Mark Richt is pissed off, and wants you to know it.

Georgia’s head coach brought along one of his personas to keep him company on this year’s Bulldog Club spring tour.  No, not Evil Richt.  Say hello to In-The-Arena Richt.

The interrogators’ voice was low, and only those around him could really hear it.

He was unhappy with Georgia’s running game, running backs, play-calling, a lack of scoring, not enough rushing, too much passing and the performance of running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

Mark Richt heard the man loud and clear, waited for him to finish and answered.

“I’ll tell you this, and you’re certainly close to an expert in football, I’m sure you are,” Georgia’s head football coach said as the 250-plus fans at the Macon stop of the Bulldog Club tour Thursday night at the Walnut Creek Shooting Preserve began to create a buzz.

And he dissected all of the elements that lead to a good running game, and then he noted that a team has to do more than just run the ball to win.

“I’ve seen teams throw the ball and win the national championship; I’ve seen teams run the ball and win the national championship,” Richt said. “Believe me, you can win the SEC doing it more than one way. Steve Spurrier, when he was at Florida, he chunked the ball, and he won how many SECs?”

And then the temperature rose a little bit more.

“I see your frustration, I understand your frustration,” Richt said, politely but sternly. “I wasn’t born yesterday, I’ve coached football for 25 years, so I know what the hell I’m doing, OK?”

That’s the sound of a man who’s discovered the warmth of the seat he’s perched on.

The coach didn’t reserve his ire for members of his audience entirely.  He also had a few choice comments for his tailbacks.

… Richt said in a one-and-one beforehand and during his talk that tailback is his biggest concern, and he was asked how to motivate often-in-trouble Washaun Ealey.

“All those guys have had ample time in my opinion to take a hold of it,” Richt said, pointing also to upperclassman Caleb King. “No one has. That’s been the most disappointing (thing for) me probably the last couple seasons is that, that position didn’t get solidified by somebody there who was capable.”

He said earlier that the position is more than open.

“The bottom line is we don’t have a tailback right now who deserves to start, in my opinion,” Richt said. “We don’t have a guy that’s proven that he can do all the things we’re going to ask that guy to do. There’s nobody that will stand up and say, ‘This is my job, I’m taking it and I’m keeping it.’ ”

Does Richt coach better with a chip on his shoulder?  We’re about to find out.

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58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

58 responses to “Mark Richt is pissed off, and wants you to know it.

  1. Brandon

    Good for Richt, sounds like he was dealing with a total asswipe, probably an avid Bill King reader. The offensive fetish that most fans have never ceases to amaze me, you are always going to have games were the offense does not perform and you need your defense to pull you out, no one is immune to this, Auburn scored 17 against Miss State last year and didn’t exactly light up Oregon in the championship. In the last 6 seasons our problem hasn’t really been scoring points its been stopping other teams from scoring, if we just hold everybody to 29 points or less from 2005 on we’d have been: 8-5, 8-5, 13-1, 11-2, 10-3, and 13-1 the last 6 respectively.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      The “offensive fetish” comes partly from TV, but offense is easy to see. These are the same folks who whine about offense when we beat a good team 10-7, and the same folks who are upset about lack of scoring and wailing about boring games that we win. Offense gets a lot of ink, defense wins the game.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        I watched the Texas/Bammer game again. With 6 minutes left in the game Texas was back in it and cut Bama’s lead to 3 points when the Tide blind sided the fresh qb, recovered the fumble, scored and then intercepted twice………game, set, match.

    • Exactly – If the Willie experiment had ended sooner, the perch may not be so hot right now. As long as In-the-Arena Richt doesn’t become prickly Jim Donnan, I like it. Donnan had the same disposition with fans and supporters and that plus 3 straight losses to the NATS got him run out of Athens on a rail.

      • 69Dawg

        +1 I was thinking the same thing. If you are winning big then you can abuse the fans but a 6-7 coach might just need all the friends he can get if this Dream Team crap turns out bad.

        • mdr

          Problem with the Dream Team is that it may be too late. This isn’t basketball. We aren’t looking at a Fab Five situation where a bunch of these kids are going to be starting right away. If Richt doesn’t get this thing turned around quickly, someone else will be coaching up the “Dream Team”.

          Also, this is definitely a Donnan-esque situation. The “in the arena” crap, too.

