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September 26, 2010

The Sick Man of the SEC

As prologue, I'll admit that I didn't watch the game closely.  I took my rambunctious toddler to Starkville and she made it impossible to adequately watch the play-by-play in an analytical way.  I haven't had the heart to watch the TiVo yet and I'm unlikely to have the desire to watch any significant portions of it.  More stringent observation, however, isn't needed for what I'm about to say.

Georgia shouldn't lose to Mississippi State.  Ever.  We have too many inherent advantages, from our fertile recruiting base to our superior financial wherewithal.   I've heard Jeff Dantzler talk about our lack of brilliant talent due to recruiting misses for the in-state elite.  But, no matter what you say about our talent level, it should be (and I believe is) above State's at all times.  What State can do, though, is make sure their athletes are well coached and that their effort is maximized.  That's exactly what they exploited Saturday night.  With inferior talent and resources, State beat a sinking Georgia program that appeared careless, undisciplined, and hopelessly unlucky. They did it with a well-coached, fired-up team that took advantage of its breaks and won a conference game.  It was an effort in stark contrast with their opponents.

For the first time in a long while, I agree with every line of a Mark Bradley column.  He makes most of the points that immediately ran through my mind on the long drive out of Starkville.  It's not a happy agreement, but it's difficult to argue any point he makes.  The issue is one of faith.  We, as fans, have kept our faith in Richt for the most part.  He's built a large stack of chits during his career in Athens.  Last night's game, however, may have exhausted Richt's supply.  Losing to Carolina and Arkansas isn't fun, but it's temporarily understandable.  Losing to State isn't understandable.

To borrow a metaphor from nineteenth century European history, Georgia is the "sick man" of the SEC.  A former power that has run into hard times due to repeated setbacks, relevant only because of its reputation, size and affiliation with other great powers.  Georgia is withering before our eyes.  When a team that has won championships in recent memory begins to lose battles with State, Kentucky, Arkansas, and South Carolina, none of whom have won a championship in longer than recent memory, the only conclusion is a degenerative, sustained illness.  An illness consuming the patient, who is condemned to a slow and painful death. 

The question for Greg McGarity is one of prescription, not diagnosis.  We know the program is sick.  The question is the cure. 



Anonymous said...

Do it now and get it over with. Better for recruiting and spring practice.
Whatever it is.

Chris S said...

This is where the Damon Evans fiasco really hurts us. I think the majority of the Bulldog nation is ready to see a change, but I worry whether it will be possible for a first-year AD like McGarity to force out a tenured coach like Richt--one who still has one of the top five winning percentages among active FBS coaches and who still has a solid cadre of followers, though most of them are fans because of his character rather than his record. (Too bad he can't transfer some of that character to players.)

80DAWG said...

Well said, Quinton. I watched and trust me, I knew we were out of the game for good when Ealey fumbled and had no presence of mind to fall on the ball. In fact, he was on one knee almost striking a pose. I am trying to hold on to my memories of some really sorry UGA teams when I was a student. In 78-79 we collectively sucked and this game reminded me of some of those. I like Rex Robinson's, a member of those teams as well as the 80 team interpretation. He said those sorry teams became champions becaue they gut checked and they, the players pulled their stuff together. I remember those teams. I remember that 80 team. I was a senior. We won several of those games in last minute drills, gut checks. Not many of those boys went on to the NFL. My roommate's brother, David Painter played on that team. Trust me there were issues with behavior back then too. it is just that today, these kids do get jailed for their stuff. Back in the day, not do much. We are in trouble. I live here in Atlanta where every freaking TN,FL, AL, fan came here to work. This stings.

sUGArdaddy said...

Answer: Jim Harbaugh

ColumbiaDawg said...

In college athletics, perception is reality. If enough people believe it, it will become reality.

This especially applies in recruiting. Are those recruits going to play for a team where the head coach is in trouble?

I could tell when the end was near Goff and Donnan. I'm starting to see the same signs with Richt.

Chris S said...

Interesting to see Richt kicked Demetre Baker off the team for his DUI over the weekend. While I'm all in favor of a tougher stand against misbehavior, the penalty seems way out of line with what others suffered for similar infractions--usually a game or two suspension.

Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances we don't about, but, if not, this strikes me as Richt looking to make a scapegoat out of a player to cover over his own failures as a head coach. If so, any chance Richt had of holding the team together probably went down the tubes.

I had already lost faith in Richt as a coach; I'm starting to respect for him as a man.

Keith said...

I'm sick. I wasn't surprised at the 1-2 start but to lose that way to such a clearly inferior team is inexcusible. When was the last time we had more than one significant win in a season? When are our guys going to be coached up? Other teams no longer worry when they see UGA on the schedule.

Boogers said...

Funny...kinda saw this "undisciplined" act back a few years ago when you thought it was cute to dance in an endzone....but than again I guess that was the "Better" kind huh?

It is sad when I think about your team..You guys have a top 5 program and yet you cant even break the top 25 year in and year out..and its getting worse
Reminds me of a fish flopping on a time goes on the flopping slows..

dispite what happens this weekend I look forward to Jax!

GO Gators

JaxDawg said...

It is a systemic illness. Can anyone have any doubt at this point? I'm sure some close to the program will have convenient excuses to deploy but the bottom line is that we've been a downward trend for several years and it's gathering steam. Watching this program continue to erode is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

However, we have an excellent MD in which to prescribe the needed medicine and cure the patient. If McGarity is given the resources (by Adams) and is allowed to do his job his way, I believe that we will all be pleased with the results.

