Is Georgia coach Mark Richt intense enough?

An interesting question was posed to Pete Fiutak of CollegeFootballNews.com recently on their feature called “Ask CFN.” Someone going only by “DJ” asked Pete whether he thought Georgia coach Mark Richt needed to become a “more intense” coach for the Bulldogs to ever be in serious contention for a national title.

You can read it for yourself by clicking the link above but, for the record, Pete answers that he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with Richt’s coaching style. Plenty of others like him have won big on every level. But, Pete adds, the SEC is entering into an era where it’s going to be harder and harder for the Bulldogs to contend.

I tend to share Pete’s point of view. I don’t think there is anything about Richt’s coaching or management style or personality, for that matter, that would prevent Georgia from competing on the highest level. In fact, I think they already are. With a few breaks here and there they may have achieved even greater heights than they have to date, which is nothing to scoff at.

People tend to gloss over Georgia’s 13-1 season in 2002. Except for a couple of fluke plays in the Florida game, Georgia could have run the table that year. An untimely injury to D.J. Shockley knocked the Dogs slightly off course in 2005 and they finished second in the nation in 2007 after some major midseason adjustments. That’s getting real close.

Yes the competition has only intensified with Florida’ re-emergence under Urban Meyer and Nick Saban’s presence at Alabama. But I don’t think precludes Georgia from staying in the hunt. On the contrary. Step up and knock those guys off once in a while and you’re right in the thick of things.

Just ask USC’s Pete Carroll: It takes a considerable amount of good breaks, schedule-wise, injury-wise, ball-bouncing-wise, to get into the big game. Florida and LSU have gotten those breaks in recent years. Georgia hasn’t. But I’m not so sure it won’t at some point.

Am I wrong?

Some links:

Hope you got to see my story on Georgia’s world-class freshman sprinter Torrin Lawrence. If you didn’t I highly recommend you read it. And if you consider yourself a die-hard Dawg, you’ll want to watch the video at the bottom of the story to witness his incredible come-from-behind anchor leg to beat Florida in the 4×400-meter relay in the Tyson Invitational. . . .

Did you see that Georgia freshman outfielder Johnathan Taylor was named SEC Freshman of the Week? All he did was hit .800 in his first collegiate series. But that was against Youngstown State. I’ll be interested in seeing how the kid does against Pac-10 pitching out in Arizona this weekend. . . .

How Georgia plans to utilize its tight ends going forward was on my list of stories to get to between now and spring practice. But David Hale of the Macon Telegraph beat me to the punch so I’ll go ahead and link you to his story. . . .

I told you last week about Georgia’s Ricardo Crawford heading to Oxford in England but the Athens Banner-Herald did a nice a little write-up on it in today’s paper. . . .

The folks in Albany where legendary Georgia football player Bill Stanfill lives are establishing a UGA scholarship in his name, according to a story in the Albany Herald.

176 comments Add your comment

dawgdan

February 24th, 2009
9:59 am

I can’t remember what player said it recently (I think in ‘07 when Richt’s sudden change in character become blog fodder); perhaps it was Jeff Owens. When asked this very question, his response was “I’ve never met a more intense man in my life!”

TommyP

February 24th, 2009
10:05 am

A lot of us don’t see Coach Richt in practice or in the lockerroom. He can be very intense.

I’ve had the opportunity to be at one practice and he turns it up at certain times when needed. Fabris is military out there and Willie can be pretty intense at times as well.

But for those that think he’s not intense enough, was Tom Landry intense? Tom Osborne?

Tom Osborne is a guy that Richt reminds me of. People criticized Osborne for not winning the big one for a long time but then when he did, he did it several times.

It IS all about the breaks. Georgia will get those breaks in due time ’cause Richt will always have us knocking on the door.

'ol sport

February 24th, 2009
10:19 am

Great way to put it – “always knocking on the door”. Hard to knock success year in and year out. When you coach against a group of coaches like the ones in the SEC, it is not easy. UGA is consistent, just a break or a player away from a championship every year.

Sports Fan

February 24th, 2009
10:45 am

No one was asking if CMR was intense enough year before last when UGA finished second in the Country. Of course that was before 24 season ending injuries the following season.

