Being open minded at 4-3.

This caught me by surprise.

… Sophomore running back Richard Samuel – who started the first six games, but waited until the third quarter for his first carry in Saturday’s win at Vanderbilt – could eventually move to linebacker, but not before the offseason, Richt said Monday.

“I don’t know if we’re at the point right now where we’re ready to say that he should move and we really haven’t taken the time to try to evaluate that,” Richt told the Touchdown Club of Atlanta in a lunchtime appearance streamed on the Internet. “I think he’s still very valuable to us as a running back. … That’s one of the things we’ll have to decide.”

Richt said since Samuel will still get work at tailback, now is not the time to make any position change.

“If you’re going to make that move, make it in the offseason, make it when he has the whole spring and summer to understand what to do,” Richt said. “I still believe he’s a heck of a back and he can help us win at that position.”

Not the move itself – it’s been pretty clear for a while now that tailback may not be the ideal position for Samuel – but (1) that Richt is willing to consider making the move and (2) that he would discuss his consideration publicly.  That tells me a little more about what kind of season it’s been for him.

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47 Comments

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47 responses to “Being open minded at 4-3.

  1. dean

    At least Richt is contemplating the move while Samuel still has plenty of time to adjust to the position. Plus he can still redshirt, right?

  2. Good deal. Because after Curran, our current LBs are very average.

  3. Texas,

    Christian Robinson looks like he has the goods. I was impressed with his speed and tackling Saturday.

  4. SCDawg

    Good decisoin. I think Samuel has the speed to really tear it up as a LB, and he likes to hit. He could be 1st team all SEC at LB if he has the instincts.

    He could also be a decent back up RB.

  5. I’d like to see Samuel on kickoff coverage. We know he can get down the field fast and, having been on the return team, he knows what’s coming at him. If we think he projects as an LB, this would be some great experience at open field tackling at game speed.

    • The Realist

      I’ve seen Samuel in on kickoff coverage some. I can’t recall when that was exactly, but I remember thinking to myself, “Hey that was Samuel. That was a good personnel decision.”

      Of course, I could have been mistaken.

  6. If the players he is attempting to tackle fall down as quickly as he does at the first sign of contact, he’ll be better than Curran.

  7. Will Q

    I was really pulling for Samuel to make it as a running back. I thought his combination of power and speed might make him an elite back. Then came the OSU game. Whoops. But after the criticism, he came back in the South Carolina game and showed that he could run hard. Yay! Then he broke that beautiful 80-yarder against Arkansas. Yahoo! Then he averages barely 2 yards per carry for the next 4 games.

    Sigh.

    Well, as much as he likes running into defenders, maybe he would be better at tackling.

  8. Bourbon Dawgwalker

    I was beginning to think Richard Samuel was on track for the Brandon Miller Memorial Award for Waste of Talent at the Wrong Position.

  9. Derek

    What does it say about the average fan when on the one hand there is consensus that the guy who started 6 of 7 games, and is still competing for the #1 TB spot, is terrible and should be moved, yet those same people find 4-3 completely unacceptable? One would think that when your No. 1 TB is so bad that it is obvious to everyone AND when no other back has really looked much better, that some might recognize the difficulty in competing in this conference. In fact, it could be argued that 4-3 with this team is some of this coaching staff’s best work. We easily could be 1-6 right now.

    • Well, Derek, that is quite a creative interpretation of events, I suppose. We have a mediocre back and a mediocre record. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to presume a correlation between the two. And yet Alabama manages to be competitive in the very same conference with Mark Ingram.

      With all that as background, it takes considerable cognitive dissonance to look at five straight years of top 10 recruiting classes that culminate in a 4-3 record and conclude this to be the coaching staff’s “best work.”