    • I don’t think the guy is really an asswipe, sounds like Sunday school teacher Richt doesn’t like hearing the truth. The Dogs SUCKED last year and I for one don’t want to go through another season like 2010. I have been behind him since he was hired but if he doesn’t turn it around in 2011 he needs to be fired!

  2. baltimore dawg

    damn. i’m gobsmacked–i really am. i thought there would never be a circumstance under which richt would address a fan that way. but i like it–shows some fight. i don’t really classify this quite as that in-the-arena-garbage, though. that was petulant; this is direct. i’d call this the “grantham effect.”

    • Just remember that it can be a short jump from the Grantham effect to the Donnan effect. ;)

      • baltimore dawg

        maybe, but with richt’s coaching and personal history i’d say it would take a hell of a lot of sneering public smart-assery before people would even begin to think of him as something other than sheepish. there was never anything sheepish about donnan to start with (and he never got anything better than high-mediocre results).

      • Exactly. Typically, I don’t appreciate when a player/coach devolves into the “in the arena” argument because they are inherently insulting my intelligence on topics that most of us are pretty well-versed on. It doesn’t take 25 years of coaching for me to understand what a Cover 2 defense is. That nasty front with the fanbase sped up the Donnan firing just as much, if not more, than losing three in a row to Tech.

        • Toom

          Agreed. If I go to a shareholders meeting and want to takeover and be CEO, I’d better be an expert. But I can have an issue with the company’s performance without being an expert. That was the only issue I had with his reply, though.

        • Irwin R. Fletcher

          But it also takes more than ‘understanding what a Cover 2 defense is’ to be an SEC head coach, right?

          I don’t think the ‘in-the-arena’ card is insulting your intelligence at all. If I’m going to call an expert witness on coaching strategy at trial, I’m not calling you, or the Senator, or Mr. Macon Humperdink…I’m calling on someone with experience and knowledge. That’s not an insult to you or anyone else. It is, however, reality, and it can hurt people’s pride to be told that they aren’t experts because they don’t have any experience.

          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            And yes…you don’t have to have experience or be an expert to make a good point…but you better have one, the other, or both if you are going to be a douchebag about it.

          • But it also takes more than ‘understanding what a Cover 2 defense is’ to be an SEC head coach, right?

            I don’t think the ‘in-the-arena’ card is insulting your intelligence at all. If I’m going to call an expert witness on coaching strategy at trial, I’m not calling you, or the Senator, or Mr. Macon Humperdink…I’m calling on someone with experience and knowledge.

            I don’t disagree with you on your first point. I also don’t think anyone here is claiming to be more of an expert than our coaches on the game of football. However, I still stand by my argument that playing the “in the arena” card is an insult to my intelligence. This is not just a UGA football thing. It happens in all sports. Athletes and coaches think that just because they played or coached the game at a high level that they somehow are the supreme authoritarians on the esoteric nature of the sport (when in reality most sports are pretty simple) and that the rest of us are just a bunch of mouthbreathers that will never be able to produce a reasonable thought or criticism of said sport. It’s that attitude/arrogance of athletes/coaches that tends to dig at me.

            Many of us are pretty adept at understanding the nuances of a sport as we played it as kids or in high school, but weren’t good enough to make it to the collegiate/professional level. I don’t think that makes us any less qualified to assert an opinion on the performance of an individual or a team. It just means we weren’t blessed with the God-given talent to continue playing the sport or chose another career path.

            This similar argument has been made by traditional sports journalists at amateur bloggers in recent years. Many of the journalists just throw the stereotypical “blogger in mom’s basement” argument and don’t respect bloggers at all when they are many finely written blogs that provide great insight and analysis (such as here, Dr. Saturday, Shakin’ the Southland, etc). The argument that a blogger’s lack of professional journalistic training somehow cheapens the blogger’s point is hogwash. Admittedly, while most bloggers don’t have the access to locker rooms/interviews/etc., it doesn’t take a journalism degree for a blogger to say “you know what, Tim Hudson looked like he was tired in the 8th inning last night. Maybe Fredi should have pulled him a little earlier.” Fans now have instant information (as all games are on TV or internet) and therefore aren’t bound to waiting for the next day’s newspaper to see the columnist’s discussion on the local sports team. Those that traditionally have had the access (journalists/coaches/athletes) feel threatened by the fact that bloggers/fans now have access to most of the same information as they traditionally did and need to beat down the idea of the blogger/fan opinion/analysis as “being uninformed” or “not in the arena” rather than actually addressing whether the opinion/analysis has any true insight. It’s a lot easier to criticize the people rather than their opinions (when their opinions may in fact be valid and have worthwhile commentary). That is what bothers me and why I say the “in the arena” card insults my intelligence.