QuantumDawg

February 24th, 2009
10:49 am

I’m sorry, but the one area that is Mark Richt’s ultimate weakness and major hinderance is his management style. Richt manages his staff like it’s a family, instead of a business. Until he changes this fundamental approach, and starts managing like a CEO, who is only concerned with performance and results, and not like a friend, then UGA will always fall just a little short. Do you realize he has never fired a single coach during his entire tenure for job performance reasons? He’s only fired one coach during his entire 8+ season tenure, and that was for off the field transgressions.

There needs to be much more accountability on the coaching staff to get results. Martinez should be grateful he works for Richt and not Saban, Carrol, or Meyer, because those coaches wouldn’t tolerate his underperfromance and would of rightfully canned him. However, since WM is CMR best buddy from his college days, he gets a free pass. You can’t run any type of an elite organization or business in this manner, and Richt needs to realize this or he’ll always be a brides mate.

Right On Time

February 24th, 2009
10:53 am

Chip,

I have spoken to several former UGA players (both starters and subs) and they tell me that CMR and the staff have lost some intensity over the years. Richt is a leader in the CEO style. I think he relied on VanGorder to be the “fire starter”. Now, there are coaches who may get loud from time to time but do not carry the same weight or inspire the same way. I am sure you have seen it. There needs to be a certain amount of fear one has of a parent or coach and the UGA teams of late have no fear. Respect: Yes, Fear: No.

I think more intesity might be a good thing for both on field and off field performance.

One fans opinion.

DawgGirl32

February 24th, 2009
10:53 am

I agree completely, Jeff. I always thought the complaint about his “intensity” was ridiculous. It’s obvious the guy can coach, we’re consistently a top program, and eventually the cards will fall into place. I have full faith in Mark Richt and our coaching staff.

Fort Worth Dawg

February 24th, 2009
11:01 am

Mark Richt is also 1 and 0 as a basketball coach – he sounded pretty intense before the Florida basketball game from what I read. Vince Dooley only won one national championship, and that was because of Herschel (and yet Herschel was at UGA for three years). Those that remember Goff (and to a lesser extent Donnan) will never have a problem with Coach Richt.

RAMBLE ON!!!

February 24th, 2009
11:03 am

He looked pretty intense when he was dressing down his boys after GT scored 26 straight points in a matter of minutes in rout to a **45-42** victory to me.

I could be wrong though.

Bill

February 24th, 2009
11:03 am

Of course we need more intensity, we lost to GT and Florida!!! Unacceptable

richtfan

February 24th, 2009
11:04 am

The thing with Florida is that they have gotten the breaks, and LSU has too. But Florida will have Teabag just one more year. After that he’s gone either to the nfl or on a mission trip to do circumcisions in Central America. Tebow is a once every other decade type talent. The guys they have down there now to take his place are not even in the same stratosphere as him. This makes their offense much more pedestrian. Harvin is gone, and he was a major force offensively for them the last 3 years. You just don’t replace and reload when a talent like Harvin steps away. UGA will have its shot. You have to go through a season and run the table in the East first. Then you have to have some breaks nationally. You also have to minimize injuries (however that happens). All of these things have to happen together in order for the Dawgs to get where we all know they’re capable of going.

Atlanta Gator

February 24th, 2009
11:12 am

Based on the three 2008 losses suffered by the Dawgs, if I were a Dawg fan, I would be less concerned about the intensity of the UGA head coach than I would be about the following:

1. the intensity of the players, especially on defense;

2. on and off-the-field leadership by senior and junior players, which contributes to player discipline and intensity;

3. red-zone offensive play-calling;

4. defensive game-planning and half-time adjustments; and

5. pre-season coaching emphasis on fundamentals, like proper tackling technique.

Call me a crazy Gator, but I watched 7 out 12 of the Dawgs’ 2008 games, including the losses to Alabama, Florida and Tech. Richt is a very good head coach, but he would do well to ratchet up the pressure on his subordinates to perform, especially the coordinators. In this gator-eat-dog world of college football, you are only as good as your last game. They all count, even the losses. You can’t win them all and losing happens when you play with the big boys, but getting blown out, regardless of the competition, should not be acceptable to a top-10 coaching staff.

