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November 2, 2010

My Overall Thoughts on the Football Program

If Georgia had played as hard against South Carolina and Mississippi State (and to a lesser degree Colorado) as they played against the Gators, I believe that things would look very different. We could still be in first place in the East, and things wouldn't look so bleak.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The Bulldogs played dispassionate football for much of the first five games of the season, and they put themselves in this position.

That's what bothers me.  I just can't comprehend why in 2007, 2009 and 2010 this program's coaches and players waited until the biggest prizes were off the table to decide to play their hardest and smartest football*.  It's maddening.

Georgia is not a program with 4-5 talent.  Georgia is not a program with 4-5 facilities, recruiting base, financial backing or any other infrastructural element.  There's no Jan Kemp, Ronny Contrell or Lane Kiffin-sized legitimate excuse for where we are.  We are here because Coach Richt has consistently waited too long to address the glaring problems surrounding the program, and that is why we are where we are.

It's a systemic issue of urgency that we've discussed frequently over the years.  A coach with "hair on fire urgency" doesn't do the following:
  • Tolerate Neil Callaway's recruiting for 6 seasons
  • Tolerate John Jancek's epic fail linebacker coaching for 5 seasons
  • Tolerate John Fabris' idiotic kickoff "strategies" for 9 seasons
  • Redshirt Knowshon Moreno
  • Promote a kid like McClendon when *obviously* more qualified candidates were available
  • Wait to terminate Martinez and post-pone an inevitable rebuilding process
  • Blow off two a day practices in favor of pool parties
  • Let the strength program fall to where we're getting mauled up front
So here Richt sits scrambling to find answers that are less painful than the obvious ones.  Just like last year.

It's all so avoidable, and that's what frustrates me the most. 

To clarify, I'm not calling for Mark Richt's job or his head.  I want him to be successful because he's a good person...but more importantly because the process of replacing him is TERRIFYING when you consider the realistic pool of potential candidates.

I'm simply asking that our coach manage our program in the proactive manner that is commensurate with his compensation package.  To date, we've paid Coach Richt almost $20 million.  The bulk of that money was not paid as a reward for past performances. It was paid to ensure we got consistently excellent results on a go forward basis.  Once you win the SEC, you're not Coach for Life.  You still have to drive the program forward.

We've now lost 10 games in the past two seasons, and appear very likely to lose 11 in two seasons. As a point of comparison, Jim Donnan lost 11 games in his final THREE seasons in Athens.  Regardless of Richt's excellent achievements in his first five years, he absolutely cannot take the program to a level lower than he found it.  That's simply not acceptable.

He's being paid to make the tough decisions BEFORE those decisions become obvious to those of us who've never been in the arena.  Waiting for years after we can figure it out is far too long.  And that's my frustration.

PWD


*Ht to "Whyso" via DawgPost.com's message board for helping me articulate that sentence more concisely than my original draft.  He articulated what I was trying to say in a similar manner.  Not the whole post...just that sentence.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

that is extremely well said and sums up my feelings as well

Bernie said...

I'm simply asking that our coach manage our program in the proactive manner that is commensurate with his compensation package.

Can't be put any simpler. Amen.

doofusdawg said...

spot on... so he finally made the defensive changes... the tougher practice changes... i don't know about s&c but that has nothing to do with some of our head scratching play selections... so what else do cmr and gm talk about.

Dawgnoxious said...

I feel the same way, with the possible exception of S&C. It's become fashionable to bash the strength & conditioning program. And I'm not defending Van Halanger's work.

But in my opinion the reason we're getting mauled on the offensive/defensive lines so consistently is a combination of attitude/effort/technique.

South Carolina/Colorado/Mississippi State are not simply "stronger" than we are. We ran the ball at will against Auburn/GTU/TAMU last year. Our O-line didn't get weaker or less conditioned over the off season. The real culprit is the half-assery that infects the whole team. Another word for that is "coaching."

Ramsey Lifeguard said...

I think you're a little harsh on the pool party, I don't think that's why we have 5 losses. I'll begrudge him for many things but I'm glad we don't have an evil robot coach. I realize the last 2 national title's have been won by evil robot coaches but still.