            • The Original Cynical in Athens

              I guess only someone “in the arena” would have known that Knowshon Moreno was the most dynamic offensive weapon in Athens in a decade during the 2006 season, and the 2007 Scu game?

              Only someone in the arena would have realized that Brandon Millers was much more useful as a Defensive End than a 4-3 OLB?

              Only someone in the arena would have realized, over a two year period, that Logan Gray was an absolute waste of a down at punt returner. Not only did the opponent have absolutely no fear of a return, but our own punt return teamsimply went through the motions when Gray was deep, giving the opponent the chance to run a fake whenever they desired.

              Only someone in the arena would have realized the lunacy of directional kicking.

              Only someone in the arena would find it odd that the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach had absolutely no idea about playing time for a player.

            • MinnesotaDawg

              +1. Agree completely. Richt’s got a stubborn streak when it comes to criticism, no doubt. Thankfully, his old stand-by response, “Just look at the results/success” is no longer is going to cut it. At this point, I really don’t care all that much what he says. Just SHOW us a well-coached team for a change or kindly step aside.

  3. ScoutDawg

    You have got to love it. Sounds like Richt has a serious chip on his shoulder. I can’t wait for this season to see Richt coaching pissed off at the world.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Yes and he has stated that he wants his nose tackle to “destroy people for a long time”.

  4. TennesseeDawg

    CMR has certainly earned the right to right the ship but we’ve heard tough talk in past offseasons. I think we’ve made some solid coaching decisions on the defensive side of the ball especially at LB and DL.

    • Normaltown Mike

      You mean you don’t like the following terms as substitutes for actual wins?
      “senior leadership”
      “me first attitude is gone”
      “get in his face if I need to”
      “vocal leader”
      “hungry”
      “leads by example”
      “players organized throwing practice”
      “quiet confidence”
      “now I know what I’m doing”
      “drawing up plays in our free time”

  5. JaxDawg

    he’s a notch or two below Donnan which is a huge leap up for Richt. I like it. I love a coach with attitude and fire, but he has to back it up and win. If he can’t then he’s Donnan and he’s gone.

  6. I think it’s good Richt is showing he has a pair of balls. Where he loses me is where he says, “I wasn’t born yesterday, I’ve coached football for 25 years, so I know what the hell I’m doing, OK?”

    Coaching football and being a head coach are not the same. He’s been a head coach for ten years, and has won a couple SEC titles, but has also squandered some A+ talent. The 2004 team still goes down as one of the worst coaching jobs in Richt’s tenure (10 returning starters on offense including David Greene, Fred Gibson, & Reggie Brown… Pollack, Thurman, T. Davis, Greg Blue, Tim Jennings on defense… End up 11-2, with losses to Tennessee and Auburn… Capital One Bowl). The 2008 team at least had a ton of injuries to deal with on the offensive line. He allowed the defensive staff to under-perform mightily, even giving them an extra year when it was clear to anyone with eyeballs that a change needed to be made.

    At FSU, he was an excellent football coach. At UGA, he’s been a better-than-average head coach. So, if he’s got a chip on his shoulder, then great.

    Show me how smart you really are, Coach, because the results lately are not trending in your favor.

    • The 2004 team still goes down as one of the worst coaching jobs in Richt’s tenure (10 returning starters on offense including David Greene, Fred Gibson, & Reggie Brown… Pollack, Thurman, T. Davis, Greg Blue, Tim Jennings on defense… End up 11-2, with losses to Tennessee and Auburn…

      The weird thing is that follows the year I think Richt did his best coaching job: no running game to speak of, an offensive line that was a sieve, a wide receiver corps that had injury problems all season, a banged up David Greene and he still got ‘em back to the SECCG.

      • Sanford222View

        …and won it.

        Losing to that Auburn team is nothing to be ashamed of in my opinion. They became the team everyone thought they would be the year before. The Tennessee loss at home was bad and is what really ruined that season because it prevented a rematch against Auburn in the SECCG. While that was a bad loss I hardly think it makes that Richt’s worst coaching job of his tenure.

      • Toom

        I’ve often said the same thing. In order to get anything going on offense, we had to go max protect and the Richt/Greene combo was a thing of beauty to watch. Worst OL I can remember while still having great success. And if we don’t blitz LSU in Baton Rouge, don’t have the kickoff penalty, don’t miss FGs, it could’ve been very special.