      • Derek

        Who exactly on our team reminds you of Mark Ingram? Are you suggesting he is mediocre? Average? Here is Mark Ingram’s line from the USC game Sat. night:

        M. Ingram 24 rushes, 246 yards, 10.3 avg., 54 (long) 1 TD. He also 23 yards recieving. The entire Bama team had about 80 additional yards. So yeah, I guess Bama is doing all right with Ingram.

        Here is Samuel’s line in the USC game:

        R. Samuel 15 rushes, 65 yards, 4.3 avg., 11 (long) 1 TD.

        Where exactly is the comparison?

        I sure am regretting calling fans morons with unrealistic expectations because I really got called out on that one, didn’t I?

        We knew going into the year that we had one offensive weapon that we could count on and that both starting safeties were unreliable. I know you idiots saw that and thought it added up to a National Title. I thought that we’d struggle unless one of the backs really, really stepped it up. Didn’t happen, so we’re struggling. And you can have all the top 10 classes in the world, but if your former 5 star backs (Ealey, Samuel and King) aren’t that great was it really a Top Ten class? ’cause they look like 2 star players to me. I know, its coaching right? Martinez can coach up two star Thomas Davis into an NFL All-pro and then forgot how to coach Jones and Evans. It couldn’t possibly be that they just aren’t good football players. I also know that Baccarri is playing much better than Evans, not because of CWM because he sucks, Baccarri is playing in spite of the poor coaching by CWM. Got it.

        I wait for the idiocy to follow….

        • Uhhhhhhh.

          It is the coaches fault if we don’t have a quality starting tailback.

          So no, it is not their “best work” that we have such a craptacular running game.

          • Derek

            Define for me exactly the difference between limitations in talent and limitations in coaching. If for example, CMR had to play UF with a HS junior varsity team, would you hold him accountable for not having them prepared? I would hope not, but who knows maybe you would. So what i’d like to know is when is it the players and when is it the coaches? You know when I saw Herschel Walker run over everyone that got in his way I don’t recall commenting upon great coaching. Who was the RB coach when Walker was in school? Anyone know? Anyone care? Would it matter?

            The point is that while CMR is “responsible” for the team and it results, that is not the same thing as being at “fault.” At some point you have to be able to say what is coaching error and what is the fault of the players themselves. Fans seem to believe that every issue is one of coaching and it just isn’t true.

            • rbubp

              “If for example, CMR had to play UF with a HS junior varsity team, would you hold him accountable for not having them prepared?”

              Yes, if he evaluated and recruited the team in the first place. Shouldn’t he have a better idea of how to compete?

        • dudetheplayer

          If you honestly think that the performances of the special teams and defense this year have been indicative of “some of the best work” done by our coaching staff in the CMR era, then I don’t know what to tell you.

          Pinning all of our problems on the players’ supposed “lack of talent” doesn’t explain why we can’t cover a kick-off to save our lives, why we couldn’t defend a basic play-action QB roll-out against UT, why we could only score 10 points against a mediocre OKSt. defense, etc.

          • Derek

            I know this, but for a flu and some lousy calls we may well have been 5-0 rolling into UT with a very mediocre football team. Arky gave UF fits and we beat them. USC gave Bama fits and we beat them. We beat ASU who beat Washington who beat USC. I think that if we had lesser coaches we could be 1-6. I really think that Goff and Donnan would be closer to 1-6 than 4-3 with this team. I don’t think that many coaches could have extracted better results from this unit.

            Has our kickoff coverage been anything but a disgrace? No. However, if Joe didn’t chunk at least one a game to the opposition that would help too. But perhaps the coaches haven’t told him what color jersey our recievers are wearing.

        • No one on our team reminds me of Ingram, and that is precisely my point.

          When Martinez was coaching Davis, that was just about all he was doing. He was a position coach, and his competency matched his pay grade.

          Now that he’s no longer a position coach, you can’t say that. He’s a coordinator and, 7 games out of 12 with 35+ points by the opponent should tell you all you need to know about his success in this role. His excuses may vary, but his body of work tells a consistent story.

