If the seat’s hotter than the recruiting class…

Amazing how the Mark Richt narrative has changed in less than a month, from coach on life support to bad ass recruiting marvel.

ESPN calls him a top five recruiting head coach.  Fox Sports South marvels.

… The main reason Georgia is on the cusp of having a world-class signing day is Richt. In the college recruiting wars, a high school kid’s family must feel comfortable with the man who will be their son’s primary adult influence for the next four years. Richt wins that battle more often than not.

He might not have had a winning record, and there have been assistant coaching turnovers (strength and conditioning and offense line for now), but as long as Richt remains in Athens, the Bulldogs will attract a quality crop of athletes.

Relationships trump records. And Mark Richt is a master at building personal bonds.

All of which leads me to wonder – if things don’t turn around in Athens and Greg McGarity reluctantly concludes that the program has to move in another direction, how easy will it be to replace that part of Richt’s game?  Most would agree that the program has underperformed as of late (although Matt Hinton is kind enough to deny Georgia “underachiever” status), but implicit in that conclusion is the understanding that Richt has recruited quite well.

If like I am, you’re a believer in the Jimmies-and-Joes approach to having a successful football program, that’s a tricky situation for McGarity.  On the one hand, the likely candidates from the local theater whom he would consider are being bested by Richt on the recruiting front.  But if McGarity chooses to go outside the South for a replacement, then he would likely be picking someone whose first order of business would be to rebuild the relationships which Richt has maintained and maintained well for a decade now.  Either way, it’s a step back, at least in the short run.

That’s not to say it’s an impossible task.  But it sure wouldn’t be an easy one.

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35 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

35 responses to “If the seat’s hotter than the recruiting class…

  1. Brandon

    McGarity needs to focus on finding Richt another BVG/Erk Russell style DC, that’s been the main problem. If CTG isn’t him (which we should have a pretty good idea as to whether or not he is by the end of next year) we should fire him and keep looking. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      McGarity needs to focus on finding Grantham another CVD style HC, that’s been the main problem. If CMR isn’t him (which we should have a pretty good idea as to whether or not he is by the end of next year) we should fire him and keep looking. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  2. Mike

    Back in 2004, Florida replaced an excellent recruiter but an average coach with an excellent recruiter and an excellent coach. At last for 5 of Meyer’s 6 years.

    Not saying Richt is anything like Zook. Had Zook remained the HC at Florida for as long as Richt has been at UGA, I doubt Zook would have experienced the successfull years that Richt achieved. But Zook certainly was well on his way to being just as average in his 3 years at Florida as Richt has been for the last 3 years at UGA

  3. Dooms Day Dawg

    While it is nice to have a few W’s during recruiting season, least we forget the past few seasons ON THE FIELD. I am just as excited about the POTENTIAL of this recruiting class as anyone. However, I clearly remember the L’s CMR and his recruits rolled up over the past few years. I am certain an early L to Boise State or SC will clear eveyone’s head. It is awesome that CMR is closing like a sledge hammer right now. I hope this carries over onto the field. I am just not sure that it will. If 2011 is CMR’s last year at UGA, at least the roster will be loaded for the new HC.

  4. Bryant Denny

    I think you make a mistake thinking “no one can recruit Georgia like Richt.”

    In the end, it’s the state university located in a football hotbed. At worst you should have a 50-50 chance at the state’s best prospects.

    I like Richt, but in reality, this recruiting class is buying him a start to the 2012 season (not that he would be fired mid-season). He’s essentially removing all excuses for lack of success.

    Have a great day,

    BD

    Having

    • I’m not foolish enough to say that. But it has to be a serious consideration for McGarity, especially because I doubt much of the current coaching staff – Bobo and Garner in particular – would survive a change of regimes.

      • Bryant Denny

        I’m sure you’re right about the coaches, but on the other hand, if a guy like Smart came in, Garner could maybe stay.

        Also, if you pull a Mullen, Smart, etc. type guy, he will have contacts all over Georgia as well.

        I think I’m getting the cart before the horse, though.

        I think the Dawgs will be around 9-3 this season and maybe top 5 in 2012 (particularly if IC signs, which I expect him to).

        Have a good one,

        BD

  5. Turd Ferguson

    I wonder if this recruiting class (especially assuming we land a couple other big targets) will lower the you-must-win-this-many-games-or-you’re-fired threshold for Richt. Had he brought in a 20th-ranked recruiting class, and then we went 8-4 in 2011, I think he’d be gone. But if he brings in a top-5 recruiting class, and we go 8-4, I think there will be many people (and perhaps McGarity among them) who are inclined to give the coaching staff at least one more year to develop this new crop of super-talents.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Kinda like what happened to the Pumpkin King after he signed the number 3 class in 2007 and then finished 5-7 the following year. I don’t see CMR gone after 2011. He has his work cut out for him those first two games. But if the wheels come off in 2012 he is done. It would be a cleaner break, but its hard for a program to get back in the hunt quickly. I’d hate to follow the path that Bama went down and I don’t even want to think about the Hillbillies problems. I think CDD lasts at Tennessee about as long as Shula did at Bama. He’ll get it on the right path and he’s already got them showering correctly.