Dawgstephen

February 24th, 2009
11:13 am

Nothing wrong with Coach’s style. he is fine. I prefer CMR anyday

Chris

February 24th, 2009
11:14 am

It’s a stupid question.

TommyP

February 24th, 2009
11:18 am

“Brides mate.” That was priceless.

The injuries and the defense killed Georgia last year. I feel Willie is a good defensive mind but I think he’s one that would benefit being up in the skybox as opposed to the sidelines.

For a lot of people, if you don’t win the championship then you’re a failure. That speaks volumes of how said their lives are.

Richt has done a fantastic job for UGA and has changed the way he does things along the way.

Again….Bowden took a LONG time to win a title as did Osborne.

Richt is just fine.

Too Easy

February 24th, 2009
11:19 am

I’m a Richt supporter, but one thing he needs is the willingness to jump out on the teams that we should handle. From last year, that includes SC, ASU, UT, Vandy, KY, Michigan St. – all wins, but all closer than they needed to be. (Of course, we did jump out on the insects, only to have a total defensive intensity meltdown). My biggest regret from last season (besides the obvious) was not having the intensity of purpose to put teams away earlier so that players (mainly Joe Cox and the RBs) could get more work. The coaches had to know that Staff and Knowshon were gone. Sometimes being too nice a guy dulls the intensity. He needs to be willing to pound someone – not merely win.

Atlanta Gator

February 24th, 2009
11:22 am

richtfan & TommyP—-I don’t believe in “breaks,” at least not in the sense of waiting for them to happen. Luck and “breaks” are what happens when your team is doing everything it can and an opportunity presents itself, and your team steps up and seizes the opportunity. Most turnovers are not accidents; they are the result of a defense that plays with intensity, avoids stupid mistakes and makes the big plays. Most fumbles and interceptions are not “accidents”; they are the result of good defensive play. The vast majority of referee calls are correct to the objective observer, if not the partisan fans. Bad calls are like the lines painted on the field: unavoidable, and a great team learns to live with them.

For the most part, great teams make their own “breaks,” and how the team reacts to so-called “bad breaks” is often more important than the bad break itself.

My two bits worth.

Prime1819

February 24th, 2009
11:24 am

I agree with Richtfan. Tebow is a special player, as much as I hate to admit that, with Harvin gone, that offense is going to be different and more ordinary next year. I don’t care what anyone says about that. When Tebow leaves after next year, I think that the Gators will come back down a few notches.
Look what Richt has done since he has been here. I used to work in the NFL and College Football for several years and anyone who understands football knows that it takes a lot of breaks/luck to win the big one. Let me ask you this, if USC were in the SEC instead of the Pac 10, do you honestly believe they would run the table every year in the SEC and from a National Championship stand point? I don’t think so. There will be a time that the ball bounces the DAWGS way, could be next year, who knows but I aint complaining a lot cause we are in a better place now than we were 8 years ago.

Mac

February 24th, 2009
11:30 am

Why yes, yes he is. Record speaks for itself. Outstanding coach. His performance far exceeds any SEC coaching achievements of those who have posted, or who will post here today. Thanks for your time.

DawgsRule

February 24th, 2009
11:31 am

Richt needs to change something—I’m getting tired of losing to Florida almost every year, and then their fans rubbing it in the faces of UGA fans! I have to deal with their fans a lot down in Florida and it’s terrible, especially after they are winning all these titles. Richt needs to recruit some meaner, tougher players and change his coaching style to beat florida. And they need to drop these silly blackouts and penalties that do nothing to win games.

Mac

February 24th, 2009
11:34 am

Richt is more successful against Florida than his two predecessors. Again, he’s a far better coach than anyone who will post here today.

Dorsey Hill

February 24th, 2009
11:37 am

I have a suggestion for DawgsRule. Go up to Ben Jones and say that he isn’t mean enough. One condition: you can’t sue or press charges. We need him too bad. I think you’d find his answer…umm…enlightening.

You have a theory DawgsRule. The only way to find out if you are correct is to test it out. Please forward all photos and hospital records to Chip for later posting.

