Mark Richt on UGA in 2010: ‘We want our fans to be proud’

The Georgia coach as a big-screen TV star: Mark Richt at the Galleria. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The Georgia coach as a big-screen TV star: Mark Richt at the Galleria. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Should Georgia go 1-11 this fall, Mark Richt wouldn’t just be in trouble — he’d be gone. But that’s thing: Georgia isn’t going to go 1-11, and at this moment Richt is in fine fettle, job-wise and otherwise. And it is, truth to tell, harder to imagine the Bulldogs headed to Shreveport again anytime soon than it is to foresee them winning the SEC East.

And that’s all Richt needs to do to coach Georgia another 10 years: Win big again.

The notion was driven home at the annual convocation of the Bulldog Club of Greater Atlanta on Monday night. The masses didn’t brave a thunderstorm to file into the Cobb Galleria with teeth gritted. No citizen of Bulldog Nation wants Richt to fail. He is liked and respected by his constituency, same as it ever was.

The only problem Georgia fans have with Richt is that he hasn’t won a championship since 2005, and even that differentiates him from his predecessors. Folks liked Ray Goff — he was a Bulldog born and bred, you’ll recall — but grew skeptical of his coaching acumen. The same folks believed Jim Donnan knew his X’s and O’s but never quite warmed to him personally. And neither could deliver a title.

Richt has — two of them, in fact. There are no questions about his bona fides. There’s only the question that tracks every coach in every sport: What have you won for me lately?

No fool, Richt knows what has (and has not) happened. Of 2010, he said Monday: “It’s a big year.” Then this: “I do think it’s got the team excited and feeling like they have something to prove. We want to get back in consciousness of college football — with the voters. That’s a big thing with our sport designed as it is.”

That’s a major concession a coach whose program had become a Top 10 staple — whose 2008 team was ranked No. 1 in preseason — to make: That Georgia these past two seasons hasn’t been Georgia-good. The good news is that UGA under Richt hasn’t ever stayed down long. Coming off 8-4 in 2001, it went 13-1 and took the school’s first SEC title it n a quarter-century. Coming 8-4 in 2006, it went 10-2 and finished No. 2 in the land.

There is, lest we forget, a deep reservoir of pride that runs beneath the Red & Black. Even with all the headlines of summer — arrests and suspensions and a pending NCAA investigation and Damon Evans’ resignation –this isn’t a program that sees itself as a throw-rug. And the season that commences Sept. 4 offers the chance for a large measure of redemption.

Said Richt: “The players feel the buzz. The coaches do, too.”

Speaking of coaches: Richt did something remarkable last winter. He fired most of his defensive staff, including a coordinator who was among his best friends. Bulldog-watchers weren’t sure he would, but he did. This told us that, for all the perceptions of loyalty as a weakness, this coach is steely enough to put his program first. And that’s what you’d want in a coach, is it not?

There were no shock-the-world revelations dispensed Monday night: Richt lauded Todd Grantham, his new defensive coordinator; said Aaron Murray, the new quarterback, “has ‘it’ “, and offered a hearty endorsement of Chick-fil-A’s spicy chicken sandwich.  (Which shouldn’t be interpreted as coach lobbying to appear in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.) He even got a bit testy when someone mentioned Gator “dominance.”

Richt: “We need to get you in the locker room to fire the guys up.”

Richt wasn’t a Bulldog born, but from Day 1 in 2001 he has known what it means to coach these Bulldogs. He sees himself as the steward of a program that was beloved before he arrived and will be after he steps aside. He knows what Bulldogs want, and it’s more than just to win — it’s to feel good about winning.

“We want our fans to be proud,” Richt said. Then this: “We want to be proud.”

259 comments Add your comment

Jim Doanan as in Doans Pills

July 26th, 2010
8:31 pm

Jim Doanan as in Doans Pills

July 26th, 2010
8:33 pm

CMR needs a dollop of wins this year for sure !

Taylor

July 26th, 2010
8:36 pm

Mark Bradley

July 26th, 2010
8:37 pm

Jim Doanon as in Doans Pills takes the kudos.

UGA Alumn

July 26th, 2010
8:42 pm

Great article!

