Georgia’s players lay it on line for coaches as much as championships

Georgia nose guard John Jenkins and many other players don't take kindly to the incessant bashing their coaches receive from some fans. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Georgia nose guard John Jenkins and many other players don't take kindly to the incessant bashing their coaches receive from some fans. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

ATHENS — Moments after Georgia put the finishing touches on its 17-9 win over No. 2 Florida this past Saturday, coach Mark Richt and senior noseguard John Jenkins hugged near midfield. They spoke animatedly, laughed hard and hugged again. It was clearly a moment of unbridled joy.

Richt was asked Tuesday to recount their conversation, but he opted to keep their exchange to himself.

“I remember what it’s about but I won’t say,” Richt said with a grin. “But it was a good thing. Sometimes I’ll say some things to the team and I won’t even remember what I said to them. Then they’ll bring it up after the game. They’ll say, ‘we took care of you’ or ‘we had your back’ or whatever. It was one of those kinds of conversations.”

According to Jenkins, it was definitely one of those “we had your back” conversations.

In addition to the “soft-defense” talk before the Florida game, Jenkins said the Bulldogs were equally inspired by the bashing that Georgia’s coaching staff had taken since the loss to South Carolina and the endless recitation of their record against Top 10 opponents. After losing to the Gamecocks 35-7 on Oct. 6, Georgia dropped to 1-9 against Top 10 opponents since 2008. Jenkins said the players were tired of hearing about it.

“Sometimes it feels like it’s never enough,” Jenkins said. “When you’re in this line of work and you go out trying to please everybody else, then you, yourself, is not pleased. So a win like that, it was one of those victories where we knew exactly what we had within the group. Excluding everybody else, outside influences, we knew what we were capable of. The coaching staff and the players, we had each other’s backs. It was one of those type of deals.”

It used to be that football players were somewhat secluded from all the blather that swirls around every major football program all the time. They would be directed by coaches to refrain from reading newspapers or listening to talk radio and could remain insulated from the onslaught of critique and opinion.

But that’s impossible in the digital age of smart phones and Twitter and message boards and open blog commentary. Players are bombarded with instant and usually horribly ill-informed feedback about the job they or their coaches are doing. Often the messages come directly to them.

Hushing the bashers was as much a part of the joy of beating Florida as was putting the Bulldogs in position to win the East, players said.

“It was definitely a big moment for us and Coach Richt,” said junior tight end Arthur Lynch, who signed with Georgia out of Dartmouth, Mass. “We all see Coach Richt as a father figure. College football is a monopoly that we live in. It is driven by money – you can spin it how you want; NCAA this, NCAA that, TV deals, power conferences – that’s the world we live in. That being said, I don’t know many other coaches in college football who are as kind and loyal to their morals like he is. His base foundation, whether it’s his faith, his honesty or just basic human qualities, you can’t find anybody better than Coach Richt.”

“That short time after the game’s over, we’re happy for him,” senior linebacker Christian Robinson said. “We’re not oblivious to what people say. I watch GameDay every morning we have a late game. We see and hear what people say and we use that as fuel a lot of times.”

As ever, the gulf between the vocalized minority and reality remains vast and deep. They would have you think that Richt — and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, in particular – are in imminent danger of losing their jobs with a misstep in any significant game. As it is, Richt just received a five-year contract extension; he speaks glowingly every chance he gets about the job being done by Bobo, who has the Bulldogs on a record-breaking offensive pace; and those who write the checks seem unswerving in their support.

In the past three years, as Richt maneuvered the Bulldogs through their most tumultuous period in his 12-year tenure, contributions to the Hartman Fund (which is used to determine ticket priority) have remained consistent, between $22.6 to 23 million. And despite a dramatic national decline in game attendance due to a down economy, Georgia has had only a few empty seats due to unclaimed tickets returned by visiting opponents.

It’s all very annoying to Lynch, a history major who has taken a keen interest in the Southeastern football phenomena he moved more than 1,000 miles from home to be a part of.

“You can say what you want to about him as a coach, but obviously he’s had some success,” Lynch said. “He’s the longest (tenured) coach in the SEC. He’s had 10-win, 11-win, 12-win seasons. For us, the criticism is undeserving. But it’s there because that’s just how our society is. It’s a what-have-you-done-for me lately type deal in college football.”

