Tag Archives: Mark Richt

“Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I don’t know. If there’s something to announce, I’ll announce it.”

Mark Richt walks a mile in Dabo Swinney’s shoes.

Richt understands what Swinney endured Monday, when he announced the dismissal of sophomore quarterback Chad Kelly. Before the spring game on Saturday, Kelly battled for the starting role with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson. A series of regrettable offenses, including Kelly’s verbal lash to an assistant coach on the sideline Saturday, provoked Swinney’s decision.

Richt said he does not need to know all the private details to understand Swinney’s motivation — the fundamental responsibility to protect the long-term interests of the program.

“I don’t know how good Kelly is. I don’t know where he was in their mindset, and I don’t even know what happened,” Richt said, “but somewhere along the line, they were like, ‘We can’t have this and sustain this program the way we want to sustain it.’

Uneasy lies the head that wears a headset.

According to Georgia coach Mark Richt, few truly grasp the responsibility required of his position.

Few realize the breadth and depth with which difficult decisions must be weighed. Few understand the complex duty of managing the consequences of those decisions in public when many of the details provoking them must remain private.

“People are like ‘Why is he doing that’ or ‘What is he thinking?’” Richt said Wednesday evening before visiting fans at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, the second stop along the Bulldog Club Tour with Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox.

“There have been times where I wish I could just explain to everybody what I know, so they’d understand,” Richt said. “Until you sit in the chair you really don’t know what that’s like.”

All of which may explain why he often appears coy discussing player discipline.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he may not announce any discipline including possible suspensions for the four players who were arrested on the eve of spring practice before the Clemson opener.

“Every time I discipline a guy I don’t tell everybody what I do all the time,” Richt said. “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”

Or maybe that’s what comes of us not being in the arena.  It’s a fine line to walk between honest decency and patronizing the fan base.  Richt handles that about as well as we should probably expect from a head coach these days.

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Was a sunny day.

Boy, a little nice weather and Mark Richt is ready to wax poetic.

Georgia football coach Mark Richt seemed to be in a pretty good mood after his team’s second spring scrimmage Saturday morning in Sanford Stadium.

“Beautiful day, beautiful weather,” Richt said. “The dogwoods are blooming, red buds. The sun is shining. The leaves are turning green. It was a good day.”

Maybe that inspired the offense.

It was a good day for the offense, especially when you compare it to the mood offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was in after Thursday’s practice.

“The offense played way better than they did last scrimmage,” said defensive end Toby Johnson, who had three tackles.

Heavy rain hit during the first scrimmage a week earlier but this one was held under mostly sunny skies with temperatures hitting the lower 60s.

“We came out with a lot more passion and energy,” quarterback Hutson Mason said. “I don’t know if today the sun was out or what it was. Guys came ready to go and the offense definitely was much better than last Saturday.”

Enjoy it while you can, fellas.  Summer is coming.

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Richt’s Tuesday presser

(If you’re pressed for time and don’t want to watch, you can read David Paschall’s summary here.)

Sure, it’s not an earth shattering eight minutes or so, but a couple of things worth watching are Richt’s reaction to the question about punishment for Wiggins’ and Scott-Wesley’s problems last year – he had to be reminded what they were – and the last minute, when Richt gets into an interesting discussion of how the roles of the offensive tackles have changed from when he started in Athens.  I always enjoy listening to him get into nuts and bolts stuff and wish he did it more often.

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Mark Richt’s expertise on losing control pays off.

He’s become college sports’ go-to guy on injury wipeouts (h/t Bernie).

Gosh, and here I’ve been thinking that losing all those players had nothing to do with going 8-5 last season.

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Mark Richt doesn’t really care who loses control of the 10-second rule.

According to Chip Towers, today’s teleconference with Georgia’s head coach “… was initially set up because numerous beat reporters had contacted Richt about getting his reaction to the proposed 10-second substitution rule to slow down up-tempo offenses in college football.”

His reaction?  Essentially a yawn.

“Again, I just don’t know how many people are consistently snapping the ball under 10,” Richt said. “You can still go no-huddle and you can still go at a pretty good clip. …Even if you snap it at …29 or whatever it is, you’re still going pretty darn fast. I don’t think it will be a huge deal if it does change, but I doubt very seriously it changes this quickly.”

It sounds like that’s for two reasons.  First, to the extent it’s a conditioning issue, that’s on the program, not the rule.

“I feel like if you can train offensive players to play five or six plays in a row, you can train defensive players to play that many plays in a row, too,” Richt said Thursday afternoon. “I personally don’t think it’s a health-issue deal, but if there’s some evidence otherwise, it will be interesting to see it. …I think it’s somebody’s assumption. I don’t think there’s any hard evidence on it.”