Robbydog

July 26th, 2010
8:42 pm

Well said. CMR will win big again…and will be neither a histrionic egomaniac, a waffling odd genius, or brat that defies explanation…

He will coach boys to men and win championships along the way…

BTW, UGA won the 2008 Sugar Bowl trophy…not a championship, but my goodness what a door prize…Georgia will be fine…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, ajc sports editor, Gabe Correa, Andrew DeMillo, Coach and others. Coach said: RT @ajcsportseditor: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Mark Richt on UGA in 2010: "We want our fans to be proud,WE want to be proud." http://bit.ly/9Q8CjF [...]

Willie Martinez

July 26th, 2010
8:44 pm

I just applied online for the A D job……… I will bring change and hope !

CSpin

July 26th, 2010
8:47 pm

How sure are we that Richt isn’t just playing with our emotions again?

bigdawg01

July 26th, 2010
8:49 pm

He has to beat TN and FL in the same year, period. He has to put together a COMPLETE season, period. He has yet to put it all together.

Glory Glory

July 26th, 2010
8:49 pm

Tech DE Robert Hall suspended 1 (one) game for beating up his girlfriend. The Tech blog is obligated to write about it, then less than an hour later, another article is written about Paul Johnson and its upcoming season….irrelevant. Simply to take it off the home page.

Mark Bradley nor Jeff Schultz even mention it. It did not find the front page of the AJC…

Thanks for giving UGA the same treatment you give Tech Bradley.

College kids drinking > Grown man smacking his girlfriend

WHO is THUG-U????? The school in the hood.

defactodawg

July 26th, 2010
8:51 pm

Mark,

Thanks for the report. There is only one team a year that can finish at the top, for all the rest it leads to an off-season of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Preparation, Luck, Scheduling, Shortcomings in areas you can’t control, and countless other factors play into the ultimate conclusion of every season.

For me, I hope to see a return to the well-disciplined, fundamentally-sound football we enjoyed during the first 5-6 years of CMR’s tenure. If we do that, conference and national championships will follow.

Go Dawgs!

outkasted

July 26th, 2010
8:52 pm

to be honest i feel like the young corners have more speed and athleticism than miller (too short) evans well he speaks for itself if the other team wanted to hit the big play go to evans jones was decent but he lacked the speed…. alot of the talent is sophmores juniors and red shirt freshmen… if aaron murray really has it then this could be a yr that spring board the next 3 to 5 yrs of always being in the hunt….as always im excited and im looking to see how teams will play when they put green and charles on the same side with brown and wooten or king or durham on the other side with ealey or king in the backfield? alot of options…. TEs and FBs are deep the corners and safeties are deep… i could on and on…..can’t wait to 9/4 then 9/11 to start off…. the rest will flow from their…

Jim Doanan as in Doans Pills

July 26th, 2010
8:53 pm

I think its time for CMR to change his “Finish the Drill” mantra…. How ’bout “Lets play Smash Mouth Football”.

I am not going to be the head coach at Alabama. I am the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

July 26th, 2010
9:02 pm

I am proud of our team, overall. Not proud of the off field issues, but glad to see CMR drop the hammer in a few cases. We do need a big year, not necessarily 11 wins, but we do need to get the drop on UF for sure.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SIC EM

Chuck Doodle

July 26th, 2010
9:03 pm

Notice Im on the big screen with CMR and Im flooding him with softball questions about his team while staying away from the hot seat topic.!

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

July 26th, 2010
9:09 pm

Said Richt: “The players feel the buzz. The coaches do, too.”

Damon Evans

July 26th, 2010
9:10 pm

Hey “Good People” I had a buzz !!!!!

Sammy

July 26th, 2010
9:10 pm

The tech suspension is ridiculous, if it were a Dawg beating up his girlfriend, it would be at least a two game suspension! Heck Mo Robinson got kicked off the team after his third incident.

Paulitik

July 26th, 2010
9:11 pm

I’d just be happy if we can beat Florida for a few years in a row.

Howdy Dowdle

July 26th, 2010
9:12 pm

CMR fired his best friend and college roommate after last season. Put down the PBR, turn off the reality show and think about that for awhile…..he’s tough enough, classy enough and has enough coaching ability to make us proud. I’ll take kids that have a beer or three during their college years (who hasn’t?) over kids that beat their girlfriends every time. We can never, ever, ever, ever beat Tech enough…8 of 9.