Ed

February 24th, 2009
11:39 am

I like what Richt has done with Georgia’s program, but to answer the question: No. He’s a Mack Brown type. Actually, the perfect CEO head coach in my opinion. But that type of coach needs a Van Gorder or Muschamp type to bring intensity and passion to the sidelines. I think Richt has that on the offensive side with Searels, but not on the defensive side.

DawgGirl32

February 24th, 2009
11:41 am

Atlanta Gator- I think the “breaks” most people are referring to has more to do with which teams win and which teams lose to propel a team into the NC game. Take LSU 2007. Sure, they only lost two games and beat Tennessee in the SEC championship, but they NEVER would have been in that NC game had West Virginia not lost to a Pitt team they never should have lost to. That was a break for them.

Doug

February 24th, 2009
11:43 am

Why is it that three other SEC coaches, who have each been in the league less the CMR, have won 4 National Championships between them? I say two things:
1. Intensity
2. Assistant coaches
The team takes on the character of the head coach. Although we applaud CMR for being a good Christian man, he does not demonstrate the fire, the blazing eyes of his counterparts and hence, neighter does the team. CMR’s assistant coaches are weak. The obvious weak link is defensive coordinator, Coach Martinez. The defense lacks fire, spirit, they are not well prepared and look confused at times. But the most glaring problem for me, is, that our coaches get out coached during the game. We do not react to the changing situations and change in tactics by the other side like they do. This is why our tendancy is to start out hot, get a lead, and then stall and hold on ’till the end.
It is a difficult situation because the head coach wins 10/11 games per year. But we have yet to really challenge for the national championship (the number 2 was a fluke, there was no real chance). This is a Donnan situation all over again where this coach averages a couple more wins per year, but the result is still the same.

Jeff

February 24th, 2009
11:46 am

I think CMR is just FINE……it’s the QUALITY of some coaches he has on his staff. Could you imagine IF we had a CHARLIE STRONG ???????

AltamahaDawg

February 24th, 2009
11:50 am

I really don’t get the comments that Richt doesn’t hold his staff accountable. First of all, how do you know? How does anyone know what is said in meeting and during the offseason? It’s actually fairly silly to suggest that any major head coach doesn’t hold his staff accountable. Just absolutely would not survive as a HC if not.

I have been both a boss and a subordinate to a few good and bad bosses, and I can tell you, holding somebody accountable does not mean publically chastising them, or just firing them. If a manager fired everyone who didn’t meet a perfect standard, WHO is he going to hold “accountable”? Somebody not there? Actually when you fire somebody, its more about holding yourself accountable. And I really don’t get the insinuation that Coach does things that be believes are not in the best interest of the program. How odd to suggest that he would knowingly endanger his job, his staff (all of whom are his good friends)and his family, over a “friend”.

Holding accountable means a serious discussion about an issue and an agreement as to what changes need to be made and who is responsible for making them. What would lead anyone to believe any less happens in Mark Richt’s office?

AltamahaDawg

February 24th, 2009
11:53 am

If we had Charlie Strong last year, we would have lost 4 games and been embarassed in a Bowl game.

38-3

February 24th, 2009
11:59 am

Figures the WEAK MINDED “Ramble On” would show up…another UGA football blog topic…UGA owns Ramble On’s simple mind…It never fails. Always comes in here and talks sh*t, insecurities and inferiority complex coming through. I get it, can’t help it…a TECH fan syndrome in general!

Still waiting on those CHICK-FIl-A bowl rings RAMBLE ON!

Atlanta Gator

February 24th, 2009
12:00 pm

DawgGirl32—-I hear you and I appreciate what you’re typing. Nevertheless, when a team loses more than one game in a season, all the “breaks” in the world will not get that team into the BCS title game.

LSU making it to the BCS game in 2007, as a 2-loss SEC champion, was an aberration, and is not likely to happen again in my lifetime in the absence of a Division I playoff. In the 17 seasons of the Bowl Alliance, Bowl Coalition and Bowl Championship Series, only one 2-loss team made it to the Big Game.

