Question: Will it ever get better for Mark Richt at UGA?

Has Mark Richt, like his team, run out of steam? (AP photo)

Has Mark Richt run out of steam? (AP photo)

AUBURN, Ala. — On the weekend of Cam-demonium, the Georgia Bulldogs were rendered a footnote. But one snippet of semi-news did emerge Saturday morning, courtesy of the Denver Post: Colorado is apparently interested in Mark Richt to fill its coaching vacancy.

And that might be the best for all concerned: Richt to the Rocky Mountains and a new challenge, Georgia spared a decision no program wants to make. Namely, when and how do you say goodbye to a man who lifted your program but seems incapable of further lifting?

In Year 2 under Gene Chizik, the Auburn Tigers clinched the SEC West by winning Saturday. In Year 10 under Richt, the Georgia Bulldogs fell to 5-6.

Said Bacarri Rambo, the safety: “I never thought the University of Georgia could be 5-6.”

Said Akeem Dent, the linebacker: “That would not make sense to anybody.”

It doesn’t make sense, but it’s grim reality. Georgia was 8-5 last season, its worst under Richt, and it will be worse this time — worse with 10 of 11 offensive starters returning plus a hotshot quarterback making his debut, worse with a $750,000 defensive coordinator hired as a presumed upgrade.

Georgia took a 21-7 lead on the nation’s No. 2 team Saturday, whereupon Todd Grantham’s defense yielded touchdowns on six of the next seven possessions. Yes, Auburn has a great offense, and yes, after days of uncertainty the famous Cam Newton not only played but played beautifully. Still: Had the Bulldog defenders even practiced?

Linebacker Justin Houston on Newton: “He didn’t do anything special.”

Then, asked how Auburn could score seven touchdowns and amass 463 yards: “Blown assignments — that’s what has been going on all season.”

How could a defense still be making mistakes in its 11th game? Have players not yet learned the scheme? Houston again: “I guess not. Some guys are not as focused as they need to be.”

That indictment of Grantham is a greater indictment of Richt. The failing of Georgia this season hasn’t been skill or desire but stamina. Players appear to tire, and even the coaching seems to flag.

Georgia had it going Saturday. The Bulldogs were throwing deep off play-action — Auburn doesn’t play much D, either — and running hard, and then coordinator Mike Bobo ordered a direct snap to receiver Branden Smith that gained nothing on second-and-five and blunted a second-quarter drive. Why throw a change-up when they haven’t hit your fastball?

Soon the game was tied, and Richt lost his nerve. Georgia took the ball at its 21 with 51 seconds left in the half and one timeout remaining. It ran a draw to Caleb King and let time expire, content in the belief that it would take possession to begin the second half.

“I guess we didn’t want to make a crazy mistake,” said A.J. Green, who to that point had caught five passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns against Ted Roof’s overmatched secondary. “We took the safe way out.”

Only it wasn’t safe. Chizik called for an onside kick. Auburn retook the lead without Georgia touching the ball. Richt said he told his kickoff-return squad to be wary of such a maneuver. He also said: “I guess you could only tell them so many times.”

Make no mistake: Auburn was the better team. But Georgia had a chance here, and its coaching failed. Same as in Jacksonville. Same as in Starkville. The same thing, again and again.

Richt on this saddening season: “A few key plays, if they went the other way, we win.” Then: “Teams that win championships win close games. We haven’t won a close game yet.”

For the record, Richt spoke in the same room that housed his triumphant press briefing Nov. 16, 2002, the day Georgia beat Auburn in an excruciatingly close game to clinch the SEC East. There was a time when Richt’s teams were the aggressor throughout, when they made the requisite plays at the end. No longer.

Asked about Colorado, Richt smiled and said: “Georgia is my home.”

Asked about Richt, the newly minted Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said: “I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

And yet you wonder if it will ever get better for Mark Richt at Georgia, if we haven’t already seen his best work. His Bulldogs had a chance to grab the nation’s attention Saturday, and they led by 14 points. They lost by 18.

They got weary. Then they got beat. The same thing, again and again.

1,438 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

November 13th, 2010
9:26 pm

MB:

Ummm….yes. We’ve been telling you for years now that his best years are WAY in the past. More undisciplined poor play and even worse coaching tonight. Send him to Colorado where they want him.