BG

July 26th, 2010
9:12 pm

Mark Richt has always done things the right way. Coach Richt will win and he will win the right way. How many coaches in the SEC can win and win the right way?

Larry

July 26th, 2010
9:12 pm

All if his strengths and weaknesses have been discussed ad nauseam. However, at the end of the day Mark Richt is a marvelous human being who genuinely tries to change young men’s lives for the better and who also every day exemplifies the great qualities of all great men who make a real difference for mankind.

His work will pay off many, many years after this game called football is far, far back in his rear view mirror

TampaGator

July 26th, 2010
9:12 pm

Richt knows it’s…..great…..to be….a Georgia Bulldog…..in the summertime!

Looking forward to some reality time….and that’s in November….in Jacksonville…..and don’t forget to bring the fellow who “has it….if he hasn’t hurt his pinky by then playing with some red panties.”

Keep the dream alive! A slogan going on 30 years now.

Now….folks….don’t go and get all “gay” on me…I’m just having some fun.

Office Space

July 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

No excuses but I’ve never seen a line up of coaches in the SEC like now. It won’t be easy but if the defense plays Erk Russell smash mouth football, and I think we have our man now, the offense will light up like nobodys buisness.This defense can give our offense 40 minutes to get the job done with most teams.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

July 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

Feeling the buzz is not something Richt should be talking about. If I am chosen as full time mascot we won’t be feeling the buzz. If I am not chosen as mascot I may apply for Athletics Director. I think I can do that job and do it without anybody’s panties in my lap (if I had a lap). How can fans be proud of a team that would paint a little dog’s a$$? If they’d paint my a$$ they’d paint yours, too. How proud would you be of that?

TampaGator

July 26th, 2010
9:19 pm

P.S. Cute slogans and terms like “has it” and “feeling it”….and getting someone to “fire you up” in the locker room….isn’t going to beat the Gators. Great coaching, hard work, and year-long dedication to playing to the best of your ability will.

It should be a good game in Jax this year….if you can get by SC and Tenn…and Kentucky…and Vandy (that one should be easy this year)….etc. That South Carolina game could wreck “that feeling” if you are not careful. South Carolina has a great defense and will be an early challenge for your new QB. If he does well against that defense…then “that feeling” will get stronger.

Snoop Dawg

July 26th, 2010
9:25 pm

Doggs, I mean Dawgs-
Keep your cool. This year will tell us all whether Da Preach Man is a logo or a coach. He’s got to show us. Water Girrrrl can’t do it for him. Neither can all his assistants or his players. He has to walk the talk. He’s got to prove that he’s really a ball coach instad of a Maui Jim commercial.
Yo…

dan

July 26th, 2010
9:28 pm

“And that’s all Richt needs to do to coach Georgia another 10 years: Win big again.”

Well Duh! But the question still remains, can Richt win big again? The only way I see that happening is if Saban or Meyer leave. FSU was always the red headed step child to Miami, and they didn’t come into full dominance until Miami got hit hard by probation in the mid 90’s.And then when Miami got their act back together again in the early 2000’s, FSU went back to being the red headed step child. Unfortunately UGA is in the same boat.

“There’s only the question that tracks every coach in every sport: What have you won for me lately?”

No the problem many UGA fans have with Richt is that he hasn’t even been COMPETITIVE in rivalry games lately. The program has shown signs of going backwards not forwards! Losing is one thing, getting blown out is another! Richt’s loss to Florida in 2008 was the 2nd worst to the Gators ever( even worse than some of the Spurrier beatdowns)! Martinez’s defenses the last 2 seasons have given up the most points in UGA HISTORY! For all the good that Richt has done, his losses have been some of the worst in the program’s HISTORY!

“He fired most of his defensive staff, including a coordinator who was among his best friends. Bulldog-watchers weren’t sure he would, but he did. This told us that, for all the perceptions of loyalty as a weakness, this coach is steely enough to put his program first. ”

Yeah but he did it much too late! Great leaders don’t act when they have to, they act when they NEED to!

