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September 13, 2013

Fire Richt! An alternative view

What if it were December 2009 and UGA decided to make a change, because 'it is clear Mark Richt will never get us the championship we deserve with all of this talent' and 'we aught to NEVER lose to Kentucky' (both actual quotes from various places, with emphasis in original). We get the feel good, thanks for all you did for us, win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl. During most of December, we quietly talk to Jimmy Sexton, because that is what programs do. Rumors are floated about Boise State's Chris Peterson, Jon Gruden, Central Michigan's Butch Jones, Houston's Kevin Sumlin, Falcon's assistant Brian Van Gorder, Florida assistant Charlie Strong, Will Muschamp, Kirby Smart, and in the craziest of all crazy rumors, Steve Spurrier.

And, of course, Houston Nutt because we talked to Jimmy Sexton.

Behind the scenes, however, we do an extensive search and after making two offers (one to Gary Patterson and one to Miami's Randy Shannon) that are spurned, we find our man in Greenville, North Carolina.

Skip Holtz. The same Skip Holtz that ran South Florida into the ground starting in 2010. Who took Jim Leavitt's talent and went 8-5, 5-7, and 3-9. He was fired last season six months after negotiating a new contract.

The same Skip Holtz that now coaches Louisiana Tech and lost to Tulane last night. The same Skip Holtz that went for two down nine points with 4 minutes left to play. Of course, LaTech didn't convert, so he coached his team into a two possession deficit with 4 minutes to play.

Suffice it to say, the Bulldogs lost to Tulane, who matched their win total from last year with the win.

Where do you think our program would be right now? If that doesn't convince you, how would you feel about South Carolina being in the National Championship talk after having hammered us at home last week? What about five losses in a row to Florida? Having gone 2 of the last 5 to Tech? Being so far behind talent wise that we look like Auburn? Oh, and we also have about $6.5M a year less in the budget each of the next three years for coaching buyouts.

Look, I don't write this as a hand wringing, devil you know is better than the one your don't type post. We should never you run our program afraid to make changes that need to be made. If we'd had another year in 2011 that we'd had in 2010 (and frankly really started in 2008 with some things) with the same issues we'd faced in S&C, recruiting, and program ambition and urgency, I'd be willing to say there would have been a need to consider a change.

Right now, I'm just thankful the Tylers in Atlanta don't run the football program.

(EDITORIAL NOTE: Added link to S&G post regarding the statements at beginning)


David Clark said...

We could've gotten Dan Mullen! Who would've authored some terrific 8-4 seasons back-to-back-to-back.

gullyterrier . said...

Wow. That would suck. I hope we never go thru that again.
Some of our fans have forgotten that there was a time when we thought 8-4 was a really good year...thoses were the days befre CMR. Thank goodnes.

paulwesterdawg said...

I don't know where you came up with Skip Holtz. It would've been Mullen or Kirby more than likely. That's my opinion.

Joe Dash said...

Agree with Paul. Thats quite a reach. I'm happy we kept Richt too, but lets not go too far here.

TylerDawgden said...

Mullen was 5-7 in his first season (2009) at Mississippi State. No way he's on a short list. Kirby was in his second, albeit very successful, year as DC at Alabama. He gets a look, we hold off because we are reaching higher than a second year coordinator, Sexton gets him a raise, and Kriby stays put, IMHO.

2009 Skip Holtz (38-27, 2 consecutive CUSA titles at East Carolina)>2009 Dan Mullen (5-7, 3-5 in SECW).

If we go 0-2 on hires (which shouldn't surprise after firing a coach that was 90-27), we'd absolutely make a panic hire. I'm not saying it has to be Holtz; he's an example of what it probably would have been.

There are others that might get looks (Brady Hoke, Franklin, Joker Phillips all come to mind) but if we had made a change in 2009, Holtz isn't a stretch, by any means. And if we had fired Richt in 2009, why do you have any confidence that we'd make a better hire than Skip Holtz?

I'm just glad we have smarter folks in BMHH than they did in Tennessee and Auburn at that time.

JBC said...

I get what you are trying to do here, but there is no way in hell that we would have ended up with Skip Holtz. Even if things had played out like you had said, Richt had raised the profile of the program enough between '01-'08 that we would have gotten a proven BCS guy from somewhere who was intrigued by the talent level, recruiting possibilities and money we would have been throwing around.

This seriously may be your worst post yet...

KCDawg said...

How do you know we end up with "a proven BCS guy" after we fire a coach with Richt's pedigree? LSU, Florida, Bama and others have intriguing talent that you are going to have to go up against week in and week out. What good coach would want to leave his own program where he is successful on the field and makes a lot of money (as dictated by the proven tag) to fight week in and week out in the toughest football conference in the world. Where, by the way, two down years after averaging 10 wins a season will get your ass run out of town? Skip Holtz may not have been the guy, but he looks a lot like him.

TylerDawgden said...

Really? Auburn ended up with Iowa State's head coach. Who was 5-19. At Iowa State.

And I've had way worse posts.

TylerDawgden said...

Play my game. Who would we have hired? The very best hire we would have made would be Kirby or Will, and I clearly don't think we'd have gone that route.

What proven BCS guy would we have gotten?

Tennessee got Derek Dooley. USC got Lane Kiffin. The year before Auburn got Gene Chizik. The best hire of 2010 was not a 'proven BCS guy' in Brian Kelly at Notre Dame.

I get your point, but that is the danger in thinking we have all of these advantages over other programs and we some how have super human hiring prowess and power.

Especially when we make really dumb decisions about who is good enough for our program. (see UT and Auburn for a good example).

marshmanslim said...

True that. Good post, Tyler.