Win the SEC East, win the SEC, then worry about “breaks.” From the team’s perspective, you can’t control which other teams lose on any given Saturday. You can only control how your own team coaches and plays. Go undefeated in the SEC, and it’s likely that no “breaks” will be needed.

bank walker

February 24th, 2009
12:01 pm

just because he doesn’t rant and rave on the sidelines doesn’t mean he isn’t intense. People tend to forget Richt’s accomplishments. Look what he done @FSU and what he’s done here @UGA. He’s a great coach plain and simple. This is the most comfortable I’ve felt with a coach @UGA since the Dooley days. Keep it going CMR!!GO DAWGS!!!

dawgfan1911

February 24th, 2009
12:01 pm

I think Mark is a great coach! Georgia has always been on the brink of winning it all under his leadership. In the big games, we just seem to make a few bone head plays in certain situations. Last year that lost to South Carolina was huge and that was a game we should have won. If we win that game we play for the sec and a national championship. The year we lost to florida on a bunch of bubble screens and went 12-1, we shouold have competed for a national championshp. The year Shockley got hurt was our year, so this guy can get us close, we just need to get over the hump and I think we will.

Right On Time

February 24th, 2009
12:01 pm

Mac,

You are exactly right. As the saying goes, “He has forgotten more about coaching than I will ever know”.

However, anyone watching the 2008 version of UGA might perceive a lack of intensity specifically on the D. Curran stands out on that side of the ball for a reason: he is a bright, hard driving, self motivated young man. It appeared that other players need that “kick in the pants” to get them going.

I have been a season ticket holder for 17 years. I had to live through Goff! I appreciate Coach Richt more than I can tell you. That does not negate the feeling that there is something amiss when there are blowouts 3 years in a row and multiple meltdowns from a team with tons of talent.

Cuz

February 24th, 2009
12:06 pm

For Pete’s sake give the man a break. Intense enough, ask a player? He has given us an incredible ammount of wins in the few years he has been at UGA. As pointed out, St. Vincent won one MNC in all his years. I will give CMR a pass on the MNC. I like SEC Championships, those are won on the field, not on some computer rankings. Even with the loss of the two all-stars, I look for a pretty good year for the Dawgs. Of course that is predicated on the line’s staying healthy. It was amazing how they patched together the lines last year with duct tape and super glue. I think we will surprise some folks this year and it is nice not to be on the radar.

Florida post-Tebow may be alot like UGA post-Walker. The team may band together for an unexpected 2010 season and then slide a little before the next rising star knocks on the Urban Legend’s door. Then an uphill battle if the Legend does not leave for greener turf.

scooby doobie doo

February 24th, 2009
12:09 pm

QuantumDawg I couldn’t disagree more. I think Richt’s style of family is awesome and more important that the corporate world model we have today. CMR is a man of integrity and sees the big picture. I wouldn’t trade him for any other coach in the entire country. Count your blessings.
Doug we have a great winning program that is solid and built for the long haul. We have a great HC and a great staff and a great team. Go DAWGS!

Cuz

February 24th, 2009
12:09 pm

Atlanta Gator, what think you of the upcoming post-Tebow Appocalypse?

[...] Georgia coach Mark Richt intense [...]

TheItalianDawg

February 24th, 2009
12:21 pm

Chip, you are the man, good job again for a good piece of Georgia news, and how about them dawgs!! the race was incredible, and Lawrence will be a world champ and olympic gold medalist, he is unbelievable!! go dawgs!! and for the gaytors, be ready for a44 whopping for the next 4 years. go dawgs

Lee

February 24th, 2009
12:25 pm

When things are rolling good for the dawgs, Coach Ritch’s intensity is not a matter of interest; however, whenever there is adversity; his intensity is questioned; how unfair is this to Coach Ritch.

Fred

February 24th, 2009
12:25 pm

Georgia certainly doesn’t want a Bobby Knight type coach. Tech has a coach like that and his lack of control will eventually get him in trouble just like Bobby knight. Mark my words……

John

February 24th, 2009
12:27 pm

I’m really tired of this subject. It’s really non-sensical and overdone at this point.

murfdawg

February 24th, 2009
12:27 pm

Maybe if CMR shaved his head, butted heads with the d-linemen and had blood and sweat running down his face before a game, he could satisfy some peoples definition of intensity. Game day intensity for a head coach and preparation intensity during the week are two different animals. The outside demands on a head coach on gameday are incredible.

