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.