MORE GEORGIA COVERAGE

200 comments Add your comment

ADawg Lover

October 30th, 2012
8:44 pm

Way to go Dawgs!! This sure has been a sweet week. Keep it up!!!

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1970 Dawg

October 30th, 2012
9:01 pm

CMR’s career winning % (74.2) is higher than Coach Dooley, Nick Saban, and Joe Paterno. The vocal minority needs to realize that nobody wins every game. As Lou Holtz once said,”That other team gives scholarships too.”

I-DOG

October 30th, 2012
9:02 pm

While the Florida win was a great one and things look rosy in the short term… the most likely outcome of this season is no championships either SEC or National and the Dawgs will have squandered the best chance for a special season with way they were dominated in all three phases of the game in Columbia with that 35-0 drubbing. This was the rare confluence of talent and experienced roster every where you look and the weakest schedule the Dawgs have faced in years and are likely to face in the forseeable future. It gets a bit tougher next year with LSU and Clemson.

I think at season’s end the most likely outcome is that we are lamenting the fact that we laid an egg in Columbia, especially if we begin playing to our potential the rest of the season.

I certainly hope that Georgia can win the last four regular season games and then rise up and beat the tide and then if two of OR, KS State, and Notredame stumble the Dawgs have a chance to be get into the mythical national championship game.

The talent is on the roster to win the last four games and compete with Alabama (though BAMA certainly has a very good team that takes care of business). I have said all along that Georgia has the 2nd most talented roster in the SEC this season.

However, it is more likely that Georgia will continue to play shaky football and will lose in the SEC championship game pretty badly so no championships brought home to Athens. I still see 3 Georgia 3 losses this year. Hope the Dawgs prove me wrong.

Columbia SC Dawg

October 30th, 2012
9:07 pm

Great column filled with truth.

I-DOG

October 30th, 2012
9:10 pm

Nice to see the players like Richt,, but I think it would have spoken louder if they showed up in Columbia rather than nice quotes about him to reporters.

Georgia played lights out on defense against Florida and it was a great win. However, it was a shaky game in many ways. More penalty yards than rushing yards. Three turnovers by the experienced qb in the first half. 1-10 I believe on 3rd down.

It is extremely rare to lose a game when the opponent turns the ball over 6 times. The record was 11 turnovers and the team still won in 1943. Wonder what the Georgia record is? Has any Georgia team ever forced 6 turnovers and lost? I can’t remember it happening. Will AL turn it over 7 times if we make it to the SECCG? Will 1-10 on 3rd down get it done against the tide with 130+ penalty yards?

Dawgsig

October 30th, 2012
9:14 pm

The sad thing is the AJC is the worst offender when it comes to bashing the Georgia coaches. The writers are complete cheap shot artists and they will write anything to spark controversy and sell the AJC rag. Shame on you!

Dawgsig

October 30th, 2012
9:18 pm

Gee I-DOG, you’re just a little ray of sunshine, aren’t you.

jack bull

October 30th, 2012
9:20 pm

I still say that I would send my twin boys to play for Coach Richt way before I’d send them to play for Coach ‘Step Over You While You’re Having a Seizure’ Saban. But that’s just me.

kauai dawg

October 30th, 2012
9:23 pm

Be careful giving the “bashers” too much power. Just play hard and give your best and all should work out fine.

GREAT win even though it was UGLY. 2-0 would have been fine as along as it’s a win. Now finish the drill. NO let downs. We’ve learned our lesson and see the need for intensity. Go DAWGS!

Dawg1

October 30th, 2012
9:28 pm

We have to beat Ole Miss and Auburn first – then we can talk about the SEC Championship..

And I’m frankly amused that everyone just assumes that Bama is going to roll into Baton Rouge and walk over LSU. Fully expect this to be a battle to the finish…

One step at a time…

Macclenny_dawg

October 30th, 2012
9:29 pm

We was lucky 2 win last week. In all the big games the offense never shows up. Look at our record against top 25 teams and give me Bobo’s average. Defense forces 6 turnovers and we score 17 points now that’s getting it done!!! Bottom line we are just not getting it done. We never put a complete game together. STILL SICK OF RICHT!!!

Austin

October 30th, 2012
9:30 pm

were soft ( except for Jarvis and big jon jenkins) and one game does not change my mind. oh…and saban may have a lower winning percentage, but i’ll take his resume over Richt’s every time.

