The Georgia Scout site has posted the first part of an interview with former Georgia QB and head coach Ray Goff that’s a good illustration of the strengths and weaknesses of Goff’s regime, as well as the decision making process that led to his hire as HC.
With regard to the latter, in Goff’s own words it was the result of a “scramble” that arose due to the school’s ineptness in failing to hire either of the two leading candidates. (Dooley was out of the loop for a period and an inexperienced hiring committee took responsibility for the job search, as I recall.) At that point, Goff decided to throw his hat in the ring, and, to the surprise of many, wound up with Dooley’s backing.
Looking back on it, Dooley’s rationale for the hire was weak:
“Ultimately I felt that Ray Goff, a Georgia man, deserved a chance (to be head coach). Ray knew the program and gave us the best chance for consistency. The Georgia people liked him, and it would obviously be a very popular choice,” Dooley later wrote of picking Goff over Haffner.
Goff suspects that something else was in play, but won’t elaborate:
Looking back, however, Goff says he is a little more skeptical about why he got the job.
“I was very fortunate to get it, and I think I have a pretty good idea why I got the job,” Goff said. “But if you talk about stuff like that I think you are living in the past, and also there are things that might be hurtful to people. Still, just having that shot was a dream come true.”
Goff has the class to refuse to dwell on the negative in the interview, which is more than commendable. And you can’t help but like a guy who says, “(t)he only thing I ever wanted to do was be (sic) was to be the head coach at Georgia, and I had that opportunity,” Goff said. “If I went somewhere else I would be cheating because I couldn’t give it my best.”
But the interview also includes the story surrounding Zeier’s elevation to starting QB in ’91 – a decision that everyone knew was inevitable, but was still poorly handled:
… But it was clear before the award went out that week: a change was going to happen at quarterback. Goff made the decision final – Zeier was to start against Ole Miss and for the remainder of the season. Goff let the freshman know, but didn’t make Talley aware of the change immediately.
“I wish it had been handled differently,” Goff said of his mistake. “It got out before we had a chance to talk with Greg. That, probably, of all the things I regret, is the thing I regret the most – because Greg Talley is one of the finest young men that I have ever been associated with in my life. I felt like we, and me specifically, did not handle that right.”
The press got hold of the story, and it was front page news the next day. Talley, Goff admitted, learned about Zeier’s starting by reading it in the paper, not by talking with his head coach.
Pretty emblematic of the Goff era – the talent was present, but the management was lacking. Unfortunately, the latter often seemed to outweigh the former.