          If your point is that we have bad players, then who is accountable for their evaluation, recruitment and development?

          • Derek

            Who is accountable for their evaluation, recruitment and development?

            The coaches are. And at least when we get to this specific area there is a lot of criticism to go around. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that the coaches have been perfect or that no firings should take place. I simply think that the fans focus on the wrong things. Recruiting and development seems to be an issue with this staff. I don’t know what the problem is or how to fix it, but I know that those issues are much more problematic than the “play calling” and “adjustment” criticism that we hear all the time. Those issues are far less important.

            I also think that CWM’s shortcoming is that the defense does not seem to be able to play all of the various types of offenses we face well. When we’ve had the players and have played against traditional offenses, we’ve done ok. When we’ve had the players and played against non-traditional offenses our success is spotty at best. When we’ve had weaknesses against either type they are seemingly taken advantage of at will.

            Our problem it seems to me is that we play a fairly vanilla sort of defense and a fairly vanilla sort of offense. We aren’t looking to surprise people. This works fine when the players are there and horribly when they are not.

            You could compare it war. Would Patton’s strategy had worked for the NVA? Likley not. Does that mean Patton is a bad General? The point is that you need to show some flexibility to be successful over the long term rather than banging your head against the wall waiting for the personnel to show up and make it all ok. That being said, we may very well look much better next year, even if we don’t have any coaching changes. Having Rambo, Jakar Hamilton, Alec Ogletree and Quinton Banks will be a real step up next year at safety. Murray will be the starting QB and he is a stud. We are a little thin at DT next year which is a concern. But much like this year, we are 1 really, really good back away from competing at the level we expect to compete at. Do we throw the “baby out with the bath water” under those circumstances? I think that it is debatable. That being said, if it does not appear to CMR that the talent level is increasing substantially in 2010, he would be wise to go in another direction. If the defense struggles in 2010, he can at least blame it on the transition and it will show the fans that complain about CWM that he isat least trying to improve the defense.

            • Go tell Paul Johnson that adjustments don’t matter.

              I prefer never to compare football and war, but since you were crass enough to go there: If Patton weren’t the right general for the NVA, or Beirut, or Somalia, or Afghanistan or any other place where we face guerilla combat, then I’d find another general to send to those places. What worked against Randy Sanders in 2005 doesn’t matter in 2009 and Martinez has built up a hell of a lot less goodwill with his constituents than Patton had with his, so your entire comparison is ludicrous on multiple levels.

              Frankly the idea of keeping Martinez around in 2010 is mind-bending. That you already have a built-in excuse for failure that year is the definition of insanity, i.e., doing the same thing repeatedly (in Martinez’s case, six years) and expecting different results.

              • Derek

                Did you even read the post you responded to? I said nothing that you accused me of. First, I said that firing CWM may not only be a good thing for football reasons but also for PR reasons. I do think those who think that CWM’s existence as DC is THE reason that we’ve struggled is somewhat overstated and that CMR may have a logical reason not to change before 2010 i.e., that the incoming and developing talent willl make CWM look better in 2010 just like Herschel Walker made Coach Dooley look like a genius. That’s his call and he’ll have to live with it. I’m not saying its the right call, but I can see him making it and I can analyze that decision with logic rather than thinking CMR is stupid or crazy. I’d call retaining CWM “very risky.”

                As far as the Patton reference, is it really that complicated? Certain scenarios call for different tactics. Some people are better at certain tactics than others, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t good at what they do, its just that the situation calls for a different approach. For example, when your personnel is terrible, the best I’ve seen get a terrible defense to play well is Joe Kines. He’ll also make a great D mediocre. You might think that Buddy Ryan is a great DC and he is, but he sooner shoot Evans and Jones in the head and play with 9 than to watch them play defense. Would that ultimately lead to better results? 11 vs 9? Probably not. I think the last thing that we’d want to see with our personnel is the 46 defense. If you can say why then you might know something about football. If you don’t know why, well, I won’t think any less of you.

