A new year, a better place?, ctd.

Mark Richt uses the A-word to describe his team’s mindset in the wake of the Liberty Bowl loss:

In the long run, the 10-6 loss to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl may have served a positive purpose. It spurred some personnel changes, as head coach Mark Richt alluded earlier this week.

“It was certainly something that jump-started our offseason,” Richt said. “A bunch of guys I think believed that at that point, and I believed as the head coach, we’re gonna find out who’s all-in and who’s not. You know, you’re either in or you’re out. You decide. And I’m not gonna be mad if you’re out, just get out. You know. If you’re in, good, then you do it the way we say. I think the guys understood that’s the way it’s gotta be, and I think it helped us in that way more than anybody else.”

Interestingly, Richt sounds like a man who thinks his work on that front is finished.

He said Sunday that he felt there was positive momentum in the program, and that likely wouldn’t be derailed by a loss. But considering last year, the hope is to avoid finding out.

“I think our players understand why (Central Florida) won. And why we didn’t. And I think that really, it was probably more valuable in our offseason than maybe it is this week,” Richt said. “I don’t think we’re thinking about it right now. But we thought about it a lot when we started our offseason and how we didn’t want to go through that again.”

So what are they thinking about now?  Next season.

“Coach has been telling us that this game is like the beginning of next year as far as rankings and stuff like that,” linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “If we’re able to win this game, it will help out rankings going into the next year.”

Even before the new year, Georgia landed at No. 5 in the early 2012 rankings at NationalChamps.net behind LSU, Alabama, Southern California and Oregon. South Carolina was No. 6. The Bulldogs again have a favorable SEC schedule.

“Expecations will probably be off the chart,” Geoirgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “I’m sure we’ll be highly ranked going into next year. How do we handle that? Are we just as hungry as we were last year? Are we hungrier? Are we doing everything we can to avoid complanceny?”

There’s the challenge.  I suspect we’ll find something out about that today.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “A new year, a better place?, ctd.

  1. Macallanlover

    The most difficult facet of analyzing bowl match-ups to me is what attitude teams take into the game, and which team has the most motivation to win, or go “all in”. I still don’t know about the first factor but I do believe MSU may have the most motivational factors. You have to believe in CMR’s approach as his teams have a 7-3 record in bowls (but the three losses were all on the players for simply not showing up, imo.) Hard to not factor in the Big10/11/12’s anger about how they get razzed repeatedly about how they have become irrelevant and how dominant the SEC has been. I think they have a chip on their shoulder, and a recent loss to UGA is still in their minds.

    Statistically these teams look pretty equal, but I think UGA is a better team having played better teams and not having a bad loss on their resume. If we don’t make a mess of ball security, or STs today, The only real motivational edge UGA has is, as Coach Richt said, the bad taste the UCF loss had last winter and Spring. I think UGA wins today, but it would not be a shock if we lose a close one. I took the Dawgs and Cocks today, both -3 points, but I didn’t bet a huge number on either.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Let’s see. You won the South Carolina bet and washed on the UGA bet. Ahead for the day if those are the only ones.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        “…washed on the UGA bet.” Guess I shouldn’t try to do math in my head when I’m drunk. Never mind. Happy New Year.

        • Macallanlover

          Same to you, and your family. Not the way I wanted to start 2012 with a UGA loss, but not the worst thing financially to break (almost) even with football bets.

          The worst loss of the season to me was when Iowa let Oklahoma score when all OU was trying to do was run the clock out. They called 2 timeouts extending the game, then let the QB run, untouched, into the end zone from 21 yards out when all the Sooners wanted was a two yard gain to maintain possession. Iowa had no chance to win as they were down 10, but felt obligated to burn the TOs. Flipped every bet in America in the last 30 seconds.