There’s no other way to say it: Mark Richt is in trouble at UGA

This was Mississippi State's first touchdown. It would add two more. (AP photo)

This was Mississippi State's first touchdown Saturday. It would add two more. (AP photo)

I wouldn’t have thought such a thing possible a month ago or a week ago or even 24 hours ago, but here it is:

Mark Richt is in trouble.

It was possible to write off Georgia’s first two losses as having come against superior opposition. It is not possible to write off losing in Starkville. It is not possible to square all those ballyhooed recruiting classes with being 0-3 in the conference. It is not possible to look on the Bulldogs as anything more than a middling SEC team.

Five years ago, how many other league schools would have gladly traded their coach for Richt? Nine? Ten? How many would today? Maybe three, and that’s depending on how Ole Miss feels about Houston Nutt this week. Too many SEC programs have caught and passed Georgia, and this has nothing to do with the superpowers in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville. Consider:

Last year Georgia lost to Tennessee in Year 1 of Lane Kiffin. Last week Georgia lost to Arkansas in Sanford Stadium in Year 3 of Bobby Petrino. Last night Georgia lost to Mississippi State in Year 2 under Dan Mullen.

No longer does an opponent tremble at the sight of Georgia approaching. On the contrary, this has become — three weeks running! — the team you want to play if you’re looking to establish your program.

The old Steve Spurrier critique of Ray Goff — “Georgia gets all these players … I don’t know what happens to them” — again applies. Georgia doesn’t lack talent. It simply cannot bring its talent to bear. Its new 3-4 defense mustered one sack against Arkansas and Ryan Mallett. Its touted offensive line was able to carve out 113 yards rushing against Manny Diaz’s Mississippi State defense. Its offense could not score a touchdown against South Carolina and needed 58-plus minutes to manage one in Starkville.

There has been no improvement week over week. There is only a weird stasis. The weeks and the opponents change, but Georgia looks no different. How does that happen?

Does UGA need a new coach?

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Granted, the season might look different had A.J. Green played these four games. But he didn’t because he broke a rule, and that’s the other reason Richt is in trouble. A coach can get away with having his players mess up off the field if the coach keeps winning big on it. But Richt is 10-9 dating back to Nov. 29, 2008, and guess what cheery news awaited him on his return from Mississippi?

You got it. Another player has been arrested.

When I say, “Richt is in trouble,” I don’t mean I expect him to be fired this week or even after this season. I think Greg McGarity, the new athletic director, will err on the side of patience with a coach of such distinguished pedigree. (And a strong finish to this season — winning the next eight and beating Auburn and Florida en route — would effectively get Richt out of trouble.) But the loss at State seems a tipping point. It seems the game in which the majority of Georgia fans stopped seeing Mark Richt as the answer and came to regard him as the problem.

1,529 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 26th, 2010
12:03 pm

Unless they run the table the rest of the way, he’s gone.

sunny purdue

September 26th, 2010
12:06 pm

Run the table? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

dean

September 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

I’m still stunned at what has transpired in Athens.

J Clay

September 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

Good article Mark – I agree…I still like Coach Richt and think he is a great person…have always said he is right man for the job, but last night changed my mind…this team has been lost since UT beat them down in ‘07 (even though they won rest of games that year after) ir since Bama blackout blowout….Time for Richt to step down – his heart is not in this any longer

atlgator

September 26th, 2010
12:08 pm

nearly first…but UGA certainly in last.

5 stars equals 3 losses out of 4

September 26th, 2010
12:08 pm

all of a suddent the 10 arrest and counting matter to these fine folks, funny in “mourning times” people find their religion again

ICMIII

September 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

I don’t think he cares about coaching anymore, and I don’t care about him coaching anymore.

Andy in Blairsville

September 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

It’s obvious there’s serious coaching problems and IMO firing Bozo won’t accomplish anything other than buying Richt time.

Fire Richt and all of his minions at the end of the season or continue to be the laughing stock of the SEC.

Mark Bradley

September 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

dean: Me, too.

J Clay

September 26th, 2010
12:10 pm

Not sure what happened to earlier post but agree with article. I’ve always thought Coach Richt is the right man for the job but no longer – I think he should step down his heart is not in this….Still think he is a good man and has done UGA well but time to move on. Team has been lost since Bama blackout blowout…

HE IS GOOD AS GONE AFTER THE SEASON!

September 26th, 2010
12:11 pm

SmyrnaMan

September 26th, 2010
12:11 pm

Fulmer 2.0 Good luck firing him with that $8 Million buyout

dcbl

September 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

he gets AT LEAST one more year unless we lose the rest of our games

why was he hired from FSU? Because he was (is?) the best Offensive Coordinator in the country.

Mike Bobo is a damn good Dawg, but the wheels started coming off the bus right around the time CMR handed over the play calling duties so that he could be ‘more of an executive that manages the game…”

Let Bobo go back to coaching up the QBs. let him keep the title; but if Richt wants to right the ship, he needs to get back to what made him successful in the first place.

Dusty

September 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

Keep Richt in place. I would miss his sweet butt walking the sidelines.