Austin

October 30th, 2012
9:34 pm

i want tommy tuberville back in the SEC right here in athens Ga…. or keep richt and drop bobo. does any one else miss the days where We had a QB who could make his own checks at the line of scrimmage. if david greene made a check at the line i always felt great about what coming… stafford was not quite as adept but still far superior to murray…. if only murray could face that kentucky secondary every week.

dawg52

October 30th, 2012
9:41 pm

You’ve started something, albeit late, so lets finish this thing……glad to see the unity between players and coaches. Most of you only look at the bottom line, wins. These young men are our future, not just on the field. They’re being molded by one of the class guys in this ruthless business that we call a game. Kudos to the REAL DAWGS who stand behind this program!! GATA this week and keep it rolling.

RJ

October 30th, 2012
9:46 pm

I think most of the UGA bloggers look past a lot of the glass is half empty comments, I know I do but each person has and is entitled to their on opinion. That being said it speaks volumes when the players say the kind of things in support of their coaches. Time to Get over the South Carolina game we don’t need to be reminded. Btw we recovered from that loss to beat the number 2 team while South Carolina two in a row but you don’t see blogging to have Spurrier replaced. Be grateful and appreciate what you have. We are 6th in the BCS poll and have a chance to move up or solidify that position. It is football not life and death like we are seeing up north.

OkieDawg

October 30th, 2012
9:49 pm

AJC has an open blog…Is there any wonder all of us anonymous behind the keyboard bloggers try to harpoon CMR? Like Artie said, “that’s just how our society is.”

Very astute Arthur Lynch and shame on us!

ChattaDawg

October 30th, 2012
9:50 pm

I agree with you Mr. Lynch but please CATCH the Football!

Austin

October 30th, 2012
9:54 pm

real dawgs? win or lose all i have ever wanted from my dawgs is to be proud of the teams performance after the game. and frankly the least few years have left alot to be desired. every year with discipline problems off the field and frankly, even stupider play on the field. personal foul after personal foul. richt is a classy guy no doubt and maybe he helps mold young thugs into stand up, classy citizens but he gets paid millions to do so. all we ask for in return is that the effort on the field maintain some consistency. im tired of being blown out on national television.

DirtyDawg

October 30th, 2012
9:59 pm

Idog and Austin…why don’t you guys go post with Bill King or something? He’s just as bad as you are. Don’t you people get it? This is about being ‘all in this together’. This is our team…these are our coaches….this is our school…first you give em your support – no matter how self-centered and narcissistic you are. The money guys will tell McGarity if, or when, it’s time for a change. Meanwhile pease don’t do or say anything that will say to kids considering Georgia ‘we are the most disloyal, front-running, arrogant bunch of fans you can find and if you come here and for whatever reason you don’t measure up…well you’ll find out.’

WtfWruthnkn

October 30th, 2012
10:03 pm

Paul, get a hobby

Austin

October 30th, 2012
10:20 pm

alright dirty dawg, ill just blindly follow and support the team and not be critical of the product these yound men and their coaches put on the field. i’ll just pat them on the back and tell them im content with mediocrity. oh im sure that many high school prospects read this blog to get a good read on the fanbase in order to make there college choice. unfortunately, those prospects we need are sitting in nicks sabans office or waiting for Richt to call and sing happy birthday. in short, some of us want championships sooner rather than later. i respect richt but i fear his time has run its course. so, quit being a tool dirty dawg and put down the kool aid.

Austin

October 30th, 2012
10:22 pm

self centered and narsassistic? really? kill yourself.

Steve

October 30th, 2012
10:36 pm

Mr. Lynch’s comments hit a nerve with this old grad, class of 64, and season ticket holder since then. I seen some great Ga. teams and many not so great. All the years come and go like a flash.Saw the NC game in 1980 with my 12 year old daughter, she is now 44, and we still talk about that game. Saturday I yelled and cussed the tv and the coaches just like always. And still like to win,but not more than the players or the coaches. My point it’s a game, folks for young men and not the fans, we just get to pay to watch. Mr Lynch will remember what he learned from Coach Richt for the rest of his life and very little of it has to do with football. Go DOGS

manateedawg

October 30th, 2012
10:58 pm

I bet I-Dog, Maclenny_dawg and Austin are ~300 lb couch potatoes who can’t see their shoes, much less tie them… and they have the audacity to complain about these young men, who are putting their hearts and soles into a game, so that these slobs (who purport to be fans, but I have my doubts) can sit in their broken down ‘Barco-loungers’, drinking Milwaukee’s Best and pretend that they are God’s Gift to SEC Coaching.