Paul said...

This year we area team that finds a way to lose. We have yet to win a close game. I love Richt and genuinely believe we cannot find a better man to be our coach. The reality is that we've been on a downward trend for a couple of years and we simply cannot beat Florida. There are no more moral victories to be attained in Jacksonville. We can't find any encouraging signs no matter what we do as long as we continue to lose. If the program can't show some significant improvement next year I don't think McGarity will be inclined to keep CMR on board. I hate to say that but I think it is true. This is the SEC. You have to win.

picassokat said...

Frustrations are warranted however turnovers are not committed by coaches and key turnovers at exactly the wrong times is the story of this season.

Lost in Jacksonville said...

Extremely well put. I am not sold that CMR can get us to the promised land, but I think he needs to take a really hard look at every piece around him. It appears looking in from the bleachers that neither the players nor coaches really respect him anymore. At some point, if not already, this is going to impact our recruiting and chances going forward.

Anonymous said...

What about Chip Kelly, Gus Malzahn, or Gary Patterson as a replacement for Richt?

Anonymous said...

Coaches can teach players how to hold the ball and be less likely to fumble, or at least other coaches can.

MarkS31 said...

As a full-fledge Richt supporter, I have to agree on many of your points here. This was a very thoughtful post, and I hope CMR is realizing these things as well.

I still think he makes good decisions for the program overall - he's just been taking way too long making them. Much as I support second chances, he really has been patient to a fault.

That said, I hope he's learned and I hope he stays. This season's done, but we have the pieces to make the next couple very special. Go Dawgs!

Dooms Day Dawg said...

PWD...I applaud your passion! I also agree with you nearly 100%. I do not have the insider info to know enough about the S & C program. I question CSS and the job that he has done at UGA. I realize that he would be hired in less than 2 minutes if he were to leave, but I believe he has failed in an epic manner. I have lost all faith in CMR to turn the ship around. I hope that I am wrong.

80DAWG said...

Spot on. I know coach Richt is a good man. That does not exempt him from being a better coach. I can take a quiet fire, but need fire! I am damned sick of losing. Turnovers on the level we saw on Sat. all I can say is attitude reflects leadership. I need an on fire attitude. Meyer may be evil but he just wanted this win more and so did his players. Period. His attitude was taken on by his players. I have been a part of this University since I was a kid. I entered college in 1976 and returned to add a master's. Dawn, I am sick of the pre-season hype only to be followed by total disappointment. Total. No more excuses for anyone. Get it down or get gone! And please no comments about criminal behavior. Did karma reach out an grab "time to die @#$ch", Rainey? No. Of course I want good solid kids, but every program deals with kids. I am over it!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with picassokat. Turnovers at the absolute worst times are the reason why we have lost 5 games. Is that coachable? I would think so but in the end the players have to execute.

And I have to totally disagree about the two-a-days frustration. It made absolute sense at the time. I remember reading more than one article from ESPN "experts" basically calling Richt a maverick for this and saying that other college coaches should follow in his footsteps.

I'm very frustrated with the program right now and agree that we shouldn't have lost 5 games this year but I am also still seeing signs of progress. Remember that "deer in the headlights" look we've seen so many times? Tennessee 2007/2009, UF 2008/2009, Bama 2008? I would take our 5 losses any day than 1 or 2 of those.

chris said...

2-8 vs. University of Florida. How can any UGA fan defend that statistic? Keeping the current coaching staff is only delaying the inevitable. Please provide why they should be employed when UGA is 4-5? Being a nice person is not an acceptable answer. Why are fans to believe that next year will be any better?

RC said...

Well said, Paul. I'd only disagree in that I am not at all daunted by the pool of potential candidates. I can name you 4 or 5 off the top of my head that would jump at the opportunity and likely wouldn't play .500 ball in the SEC and continue happily serving as Florida's b*itch year in and year out. As a man, I would love nothing more than to see Coach Richt get this thing turned around. However, for the very reasons you list, I don't have any confidence at all that he can or is capable.

It's time to move on.

Anonymous said...

So, we should not fire Richt simply because the pool of candidates in your opinion is "terrifying"?