A change at the top is inevitable - and i hate it. I wish Richt would achieve sustained success for 25 years. He is such a damn good man. But unlike Mack Brown, he has allowed deterioration to the point of no return. Richt may eventually have a portrait of him in Butts Mehre, but now is time for proactivity and measured resolve.

I have confidence that McGarity will be allowed to lead us out of this and back into top tier where UGA should be.


I wonder if Chris Peterson would accept the job if McGarity would allow him to bring the blue turf? I think I could deal with it for a win.

JasonC said...

My take is this:
Richt did a wonderful job reviving and improving the program. He is a great guy and I still believe a good coach. The problem now is that his teams have either stagnated or regressed, while the rest of the pack has either caught up or passed us. If he and his staff cannot show the ability to regain their edge (VERY QUICKLY), I think drastic measures will need to be taken.

Earlier this summer, I scoffed at Finebaum and my uncle's (Bama fan) assertion that Richt is on the hot seat- well, now, he certainly is. My reply at that time was, "who are you going to find that is better?" I still think that is a difficult question to answer. How is Kelly doing at ND?

You aren't going to get Saban or Corch Meyers, so who is the answer?

Or do we just overhaul the offense like we did the defense and extend our transition time?

UGA 06 said...

Great post Quinton. Before I discuss CMR's future, I need to point out I have met the man before. I was just a sophomore walking home on north campus and he was coming out of Terrell hall. He is a genuinely nice, solid guy. Thats exactly why what I'm about to say is so difficult. Coming from a family which has attended Notre Dame for 2 generations, I am accustomed to the random quips of "fire him now" nonsense. Anger happens, and people want someone responsible for failure to be punished. That said, Georgia's problems (as you pointed out) have transcended from aberrations to symptomatic to consistent. If the man and his staff are to lose their positions, it should not be due to vituperative punishment, but in order to bring in a more competent replacement. Having said that, someone should be in mind before any decision is made. My candidates for said replacement are as follows:

Jim Harbaugh, Stanford. This man has turned a milquetoast PAC-10 school into a serious top 25 school, and has done so with inferior talent compared to the competition, with discipline and toughness. A serious contract and great recruiting state would be considerable lures.

Gary Patterson, TCU. Same equivalent as above. Made a sub par non AQ team a top 5 school consistently in a state where his school may be the 4th or 5th most appealing destination.

Someone very knowledgeable with the Pistol Offense. If anyone has been paying attention, this offense is phenomenal. It's not a gimmick, it produces dual 1,000 yard in a season rushers, and makes people defend the entire field. Chris Ault at Nevada is too old, but I would love one of his proteges, because that offense can deliver. Coach Mark Fox coming from Nevada notwithstanding.

As always, I'm sure this will be up for debate, but we as alums need to be willing to pony up with ideas as well as money if we want to enact the change we wish to see in our program.

Go Dawgs.

Anonymous said...

Please bring back a "Black Out" wait a minute, it appears the Dawgs have already been KO'd!

JackSpratDawg said...

This program hit high tide September 20, 2008 in Tempe. A week later Alabama embarassed us on national TV. We have not been the same since.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I have complete confidence that CMR can win. His record is proof of that. What happened in 2009 was the only year of his tenure that was an real abberation.

Since he has been here, there have been 3 rebuilding years (2001, 2006, 2010) and the rest have been years in contention. His record has earned him a little patience. He can win, and win consistently, which few other programs have proven able to do amongst real competition in the past 10 years.

That being said, CMR has to decide if he wants to win, and not in the "we pay you to win" way a lot of the fanbase is talking about. Last year and this year, he has generally seemed distracted as to the state of his team. I'm wondering if he still even wants to be a football coach. I hope he gets that figured out. His players and fellow coaches deserve a leader with more focus than this.

Because we have too much talent on this team right now to have a 1-3 record. We had too much talent on last year's team to post that final record. At this point, Georgia should reload, not rebuild, and I'm left scratching my head why that happens.

But again, he has earned some patience to right this ship, at least with me (I remember the Donnan years). Without his straight up resignation, the buyouts and contracts required to bring in a new flavor of the week coach will hurt. All you have to do to see the results of that are look at Tennessee and Ole Miss.

Anonymous said...

Let the Gator, McGarity, take care of it. Only a UF inspired leader can bring this program out of the dumps. Let's face it, we should study the Florida way.

Otto said...

Harbaugh? The SEC does not need a PAC10/Big10 coach.

Mullen is proven in the SEC, has Florida, Georgia, and now Mississippi recruiting contacts. He can win with UGA's players than are on campus, and brings the play calling on offense up to date. McGarity also has an established working relationship with Mullen.

Grantham's staff may not have to be changed allowing the defense to continue to improve.

Mullen may not be winning everything but MS State is not being overlooked by anyone all the while the school maybe the 2nd hardest in the SEC to recruit players to.

sleeplessdawg said...

Wow Quinton,

I'm surprised Paul let you post such an anti Richt commentary on this blog. Last year Paul called me an overreacting UGA fan for calling for Richt to be fired. I guess I, and many of the Dawg Nation who saw that we were in an irrecoverable tail spin were right: It's time for CMR to leave - actually it's been well past time for CMR to leave. Naturally though, he'll fire Mike Bozo in an attempt to buy himself another year in Athens.

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