HT

todd grantham

November 13th, 2010
9:27 pm

Herschel Talker

November 13th, 2010
9:28 pm

HASTA LA VISTA, MARK RICHT!!!!

Fitten

November 13th, 2010
9:28 pm

Every time Auburn touched the ball in the 2nd Quarter, they scored a touchdown.

Every time Auburn touched the ball in the 2nd Half, they scored a touchdown.

No adjustments were ever made by the Georgia defense.

Despite witnessing this, the Georgia offense never playe with a sense of urgency. We never went no-huddle.  Never quit running. Couldn’t block #90 when we were in the shotgun.

Rambo takes bad angles – that’s coaching.

Ogletree kept getting swept up while shadowing Newton – that’s coaching.

Sturdivant looks lost when defensive ends speed rush him … even Idaho State – that’s coaching.

They have talent but don’t look organized.

Outcoached.  Again.
 Fire Richt

Herschel Talker

November 13th, 2010
9:30 pm

MB:

Throw into the argument that the pathetic Florida offense which lit up UGA yet again has scored ZERO against USC. UF returned the opening kickoff for a TD, and that is all they have. Yet they put up 34 on our “upgraded” defense.

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GOOD GOD UPSTAIRS, PLEASE GET RID OF MARK RICHT!

HT

todd grantham

November 13th, 2010
9:32 pm

Richt has climaxed and for the past 3 years has inexorably fallen.

SID

November 13th, 2010
9:33 pm

UGA has been good to CMR> He shouldn’t put is through a Fulmer situation!!!

todd grantham

November 13th, 2010
9:35 pm

i’m certain things wont get better. only worse

Ralph

November 13th, 2010
9:36 pm

The thUGA and media frenzy trying to equate A.J. Green’s admission of guilt to Cameron Newton’s denial didn’t work. Green was suspended, Newton wasn’t. Accusations by shady characters without any shred of proof still carries the day, except in the media, with thUGA fans, and maybe Heisman voters. Newton trumped both Murray and Green – not many other players made a difference. Auburn more than doubled the predicted spread winning easily going away in the second half.

sdb92

November 13th, 2010
9:39 pm

Of course it will. Murray is a stud. Au would have been nothing without Cam. He is a stud. Like every other team, he can’t be stopped on short yardage. UGA has much to look forward to.

By the way, I could have sworn the ball hit the kicker’s leg before it went 10 yards on the on side kick. Even though we answered, I felt that was the game changer.

Dawgs look good going into next year, and in two weeks we roll.

Go Dawgs!

william morgan

November 13th, 2010
9:40 pm

Mark go to hell!! Maybe you need to go to Coloroda and take Auburn ass with you!!

todd grantham

November 13th, 2010
9:41 pm

i truely cant blame grantham for the meltdown. that defense has no talent at all

Nick Farley No Class

November 13th, 2010
9:42 pm

Nick Farley, just like Brandon Spikes, is a THUG. He intentionally tried to hurt Aaron Murray all night long. I don’t question his talent. I question his intentions. He intentionally tried to end Murray’s career with tackles that are illegal in the NFL (not College check it out). The helmet to the back. The helmet to the knee (game not in question) when the game wasn’t in doubt.

Kick his sorry aXX out of the league. Auburn – you’ve stooped to Cam and this character, Nick. Wow….sell your souls just b/c your Alabama brother has exerted its will again in the SEC.

Sad.

Katherine

November 13th, 2010
9:42 pm

Ralph don’t try to act like Cam newton is some kind of saint…he has had something like 13 traffic violations, a stolen laptop…among other things. Calling UGA thuga is immature and idiotic…just like the two players from auburn that were ejected and rainey who acted like a complete thug in every sense of the word. Murray had a very good game and will just continue to get better. I was very proud of the way he played today and also aj green.

Sanford Drive

November 13th, 2010
9:42 pm

Bradley…..

Go write for a “newspaper” who supports the cash cow that is the local SEC team. They wouldn’t put up with you for a second.

You are the biggest Richt basher in the state. And you sound dumb doing it.