  6. JBJ

    I agree Richt is a great guy. I disagree that you can point to that and say parents feel comfortable sending their kids to play for him. We won the Fulmer Cup last year. I’m sure that is fodder for other schools to recruit against us.

    Fear of getting rid of Richt over recruiting worries has to be way down the list of priorities. A top 10 recruiting classes year in and year out does not correlate to wins. Our 2006 recruiting class was stacked with 4 and 5 star guys. I recall thinking we were going to win a MNC when these guys were seniors. Instead we ended at 6-7 with a loss to UCF.

    • Hackerdog

      Most parents aren’t foolish enough to believe that a program whose players emerge from alleys, don’t use their middle names, or have a beer before they’re 21, is out of control. Even if other programs, and the AJC, insists that it is.

      As to dismissing Richt’s recruiting acumen, you sound just like a Tech fan dissatisfied with Gailey’s performance. Thank God they upgraded to Johnson. An offensive genius beats a recruiting genius every time, right? Right?

    • Turd Ferguson

      “I disagree that you can point to that and say parents feel comfortable sending their kids to play for him. We won the Fulmer Cup last year.”

      Why think that the Fulmer Cup would even be a blip on most parents’ radars? The only people who actually think that Mark Richt is somehow to blame for, say, Zach Mettenberger getting drunk and groping some girl in a Remerton bar are (a) sports writers whose job it is to stir as many pots as possible (see, e.g., everyone at the AJC), and (b) obnoxious college football fans (like us) whose sense of competitiveness extends even to things as ridiculous as the Fulmer Cup.

      I’d bet that every parent’s response, especially after actually meeting Mark Richt, is to blame those players’ parents for their bad decisions. Part of being a parent is finding reasons to think of other parents as inferior to you. Any parents who are actually inclined to pin Georgia’s off-the-field issues on Mark Richt have probably already made up their mind that they’d like their son to play somewhere other than Georgia.

    • Fear of getting rid of Richt over recruiting worries has to be way down the list of priorities.

      I agree.

      My point is that he recruits at a very high level; his replacement will have to do the same. Great recruiting head coaches don’t grow on trees.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Like you I am a Jimmys and Joes guy. But with that you also have to have coaches that help the Jimmys and Joes get better. Plus, somebody has to call the plays on offense (OC) and on defense (DC) as well as make strategic decisions during the game (HC) that win the game. CVD was a master at hanging around until the end of the game against a tough opponent and then doing the right things to win at the end. That is CMR’s singular shortcoming. The guy makes bonehead decisions during the game that cause the team to lose. Last year was a textbook on how to f#ck up every way possible and lose every close game. Not that he’s my idol (I don’t really even like the guy) but damn, CVD could sure coach a game. If CVD had been calling the shots last year, without anything else being different, the Dawgs would have won about 10 games. That is my problem with CMR and that is why I flipped from being the biggest CMR defender to the other side over night. Recruiting aside, I still do not see the “bonehead decisions” issue being addressed and that really troubles me.

    • ZDawg

      Actually, top 10 recruiting classes do correlate to wins. Check out some earlier posts by the Senator on this topic. Obviously, the past three years are shining examples of how we are bucking that trend.

  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    “rebuild the relationships which Richt has maintained and maintained well for a decade now.”

    It is much longer than that. Richt was a successful recruiter in Georgia and the Southeast during the time he was at FSU, also.

    I seem to remember the Dream Team talk began about this time LAST YEAR, which would indicate to me Richt knew this was going to be a very good class of seniors, and that he saw our deficiencies. I doubt he thought we would lose to Central Florida in a little bowl game, but I would be shocked if he thought we were really ready to compete for an SEC title.

    The only thing new in our recruiting is our need for a big guy in the middle of a new defense, and there is some evidence these guys come out of junior college for the most part….maturation?growth? who knows?

    Richt is obviously gifted at relationship building, but all successful coaches are, are they not?

    Personally, I don’t think McGarity is going to have to find a replacement for Richt next year, although if he is as savvy as everyone says, he probably has a list or two just in case.

    Nobody has to tell Mark Richt 6-7 won’t cut it, he lives with it all day every day, even the most ravenous of us does not do that.

    Richt also knows the real results of the Dream Team won’t be obvious for at least a year….looks like to me he intends to be in Athens for that.

  8. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    The Jimmies and Joes are important (there needs to be a certain baseline of talent for a program to be successful), but the x’s and o’s are even more important. Below-average coaching negates the advantages of superior talent.