McGarity is being paid to lead the department. If he thinks Richt should be fired, then he should fire him.

There are great football coaches out there. If McGarity is the AD everyone thinks he is, then he will find one. If he does not, McGarity will fire that guy and hire a new one. It is not like that this is a one year problem or knee-jerk reaction.

Richt's record is in decline. He cannot beat Florida. It will take a miracle to beat Auburn. I do not want to fathom a loss to Tech. Think about the last time we lost to our three biggest rivals in the same year. I think we lost to USC that same year. Gee we lost to USC this year too.

We have had 11 player arrests since March and 26 since 2008. We have had 5 or 6 players kicked off the team. Our top 2 RB's have missed 3 total games due to off-field issues. Two of our top 3 WR's have missed 5 games due to off the field issues.

On the field discipline has improved this year, but only slightly. We still make TO's in big games at the wrong time.

Richt should be given credit for past success but no one can say that there is reason to be optimistic about the state of our program. Certainly we can find a coach who can improve our current status.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Well said.

I'll also say that his public response to the "choke" sign incident is typical Richt and similar to his response to the 2007 end zone incident. Either apologize or refuse to apologize...don't waffle.

And just for the record, I don't think he should apologize for either one...but again, don't waffle.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

02/2010 1:12 PM

Paul said...
"This year we area team that finds a way to lose. We have yet to win a close game. I love Richt and genuinely believe we cannot find a better man to be our coach."

I too am a Richt fan, but the question keeps popping into my mind now: Can we find a better coach to be our man?

AppleDawg said...

We are now going on 6 seasons without an SEC East title. Why any UGA fans would be happy about that is insane to me.

We are not going "upwards" whatsoever and our record continues getting WORSE.

Hunkering Hank said...

I'm calling for Richt's job.

PWD - Love ya' bro, but how can you NOT think he deserves to be fired at this point? You made all the points but you failed to take the final step in your analysis.

Why? Fear.

You're afraid of finding a new coach? That is the last reason to keep him. That is the same type of thinking that has our team where it is. We're afraid to tackle in preparation for the season because we might get some guys hurt and look what that got us. We're still trying to put a freaking bandaid on the tackling problem with three games to go! We were AFRAID to cut Aaron Murray loose early in the season because he might make a - GASP! - mistake! And we got our ass kicked by South Carolina because we couldn't tackle or make a first down.

Georgia MUST STOP being DRIVEN by fear. That is exactly what is wrong with the program and it is exactly why we can't beat Florida. We're scared of them. It's obvious.

Hike up your skirt, UGA, and kick Richt's ass out the door because he doesn't want to win as bad as you do. If he did, he'd get his damn team ready to play like Urban Meyer.

Richt coaches scared, Bobo calls plays scared, and too often the team plays scared and now we're going to run the whole damn program - coaching decisions included - based on the thought that we might not be able to get someone better?

I don't get it. If you thought there were legitimate signs of a turnaround, maybe...

How could we do worse? He's lost ten games in two seasons! That's Ray Goff land!

Look at Auburn. You, and many others, mocked the hiring of Chizik. The tiggers are number freaking one. Who thought that would happen? They fired a coach with a career record that I'm "guessing" is nearly as good as Richt's and they are damn sure better off for it.

Are there disaster stories? Hell yes. Ron Zook. Maybe Derek Dooley (but I doubt it).

But we must remember there are SUCCESS STORIES TOO!

No fear.

GO DAWGS.

Anonymous said...

Richt coaches like this blog writes.

Mike said...

Bottom line is that Richt's time is done. He should be thanked for his contribution and shown the door when this season ends. We are very likely to not go bowling, so the entire month of December could be spent on the search. As for the prospects of finding his replacement being terrifying, relax, we really can't get much worse.

ColumbiaDawg said...

In deciding whether or not to replace a head coach, I believe it comes to two arguments.

1. "Perception is reality." If enough people believe the coach will or should be replaced, it will happen. This especially applies to high school recruits, who are the lifeblood of any program.

2. "Be careful what you wish for." It's easy to get rid of a coach, replacing him isn't. Right Tennessee?

If I was Greg McGarity, the question I would be asking is which argument is the strongest at the present time.