I personally am thankful that we have not only have quality coaches such as CMR, CMB and CTG, but that we have quality role models for these young who are playing for them! These players love and respect these coaches, these coaches love and respect these players, and I for one appreciate all that they give to the Bulldog Nation. I know they aren’t perfect, and I would no doubt do things differently if I were in their shoes, but I am not… and neither are you guys. So in the words of Theodore Roosevelt…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Dare Greatly Dawgs!!! Godspeed!!!

college is forever, class of 1977

October 30th, 2012
11:03 pm

Hey Dirty Dawg, I truly understand your blind loyalty and I was once that way myself. But as a season ticket holder (4 seats) I have given plenty of money, time, energy, and emotion to this team and school and have not received a very good return on my investment. You can question my and the other many thousands who think Richt’s time has come and gone, that is your right and but you stand on very shaky ground to question my loyalty to this team. If you feel Richt, Bobo, Grantham are the answer then show your support. However I think this staff has lost it’s mojo and I do not see them getting it back. Let’s all agree that we are all true red and black Dawg fans, and that we disagree on how to acheive our common goals.

Go Dawgs!!

Vampire Bill

October 30th, 2012
11:14 pm

Bulldawgs don’t have to answer to anyone or make anyone happy. ALL they have to do is play sound hard hitting football. I’ve complained loud and long about the team lately. However I support my dawgs and would never fault them for a hard fought well played loss. All the fans want is competitive well played football. It’s not really that complicated.

OBDawg

October 30th, 2012
11:17 pm

John Jenkins has it right. In team sports, you play first for your teammates and your coaches. If you happen to please the fans, that’s a bonus. If you’ve prepared in the weight room, practice field, and film room, and given your best effort during the game, that’s all any reasonable fan can ask. No doubt in my mind that all UGA players and coaches left it all on the field in the Fla game, and I appreciate it.

The unreasonable fan does things like complain about HOW you won the game.

Dboy

October 30th, 2012
11:41 pm

College is forever, Class of 1977,
Sit yo old a$$ down somewhere and shut up. This aint your team and you dont make decisions so keep getting mad at the team for every fault you may see maybe you will get a heart attack and kick the bucket. @ Austin no kill yo self..You act like you can hit the field now and even compete with the guys on the field. If you cant do what they the players or coaches are doing on the field yourself you shut the F-up too. Just watch the games and cheer for your team if they lose it’s ok to be disappointed but to take it to the levels you guys take it is ridiculous. It seems you people personal happiness depends on a win or a lose by a college team. That’s patheic

Dboy

October 30th, 2012
11:45 pm

Now I want 1 of you F-a-g-s to say somethin to me

Kevin

October 30th, 2012
11:51 pm

Amen Dboy!!!

Frodo

October 30th, 2012
11:55 pm

Quality coaches in CMB and CTG? Are you kidding me? And, the last person I’d ever call a role model is CTG. He should have been fired 2 years ago after his stunt in Jax. You don’t act like that in the NFL, much less when you’re coaching 19 year olds. What a terrible post. We’ll see how that “quality coaching” does against a real man staff in Atlanta.

Athens

October 30th, 2012
11:56 pm

John J, Christian R & Arthur L,

Keep the faith guys. Most of the tools that post here never attended UGA. It is embarrassing to have them as fans. GATA

Go Dawgs!!

Dboy

October 30th, 2012
11:59 pm

Frodo you can get it too. You dont know CMB or CTG…Just hush while you are ahead homie. CTG is a coach I would play for anyday. If you ever played sports you know coaches are intense dumba$$. I guess you like Willie Martinez

flo-ri-duh

October 31st, 2012
12:01 am

Most of those doing the bad mouthing have never played a down of football in their lives. True fans are loyal fans and don’t boo the players at the games. There are always a few miserable people in the stands that live miserable lives and they need some one to take it out on. We don’t need you fair weather “fans”.