                • rbubp

                  Derek, for someone who claimed at first that it isn’t all coaching, and that sometimes the players just aren’t good enough, you seem to have done a great job of proving the point of those who blame the coaches.

                  • Derek

                    And for someone who began with the premise that most fans are idiots, I’ve received nothing but confirmation.

                    Here’s the thing, and I know its complicated, but try to follow. Each team has a different identity and a different capacity. This is why some of our UGA teams have been very good while others have been terrible. If it was ALL coaching why would the best coach EVER lose? Is Nutt better than Meyer? No? Then how the hell did Nutt win the game?

                    It is the same reason that the best poker players don’t win every hand. Its called variation and there will always be some in every undertaking. CMR, among active FBS coaches, is 4th in winning percentage, meaning that he has been pretty darn successful without the common fan’s advice or assistance. He does lose some games, albeit relatively few compared to his other 118 peers, only 3 of which have been better at winning games.

                    While some fans think that we should win every game ever played, that’s just not possible nor is it because of poor coaching. I’m sure that CMR would rather be 111-0 than 86-25, but it still ain’t bad.

                    Now how do you determine what is variation, what is coaching and what is execution? This is very difficult to do. This is especially true when you are trying to build a program that wins over time rather than only looking towards the next season. While it might be tempting to assess the team you’ll have in Sept. the prior January and hire coaches whose skills are adept at coaching the particular set of skills you have, that approach will not work long term. So what you have to have is a long-term plan that will hit some short term roadblocks. The choices then become: stay the course or change. There are good reasons for either option. I personally am not arrogant enough to believe that CMR can’t make a more intelligent choice than I can when it comes to those two choices because my info, as with all fans, is far more limited than his and he has the added benefit of having a friggin’ clue as to what to do with that information whidch is far more than I can say about the average whiny and clueless fan.

        • Dog in Fla

          Idiocy incoming…

          Why can’t we all just get along just like these guys do?

    • djawjuh

      I would say this: If you’re a Georgia fan and it appears that you are, your post is a total cop out.

  10. Left to Right

    I really hope that the this is not the first Samuel is hearing about this from the coaching staff. Certainly someone has already talked to him about it before discussing the possibility publicly, right?

  11. 69Dawg

    Well lets see I believe he is being coached up by a newly minted coach who was a WR 4? years ago. To say that CMR takes the easy road on his hires would be a gross understatement. Kirby Smart was at UGA, he had been a DB and had coached DB’s for LSU but we put him at RB coach. This is just boggling. Now we fans want CWM fired and Kirby hired but that bridge has been burned.

  12. djawjuh

    Thank you 69 Dawg. I thought I was the only person who sees Richt’s hires as people who will be subservient to him. That’s the reason we’re going nowhere with this guy but down. He can’t deal with people who are better coaches than he thus WM, etc., etc., etc. Awaken DAWG fans, AWAKEN.

    No, I am not disloyal to Georgia. I want us to be the best, THE BEST. That’s not possible with Mark Richt.

    I think Mark Richt, from what I’ve read about him, is a wonderful man. As a coach, he stinks. When Van Gorder departed, so did our defense.

    And while I’m at it, what do y’all think about a running back coach who wasn’t a running back in college who is given the responsibility to coach up four or five RBs? If we had a running attack, I submit that we would more likely have a better record.

    Bobo’s continual attempts to have a balanced attack while defensible in theory is not so in fact. We don’t have the backs/OL to run the ball or so it would appear.

    This truly is a coach/staff that can’t shoot straight.

    • Dog in Fla

      O, ye of little faith, Coach Richt, played by the bald guy with the beard, is going to get this done…

    • Derek

      Yep its almost like expecting a college DB at Cincy to come up with an offense that changes college football. I always knew Urban Meyer would suck as an offensive coach because he was a DB in college and how right I was. Your analysis, djawjuh, is flawless in its accuracy. Clearly you do your research. I mean your not one of those people who just pulls things out of their azz and posts it. True genius. Bravo!!!!!