        • Irwin R. Fletcher

          How can you crap on that 2004 team? Seriously, they lost to an Auburn team that had 4 first rounders…including 3 guys that went in the TOP 10…Pro Bowlers Marcus McNeil and Jay Ratliff…4 WRs that all played in the NFL…McClover and Groves on the ends….that team was freaking loaded.

          If we are under the same 5 BCS bowl game system that we have today, UGA would have either recieved an at-large BCS bid or would have been in the Cap One. And its not Richts fault the Cap One took LSU, a team UGA was ranked higher than and had CRUSHED, over UGA that year.

          A 5 point loss to Tennessee is the deciding factor in your analysis? What a joke. Realist, my foot.

          I’d love to hear what the baseline is for an ‘average coach,’ Realist. I’m not going to argue with the trend, but everyone needs to take a step back and realize that even if he doesn’t get the ship turned around, Richt has been an excellent coach in his tenure here.

          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            I’m sorry, but calling 2004 one of Richt’s worst jobs as a coach is just stupid. I’m just flabbergasted. It defies any sort of logic or common sense.

          • Which of Richt’s years has he done the worst coaching job? You’ve got to give him a pass on 2001. 2002 & 2005 are SEC championship years, and, I would say pretty darn good years. 2003, as the Senator mentioned, was one of his best years. 2006 he had a true freshman Stafford and Tereshinski. 2007 had some really good wins down the stretch.

            That leaves 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2010. In terms of getting the least out of the talent on the team, I would argue 2004 is the low point in his tenure. 2009 and 2010 were the worst results-wise, but it’s hard to argue that either of those teams could hold the jocks of the 2004 team. That Tennessee loss cost them the East (heard that one before?), it came on the heels of a drubbing of LSU and was solely because the players were not ready to play. That is coaching, plain and simple.

            The 2004 team was the most complete team Richt had, and he failed to win the East and got an invite to the Outback Bowl (I said Cap One… I was obviously giving them more credit than they deserved). How is that not the worst coaching job of his ten years?

            And, when I said better-than-average coach, I am referring to his contemporaries. It is silly to compare him to coaches from crap teams. But, is it all that unreasonable to compare him to Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier, & Bobby Petrino? Compared to those guys, it’s difficult to say he’s at the top of his profession. But, I would say he’s better than Houston Nutt, Joker Phillips, or Derek Dooley. Thus, he’s better-than-average.

      • No One Knows You're a Dawg

        He often coaches better when he feels a bit like his back is up against the wall (contra 2009, 2010). I recall him saying before the 2004 and 2008 seasons that he felt at ease with wher e the program was and the job the coaches were doing.

  7. Dog in Fla

    Come to think of it, if Tommy Tubberville had been in Macon, Tommy could have demanded Mark’s long-form birth certificate for proof of leadership and Mark’s certificate of completion on the How to Manage a Coaching Staff orientation seminar. See, above, at How to Have People Spoil Your Party by “[w]aiting one year too long to do the obvious is what leads to testy moments with the fan base, perhaps.” http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/i-dont-want-to-spoil-the-party-so-ill-go/

    First, is it 100% verified that Omaha was even in a state in 1960? Was Omaha not a mutual stock yard and feed protectorate of the UK and the Buffets? What’s Mark’s middle name? Does he even have a middle name? Bet that certificate looks something like this

    http://i.huffpost.com/gen/271205/OBAMAS-BIRTH-CERTIFICATE.jpg

    The How to Manage a Coaching Staff seminar probably went down something like this How to Manage Customers seminar did at the Buckhead IHOP

    http://wonkette.com/444415/america-2011-women-fight-with-police-at-ihop-as-boba-fett-looks-on

  8. SC Dawg

    I’ve had a few friends that were walk-ons and they’ve said, independently, that Richt isn’t a choir boy at practice. Specifically, that he doesn’t have a problem cursing. Not that I give a damn, but it’s interesting to think about the public perception of his intensity and what our players think. I think Richt is slowly learning that showing a little emotion publicly can be an advantage, so I’m hoping to see some fist pumping on the sidelines this season. Don’t back a dawg into a corner, cause he’ll come out fightin’.

    • Slaw Dawg

      Successful football coaches rarely are choir boys in practice. Blending low key PR with fierier practice behavior isn’t new at GA, either. I understand Vince Dooley could let it rip if the occasion warranted–in fact, you could see him going off at QBs on the field every now and then. And don’t even get me started on Butts–I’ve heard tales from the oooold timers that would probably get him in serious trouble these days!