RoyOrbisonDawg said...

I agree with your article, but I'm really interested in Quinton's take.

Anonymous said...

I just don't believe that the fact that Florida has consistently kicked our ass for the last quarter of a century has a whole hell of a lot to do with Mark Richt.

Dorsey Hill said...

I do think Van Halanger and one or two position coaches should be called onto the carpet at season's end.

Either VH needs to augment his staff or we need a complete refresh there. But there's no way to watch Alabama or Oregon and conclude that we're equally well-conditioned. One thing that was clear to me after watching the Oregon-USC game was that it wasn't just a triumph of scheme. They gassed the Trojans, who are the Pac-10 equivalent of Florida. I want us to do that to teams.

Washaun and Caleb were elite, 5-star recruits and the production Bryan McClendon is getting from them is laughably below what I would've thought possible. This summer, there were articles about the possibility of each running for 1,000 yards this season. Think about that. In August, that's something knowledgeable people who were not on drugs thought was obtainable.

The personnel decision to have a former WR coaching RBs is as inexplicable as when we had Kirby Smart (former DB) coaching RBs. Ditto Tony Ball, a former RB (who coached Knowshon) now coaching WRs. The first four games this year should tell you what a bang-up job he's doing when he doesn't have a once-a-generation talent to hide behind.

When people poke at the player development issues at UGA, that's the crux of it: Richt really has glossed over the issue of hiring qualified position coaches who demand excellence. His negligence and their resulting incompetence puts heavy pressure on the coordinators to playcall around these shortcomings once these under-developed players take the field. If McGarity can force Richt to put eyes on that, I'll buy in for another phase of the turnaround process.

Anonymous said...

i say cmr gets one more year. if he cant beat florida next year, even if we are 12-1, he should be fired. actually, if we lose to florida next year, make grantham the coach for the rest of the year. 2-8 is inexcusable against our biggest rival. 2-9 should be the last straw.

Anonymous said...

PERFECT PWD. Somebody email this to McGarity and Richt.

BCSAV said...

One of your best posts ever PWD! Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

Spot.on.

Dawgaholic said...

Well coached teams improve as the year goes on. Teams that are not well coached get worse.

Richt's end of season records:
Auburn: 6-3
Tech: 8-1
Bowls: 7-2

In Richt's ten seasons at UGA, the starting QB has had minimal if any playing experience going into the season in 4 seasons (01, 06, 09, 10). UGA's teams have finished with less than ten wins in 4 seasons (01, 06, 09, 10).

Of course, Mark Richt will never be the greatest coach in the conference as Bear Bryant never lost 5 games in a season. (At least he didn't if you don't count 1969 & 1970.)

Just sayin'

Mike said...

Dorsey,
Let me ask you something. We've already fired the majority of the defensive staff. Now many people are advocating we fire the S&C coach and two or three offensive coaches. Richt hired every one of these guys. What makes you think their replacements would fare any better?

Anonymous said...

I recently met the godfather of a former dawg who is playing in the nfl.

He lives in Georgia and is also a Dawg fan.

We were discussing our recent problems and I asked him what his godson thought of coach Richt?

His answer: a TV coach.

Ouch.

Boehmdawg

Anonymous said...

Dawgaholic, What do those teams have in common? They changed coaches within the past 3 years, meaning they weren't that good to begin with. Obviously Auburn has turned out to be good this year but then we'll probably lose. It's great to end on a high note, but how about we begin on one? Having the kids out of jail and ready to play the first few games of the season is just as (or more) important than having them ready at the end of the season. Why should it take us until game 5 to get prepared? I agree with poster above who said we play and coach scared. There was no trust for a OB who's been in the system 18 months with no fall practice competition. Why? The coaches didn't coach him up good enough to be able to call plays that would help us win. They had to call plays that wouldn't allow us to take chances and thus lose.

Oh yeah, our RB's are the slowest in the nation. I watch other teams RB's hit the hole and explode or get hit and not go down. Our RB's fall after someone breathes on them. It's pathetic. Our O-line has to open up interstate sized holes for the RB's to get anywhere. SSSLLLLLOOOWWWW!

Otto said...