Tell me Bradley….. how would you, if you were Richt, stopped Cam “thug” Newton tonight???

todd grantham

November 13th, 2010
9:43 pm

Ritch and UGA may as well file the divorce papers.

Ralph

November 13th, 2010
9:43 pm

This is the first time I remember you writing as “Bark Madley”. thUGA fans will now bite the hand that has fed them for so long.

Sicof Richt

November 13th, 2010
9:45 pm

Hit it on the head Mark. Our coaches have been and will continue to be outclassed. Its so apparent to everybody except the AD and Pres. Georgia has become an undisciplined, sloppy team with missed assignments, inexplicable play-calling from Bobo and most of all…..a team that has now become a direct reflection of a soft head coach. We have only stayed in/won games by players making great plays (see AJ Green and Aaron Murray) which by the way…..was Richt’s M.O. when he was hired from Florida State. No real scheme or ability to adjust…just let your stars make plays. But that profile doesn’t work…can’t be sustained. Richt can’t sustain his early momentum. He’s lost his team nad is losing his fan base. Sadly..he will be back next year and I expect more of the same.

Hairy Dawg

November 13th, 2010
9:45 pm

Auburn is dirty with the cheap shooting on QB and punching. We had the tough year but we still Christian and we goning beat all stuff out a pestky bugs. Unloading whooping can for Yechies then we gots work to do in running out stinkys players from program to get back talent for dominants. If high school don’t got talent then we goning needs to get from Hargraes.

todd grantham

November 13th, 2010
9:46 pm

Mark Bradley: They got weary. Then they got beat. The same thing, again and again.

Georgia fans are weary and beat.

Douglas Dawg

November 13th, 2010
9:46 pm

I disagree. CMR is to blame for a lot, having a rs freshmen playing this year and not last. Been to easy in practice, but who really thought we were going into Auburn to get a W ? Vegas didn’t, and nether did any real dawg fan.
We don’t have the players on D and thats on CMR as well. All that said, CMR is going to get it done. AM will be a lot better next year and so will the D. I actually liked what I saw at the end. A team that fought against a straight up dirty Auburn team. Glad we showed some heart and stood up for Aaron. It’s been a struggle for 2 years but CMR is going to get this thing turned around. Hang on Dawg fans.

nola dawg fan

November 13th, 2010
9:46 pm

team has gotten worse the past 4 years… all with the best receiver in the country, top 10 recruiting classes, et al.

i am at a loss… it won’t happen, but Bobo needs to go. too often he made the wrong calls all year. First you DC goes, then your OC, then your head coach. CMR has one more year to get better…. wow, never thought I’d say that.

at least we got the falcons!

Ralph

November 13th, 2010
9:46 pm

The Auburn players who threw punches obviously felt they had reason. The early chop block and late dirty play with 4 linemen all attempting to injure a player earn thUGA its deserved monicker (along with all of the arrests that fans, coaches, and the administration almost ignore).

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 13th, 2010
9:47 pm

good Game, UGA…just please stop whining about dirty playing, you had a LOT of personal fouls too in the game..4 I counted, might have missed one.

WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AU 2010 SEC WEST CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 11-0!!!!!

ON TO BAMA!!!!

Looks like then we rematch with the ole ball coach because SC is thumping UF

WAR DAMN CHIZIK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SEC Coach of the year!!!!

WAR DAMN CAM!!!!! BEST player in college football, who gives a single damn what heisman voters think…the stats bear it out.

WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ROZEMAN

November 13th, 2010
9:48 pm

Sad really, ofense tries but has no leadership help from the coaching staff.

Big Dawg

November 13th, 2010
9:48 pm

Good teams put away their opponents. Our coaches took their foot off the gas and we lost another one. How many chances will CMR get?

