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November 28, 2011

Mea Culpa

I'm still here, y'all. (Image: Jim Hipple)
I have a confession. Back in September, I thought Mark Richt would not be the coach of the Georgia Bulldogs on Monday, November 28, 2011. I stood on the Marta platform after the last trip to the Dome and speculated with my friends how few games we'd win. We discussed who we could reasonably get. We nearly all agreed that yesterday would be the day the Mark Richt era would end. I was officially in the dark place.

I did hold out some hope we'd be competitive, blind hope, or so it seemed at the time. Yes, the schedule still looked easy enough. Yes, we'd have a couple of key guys back on defense. Still, the offensive line got whipped in the Boise game. We weren't in a position to run the ball. We couldn't stop the underneath pass or play action. Most damning, we looked tired and uninspired.

At that point, the off season changes appeared to be mere re-arranging of deck chairs. My, how long ago that seems.

I was wrong. Coach Richt made tough off season changes, changes that have yielded results.  I think the results are still a work in progress, and we'll find out how much of a work in progress it is on Saturday afternoon. This team plays like teams in the early to mid 2000's did. This coaching staff consistently makes smart adjustments and plays the strength into weakness game well (something we definitely didn't do the past 3+ seasons). On whole, players get stronger as the game goes on.

I am no Mark May. I admit when I am wrong, without alibi or explanation of why I might have been a little right.

There are strong arguments for three coaches to win the SEC Coach of the Year award. Franklin, for getting Vandy relevant (insert your own snark here). Miles for going 12-0 with that schedule and more QB drama than they had at South Carolina. Richt, for completely and totally remaking his team and himself. No one would have thought Richt would be in that conversation back in September.



Scott said...

"I am no Mark May."

You should thank your stars for that one. Right after the usual Wrecking of Tech, May was dissing Georgia to the point that even Lou Holtz stood up for us!

I cannot think of a time that I didn't want to punch him in the chops!

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

Tyler, I was also thinking the same thing after the USC loss. Based on the previous 2 years, and especially last year where the team just never seemed to want to win, I thought he had run his course at UGA.

At this point and with all the messes at other programs, Richt is my man for as long as he wants to be the UGA coach.

papadawg said...

You are not alone in this mistake.

As the great Larry Munson once said,
"I gave up. You did, too."

I'm certainly glad that I was wrong to give up on Richt and his staff. No matter what happens in the Dome, it was a helluva season and the coaches deserve a pat on the back.

Go Dawgs!

Mr. Sanchez said...

Well put Tyler.

Bernie said...

Once you emerge from the confessional, you'll see I'm standing in line. Ashamed, head hung...but not even close to being able to contain a smile.

Andrew Danger Fritze said...

If you're going to write for the grandfather of georgia football blogs, can you at least proofread before you post? Thanks

Ginny said...

I'm going to go ahead and toot my own horn and say that I never faltered in my faith in Coach Richt. That is all. *toot toot*

Paul said...

I love Mark Richt and hope he is our coach for many years to come. However, after the losses to Boise and South Cackalackey, given the last two seasons, I was about 99.9% certain McGarity was hard at work compiling his short list. Couldn't be happier that Richt and the Dawgs proved me wrong. But I had lost faith, no doubt.

Hunkering Hank said...

Uhhhh.... I hate to interrupt all the self-flagellation, but Richt DESERVED to be fired after the UCF game. He got LUCKY and kept his job - which he has since EARNED the right to keep for a while longer.

Make no mistake - it's so far so good on all the changes and I AM ECSTATIC AND AMAZED about them. But let us not so soon forget what led us to this place - a lack of accountability starting with Richt had trickled down throughout the team.

TD - I am not accusing you of the following, but let me say: I don't think we need to totally flush what really happened, pen some revisionist history, and annoint him the savior of the program just yet. Let's see if we can sustain this a few years longer - maybe win a national title, sound good?


Anonymous said...

No, he should NOT have been fired after UCF. That is crap. Had we not shown improvement this year, then yeah he needed to go. Ask Tennessee how rash decisions work. They are a train wreck and will be for the foreseeable future thanks to ill conceived decisions.

JasonC said...

Thanks for being honest Tyler. Also, I totally agree with your SEC CotY nominees. The lame announcers for the Tech game said it was Miles to win, but I disagree. He's top 3, but Richt was gone in the eyes of more than just you and his seat was about as hot as it could get. To go from there to SECEast Champs is the best coaching job in the SEC.

smblues said...

there is nothing to apologize for as after the Boise game if you thought the program was on the right track then you were smoking something really strong.

Wins and loses certainly matter but it wasn't so much losing to UCF and Boise but how we looked doing it, tired and unprepared.

This ten game streak has been great not just BC of the Ws but because I have hope again.

The only real question in my mind is why we didn't come out in the Boise game like we have the past ten weeks.

Carlton said...

Who invited the grammar police?

Ginny said...

Let's be clear. I was very disappointed with how the team played against UCF and Boise. We were very unprepared and it showed. It did not appear at the time that our program was headed in the right direction. However, I have always been of the belief that Coach Richt didn't just forget how to coach. Despite the losses last year and the two losses this year, I still believed that Richt deserved the benefit of the doubt considering his track record. I also believed that he would do enough this year to keep his job. He did. And I couldn't be happier.

Also, I am very glad our AD isn't trigger-happy like Mike Hamilton. You have to think that at this point they are deeply regretting firing Fulmer. Surely he wouldn't have run that program into the ground like it is at the moment.

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