UGA is on the verge of loosing to all 4 of the major rivals in the same year. Auburn will take a miracle, and the nerds are good enough. How many programs have recovered from this kind of 4 year slide?
Joe Pa and? UGA is starting to remind me of Fulmer the later year, changed coordinators and arrests. Sure they backdoored in the ’07 SECCG but did they have a chance? UGA even in ’07 had games where play calling by the OC blew it. How many player only team meetings have been held this year? Who is taking ownership? Is leadership being developed? Arrests and turnovers have been a constant. I seriously question if this can be turned around.
Auburn required that their new HC to have previous HC experrience. They are now fighting for a SEC title and BCS title. UGA is a distination job that has hired an OC and previous to that a D2 coach.
IF.. UGA goes for a new coach, he should have previous experience as HC and the more knowledge of the SEC the better. Mullen has the experience, the knowledge of the enemy, working experience with the AD, and contacts for recruiting.
As for UGA’s past and Dooley having mediocre teams, but also having the 3rd most SEC titles, CMR has the highest winning percentage, all true. UF has much less history before ’90 but since they are the most successful. The state of Georgia turns out enough NFL talent to support a program that can compete head to head with the power house in Gainesville. Lets get the program moving in the direction to do it. The changes required may include firing a very nice guy majority of us like and respect. But.. not every friend you invite to dinner, you would also trust to manage a company that you own stock in.
If the fans keep hoping that one more change can do it, will the UGA be at the point where UT was when Lane was hired needing a few years of recruiting to compete for the East?

JG said...

If we had fired Dooley after his first losing season we never would have won the MNC in 80.

Richt has the 4th highest winning percentage among active coaches. Who are we going to get that is better? One of the top 3?

Standup! said...

In case you guys were not at the Basketball donor practice/dinner last night. This has not been leaked to media yet, but one of our star players was wearing a walking boot and coach fox informed us he would be out for an extended period and the team would need to find a way to win for awhile. Felt like another punch to the stomach when I saw that . Are we snakebit or something? By the way the Steg was very impressive on the inside, even amid all the construction.

Dorsey Hill said...

A lot of my faith rests with McGarity, who I think will insist on hires that are more substantive than promoting GAs (McClendon). Also, if you're going to blame Richt for bad hires, don't you have to credit him for his credible hires over the years, i.e., Van Gorder? It's not like Richt has lost the ability to recognize a good football coach.

I also think the logic of "fire the bum and the bum that hired the bum" is a bit emotional and scorched-earth. Generally speaking, if you follow that logic to its conclusion, you have to fire everyone up the chain, at which point you've nuked the whole program in a fit of pissiness.

Smitty said...

Good list there. Richt is loyal to a fault. Like Bowden keeping too many buddies on his staff when time had past them by. I would add having Joe T. at QB. No way that kid should have seen any meaningful playing time in the SEC.

I think he should get one more year but if we lose to Auburn AND Tech. The fanbase will be all about it.

Anonymous said...

What you've said sums up how I feel about the state of our program. Unfortunately, it also sums up how I feel about your blog. I've enjoyed reading it over the years. In fact it has been my favorite....but recently, the fire and effort seem to be lacking. Granted, I don't write a blog, but that's not the point.

Muckbeast said...

JG:

Back when Dooley coached, there was no 12 game season and they played less pure cupcakes.

You also weren't likely getting a bowl at 6-5 or even 7-4.

There were less easy wins, and less games overall to try and hit 10 wins.

Anonymous said...

During Dooley's time the recruits did not ahve access to the media and each other as easily as the current age. Isiah Crowell questions the discipline and ability to win championships in Athens...you can bet he is talking to other recruits about the same thing.

CMR may have a better winning percentage but he amy face more of an uphill battle than Dooley ever did.


Who can UGA get that is better? Who could Auburn get better than Tubbs who lead them to a perfect season? Do you honestly think Tubby would have Auburn in the top 2 this season? No he was loyal to a fraction of his staff, sounds like something going on at another school coached by his friend.

Anonymous said...

check http://dawgsandbstreet.blogspot.com/2010/11/conditioning.html for thoughts on the conditioning program.

LT said...