Big Wally Dawg

November 13th, 2010
9:48 pm

I hate to say it, but next year will be worse. A.J. will be gone. Your looking at 4-8.

moorman

November 13th, 2010
9:48 pm

The things that MADE georgia a beast program back in the 70s and 80s, PHYSICAL DEFENSE, AGRESSIVE RUNNING GAME, all those things, have been lost. Georgia was a pound it out and win the close games type of team. Those things have been lost. I like Richt, but it APPEARS he may have gotten fat off Jim Donnan’s left overs. Now that he has players he helped recruit, they cant play thru the lack of bad coaching. Bobo’s name fits, that second down call was the changing point of the game. Always bad play calling. On defense, i think a 3-4 defense is too complicated for college players. I really do. It takes time for PRO teams to adjust to those schemes, and you asking youngsters to do it. Man, they will be seniors before they fully understand that scheme. THATS the reason for the blown assignments. It all goes back to COACHING.

ac

November 13th, 2010
9:49 pm

I think UGA plays not to lose. I think they are weary of last season’s penalties and turnovers that they are trying not to make a mistake. We play passive and we are reactive to what the other team is doing on both offense and defense. As the article states, we are no longer the aggressors despite the fact that we have the cream of the crop as far as talent is concerned. We have out recruited Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Katherine

November 13th, 2010
9:49 pm

* I meant Nick Fairley in my previous post. This is a quote from another article:

Except for the ugliness that characterized the final minutes, thanks to the SEC officiating crew looking the other way throughout the game as Auburn headhunter Nick Fairley continually hit Murray late and tried to hurt him with his now infamous body slams.

Just says it all….

Dawglasville

November 13th, 2010
9:49 pm

I wouldn’t be real quick to praise Chizik until we find out all of the facts. If he has been playing with Reggie Bush then I think we will see his recent success in a whole different light. Richt has earned another year. The strength and conditioning program needs a jolt and we need to recruit some guys on defense. I think Richt, Bobo, and Grantham will turn this around if they are given a chance.

Has anyone heard what is going on with Murray?

bubba4dawgs

November 13th, 2010
9:49 pm

Coaches, fans…..face up to it…..Georgia has dumb players! Over and over and over again, they make stupid mistakes! Quit blaming the coaches, they have them out on the field working them silly. They need intelligence to comprehend the game. Honestly, they’re just plain dumb! Athleticism is a given with them but they are short on smarts. Nuff said. Dumb players shoot themselves in the foot and they are soooooo good at that!

UGABugKiller

November 13th, 2010
9:51 pm

It’s time for Mark Richt to go.

Unfortunately, it seems as if Georgia picked a limp noodle to be our AD, who is stupid enough to make the same mistake Tennessee did when they also refused to fire Phil Fulmer until it was too late.

Katherine

November 13th, 2010
9:51 pm

I hope murray is ok…he is obviously very talented and will just continue to get better.

ugastudent2012

November 13th, 2010
9:51 pm

Im not in the business of rationalizing anything, yet without Scam auburn doesnt win this game. obviously our program has digressed to a point that bowl eligibility is no longer assumed when a season begins. thats a product of a decrease in commitment on so many levels. players think that just because three years ago UGA was ranked number 1 preseason they can do anything they feel like and get away with it. dont believe me? come to athens and watch them take advantage of professors, other students, even the poor dining hall staffers they abuse on a daily basis. they care more about driving around in there chevy impalas with 22s than they do about putting together a full football game.

its time for a culture shock in athens. unfortunately i dont think richt is the one whos going to produce that for us.

as much as it pains me to say it (for multiple reasons): its time for change

DuluthDawg

November 13th, 2010
9:52 pm

The first quarter held so much promise and then the wheels fell off. I think it is coaching because you could see AU made adjustments in the second quarter but we didn’t adjust to their adjustments. Although we put up some points the play calling was again suspect – another coaching failure. The D looked absolutely awful most of the game; I don’t know what we got with Grantham but it’s not any better than Willie. The special teams have been special for UGA for the most part but the onside kick to start the second half was a game changer. Momentum shifted permanently to the barners after that.

Everything points to poor coaching. I like CMR; he’s a great man and has done a lot for the program. He reminds me of his mentor, Bobby Bowden, who peaked and eventually left on ugly terms. I hope that if CMR is asked to leave he will do the honorable thing and move on quietly and respectfully. I’m not sure any coaching changes will really help. Yes, he can throw BooBoo under the bus but he can’t get rid of Grantham after his first year. So far Grantham has not impressed against the decent teams we’ve played. Is a full season enough time for our players to adapt to the 3-4? Do we have the right players to play the 3-4? Those are important questions. I think Grantham deserves another year as does Richt. BooBoo needs to go and maybe that change will be enough for all the haters out there.