JBC said...

No offense to Auburn -- actually, screw that, all offense to Auburn. But we aren't stupid enough to hire someone with Chizik's resume. If they don't pay Cam then they would have accomplished absolutely nothing during his tenure, and we all saw the true colors of his "coaching abilities" the last two seasons...

JBC said...

First off, I like all of you am EXTREMELY pleased that Mark Richt is still in Athens leading our beloved Dawgs.

Everyone was laughing at USC when they hired Lane Kiffin, see below for evidence:

I've already addressed the Chizik point earlier, but here are posts ridiculing that hire at the time as well:

While the hire of Dooley by Tennessee wasn't quite as controversial at the time, he did have a losing record at Louisiana Tech. No way we hire a guy with that on his resume. And if you think we would have then we will just have to respectfully disagree. The University of Georgia is most certainly above hiring coaches who had losing records at second-tier schools.

As far as Notre Dame hiring Brian Kelly, I have a hard time agreeing with your assessment that he wasn't a proven BCS coach at the time. His record in three years there was an impressive 33-6, including a perfect 12-0 his final season, to go along with 2 BCS bowl berths. What else did he have to do for you to say he was proven?

And forgive me for thinking that we would have been in better position than Auburn and Tennessee. I didn't know that those two programs had risen to the notoriety of Florida, Alabama and LSU at that time. We have more money, a better recruiting base and a hell of a lot better environment to raise a family in. All things that are very much attractive to coaching candidates.

As far as who I think we could have potentially gotten at the time, obviously we would have tried to throw the house at both Patterson and Peterson. More than likely we fail o both accounts, but maybe not.

For me the second group of names is where we would have been far more likely to pick up a solid, proven BCS coach.

Guys like Pat Fitzgerald (in the middle of turning around Northwestern, check out his '08 and '09 seasons), Brett Bielema (off to a solid start at Wisconsin and clearly willing to listen to the SEC, given his move to Arkansas -- a program that I'm sure you would agree we are more than attractive than), or maybe even Bo Pelini (off to a good start in his first two years at Nebraska and with SEC pedigree).

I personally think we get Bielema, but thats just me.

SportsandGrits said...

I know where he got it from Paul.

SportsandGrits said...

And now the rebuttal:

SportsandGrits said...

If bigots are to be shunned until they change their thought process then so to must Pee Pee Dawgs!

JBC said...

Funny how he never got around to responding to this...

TylerDawgden said...

Which he? I'm waiting for your thoughts on who we would have hired.

JBC said...

I was definitely talking to you. And I also most certainly said I thought we would have ended up with Bielema.

Also, care to defend your statement that Brian Kelly 'was not a proven BCS guy' when Notre Dame hired him?

gatriguy said...

There are a lot of assumptions involved there. I don't think we were at the point, even after 2009, that our top two choices--whoever they would be--would say no.

But your point is well taken. Richt has done a great job turning the ship around. I still question if S&C is where it needs to be, but we're light years from where we were.

gatriguy said...

I'll play your game. We probably would have put on a full court press for Charlie Strong.

TylerDawgden said...

I would still love to make a run at him when the time comes.

TylerDawgden said...

Didn't see that you had written that about Bielema. I didn't think about him, but he would have been a decent choice to go after.

"Also, care to defend your statement that Brian Kelly 'was not a proven BCS guy' when Notre Dame hired him?"

Oh, God no. I was wrong about Kelly. I didn't look up his record, but had in my mind he was a one hit wonder at Cincy. Clearly that was wrong.

As far as your other assertions, I'd say 2009 Tennessee and 2008 Auburn were similarly situated to Georgia in 2009 from resources, recent successes, money, and talent pipeline. Hey, maybe you have more confidence in the powers that were in 2009, but Skip Holtz had a far better record than Dooley and Chizik.

Hell, after firing Fulmer, the best they got was Kiffin. They missed on Butch Davis, if you believe rumors, they also offered Leach and Tim Brewster. Dooley was the panic hire when Kiffin left them high and dry a week before signing day.

One last thing, Mike Adams wouldn't have let Damon Evans strike out three times. Adams is way too concerned with optics to let that happen. If we, as we both agree, go after Peterson or Patterson (or both) and miss out, no way we make another offer without being really, really sure whomever it is would be on the way to Athens.

I might be wrong about Skip Holtz, but I don't think I'm wrong about us not getting "a proven BCS guy like Kelly."

JBC said...

Fair point on Adams reigning Evans in if we would have struck out early on.

And maybe it's my UGA bias talking too much here -- though honestly I believe I'm pretty level-headed when discussing the Dawgs -- but I really do believe that the Georgia job was a step ahead of both Auburn and Tennessee at that period, especially the Vols.

The Tennessee job is a tough sell to a lot of coaches that look at it logically going forward. There is absolutely no home-grown talent base to recruit a competent SEC roster from which puts the pressure on to recruit really well outside the state.

Butch Jones may well end up turning them around, as he is clearly off to a good start on the recruiting trail. But I'm going to have to see it to believe it. Tennessee is teetering on the edge of becoming an also-ran in the conference because the kids being recruited now have no memories of Tennessee being anything other than average at best. These next 2-3 years are vital for the Big Orange Nation.

As far as Auburn goes, I just think we are a step better pretty much everywhere than them. History, home recruiting base (though they obviously kill here in GA), coaching staff, money, college town, etc.

I do think Malzahn is the right guy for that job, but I honestly don't see them being much more than what Texas Tech was under Leach. Able to beat anyone on the right day and also lose to anyone too. They will have a year or two out of every 10 where they legitimately challenge for a national title, but not the consistency that a UGA would/should

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