GR82BAG8R

September 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

Getting rid of Richt is not the answer. Getting back to fundamental football is. With an incredible recruiting advantage (no real in-state competition to recruit 5-star athletes in a state that worships high school football) Georgia should have a fistful of NCs by now. Perhaps it’s attitude as much as athleticism that Richt’s staff needs to work on…

bill king is a.............

September 26th, 2010
12:13 pm

Richt has finally admitted its coaching. Well no sht!!! I’ve been crying this for 3yrs now. If Richt wants to have a prayer in keeping his job, there better be a coaching casualty in athens this week. Starting with Searls and then moving on to Rodney Garner. I just dont like that guy. Bobo is absolutely horrible as a play caller. He’s predictable as hell. UGA has so many fires to put out, where the hell do you start??? Grantham is not going to put up with this crap. I think he leaves…rumor is he and Richt arent getting along after TG blessed out the players in the UL Laf game. And one other thing….we need to start recruiting players who have heart, wanna play for UGA because its UGA. and quit recruiting all of these thugs who care about only going to the nfl. To hell with Garner

piss poor

September 26th, 2010
12:13 pm

Didnt think I would ever say this…I’m looking forward to UGA b-ball!! Bobo has gotta gogo!

Otter

September 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

Remember when Tuberville started firing all of his coordinators? It did not work out too well… firing Bobo would only tip things toward complete collapse. Perhaps he is simply what coach Bowden said he feared long ago… too mild mannered, too nice of a guy to sustain an edge.

Obvious

September 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

The writing is on the wall. The problem is many UGA fans can’t read. Thus remains the delusional and die-hard Dawg fan appearing on these blogs every day talking about how they can win the rest of their games or go on to the SEC Championship game. Of course, Dawg fans have been delusional for a long time; most are just waking up to the reality that UGA is an average but not great football program.

Curious George

September 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

Out of Mark Richt and Damon Evans, who would’ve thought Damon Evans would actually look like THE SMARTER of the two by late September 2010?

FLA DAWG

September 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

Mark,

Glad you and Jeff finally came out and stated what many of us have been saying for quite sometime.

As for his remaining tenure I (regrettably) agree McGarity will defer the decision. But as you also point out the rest of this season will determine the outcome. I don’t see how a positive change in this team is possible with the current coaching staff.

Richt Must Go.

Rev. Eddie Long

September 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

Another arrest? They’re out of control there.

zinoDawg

September 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

CMR has no control over his team. The only time they play hard is when they are out on the town getting in trouble.

If he loses next week to Colorado I would fire him on the spot.

GoDawgs

September 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

Bishop Eddie Got nepotism off of the Office. Anyways, I think it is time for Richt to go. He is turning out just like Bobby Bowden. I think the D will be good in a couple of seasons. Remember Sabans D sucked for the first few years at BAMA. It takes time to recruit.

RxDawg

September 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

I can’t stand it….but your right. How stupid can a player be? Baker????? WTH is wrong with you? I would be shocked if Richt didn’t kick him off the team with everything else going on right now. I like Richt, I think he is a fine man and a fine football coach. I do not want him fired at this point. Somehow, we got a bunch of “me” people on this team that really don’t care about doing what it takes to be champions. Richt probably knows this, but it’s the best he’s got apparently because I don’t see anyone getting benched. It’s time for some draconian measures to get control of the group of misfits that don’t deserve to wear the G on their helmets.

Hard Days Night

September 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

I don’t think its Mark Richt. He needs to take over play calling duties and do what he did at FSU. Look at what he did with players like Anquan Boldin, Peter Warrick, Dunn, and Weinke. He got the most out of his talent. The talent is in Athens it just needs to be realized. Richt can still get it done, he will just need to be more involved on every level from game planning to play calling. Keep Richt.

Think

September 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

We (UGA Alums) need to be very careful on this one. Wiinniest coach ever – fired? Think twice how we will be perceived nationwide. Recruits will jump ship, etc, etc. etc…It would not be pretty. So support the school and Richt to turn it around or we will wish we had not torn down the program so publically.

red hill

September 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

Richt has done some great things in Athens. I think he’s a good man but the mess just keeps on growing. I think Bobby Bowden might have been right. Richt is too nice. There is no discipline on-field or off and the entire program is out of control. Alas, all things come to an end.

zondy

September 26th, 2010
12:16 pm

to quick to call. Everyone needs to take a step back and look at everything before saying lets get rid of Richt. Richt has won 96 games in the ten years he has been here. He is the 4th winningest coach in that amount of time. You don’t just show him the bus after three losses. Look at what we had last year, willie martinez as d-coordinator we got rid of him. We have to give grantham another year to get his guys to play his defense, right now our guys have been brainwashed to still play martinez no tackle defense. Offense last year Joe Cox as quarterback and bobo as o-coordinator we were lucky to win 7 games. this year we finally got rid of martinez but still have bobo and freshman quarterback. Now I’m pretty sure no one will look good with bobo calling plays so he needs to go and then give richt a couple years to get this back to where it needs to be. Everyone wants Richt gone but who can we get thats better. Peterson at boise st, we saw what happened last time when a great boise st coach left and went to colorado, i believe they’ve won about 8 games in 5 years with him. There aren’t many meyer’s out there at these mid majors to get, so before everyone tells richt to take a hike, look at what you will be getting in return and what you gave away.