Athens

October 31st, 2012
12:03 am

I should have said, most that come on these blogs and bash UGA never spent a semester hour on campus or gave a contribution outside of buying a ticket and a hotdog.

GATA!! Go Dawgs!

Lonnie

October 31st, 2012
12:09 am

Frodo do you have a poster of Saban on your wall? Let’s go dawgs!

Ted Striker

October 31st, 2012
12:34 am

Proud of the coaches. Proud of the men who wear the G…scholarship players AND walk-ons.

The doubters can doubt, the haters can hate, but the men who wear the G will show up for weight lifting, practice, film study, class and games. Folks who want to leave in the 3rd and 4th quarter, go ahead. In the words of Fred G. Sanford “Let the door knob hit ya where the good lord split ya.”

college is forever, class of 1977

October 31st, 2012
1:05 am

Dboy – you are ingnorant inner city, ghetto, hip-hop loving, no count thug. You could not find Athens on a map. Your opinion means nothing.

drbasic1

October 31st, 2012
1:07 am

@Dboy

DUDE!! well said!! I was reading those comments from the ones you spoke of and ready to give my 2 cents worth and by gosh you said it just like I would, however, let me go a step further…….
@class of 77……I am an alumnus, class of 81. I too am a season ticket holder of 4, hartman fund cont. and I think you are a jerk, actually i think you are full of shi##! There ARE NOT thousands that are fed up with our coaches, there are very few as a matter of fact, and you that think CTG is a bad role model…rotflmaf….you don’t know him, he is doing his job….great man, great dad…get a clue you bunch of f ing losers!!

drbasic1

October 31st, 2012
1:13 am

class of 77
you just should you were full of shi## by your comment to Dboy….it shows your lack of class and i find it funny someone of your “age” would call another man a thug….you just proved yourself….good day sir

drbasic1

October 31st, 2012
1:13 am

Glory between the hedges

October 31st, 2012
1:19 am

GTBob

October 23rd, 2012
5:45 pm

Against common opponents (UT, Vandy, SC, UK) this year:
UGA: 3-1, +29 point differential
Florida: 4-0, +102 point differential
On top of that Florida beat a top 10 team. Something UGA hasn’t done in recent memory. Plus its Florida who UGA never plays well against. Sorry, but UGA seems like a pretty silly pick here Mark. I know you want to play the hopeful homer but be realistic every once in a while.

drbasic1

October 31st, 2012
1:25 am

@glory

stats mean…zip…nada…zilch….what counts is “W” and “L”…..that my friend is the bottom line

Fred ™

October 31st, 2012
3:55 am

All I read was blah blah. Go out, beat Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, and Alabama. Then I’ll hear more than blah blah. Unfortunately Mark Richt has set expectations so low, I wouldn’t be surprised if we can only take care of Auburn, and Tech. Georgia Southern is on pace to win a Championship……………

Bitter Q/B-------Evil twinn

October 31st, 2012
5:43 am

Watched the entire game from replay and after studing aaron’s poor play

He really has the multiple personnalites—-so many POOR THROWS

The defence was forced to play 3/4 of the game again because of so

many 3 and outs—–fla Q/B blew so many great op’s for the gators

he missed two wide open recievers——-just our day

Proud of the fight the defence showed—-But the special edd boys

From the special teams—-punter average—kicker—below verage

——-Todd gurley———super freshman———”O” line—nice game

————#36-williams–great game///#18–rambo—great game

—-#9–tree—average—-#29 JJ—-superman–

—–#26 mitchell above average—-#11 murphy—below average

—#3 gurly–above average—–#6 jenkins—above average—–

——–entire Defence———-above average as a unit

Dawg13

October 31st, 2012
6:56 am

I would think if you beat bama you would not have to worry about Kstate or Notre Dame for a place in the title game

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Hey I Dog!!

October 31st, 2012
7:00 am

How many downs did you play this past weekend or last weekend ?? You keep saying ‘WE”

Give it a break folks they are just kids trying to have fun and extend there playing time in a game they love.Personally I do not see how they play a sport and still go to college..

Double Secret Probation

October 31st, 2012
7:02 am

Class of ‘87 here. Very happy for the win over Florida. But it is one game. So we have beaten a good team and lost embarrassingly to another good team. Let’s finish the season strong by winning the East and get our shot at the West champion. And I pray we show up for that one like we did against Florida.