Is Richt still under heavy pressure? ESPN’s Haney says yes

"I was on the Hot Seat once, Mark. I survived." (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

"You know, I was on the Hot Seat once myself, Mark." (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Mark Richt won the SEC East last season for the first time since 2005, did he not? Reversed a downward trend, did he not? Removed himself from the Hot Seat, did he not?

Yes and yes to the first two questions. To the third, Travis Haney of ESPN says, “Not so fast.”

Haney places Richt atop his list of coaches under most pressure to win. Others included: Mack Brown of Texas, Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, Bo Pelini of Nebraska and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma. (To be totally accurate, Haney doesn’t dub this his official Hot Seat list; it is, rather, “the precursor to the hot-seat list.”)

From Mr. Haney:

Richt is safe today, but with the expectations again high, that could quickly change. Such is life in the SEC, where the distance from the title game to the hot seat is seemingly never all that far. And the disciplinary issues only complicate that, because fans generally don’t want their school making headlines for the wrong reasons — much less repeatedly — and because it depletes the talent pool.

If Georgia sinks back toward .500 with this roster, despite its personnel setbacks, Richt could again find himself in an uncomfortable position. Or looking for a job.

Not saying it’s going to happen, but … it’s not unprecedented for a coach who took his team to the SEC championship game one season to be gone the next. Terry Bowden resigned at Auburn midway through the 1998 season after winning the SEC West in 1997, and Philip Fulmer was pushed aside by Tennessee in 2008 after his team played for the conference title in 2007. But Fulmer had been under duress for years, and Bowden fell out with the toxic booster Bobby Lowder.

Richt, on the other hand, remains well liked by those in power and the majority of his constituents. Does Bulldog Nation wish he’d hurry up and win a national title? Do Georgia fans agonize over every single loss? Absolutely. But the biggest issue folks had with Richt was that, since 2007, Georgia football had been on the clear descent.

From the disappointing 10-3 of 2008 to the uh-oh 8-5 in 2009 to the regrettable 6-7 of 2010 — that trend had to be reversed. It was. And the bounce-back season of 2011 followed by what should be another strong year would indicate that the Bulldogs are well and truly on the upward trail.

A year ago, Richt was coming off a losing season, his first at Georgia, and then his team started 0-2. Had the season unraveled further, he’d have been fired. It didn’t and he wasn’t. He’s got a contract extension in his pocket, and his team is sure to be ranked in the preseason top 10. Is he on the Hot Seat as we speak? Not even close. But here’s the trouble with an on-the-Hot-Seat characterization: Once the label has been affixed, it’s tough to tear off.

I think Georgia is going to be very good this season, so good it could render all questions about its coach moot. But Haney makes a salient point: “The Bulldogs have dodged the [SEC} Western Division powers in 2011 and 2012. If you're not going to [contend for a national championship] when you’re avoiding them, when are you going to do it?”

By Mark Bradley

351 comments Add your comment

lanier

July 11th, 2012
12:49 pm

total BS what a waste of space

Michael Tucker

July 11th, 2012
12:52 pm

Jeff Schultz and and Michael Carvell should be on the hot seat, they are far worse at their jobs than Mark Richt.

Goldenrod

July 11th, 2012
12:54 pm

First.

Go Jackets. THWG, We WILL Run This State

Columbus Dawg

July 11th, 2012
12:56 pm

Mr. Bradley speaks the truth. Expectations for this team are sky high, and Richt knows it. I do believe that Coach Richt will impress this year, though. It takes luck, and ESPN to make it to the BCS Championship, but a team can win the SEC on it’s own. Richt needs to take care of the things he has control over.

TNDAWG

July 11th, 2012
12:57 pm

Third and woohoo. Low expectations.

North Campus Trash

July 11th, 2012
1:01 pm

I think I would be really concerned about CMR’s roster management if I was a UGA fan.

Chris Sanders

July 11th, 2012
1:03 pm

Your link to the ESPN article is linked to a Braves AJC Article

PMC

July 11th, 2012
1:04 pm

Duh, Mcgarity fired the golf and gymnastics coaches for lack of performance. Richt righted the bad mistake at DC with Grantham and since things have been trending upward. He has been more engaged and quicker on the trigger to fix problems in the last couple of years.