wow

September 26th, 2010
12:16 pm

Running the table…haha…no way that ever happens with this team. I mean you still have Florida, Auburn, and GT who are all better than MSU. MSU is not a good team…GT is not good either but they are better than MSU. Lets face it if MSU had any sort of decent offense they would have run up the score to 40 or 50…MSU struggles to score 14 most nights. Not to mention UK….a program that is equal to ours….sad to say. All these young kids on here dont remember the mediocre days of UGA football well they appear to be back.

see ya wouldn't want to be ya

September 26th, 2010
12:16 pm

from preranked number ONE in 2008 and on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to this mess, God how the mighty have fallen from the penthouse to the outhouse in record time

RedNBlack

September 26th, 2010
12:16 pm

Awww Shucks ya’ll keep praying for me and my boys! – This is has gotten old and contrite – I’m the son of a preacher and can’t stand the thought of hearing this again. Well now I can just not worry about the rest of the College football season and hope the dirty birds don’t implode – I HOPE.

Salty Dawg

September 26th, 2010
12:17 pm

Mark, what are your thoughts on Jon Gruden returning to coaching on the college level? He impresses me with his motivation and football analysis. What say you?

Ponte Vedra Dog

September 26th, 2010
12:17 pm

Let’s face it, we are not going to run the table. I wonder what kind of relationship McGarity and Dan Mullen have from their time at UF. I believe Mullen is going to be an excellent coach, but he needs a better program. Maybe he can rebuild UGA football? It’s a mess.

Ed

September 26th, 2010
12:18 pm

“It was possible to write off Georgia’s first two losses as having come against superior opposition.”

Like South Carolina? I never bought that one.

younguns

September 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

Alot of these young kids dont remember the mediocre days of UGA football in the 1990s. It looks like those days are back….we arent an elite program….its as simple as that.

myra

September 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

who ya gonna get to replace him?
herschel? derek dooley?

Dan

September 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

The odds are Bobo gets axed after this season – after the HC fires both coordinators the next firing is up the chain of command (and i do not mean Greg McGarity)

RxDawg

September 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

“Georgia doesn’t lack talent.”

Ummm, I beg to differ Mark. I think Georiga has an abundent lack of “talent”.

Note: mental maturity is included in “talent”.

south eastern chumps

September 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

Tuberville was gone after taking Auburn undefeated just a few years before, same thing with Fulmer at Tn, what is so special about what CMR has done then these two coaches?

UGALEE

September 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

Remember, sports fans- if Richt is fired now, Adams gets to hire his replacement- remember Harrick and Evans.

Starring Mark Richt as Ray Goff

September 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

Face it boys, season’s over.

More arrests than wins this year.

Unbelievable.

Bishop Eddlie Schlong

September 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

If Mark Richt keeps hiring inept coaches based on nepotism and not recruiting enough “true athletes” with skillz, he deserves to be gone.

In contrast to Mark Richt, ever wonder how Nick Saban can keep his players out of jail AND keep from losing to inferior teams year after year?

Contrary to the budding anti-Richt websites, ever hear of FireNickSaban.com ????

Neither have I.

DIT

September 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

I’m still speechless after last night. What an ugly game. I have been a strong backer of CMR all along. That support is starting to break down. He is a great man with integrity and I do love the fact that he is a Christian. However, as a HC I’m starting to feel that he has lost his edge. ANOTHER ARREST!! These kids don’t respect him.
I knew from the beginning of the year that our defense would struggle, but our offense looks even worse than the defense????? No excuse. I will back my Dawgs the rest of the year and be pulling for them like usual, but gang, we will be lucky to get to 4 wins this year.
Then what?

wow

September 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

MSU is not a good team…thats the worst part about this. UK, UF, AU, and GT are better than MSU….MSU struggles to score 14pts on most nights….what happens when we play a team with a good offense….they may hang 40 or 50.

Loyal Dawg Fan Forever

September 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

I’ve had it with this $%**$%(^ team.

jeremy c.

September 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

We lost our edge somewhere on the Christmas family platter in 2005, between the SECCG and the West Virginia Sugar Bowl and haven’t gotten it back since.

Super talent (Knowshon, Stafford) and emotional gimmicks (black jersies, endzone taunts) are not sustainable when things go wrong. A commitment to fundamentals, aggression, discipline, and THE PROCESS (see Alabama, Florida) are missing.

ICMIII

September 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

I am tired of reading about how we can’t fire Richt because “recruits wil jump ship”. So what! Once they get here, they aren’t worth a darn anyway.

RxDawg

September 26th, 2010
12:22 pm

“And a strong finish to this season — winning the next eight and beating Auburn and Florida en route — would effectively get Richt out of trouble.”

I agree, it probably would. But I can’t see it…not with these Bad News Bulldogs.

Andy in Blairsville

September 26th, 2010
12:22 pm

Gruden wouldn’t be caught dead in Athens.