  9. Dante

    Is there a good on-the-field coach who is a poor recruiter? I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

  10. What fresh hell is this?

    The success in this recruiting class as well as previous classes has less to do with relationship building and more to do with the fact that Mark Richt is a man of honesty and integrity who is genuinely interested in the wellbeing of his student athletes.

    Parents can be very perceptive when it comes to the care of their children and they don’t need to have had a relationship with, nor even met coach Richt, to understand the vast differences in the coaches from competing schools. His reputation precedes him.

    A visit from the oversigning win-at-all-cost coaches must have a very slimy feel to it, much less the ooze that must be scraped off the sofa after an in-house from Gene Chizik and Trooper Taylor, but this is precisely why UGA can have this type of recruiting class following a 6-7 year. How would Chizik fare after a 6-7 year (and without Lowder’s bankroll) ?

    There were many posters this year calling for Richt’s head (myself included following the UCF game) and blasting him for being a “choirboy”. I believe CMR’s career record is good enough to justify him getting ample opportunity to right the ship.

    It seems that recruiting mirrors the business world. You may be able to be profitable in the short term by cheating and chiseling, but if you’re in it for the long haul, honesty, integrity, reputation and a good product are a much better choice.

    Sorry for the long post.
    Go Dawgs

  11. watcher16

    “A year after that, the Bulldogs won the school’s first and only national championship. ”

    Anybody else have a problem with that statement?

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Only that Dan Devine complimented Dooley after the game by saying “Georgia did it the right way.”

      Course, that was then.

    • sUGArdaddy

      Sinkwich and Trippi might have a problem with it…along w/ a Rose Bowl ring to show you.

  12. Howl&Woof

    I believe CMR has heard the wake-up call (ADGM calling) and is doing what needs to be done to…well…wake up. I respect CMR’s values and morals quite a bit, but I think he needs to commit himself to either humanitarian works OR winning football games. I would not fault him either way.
    I suspect that ADGM has expressed to CMR that he needs to put everything but UGA FOOTBALL on the back burner until the program is back in the ELITE class. I firmly believe that CMR wants to go out on a successful note and that he will do so before he retires honorably and settles permanently in Athens with his entire family. Wouldn’t we all be so lucky?

  13. Irishdawg

    “Some dressed in yellow would argue Paul Johnson”

    I’m second to no one in my dislike of Paul Johnson, but he’s got recruiting hurdles other than his dour personality. Tech’s second rate facilities, game day atmosphere, and lack of women on campus loom a little larger.

    • Howl&Woof

      My dad was a Tech grad and season ticket holder. His dad was a UGA alum as am I and my oldest son. I can honestly say that Tech has only one thing going for it, where modern day athletes are concerned…there are a limited number of D1 scollies available.
      Tech is 1) not in a college town 2) has a limited, super rigorous curriculum, and, as mentioned 3) a shortage of females (and US citizens). These days Tech compares more favorably to MIT than to Virginia Tech.
      Tech has always been a good school, but recently it has become far more exclusive that it was when my dad was there. It is amazing to me that they can compete respectably, even in the ACC!

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Perzactly.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Several of my best friends went to Tech. I used to visit some of them regularly when I was at UGA and they were students at Tech and had many good times there. I have great respect for the Georgia Tech of the past as an institution. That said, I cannot in clear conscience ever recommend to any young person (or his/her family) that he/she go to Georgia Tech. The student body is currently about 40% foreign, mostly Asian and Indian/Pakistani. Those kids have no life. They are in the library on weekends and at night, including Friday and Saturday nights. Denials notwithstanding, Tech profs commonly grade on the curve. So you are a smart kid from in-state, have a girlfriend at Agnes Scott or Emory (or maybe even a co-Tech) and you want to have a normal college experience. You want to have dates, go to parties and attend football and basketball games. The problem is you are in class with a substantial number of those kids who are just as smart as you are but who do not care about having a real college life. Now some of the more cynical among you out there will say that the foreign kids are right–study, study, study. Darwinism at its finest. I call BS on that! College is about becoming a well-rounded person. That old saying from Tech at orientation, “Look to your right, look to your left, one of the 3 of you is going to flunk out” is absolutely true. My most recent experience with Tech was through a friend whose son, a straight A student at a suburban Atlanta HS (and a scratch golfer/HS Region Golf Champion who walked on for the golf team–another story) who ended up transferring (Thank Goodness!) after about 3 semesters and was lucky to get out without completely ruining his chances at getting into another good school. I think Tech is an example of an administration run amuck. I would never send a kid there because it is setting him/her up for failure. The fact that the Board of Regents of this state allows Tech’s faculty/administration to run the place like has been done is an indictment to the ineptness of our state government. I resent that my tax dollars are being used for the place. If it was up to me I would cut off all of their state funding.