Expectations at every SEC school (and most everywhere else) are high. He’s been given every opportunity to have success and he’s done a decent job but even with suspensions, he’s got to show results to stay. He’s been at the school for what a decade? It’s kind of time to win or move on really.

piermontdawgny

July 11th, 2012
1:05 pm

JUST WIN BABY!

DAWGS BEAT TROJANS IN BCS 52-31

Elmo C. Grogan

July 11th, 2012
1:05 pm

Only thing close to being as thankless a job as coaching in the SEC is writing progostication pieces about it….

WhoCares?

July 11th, 2012
1:07 pm

Why do GT blowhards love to get on these blogs? They are, without question, inferior to UGA on the football field, both historically and currently. Goldenrod needs to go back to his day job at Subway.

PMC

July 11th, 2012
1:07 pm

He’s done a good job over his tenure, but they can’t continue to languish and not win the big games.

Dawgbreath

July 11th, 2012
1:11 pm

He will be the hot seat if Spurrier wins tbe East again. Which is possible.

CROW

July 11th, 2012
1:12 pm

If they finish anywhere below 12-2 he should be on the “hot seat.”

Goldenrod

July 11th, 2012
1:15 pm

You leghumpers troll the Georgia Tech boards all the time, seeking higher academics and less arrests. I just think it makes you mad knowing that Coach Paul Johnson is the new sheriff in Athens.

The perfect option will once again dominate the Mutts come November!

Time

July 11th, 2012
1:18 pm

People need to lay off Richt. He’s done a good job. I could care less about all the supposed trouble the kids get into. It gets reported more at UGA than elsewhere unless you’re one of the ignorant dolts that think only UGA gets “thugs” and that there aren’t kids who like to party, drive bad or pack heat at other schools.

In at least two seasons in Richt’s tenure, the Dawgs were considered by many the best team in the land at bowl time and would have qualified for the 4 team playoff that is coming. The NC will come as long as we remain patient. It takes just as much luck as it does skill to win one of these things. The Dawgs have had the skill in specific years, but just haven’t had the luck.

pcola dog

July 11th, 2012
1:21 pm

Mark,

You use dodging and avoiding. Implies active intent. You really believe that in regards to scheduling? Thought you were a bit sharper

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:23 pm

If Georgia loses to South Carolina you will hear an earthquake. The point still is that Georgia is under producing with the talent at hand and have real problems with the conduct and character they are recruiting both players and coaches. Grantham is an overrated loose cannon, and the offense is predictable and one dimensional all pass and no run. Somewhere in this world Florida and Tenn. get out of their wheelchairs and start looking like something that belongs in the SEC. Georgia literally has had one of the weakest schedules in the country and the national press is not in their social circle and has 20/20 sight on this.

Time

July 11th, 2012
1:24 pm

“Coach Paul Johnson is the new sheriff in Athens.” – Well, that explains why the football team is targeted by the Athens PD.

Seriously, tech people really just need to crawl back in their holes. You are irrelevant. Your team runs a offense from the 20’s, you snuck up on UGA once with it, won’t happen again. Gets proven again year after year. 2 years ago you conned America into thinking you were good, got in the top 10, had people talking about potential NC. UGA had one of it’s worst seasons in history. You got spanked.

WRGA DOg

July 11th, 2012
1:27 pm

Goldenrod,
Georgia Tech has great difficulty winning in the All Cupcake Conference (ACC). Coach Paul Johnson, although a legend in your mind, will get his annual thumping when the gnats play the DAWGS.

