Mark Richt – sometimes he knows what he wants and sometimes he wants what he knows.

A couple of quotes for you to ponder from the head man during today’s presser… first, in response to a question about Georgia’s less than stellar punt return game:

“The main thing is that we’re looking for a guy who will field the ball and communicate well. So I think we’re still searching for that, but it’s a tough job. You’re back there and guys are flying down the field getting ready to pop you as soon as you touch it, and sometimes it’s hard to decide whether to catch it, to let it roll, to fair catch it or to return it. It’s a tough job, and we’re trying to get someone who will go back there and just take the bull by the horns and make good decisions and communicate well to everybody and wrap up the ball.”

What I don’t get about that is that if this is about searching for the guy who can field and communicate, why is the player who was second on the team in punt returns last year nowhere to be found on this year’s return list?  Did Branden Smith forget how to talk in the offseason, or something?  (As an aside, I will say that while I know who it was against, I was impressed with McGowan’s return last Saturday.  There’s somebody who knows how to run north-south when it’s called for.)

And here’s something else Richt had to say about the process that led him to hire Todd Grantham:

“I knew he had a lot of fire. Sean Jones played for him in Cleveland and Sean said that about him. Brad Johnson, who is my brother-in-law, was on the team playing quarterback at the time, so he got to observe the type of coach he was in practice. I wanted that. That was one of the things I wanted in the guy who was going to lead the way for us on defense. Defenses play a lot on emotion. You certainly had to have good schemes, and Todd had a great reputation for that, understanding not only how to pressure people, but also how to play the back end in coverage and all that. I heard just great things about him in that regard. It’s an emotional game. It’s about playing hard and getting after it. When the guy in charge of that group is that type of personality, it tends to bleed over into the way his players play.”

Now that’s interesting, especially coming from a coach that’s taken his share of criticism about appearing too unemotional on the sidelines.  And I’m just wondering… was emotion this guy’s problem at Georgia?

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Mark Richt – sometimes he knows what he wants and sometimes he wants what he knows.

  1. Keese

    You listen to Grantham talk, it’s obvious the guy knows his stuff and commands attention. With Willie…the mantra was “…players need to execute better….someone make a play…” that kind of b.s. (similar to Bobo’s type of answers)

    • Brandon

      Sometimes it is true that players need to execute better and make plays, just when your defense hemorrhages points on a regular basis there might be another explanation.

  2. hunkerdowndawg

    I don’t think Willie had a good grasp on schemes – particularly on what matters most in the SEC – stopping the run, getting pressure on the passer and being able to play man press coverage on the corners as well as making a play on the ball when possible. In other words, what Bama and LSU do on defense. Obviously it takes players, but it also requires that those talented players are taught and deployed properly. Saban and Chavous have proven they are able to do just that. Grantham is working toward that same stature and I believe he will get us there.

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Willie Martinez….he’s gone somewhere else, right….so I don’t have to make time to worry about Willie, right?

    • hunkerdowndawg

      Only if you are put in the dubious position of needing to pull for an Auburn win at some point. But they don’t play UF or SC this season, so you are pretty safe in not worrying about Willie ball this season.

  4. Brandon

    I’ve heard on pretty good authority that Willie got on the players hard in practice. Willie is somebody I think who knew a lot about the theory of defense, he just wasn’t good applying it in game situations as DC. Eventually his players lost all confidence in him, which manifested itself as an apparent lack of emotion/effort.

    • Bevo

      This. People that don’t think Willie was fiery during practice didn’t attend very many of them. Unfortunately, Willie had other shortcomings as a DC.

  5. gatriguy

    Willie’s biggest problem was that the system he and BVG ran started getting picked apart across the college game at the same time that we had some serious recruiting class misses.

    Outdated system + dip in talent = getting rolled up by Lane Kiffin.

    • adam

      His system didn’t do so well in the NFL either. Love having Grantham and Mike Nolan coaching the defenses of my favourite teams.

      • CarolinaDawg

        By the way, I’m pretty sure I heard Gruden saying that Nolan gave his D free reign to move around last night before the whistle. So I’m wondering if he uncovered the way to beat Manning. Which is for no one to know what the hell the defense is going to do, including the defense.

      • gatriguy

        It works, but you absolutely cannot miss tackles. That worked with the talent we had from 2001-2005. Not so much after that.

        • adam

          I once thought that the scheme needed an unstoppable DE to work. Pollack was here every year with BVG, ya know. But after he went to ATL and was so unimpressive despite having #55, I started to wonder. I remember how desperately the Falcons needed help with the pass rush. For some reason, Abraham was dropped into coverage more than any other d-lineman in the country. BVG lost his mind or something.

      • The Lone Stranger

        Nice “favourite” there; I never took you to be a limey. Or is it just poetic flourish?

        • adam

          I keep my phone on British English for no real reason. I like “theatre” and “colour” more, but I don’t like “recognise” so much. I guess it just amuses me that there are so many words that are spelled differently.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Plus, sprinkle in a dose of that Tebow guy and you had The Great Buckling, as I like to envision those ’08/’09 Dawgs defenses.

  6. Dubyadee

    Here’s what I remember from those days: Linebackers who were trying so hard to be in the right place that they forgot how to avoid blocks and make plays once they got there. It reminded me a bit of Lou Tepper wasting the talent he had on defense at LSU in the late 90’s.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Haaaa, Lou Tepper! Guess where he is plying his trade now? Remember those 45 points against Buffalo? That was Tepper’s D. Prior to that he had been head coach at a couple Div. II schools in Pa. — Edinboro & Indiana Univ. (Pa.).

  7. godawg

    The problem with Willie was he could not teach the players how to wrap up a tackle. If you don’t beleive me, just watch an Auburn game and you’ll say to yourself, “Oh yeah…I remember that crap…” First Ted Roof, now Brian and Wiilie…WTH are they thinking…..

  8. Jeff Sanchez

    I had to laugh early in the Auburn ULM game when an Aubie CB got called for Interference in the end zone because, you guessed it, he was face guarding the receiver.

    /shudders at the memories

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    I’ll wait for the results before making a conclusion about DCs. Neither CTG or CWM has come close to BVG’s success at UGA since he left. Maybe he does suck now, I don’t know. But he was the backbone of our team when he was in Athens – and I still hear BVGs players praise him frequently.

    And we’re definitely still feeling our way with STs. Every time I think we’ve gotten our ship together, we find a new, almost inexplicable way, to muck things up.

    Having said all that. This team has special talent. I think we have a great opportunity for the mnc if CMR can push the right buttons.

  10. Rhino

    A lot of UGA fans, including on this blog, liked to make fun of Logan Grey being sent out to fair catch punts. Every time this year that I have cussed at Damian Swann as he watched the ball bounce down the field, I have wished we still had Logan out there. Swann appears to have some talent at returning punts, but there is no excuse to give up 10-20 yards of field position on a majority of the punts. Especially since it’s not that hard to wave your hand in the air and catch the ball.

    • Dubyadee

      Agree that it is ridiculous to criticize Logan Grey for this, just as it was stupid to rip McCranie before him. And I’m also frustrated when we don’t make an effort to field some punts. The main issue that I think doesn’t get mentioned enough is the concern that a bad or short punt will end up hitting one of our blocking defenders or, just as bad, one of our blockers will bump into the punt returner.

      Not sure why we can’t communicate better, but our blockers don’t do a good job of clearing the field on a fair catch or unfielded punt. We’ve had a bunch of near misses and one disastrous result (v. Colorado).