Something has to change though. This year has been far worse than last year. Without AJ and Durham next year we will be hurting even more, so I don’t know what next year will look like but there’s no reason to believe it won’t be a lot better than this year.

Go Dawgs!

Cecil34

November 13th, 2010
9:52 pm

UGA’s issues are directly coaching related – period.

From the softness and lack of intensity in summer practice, poor character of recruits and to the lack of decisive action in game situations, it all goes back to one problem – one man – Richt.

As the SEC in the last half of the decade ramped up it’s level of coaching, simultaneously Richt’s capabilities or lack of them were exposed.

He is what I thought he was. Save us the embarrassment of termination.

Enjoy Colorado, Mark.

Har de Harhar

November 13th, 2010
9:52 pm

(making choking sign)

ROZEMAN

November 13th, 2010
9:52 pm

ac you are dead right we get leads then hang ,try not to lose

Sicof Richt

November 13th, 2010
9:52 pm

Now…Auburn….great player in Cam Newton and he pretty much beat us solo. The truth will come out and we’ll see what we see. But #90 and a few of Chizik’s players are complete thugs. Sadly…90 is as talented DL as they come…but his sickening display of cheap shots and Chizik’s antics on the sidelines made my stomach turn. Lost my respect for good. Say what you want about Jim Donnan….he was not a great coach I agree….but when P Manning was throwing into the end zone with the game well in hand for the Vols years ago….Donnan cussed out Fulmer at midfield…right in front of his the pumpkin’s daughter. Richt just takes it, eats it, prays about it and shoots another “Ford Tough” commercial. Tough?….that’s laughable

1eyedJack

November 13th, 2010
9:53 pm

You try dragging Walton and Lanier up and down the field all night and see if you don’t get tired.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and Alan Ashley, Bham News Sports. Bham News Sports said: @MarkBradleyAJC: Question: Will it ever get better for Mark Richt at #UGA? (I'm not certain it will.) #Auburn #Cam http://bit.ly/bmVjuS [...]

Top Dawg

November 13th, 2010
9:54 pm

I don’t blame Todd Grantham.

We want CMR

November 13th, 2010
9:55 pm

If I were Coach Richt, I would be single John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High” and getting ready to move to Colorado, while also singing the part in the Tech song that says “to hel* with Georgia”!! CMR deserves more – but will never get it with redneck uga fans and uga thug-dawg players

Vince Doody

November 13th, 2010
9:55 pm

Mark Richt is–Nancy Pelosi. In: The Thing That Wouldn’t Go Away. (this film is not yet rated)

JOKER

November 13th, 2010
9:55 pm

Look at the sugar falling from the sky……

VA DAWG

November 13th, 2010
9:55 pm

Richt will turn this around, mark it down! Too many talented players coming back and coming in. GO DAWGS!

FalconUGAFan

November 13th, 2010
9:55 pm

I don’t need to hear anymore than what Justin Houston said. He told me what is wrong with with my Dawgs. That goes back to coaching. Mark Richt is a great guy, but he has lost this team. Fix it or this crowd will run you off.

uga76

November 13th, 2010
9:56 pm

Ralph – you better go back and look at Cam Newtons most recent interview. he didn’t deny anything – he pulled a Mark McGuire at the senate hearing on steroids – and stated that he just wanted to move on and didn’t want to talk about it. The stolen laptop is not conjecture – it happened and I suspect the academic fraud happened because Urban Meyer did not kick him off the team. If Urban was going to reinstate him, and he “left his heart in Gainesville” why would he have left Florida to go to a Junior College. He is a great athlete, but for everyone to be calling him some type of feel good story and a fine young man – come on, be serious. I don’t see how anyone that has any critical thinking skills can possibly be proud that they mad a deal with the devil to win football games.

What did you say?

November 13th, 2010
9:56 pm

Ralph

November 13th, 2010
9:36 pm

Accusations by shady characters without any shred of proof still carries the day, except in the media, with thUGA fans, and maybe Heisman voters.

Weird that you would call Newtons father a shady character. Why do you hate Cam Newton? Or are you just an uninformed idiot?