Excuses so far

July 11th, 2012
1:29 pm

1. Players steal, smoke and carry illegal weapons at every school but we don’t cover it up.
(Saban pays the Bammer PD off)

2. ESPN only picks the teams they like to play in the big games.
(They rigged the Boise and So. Carolina games last year to keep us out)

3. We finished with 10 straight wins and won the East! We’re back!
(The weakest the East has been in many, many years…and still needed Aub to beat SoCar for us)

4. Florida is trending waaaayyy downward.
(Even though we barely squeaked by their worst team in a decade)

Phil Steele

July 11th, 2012
1:30 pm

I have to admit, tech wasn’t even competitive in last year’s UGA domination on the Flats. I’ve heard a few gt fans say they felt sorry for Paul Johnson, that he deserved better than this. His arrogant nature flares up and he takes the defeat hard. Vad Lee is going to give the jackets a new look, but will that be enough to overcome Aaron Murray and the Dawgs’ limited stable of running backs? I don’t think so.

I see the Dawgs beating the jackets, 37-13.

epic quibble

July 11th, 2012
1:31 pm

Well said, Michael Tucker.

Golden Shower

July 11th, 2012
1:32 pm

Ga Tech is a joke and the option has been figured out!!! Ga Tech couldnt beat Kentucky or Ole Miss!!! Hey Rod you want to put some money on this years game???? Didn’t think so!!

UGA 52- Ga Tech 9 Tech will not even score a touchdown against us this year!

The only place Johnson could be Sheriff is Mayberry I think they have an opening!

Dawglasville

July 11th, 2012
1:34 pm

“When you’re avoiding them,” is ridiculous. “Avoiding,” is not accurate.

Spanky

July 11th, 2012
1:35 pm

Nerds, are you really this lonely?! Sheesh!! Deal with it, YOU DON’T MATTER!! Just stick to being a real good school to go to!! Tech is only behind MIT for Engineering,with far more robberies..that’s a good thing(the engineering part)! Just stick with that!

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:36 pm

Say Tech is irrelevant which is exactly where we want you to think we are, what does that have to do with your unimpressive resume and the view of the national press about you. Keep winning and all you get as a reward is a wake up call of what real football use to look like, from Alabama or LSU and who knows maybe Arkansas is not as dead as we had them either. You have one real game, you have lost it two years in a row and that Latimore is still there. Of course you can still lose the third time and represent the division like last year since somebody has arranged a real schedule for South Carolina to do what you obviously can’t do on the field.

twilightmike

July 11th, 2012
1:37 pm

Fulmer did not play for the SEC title in 2007. I don’t know what he was doing in 2007, but it wasn’t playing for the SEC title.

Will

July 11th, 2012
1:39 pm

I am a UGA fan but I think USCe should be picked to win the division easily. I just don’t see many holes on their team. Word is Lattimore is full strenth

Buck Belue

July 11th, 2012
1:39 pm

For the fourth consecutive year, the Bulldogs will be breaking in a new running back. This has been a series of unfortunate circumstances at running back.

Malcolme will be the starter. Second down guy, gonna slip in this freshman Keith Marshall – the change of pace guy. Then you got this Todd Gurley, I gotta imagine Bobo will have a small package of plays for him with limited practice time. Then you have Richard Samuel, who is the best pass blocker and will be the 3rd own back.

So it adds up to 30-35 touches per game for the Dawgs’ stable of running backs.

Kentucky Jacket

July 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

Mark, when did your blog become a dwag blog? According to TIme it is. As for Richt, I don’t think the wins and losses will get him, it is the characters he is recruiting that will get him. The pressure won’t come from the fans, they don’t care, they only want to win. It will come from the administration who will finally have enough of the black eye nationally the program has.

Ted M

July 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

that last sentence tells it all…maybe the answer is this season.

Excuses so far

July 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

Twilightmike just another Dwag talking out of his squatter. Fulmer and Tennessee lost to the eventual NC LSU team in the 2007 SEC championship.

You lose.

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

Bill Fulmer the pumkin how I miss him.

Terrance Moore

July 11th, 2012
1:43 pm

Good assessment Buck, your key statement is this:

“Bobo has a small package”

Dawg Haus

July 11th, 2012
1:44 pm

Actually, he did, twilightmike. UT lost to LSU in that game.

Excuses so far

July 11th, 2012
1:45 pm

Kentucky Jacket-

That’s what happens when you pick UGA preseason #1 every year. The rest of the world assumes you’re a homer.