Chip, maybe this fall, you can follow CMR 24/7 from Sunday night through Saturday at kickoff and tell us how intense he is all week. We only see three hours on the sidelines of his intensity. Vince Dooley was a general on Saturday and Mark Richt is a CEO.Calmness in the face of adversity is the mark of a leader. I’ll take Richt anyday.

Andy

February 24th, 2009
12:28 pm

I find it interesting that people think Richt should be more like a CEO. It just goes to show how the world works now. Everyone focuses on short-term results and says to heck with the long-term. CEOs today bend the rules, having made sure they have a generous golden parachute in place, and then walk away scot-free, leaving their organization in shambles with employees and shareholders to deal with the aftermath. We see coaches do the same thing (e.g., Harrick). Richt is an honest, hard-working, loyal, and talented coach, and has set UGA football up for long-term, sustainable success, as he has already demonstrated. UGA is lucky to have him, and should keep him as long as he’s willing to stay. Richt, unlike many others, will walk away from UGA one day as one of its greatest coaches. I think the longer he stays at UGA, the more likely it is that UGA will win championships.

Bow Wow

February 24th, 2009
12:29 pm

One thing that Richt does not do is hold his players responsible for their bad behavior. His one-game suspensions are a joke. I have seen more than one player in Richt’s face, questioning his decisions. Richt has consistently recruited some of the best talent in the country and done less with that talent. Richt came very close to losing to Kentucky and Auburn last year because of penalties and players who continue to lollygag. Richt’s initial success at Georgia was due to some outstanding recruiting by Jim Donnan. Richt will continue to produce winning football teams and put many players in the NFL, but forget about national championships or even conference championships in the near future.

Brew

February 24th, 2009
12:32 pm

QuantumDawg is more right on than you’ll want to admit. All you have to do is look 200 miles north and see what Phil Fulmer’s loyalty and family atmosphere ultimately got him. Ten years of no SEC titles and shown the door.
Fulmer would never fire the underperformers on his staff because they were his buddies and he could play the stability card to recruits. He also was a less fiery coach like Richt and it showed in his teams.
Not saying these two are mirror images, but there are some similarities there that those of us in UT circles can easily recognize. Fulmer had great success early, like Richt, but tapered off to mediocre over the last few years. No guarantees that it’ll happen to Richt, but you can’t help but see some similarities.

Mac

February 24th, 2009
12:32 pm

If Paul Johnson were going to pull a Bobby Knight, we’d have seen it already. He’s demonstrative, but not out-of-control.

murfdawg

February 24th, 2009
12:33 pm

Chip,
Is Tony Barnhart still on vacation?

Richt is the Man

February 24th, 2009
12:35 pm

Hey, Doug. Those 3 coaches you are talking about may have been in the league less than Richt, but they have been head coaches longer than Richt, although I think Urban Meyer only has 1 year or two edge on Richt there. Big difference there. Richt will be fine. He will eventually win a national title at UGA at some time as long as morons don’t run him off. He do think he needs to instill more intensity in his players, and slick Willie WILL be gone after next year if the defense does not improve.

GW

February 24th, 2009
12:35 pm

Richt has plenty of fire but his staff may become complacent because they know he will not fire anyone. An assistant coach should not enjoy too high of a comfort level. Being overly secure may affect their job performance without them even realizing it.

Auditdawg

February 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

Chip, you hit the nail on the head. Eventually the breaks will come Coach Richt’s way (certainly it helps to start knocking off Florida on a more consistent basis). Florida and LSU have won the last three national title despite losing a game. They got the breaks by teams losing in front of them late in the year. As long as Coach Richt keeps Georgia winning 10+ games a year (and hopefully beating Florida more consistently) the team will always be positioned to take advantage of the breaks when they come his way. Tom Osborne and Bobby Bowden fielded some pretty darn good teams, but it took both of them nearly 20 years to win national titles because they didn’t catch all the breaks until then. Same could be said about Joe Paterno. Does anyone honestly believe that the 1998 Tennessee team would have won the national champioship without Clint Stoerner fumbling the ball while trying to take a knee? Sure, it stinks as a Georgia fan to see your biggest rival getting the breaks, but as long as Coach Richt keeps the program in the position to get those breaks they will eventually come his way.