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

July 26th, 2010
9:28 pm

About the only thing that Richt REALLY needs to do –SOON & OFTEN– is beat FLORIDA. Yeah, yeah, a NC would be nice, but even that can be explained, as in the 2002 13-1 season when there were a couple of undefeated teams playing for the NC, and in 2007 when GA had lost a head-to-head match w/ TENN –Nobody wanted to play GA at the end of the 2007 yr; A two-loss LSU team went on to win the NC over a two loss GA team (rightfully so), but that’s twice that GA has been ‘close’. The one thing that cannot be accepted is GA losing to FL. And I know that FL is good now & loaded with talent, but so is GA. And GA was losing to FL BEFORE Tebow & Meyer, so there’s realy no excuse at all. GA was more talented & had better coaches, especially before Vangorder left. SO, that’s the one Monkey Richt HAS TO GET OF HIS BACK. Beat FL 50% of the time, and even without a NC, you’ll be around for a while. Don’t & you won’t, because I seriously believe if GA continues to lose to FL over the next 3-4 yr’s Richt will be gone. A NC would buy him 3-4 more yr’s, but any 3-4 yr run of lossing to FL I don’t believe will be tolorated. I hope he does because I like Richt & think he’s a Great guy. Let’s see what happens.

Herschel Talker

July 26th, 2010
9:29 pm

MB:

If he wants us fans to be proud, perhaps he should stop running a thug program where everyone gets arrested and where players are too stupid to wait more than a week to get DUIs right after the athletic director got canned for it. This clown has one more year to clean this mess up. We all want wins, especially over Florida, no doubt, but most of us want the disgraceful state of the program cleaned up even more. No more following the Bobby Bowden way of running a program.

HT

Snoop Dawg

July 26th, 2010
9:32 pm

You Dawgs all sound like you went to obedience school. Think for yourselves! You probably voted for Obama.
Feeling the “buzz” isn’t going to win anything but a hangover.
Da Preacha Man has to be a coach, a leader, in the active on the sidelines.
If he isn’t, then he needs to go at the end of this season without fail.

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

July 26th, 2010
9:37 pm

Herschel Talker —’US’ fans??? Who are YOU a fan of????

frank james

July 26th, 2010
9:37 pm

I remember when Coach Richt got to UGA he made Tony Gilbert cut his hair and said he better not see it out from under his helmet. Tony cut it and had a great year. Then as time has gone on Coach Richt changed his policy as afraid he would lose recruits and fear players wouldn’t want to abide by such rules. Well it has hurt him and the program. I am still glad and proud he is our coach and I think this year you will see the real Coach Richt that came in a cleaned up a mess where Jim Donnan let the Quincey’s of the world run the program. I think back to the gatorade bath before last years Tech game was over and he got pissed because the game was not over. I think you will see the Coach Richt we saw when he got the job.

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

July 26th, 2010
9:38 pm

In fact, Beat FL this year & Meyer will probobly ‘retire’ again due to chest pains……

Saban is a hypocrite

July 26th, 2010
9:38 pm

Veteran agent Ralph Cindrich, a former NFL player who isn’t bashful about sharing his opinions (and we like that), recently appeared on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh to talk about the current commotion involving agents paying players.

Regarding the school that got the ball rolling, as it relates to NCAA enforcement efforts, Cindrich dropped a potential bombshell.

“[D]on’t put USC in your rear view mirror,” Cindrich said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “There is a lot more going on there. Those guys out there from neighborhoods that are deprived who are driving Range Rovers and the Mercedes and all the rest, they just earn that on their own on the weekends in the offseason.”

Cindrich also had some pointed comments for Nick Saban, who described agents who give money to players as “pimps.” As to whether there’s a difference between the way that college coaches and agents recruit, Cindrich said, “No. And old Nick knows that. I’ve seen him out on the road a time or two. He’s contacted a client of mine or a family member of a client of mine. I know what goes on out there and he knows that I know. The bottom line is that to stand up on a pulpit and start preaching that way — and maybe I’m doing it, take a shot at me — that bothers me, especially when it comes from a guy like Nick Saban.”

Though the issue likely will fade a bit as training camps open, it should continue to be a focal point of discussion and debate. And the root cause continues to be the reality that everyone involved with college football is getting paid handsomely, with the exception of the men who play the game. Above all else, that’s what needs to change.

Nick Saban is a lowlife cheating scumbag.

Joe Mama Angie Daddy

July 26th, 2010
9:39 pm

I know Georgia has a lot of talent on its team, but you kind of feel like it’s a rebuilding year because of the quarterback situation, but I do feel like if they get past Carolina that it could be a good year.

