- How close to the Dawgs are to being overlooked due to the people putting an inordinate amount of weight on last year's performance having anything to do with this year's team. Not to say they aren't related; they are. It is too easy to say Georgia lost to UCF and move on to the next team without evaluating what has happened since then. Similar thing happened in 2007 after the Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii.
- How close the Dawgs are to being rightly overlooked, with root causes of the recent past failures being the reason. Failures of training, failures of scheme, and failures of development. The answer to a turn around isn't simply saying run fewer quick draws or make the players eat right. The answer is figuring out what the failures are and fixing them. DNA level failures. Not doing so, and now, likely means a regime change in Athens.
I'm no schematitian, but as a team, we fail to utilize our best talent. We fail to prepare for the most important times in games. We blow time outs at crucial junctures. We are on our heels and playing reactive football, on both sides of the ball, too much. We don't find plays that work, then run those plays until the other team figures out how to stop them. I'm bearish on this changing. Several years ago, Georgia was singled out by the SEC officials for their hurry up offense and a rule interpretation was implemented to help defenses against hurry up offenses. Think about that, then think about the delay of game penalties and time outs we have blown in the recent years because we were unprepared for the next play.
The offensive line is thin. We'll need inovative play calling to get guys open in space, without having to ask the linemen to create that space. We'll need players who are ready to go from the day training camp opens. We'll need those players to buy in and have each others back. We'll need coaches that aren't afraid to fail and desperately want to succeed. Not just succeed, but make the other team's coaches look badly outcoached.
I personally don't think there is any one answer to what has happened over the past few years. When you look at the downfall of large organizations, it is rarely one big thing that is the source of the downfall, it is almost always a plethora of small things that become cumulative. Any one or two or three of those problems won't cause the downfall. I don't know if it has been a lack of oversight, lack of competence at key positions, or a lack of caring about either. I do know incremental changes have been made the past two seasons, and we have tangible evidence of a mindset change at the top. Very top.
Great leaders are adept at knowing personal and organizational weaknesses and isolating them. Great leaders are adept at knowing what they are good at and maximizing those strengths. For five plus years, we saw the great leader in Mark Richt. For the past few, we haven't, at least to the best we can tell (I am willing to say the change in Dcordinator, although a year late, still has time to pay off due to implimentation lag time).
Do I have faith in Coach Richt's ability to correct what has gone wrong? I don't know, but I surely want to. Do I have evidence that my faith wouldn't be misplaced? Absolutely. There is also evidence that my faith would be. Mark Richt lost to UCF, but he also was the coach that the SEC had to slow down. Will he become the guy to slow down again? To still be in Athens in 2012, I think he has to.