      I’m sure you also predicted that Bill Belichick would be a terrible defensive coach because he played offense in college. I mean, who didn’t see that coming?

  13. djawjuh

    Oh. You ask who would I hire? Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. If you saw last Thursday’s game of Cincy v. USF. Number one QB goes down. Number 2 goes in and sets the house on fire with a 200 yard effort leading his team to victory.

    Use the same scenario at UGA. Cox goes down. Who replaces him? The punt return/quarterback? Seasoned he’s not. That leaves the two red shirt-to-be freshmen.

    Coaches:
    Harbaugh at Stanford. Charlie Strong of Florida if the rednecks could handle a Black man married to a white woman.

    And there are several others including the pro coaches that are on sabbatical: Gruden, Cowher. Hey, how about Tony Dungy?

    • D.N. Nation

      “Use the same scenario at UGA. Cox goes down. Who replaces him? The punt return/quarterback? Seasoned he’s not. That leaves the two red shirt-to-be freshmen.”

      Congrats on your sample size of one.

      • Derek

        Yeah, if there is one thing that ought to get Richt fired it is the inability to attract good QB’s. I’m sorry but getting the No. 1 QB in the country twice in 4 years is just terrible. Hell, did you know that Richt signed one QB that wasn’t an Elite 11 prospect (Tereshinski)? Barnes, Shockley, Stafford, Murray, Mettenberger, Gray and Cox were Elite 11. That means that a full 12.5% of our QB’s weren’t Elite 11. That’s disgusting. Aren’t they even trying to get talent to Athens?

        I bet Saban could get 7 No. 1 QB’s in just 2 years. Meyer could recruit 12 No. 1 QB’s in just 3. I just wish we could attract QB’s like Spurrier. Man that guy is drowning in QB talent, and then look at us.

        Yep, the fan’s analysis is just right on point every time. You all are a bunch of friggin’ geniuses.

    • Dude, I don’t think anyone asked who you would hire.

  14. Tony Dungy

    If you liked Richt’s track record against Florida, you’ll really like my track record in big games.

    • Jon Gruden

      Yeah, I was uber-clutch down the stretch last year. I’m sure Georgia fans pissy about 10 wins out of Richt will like me losing to the friggin Raiders with a playoff appearance at stake.

    • Bill Cowher

      Where the **** am I?
      Where are my beautiful jaws?

      • I’m not coming until after Dungy leaves me with a loaded team. Besides as you can tell every Monday night, I’m loads of excitement. I make Jim Donnan look like Buddy Ryan.

        • Bill Cowher

          Gruden, based on your kissass out of the box work in the booth, you make Mark Richt look like Rex Ryan. I thought you were supposed to be coaching in Tennessee but can’t remember if it’s supposed to be with the Vols or the Titans…

  15. Sparrow

    Derek – I think you’re actually pretty spot on with your assessment of the situation. I’m sure we could find points of disagreement, but unless we could channel the coaches and players I don’t know that either one of us would be definatively correct. I expect I’ll be shellacked for saying this, but I really don’t think any of us appreciate the ad hominem attacks. Keep up the debate on the issues themselves and I think we’ll all be better for it.

  16. keith

    Say what you want Derek about our talent, but I would be willing to bet the farm that Saban would have this defense in the top 3 in the SEC instead of the bottom 3.

  17. Derek

    Saban gave up 40 plus to uf twice and us onece and that’s just off the top of my head. Of course that was with the sub par talent at lsu. Maybe he just learned how to coach when he got bama. Well at least after he lost to la Monroe. Don’t know where he stands now but when saban got to bama his career winning percentange was less than Goff’s. He’d have to win his next 50 in a row to catch up to cmr. But like I said he probably just learned to coach in 2008.

  18. Georgia 45, LSU 16

    Saban’s defense = Awesome.