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

July 26th, 2010
9:40 pm

frank james , I hope you are right…..

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

July 26th, 2010
9:41 pm

Saban is a hypocrite , everyone knows about Saban…….what’s your point?? LSU fan???

Urban Meyer

July 26th, 2010
9:44 pm

No offense, but based on everything that’s happened in Athens the past few months I don’t think I’d use the term coaches and buzz in the same sentence.

Ralph

July 26th, 2010
9:45 pm

Here are some ideas that work for other teams – but then maybe DAWG fans wouldn’t be proud if they were adopted:

1. Drop the hammer on those who refuse to follow the rules on and off the field.

2. Don’t accept being the most penalized team in the SEC.

3. Set a better example than leading the team into the endzone after a touchdown and accepting the obvious penalty.

4. Teach the players some class, and put a stop to the trash talking, exhibitions after making a good play, diving into the endzone.

gomdawg

July 26th, 2010
9:46 pm

JUNKYARD DAWGS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

frank james

July 26th, 2010
9:46 pm

Urban – you just worry about not quitting when the going gets tough.

Dawg98

July 26th, 2010
9:46 pm

Be proud of the dawgs? How can we be proud of the illiterate, no-morals, and no self-discipline thugs and goons that Richt recruits?

Oh, and the 42 players arrested in the last three years. That little thing.

And last but not least, the red panties.

gomdawg

July 26th, 2010
9:46 pm

JUNKYARD DAWGS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Robert

July 26th, 2010
9:48 pm

Nice way to throw in a Talking Heads quote. Can’t wait for some football. Go Dawgs!

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

July 26th, 2010
9:48 pm

Ralph –Just a FYI…the TECH blog is just a couple ‘clicks’ away……..

dawgster

July 26th, 2010
9:49 pm

Agree with you frank james…I think we will see a different Coach Richt in many ways…I see alot of people still give him a hard time for some of his coaching decisions the last couple of years, but he did step up to the plate and dismissed alot of his coaching staff…yes some say he should have sooner and maybe so, but he did what he had to do for the good of the program and we should give him credit for that…Of course some of you will not, since you could do it so much better…It very easy to sit behind the computer and post what you would or would not do, its easy to second guess in life, but unitil you have been there and had to make the tought calls that football coaches have to make then don’t throw stones…Whether the changes will lead to SEC title or NC remains to be seen, but try and see the positive things Coach Richt and staff have done, and remember these other teams we compete against have good Coaches and players also its not like they are going to lay down for the dawgs…The margin for winning and losing in the SEC is small, too many good programs…Getting behind the dawgs and this coaching staff can only help us in all areas from recruiting to playing the game…If you want the other teams to continue to have a leg up on the dawgs then by all means keep bashing Coach Richt and the players… that should really bring some big time recruits on board…

FLA DAWG

July 26th, 2010
9:49 pm

Mark,

I’m not exactly sure which side of the fence you fall on but the bottomline is Richt and The Dawgs must perform very well this season and at least win The SEC next season or have a God – Forgiving Reason otherwise.

The man has retained Bobo after taking what is collectively believed to be Far Too Long to unload Martinez – a blind man could have seen it years ago.

Arkansas and / or South Carolina could beat us…………………but if Florida beats us then Richt is in deep s…t. This annual loss 45 miles from Gainesville is no longer tolerable.

Dawg Nation will not put up with Richt holding onto a winning record if those wins exclude UF, Bama, UT, etc.

Old Dog Fan

July 26th, 2010
9:50 pm

Let me make sure I understand the article. Mark Richt thinks he has it going on?????? We have a QB who has not played one NCAA game. We have no real “back up” QB when our not so great (contrary to popular belief) offensive line lets him get killed. Unless our new “Defensive Coach” is a miracle worker he can not “undo” the damage left from Martinez in just one year. We have possibly one of the weakest “Head Coaches” in Division 1 football. If we have any players left that have not been “arrested, detained or leave due to the mess that is Ga. Football” we may win 4 or 5 games-which brings me to our “first game”.
As much as I hate Spurrier he out coaches Richt every time and has lost to Ga. shearly because UGA had better atheletes. SC will beat our “Dawgs”, it will be nasty and set the stage for the rest of the year.