Moobs Johnson

July 11th, 2012
1:45 pm

Coach MediocRe is perfect for the Georgia program. He’ll beat the scrub teams that he’s supposed to and lose to the big boys. Nobody in the country does less with more.

DRT27

July 11th, 2012
1:45 pm

For the record there is no way to “dodge the [SEC} Western Division powers.” The dawgs will have to go through Atlanta in December.

ClinchPanther

July 11th, 2012
1:46 pm

you don’t make the schedule, you play it.
you don’t dodge them, you play them in the SEC championship. Grow up and get your facts right!

TigerinGA

July 11th, 2012
1:46 pm

As an LSU fan I hope Georgia keeps Richt. Sure he’s a nice guy, but he will never lead your team to a championship. Enjoy your mediocrity!

jdatl

July 11th, 2012
1:47 pm

I wonder if Vince Dooley could have made it in this environment. With this much parity in college football, how could anyone live up to expectations?

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:47 pm

Kentucky I agree to an extent, but you put Georgia on the field with real football teams and they start losing you will meet the most foul mouth fans this side of Philadelphia. This easy winning has drugged them. The reality won’t be pretty. This same crowd that leaves Athens looking like the public sewer on Sunday morning will turn on their man Richt like a dog with rabies.

Rollo

July 11th, 2012
1:49 pm

UGA fans are generally too soft. 1980 is long gone. If you want to be considered an elite team, it’s past time to win another national title. UGA has not even been to a title game since……….1980. This program is always attracting the top recruits yet seems pleased with top 15 finishes. Until this attitude changes the outcome never will. It all starts with Richt.

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:53 pm

Folks, the simple fact is the SEC ain’t all that much better than the ACC. If Georgia Tech was in the West we would be competing with the likes of Arkansas and Auburn and if given the right athletes, LSU and dare I say Alabama.

You mutts have weaseled your way out of playing Alabama once again and just tell me WHO is the last top 10 team you actually defeated?

Mark Richt

July 11th, 2012
1:54 pm

I know what the hell I’m doing, okay?

MintedDawg

July 11th, 2012
1:55 pm

Mark,

Love the optimism, but a quick check through Richt’s past SEC East titles, shows all 4 times, Richt LOST MORE GAMES the NEXT SEASON.

So, it is in RICHT’S NATURE to TAKE A YEAR LONG VACATION after he wins the SEC East.

I think it’s very simple. Richt hasn’t beat a team that finished top 25 AP since 2009.

He has to get a win against a team like that or he’s gone.

I’m not sure the fan base will continue to be content with him going 0-5, and 0-4 like he has the last 2 seasons against teams that finished with 9 or more wins.

Sure, Richt can beat the Buffulo’s, but I don’t think he’ll ever win another game against a top 10 team at Georgia.

Only 1 in on the schedule, that’s South Carolina, and Richt’s 0-2 of late there, and this one’s in Columbia.

Add to that, Richt’s stuggles against Florida, considering Richt has never beat Florida back to back seasons, he’ll lose that game too.

And lose the Bowl game for the 3rd straight year.

Richt’s pretty good against teams that win 6 games or less.

But against winning teams, since 2009, Richt’s 4-10.

Against teams that finish top 25 in AP, Richt’s 0-9.

Should Richt lose to South Carolina AND Florida, he will be fired.

McGarity won’t retain a coach who can’t win a real game in 3 years.

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:55 pm

Vince has everything Georgia would need to win in this atmosphere. Dooley was not a disinterested spectator who has his kids running wild on the streets of Athens. Dooley didn’t like loosing and his mood showed it. Hell I would bring him back at 80 at least you would get some juice out of this bunch or he would die trying. To him it was not the money or fooling the public on what he was putting on the field it was being real. We got some of that at Tech, Johnson came from the Dooley tree and you can say a lot about what Johnson is or isn’t but he is involved, unlike Richt.

Mark Richt

July 11th, 2012
1:55 pm

Not to worry my flock…I have been studying “cutting-edge” football. I know I said that last year but this time I really mean it! Now, where’s IC? I just want to love on him.

GT

July 11th, 2012
1:56 pm

!:53 was not me but you knew that.