And the second?  It’s sort of what I figured – Richt’s experience importing the no-huddle to the SEC has left him a bit skeptical about the whole thing.  (Not that I blame him.)

“We started going fast at Florida State in 1992 and then ’93 we were going at breakneck speed as fast as we could until I got to Georgia,” he said.

ACC officials, he said, put the ball on the ground and got out of the way.

“It wasn’t quite happening that way in the SEC,” Richt said. “Who knows what the reasons were?”

Actually, we do know that.

… The mandatory pause is to allow the officiating crew to get in position, Gaston said. Richt argued that the officials should put the ball in play as soon as they are set, regardless of how much time has elapsed, but Gaston said that would provide the offense an unfair advantage.

“Mark Richt would eat their lunch,” he said. “He would go straight to the ball and snap it. He’d get in 100 plays. We have about half the coaches who think we go too fast and about half who think we go too slow so we must be in about the right spot.”

So you’ll have to pardon Richt if he doesn’t seem too worked up about this now.  He dealt with rules manipulation before and nobody was particularly worked up about it then.

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This is how Mark Richt deals with an ice storm.

Curling, Dawg style.

He’s got time on his hands now that he’s got the special teams straightened out.

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Armchair psychiatrists have lost control of Mark Richt.

This does not look like the face of a worn out man. (Photo via AB-H)

During the past season, I saw plenty of comments here and elsewhere about how tired and less than happy Mark Richt appeared to be coaching.  There was speculation along with that about how much time he might be willing to spend in Athens.

The thing is, Mark Richt doesn’t seem to agree.

“I look so young,” Richt said Wednesday, speaking on Signing Day. “If it weren’t for these extra 40 pounds I’m carrying, I could pass for 40.”

Then this, smiling: “Coach (Bobby) Bowden went until he was 80. So I’ve got another 27 years.”

Then this, still smiling: “I’m young compared to a lot of head coaches. Some guys coach deep into their 60′s and 70′s.”

Then this: “I’ve got a long way to go.”

I don’t know how much of this Richt’s been taking on the recruiting trail of late, but you have to figure if some in the fan base are asking, there are coaches who are more than willing to try to connect the dots.

All I can say is that we underestimate Mark Richt at our own risk.  I gave up in the wake of the two disappointing 2009 and 2010 seasons and Richt turned around and delivered back-to-back appearances in the SECCG to prove me wrong about that.  The program hasn’t fallen into nearly as deep and dark a hole after this past season as it did before, but with the early talk of defensive continuity after the 2013 results, it was easy to fret again.

It sounds like the energy and the desire are still there, though.  With new blood and new eyes, maybe that’s enough to bring focus to making some serious fixes to last year’s shortcomings.  There are a couple of intriguing hints of that in the latest recruiting class.  There’s also one more coaching hire to assess.

In any event, things feel a lot more positive now than they did a month ago.

Earlier in the day, Richt told a group of Georgia fans he feels more sprightly than ever. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who has worked alongside Richt since 2001, said: “I agree with what he said. He’s more energized than he’s ever been. It hadn’t crossed my mind that he might ever step down.”

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Mark Richt has lost control over losing control.

So, I finished drinking the Kool-Aid last night – quite tasty, thank you for asking – and finally stopped pinching myself before I went to bed.

And in the cold light of day, I’m still stunned.

The speed at which this came together continues to amaze me.  A week ago, we’re arguing with each other about how Richt’s wish for defensive continuity is going to play out this season.  Grantham flees Athens last Sunday, leaving us to fret about the process for finding his successor, as well as who that successor will be.  But we barely had time to fret!  (Schlabach told 680 The Fan yesterday that Richt learned of Grantham’s move at four o’clock that day and had settled on Pruitt as the guy to go after by five.)

Mark Richt snatched victory from the jaws of malaise.  He is receiving deserved acclaim for acting so decisively.  In fact, I’d call it near-universal acclaim.  Outside of the FSU fan base, I honestly can’t find any criticism of the move, not from the media, other coaches, even that part of the fan base that has been steadily critical of Richt (when’s the last time that happened, eh?).

I mean, consider where things have wound up now that the dust has settled.  Georgia has swapped Todd Grantham for Jeremy Pruitt, literally, for the same contract terms, and gotten a defensive coordinator with a better recent track record on the field and who is a better recruiter.  And in the bargain, has gotten all that without having to make a major disruption to its defensive scheme.  That’s about as good as it gets.

It’s so good that it’s making me a little nervous, honestly.  Since when does Georgia get this golden?  This is the home of funky karma and playing it safe and slow.  But I’ll put that aside for now.  Let’s look at a few specifics that are worth getting excited about.