  9. heyberto

    What I like about his comments, is he’s showing fire, but he’s still under a sound measure of control. He seems focused to me, with a healthy bit of fire. I hope that translates to the field next season as well.

  10. Aaron Murray

    I’ll bet our tailbacks are in the weight room right now.

  11. AthensHomerDawg

    Seems like CMR was patient to a point….but when someone is being a jerk to you in public..well, one can only take so much. But not a Gundy moment.

    “but the guy was talking about the poor offensive play calling in the redzone, asked why couldn’t we run the ball better, and something to the effect of why isn’t Robert Edwards coaching the running backs.
    Now, Coach Richt took all this in stride and tried to respond. But they guy kept interrupting and ranting. We got it. He had some valid points, but was being a jerk about it. He kept going on, and on and on and on (just like that!). Finally, Coach Richt snapped. I am paraphrasing, but he said something like this:

    “I have been coaching football for 25 years and I know what the hell I am doing. I haven’t forgotten how to coach…” The Grit Tree

    sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    A UGA coach coming off a 6-7 season probably shouldn’t be making p.r. stops at a shooting preserve.

  13. Todd

    I have often thought a HC needed to be sort of like a politcian. The call-in show, Bulldog Fan club road tour, signing autographs while visiting recruits. To me, this man is just saying what needs to be said to have another “term”. Tell ‘em what they want to hear. If Georgia doesn’t use a 3 TE set of some sort, then he is all hot air. Look at the depth at TE, and think about what you could do with athletic TEs like Charles and White. The mis-matches would be awesome, but will we see creativeness on offense? Bottom line, losing to UCF and going 6-7 at Georgia is not showing me that you know what you are doing. Maybe for some it might, not me.

  14. Russ

    Glad to see the Coach show a little fire. I know a lot of the jerks I read on other boards or sit beside at the few games I attend piss me off, so I’m sure Richt gets steamed. I do hope it translates into how he coaches, and in taking it out on the opposition.

  15. Cojones

    Glad to see some of you reveal your inner coach and acting like dumbsh**s instead of fans. He (Richt) really hurt you with the “arena” word, didn’t he? Then it was pointed out that he only had 10 yrs as an SEC headcoach! That really brought him down to your level, huh! You disrespectful, priggish schoolboys actually do think you could coach in the SEC! All along I just thought that you guys under cover of anonymity were just taking cheap shots out of frustration with our program, but some of you really do have the egos to profess that you are better coaches than Richt. Must be that courtroom power you feel getting in the way of good judgement and common sense reality the rest of us poor minions have to live with each day. What a bunch of hoidy-toidy pricks some of you appear to be! You actually believe more that an immature player can be coached up and that your head coach is responsible for the player’s attitude going to crap than in the belief that Richt is doing the right thing.

    The term “Fair Weather Fans” doesn’t even reach down that far for your ilk.

    • You don’t have to take it personally, Cojones.

      You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know there were some problems with the strategy the team employed over the last half decade. I’ve been an apologist for Richt for some things, but not so much on others. If you have been part of the Georgia blogosphere for any of the last five years, you would know I have a pretty good track record for stating my opinion when it is relevant and being self-deprecating when I don’t know. And, I have been right a fair number of times.

      To call anyone that criticizes Richt a fair weather fan is ignorant and unproductive. If you want to support a losing product, buy stock in Kmart. You can have all the undying loyalty to them you want, and in the meantime, watch your investment go up in smoke. As for me, I want my investments to be winners. I want my alma mater to be a winner. I want Mark Richt to be the head coach at my alma mater… but I want him to fix what ails the team and get results on the field. If he can’t, there is surely someone who can given the resources at his disposal. This is a business. It isn’t little league. If everyone were to get a trophy no one would watch.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      That was a bit harsh.

  16. Beattech

    I’ve always said that “Pissed-Off Mark Richt” gets a better response from his team than “Sunday School Mark Richt”. And, by the way, I have no problem with Sunday School as an institution.

  17. Cojones

    The remarks weren’t for criticism of Richt, they were aimed at the egotists who think that they can coach better and criticize accordingly. We all noticed that you skipped that and concentrated on the critical remark in the last sentence. Not getting that point spreads the ignorance around, Realist. And of course, your reply was unproductive and you joined fully what you criticized.