"Just put that old hot seat over there. We'll send it to Knoxville."
For the past few years, I've repeatedly listed my three top concerns with Mark Richt and the UGA football program as:
- 1. Lack of a Sense of Urgency
2. Lack of a Meritocracy
3. Personnel Utilization
Where did Richt start? In my opinion, the sense of urgency is definitely back in Athens.
A long rumored conversation between McGarity and Richt after their first year together was said to have gone something like this:
Richt: "What's the biggest difference between us and the Gators given what you've seen so far."Did that conversation really happen? I've heard it so many times, I believe something similar to it did take place. If it didn't it, damn sure should have. Regardless...if your new boss (who is a credible expert on your #1 rival/measuring stick AND who most certainly does NOT want to fire you) drops that line on you...it packs a punch.
McGarity: "They are outworking your staff and players."
Once you instill a sense of urgency into a program with the vast resources of Georgia, the other two issues can fix themselves.
That said...just hiring Coach Tereshinski, bringing in a nutritionist and upgrading the coaching staff wasn't enough to dig us out of the hole we were in. Not after we lost the bulk of two full recruiting classes due to mistakes, discipline and being asleep at the wheel.
Everything...and I mean everything else had to break Coach Richt's way due to his staggeringly narrow margin for error. Especially after starting 0-2.
The strength program had to fix the 4th quarter collapses. The returning defenders needed to get comfortable with the system. Jarvis Jones needed to be an elite playmaker completely unfazed by his prior neck injury. Alec Ogletree needed to jump into playing LB for the first time in his life like a seasoned veteran. The freshmen defenders needed to step up (Herra has been a revelation), and Jenkins/Geathers need to emerge as a dominating presence at DT.
All while Malcolm Mitchell and Isaiah Crowell lived up to their billing. All of that happened. Some of you will argue that Crowell hasn't lived up to the hype, but I'd argue that a true freshman RB who is still on pace for a 1,000 yard season is doing better than OK. It's even more amazing that all of this happened while Mitchell, Crowell, Ogletree, Robinson and one of our starting OL (when we thought we had no backups) were banged up at several points.
I'm amazed that we're in this position, and I'm very excited about the future. We return a ton of talent in 2012, and we may have an extremely favorable schedule. It's a tremendous position we find our program in. Especially relative to the Gators and Vols.
Still can't believe it.