Mark Richt heard the pain of Georgia football fans on his radio call-in show Monday night and, near the end of the hour, said he understands it.
“I appreciate all the fans, even the ones that are really, really hurt and upset and mad, whatever it might be,” Richt said. “Georgia football is great because of the fans, and I understand that. And I understand why everybody’s bent out of shape.
“I mean, we want our team to win. And when it’s not, everybody wants to know why and they want answers and sometimes they think they’ve got the answers and sometimes they just want to see us do a better job, period, and I understand that and I appreciate that.
“So to all the fans out there: I’m not happy. The boys aren’t happy. Our coaching staff isn’t happy right now. We’re not going to be until we start playing the kind of ball where we can win the games. . . . We’re going to keep banging away until that happens for us. I just hope everybody supports these guys through it all.”
With Georgia on a three-game losing streak for the first time in Richt’s decade as coach, several callers to the weekly show were particularly pointed in their questions and comments. One caller said: “Coach, I’ve been watching Georgia football for 50 years, and I got to tell you, this program is out of control. Out of control off the field, out of control on the field.” At that point, the caller’s line suddenly went dead. Another caller asked a two-part question, starting with Georgia’s in-state recruiting before adding, “And how about getting rid of Bobo?” Richt responded to the question about recruiting but ignored the one about offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
Other callers expressed concerns about the Bulldogs’ tackling, the offensive-line play and tailback Washaun Ealey’s problem with fumbles. One caller called on the players to play harder. “We do need to play harder,” Richt replied. “I think we’re playing hard, but are we playing as hard as we possibly can?”
Several callers offered support and encouragement to Richt. One said: “I know you’re the right man for the job.” Another said: “Changing coaches is not the answer. . . . We know you and the other coaches have not forgotten how to coach.”
One caller told Richt the Bulldogs are “in some uncharted waters” and asked: “As captain of the ship, what are your plans to get this ship back on course?”
“Right now what I’m going to do,” Richt replied, “is I’m going to keep working my tail off like the rest of this staff and these players. And we’re going to stay together, because I promise you if we don’t stick together we’ve got no chance whatsoever.
“We’re going to maintain a positive outlook no matter what happens around us, because that’s the only chance we’ve got to get back on track and get people feeling better about how things are going.”