    • Hey, maybe Georgia isn’t such a bad place to be after all.  Louisville isn’t toxic, but Bobby Petrino obviously has a tough sell to make when he hires staff.  That’s why it took the most ridiculous contract in college athletics to get Todd Grantham to jump ship.  Pruitt decided to leave FSU a week after winning a national title for a contract worth half of Grantham’s.  Whatever you think about Richt as a head coach, you’d have to say he’s still got the ability to attract quality coaching talent.  Hopefully that’s a meme we can dispose of for a while.
    • Recharging the program’s batteries.  That being said, this had all the makings of a somewhat sober offseason.  The 2013 season was a bummer, from the final record to all the injuries.  There’s no question that for much of the fan base the bloom had worn off the Grantham rose.  I’m not saying that Richt’s decision to keep on keeping on with the defensive staff was a fatal call – there would have been no way to know that for sure until the 2014 season got underway – but it sure wasn’t lighting much of a fire under anyone.  Today, we’re in a very different place.  The fan base is pumped up and united for the most part.  More importantly, from what I gather, you can say the same thing about the players.
    • Music to my ears.  Georgia’s got plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball.  And Grantham, whatever faults you want to lay at his feet, wasn’t a dummy.  But when you’ve got players having as much trouble getting in position in the bowl game as they did in the season opener, things clearly weren’t working right.  So let me say that I flat-out love hearing stuff like this about Pruitt:  “He was as good as anybody I’ve been with in the press box in the National Football League and in college ball,” said Sal Sunseri, an assistant on that 2009 Alabama team who now works as Florida State’s defensive ends coach. “He knows exactly how to put the guys in place and knew how to make adjustments. & That’s how we won.”  That is some first class Dawg porn for this blogger, ladies and gentlemen.  Excuse me while I wipe up this drool…
    • More music.  Tell me, when’s the last time you heard a Georgia defender talk about his coordinator like this “He taught us the ins and outs of everything,” Florida State safety Terrence Brooks said recently. “Just the way to pursue to the ball, the way to go get the ball, everything you can think about in football he’s taught us. He really broke the game down to us as to why we’re running this type of defense.  “He makes you understand it so much better and I feel like everyone bought into it and that’s why we’re so successful.” Damn it, where did I put that towel?
    • If you act now, we’ll include this as a special bonus!  I’m thrilled with Pruitt the teacher and schemer.  Finding out that he’s one of the top recruiters in the country is icing on the cake.  Is this Richt’s best staff ever from a recruiting standpoint?  Time will tell, but it sure seems like you can make that argument.  Given this“Pruitt already has impressed the Georgia staff with his knowledge of the Bulldogs’ recruiting prospects.” – it may not take that much time, either.
    • Kirby Smart.  Who cares?
    • Greg McGarity.  A better DC, an energized fan base, all without having to spend a penny more in a market like this?  Wipe that shit eating grin off your face, man.  And don’t forget to take care of Bobo now that you’ve gotten to keep a few extra bucks in your pocket.
    • Mark Richt, winner.  He made it happen and he deserves the credit he’s getting.  If Ivan Maisel’s perception (“that Georgia gave him a three-year deal is a good indication that head coach Mark Richt plans to stay at least that long, a good sign for the Dawgs”) is common – and I don’t buy it, by the way – then this is as good a way to dispel the doubters as I can think of.  More importantly, he proved himself to be decisive in a crisis, and by that I don’t just mean finding a new DC.  I don’t believe in the conspiracy theories floating around that this whole deal was engineered by Richt from the get go, because there’s no way he could count on the good fortune of a desperate Petrino to put the wheels in motion, but I am convinced that he intended to hold Grantham’s feet to the fire this season, and that Grantham was fully aware of it.

There was obviously plenty going on behind the scenes that we’re never going to be made fully aware of, but that’s water under the bridge now.  The program is in a better place today and that’s something to celebrate.  At least until we want to start complaining about what’s being done to fix the problems on special teams, that is.  But that can wait.  Let’s savor the moment for a little while, okay?

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Mark Richt hasn’t lost control of one thing.

Sarcasm, for the win:

The winner of the day was the local television cameraman who inexplicably showed up at Georgia’s practice wearing Alabama gear. It’s one thing to throw on the hat of an SEC rival as you’re leaving the house. It’s another thing to be wearing the hat and a shirt that says ALABAMA.

Mark Richt noticed it as interviews started.

“I’m glad you wore that Atlanta Falcon hat today,” Richt cracked sarcastically.

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“‘Should I stay or should I go?’ no. That’s never entered my mind.”

To every one of you who’ve peddled your psychological theories or claim to have heard from someone very close to the source about Mark Richt calling it quits on coaching, this has to come as a serious blow.

I guess there’s one thing of which he hasn’t lost control.

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