2010
3:40 pm

Agreed timthebrave. The only difference in Auburn and Uga’s class are the number of signees. Both filled their needs and that will be a big matchup this year.

Hunker Down

February 3rd, 2010
3:40 pm

Some tepid reporting going on at AJC

Different strokes « Get The Picture

February 3rd, 2010
3:41 pm

[...] #2: Bradley addresses my first point. … We cannot know how good Da’Rick Rogers will (or will not) be at Tennessee, but we can [...]

NYC DAWG

February 3rd, 2010
3:41 pm

Mark, any word on Christian Green? Wasn’t he making his decision at 3:30?? Finally, a nice word for Richt… Rejuvinated. I guess I’ll take it.

NC Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:41 pm

Joe Cox's Agent

February 3rd, 2010
3:41 pm

just in… Christian Green to the Noles… Scout.com

allan in texas

February 3rd, 2010
3:41 pm

Is there anybody left that Georgia is in the mix for?