I love UGA but I understand now why a life long pro-UGA family in my community's son is going to Alabama. You people are pathetic. Recruits have access to moron fan reaction just as much as anything else.
We are not going to find a coach thats going to electrify the program in athens, and fans who say players don't have passion, are fans that are just making excuses for losing, because they are spoiled losers use to hitting the reset button on NCAA football before the game records a loss against them.

The discipline problem at UGA is way overblown. The students, police, and alcohol are concentrated in a very small area a much smaller area than any of the other SEC schools, or they don't have the party scene at UGA, the same scene some people brag about. I don't know if anybody in this UGA blog has actually set foot in athens, but at any given time there aren't that many places the police have to patrol.

Also I grew up an AL fan before Hope Scholarship led me to UGA. First person in the history of my family to be born and raised in GA, and grateful for it, but when it comes to football I've never seen the same widespread passion for UGA football like I've observed in AL. When I've met more Bama, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee fans than I have UGA fans. The Local Walmart, 100 miles away from any border, sold Athlon sports magazines specific for teams not UGA. The year after we won the 2nd SEC championship the Walmart and K-Mart bot prominently featured Tennessee and Bama Ice Cream and never carried UGA ice cream. Trivial things like that wouldn't stand in AL.

Also GA has a wealth of talent, but few of these kids grew up caring about GA the way kids care about AL or Aurburn. Some of this has to do with the increase in new GA residents sine the mid 90's, kids with families not raised in GA, and some of it has to do with the fact UGA fans lives don't revolve around football like some other states. GA feels more and more like a state taken over by yankees. How else do you get the pathetic breed known as Braves fans. Only at Turner field do you hear people being booed for heckling the opposing team

I never thought my love for UGA would waiver post graduation, but listening to all of these sad spoiled whiners with NCAA 11 coaching experience is more depressing than the losing. When would I subject my kids to you people, at least at Bama and Auburn I can carry a conversation about football and not the coaches win or lose. Tired of the broken record. Call me when you graduate from the training diapers.

Hunkering Hank said...

LT - Go back to Alabama and suck Bear Bryant's balls.

Anonymous said...

LT, your illiterate. Your diatribe made very little sense. Why don't you first complete a thought when making a jab as to why UGA sucks as opposed to spewing out random thoughts to support your argument. UGA is down this year and will continue to be until we can rotate in better talent. If I remember correctly, Alabama sucked for some number of years until Saban was hired. I distinctly remembered how I felt sorry for the Alabama fans seeing how their program fell off of the map for so long. It's good that Alabama is back to relevance. Don't worry, UGA will soon be back to relevance as well.

Mike said...

To the Bama fan above me:

Are you out of your mind? Have you ever actually paid attention to what goes on in the state of Alabama? You want us to emulate a university that is run by a corrupt banker? Or how about the other university that runs off coaches like rats and is run by the most corrupt alumni base in the country? Really? Is that what you're looking for? Please take your fair-weather ass back to the Yellowhammer State and leave us good folks alone.

Muckbeast said...

LT: You are a fool if you think any significant portion of recruits read ANY significant amount of blogs (much less blog COMMENTS) related to the schools they are considering.

Heck, half of them can barely read in the first place. If they get on the internet, its to tweet/facebook about stupid garbage and download free music.

Otto said...

Recruits may not read blogs but....

They read rivals and the recruiting rankings. They also watch Sportscenter, CFB live, and other sports shows.

The recruits know when a coach is getting on the hot seat, they know when they go to a game and the student section is not showing up. They have a very good idea of the overall perception of the program. Crowell has stated that he wants to win championships and play for a team with discipline and UGA is having problems.

As for Bama and Auburn, UGA has been much more forgiving and made fewer dumb comments see, Shula and Tubberville.

Charles Hill said...

Just another point to add. We have heard the reasoning for reducing practice because of injury possibilities and now we are hearing that Murray should not "run with abandon" as he might get hurt. Yes he should slide when HE sees that he has is about to get slammed, but it appears that he is being pressured to not take any hits. There have been a few times that he slid when it appeared that he could have made a bit more yards and maybe even scored. Is this another example of timid behavior coming from timid coaching. Cullowheedawg

 
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