We’re here to help, Coach.

It’s been an interesting journey this weekend reading the blog comments both here and elsewhere and the message board posts in reaction to Saturday’s debacle.  Once you get past the anger, sadness and frustration, there are plenty of armchair coaches with advice about how to turn the ship around – if not this year, then next.

Some of it’s sensible, some of it’s silly and some of it’s obvious.  (I’m guessing that Coach Richt has already figured out that “coach better, play better” would help a lot from here on out.)

But there are a couple of specific names I’ve seen bandied about that I can’t help but react to.

  • Aaron Murray. Dawgnation, what’s this kid ever done to you?  Seriously, why toss a true freshman quarterback out there with no offensive line and no running game to protect him?  The only experience he’s going to get right now is how fast SEC defensive linemen are chasing you and what it feels like to walk to the bench after your fourth three and out of the game.  He would get to polish his throw-it-up-to-A.J.-and-see-what-happens skills, which might come in handy next year, so there’s that.  I’m not saying it’s a totally ridiculous idea, but it’s waaay premature.  If Georgia’s even deeper in the ditch after the next two games, maybe you could look at Murray against Tennessee Tech, but even so, it’s a stretch – unless you’re convinced by that time that Logan Gray’s a stiff at quarterback.
  • Tommy Tuberville. He doesn’t want to be a defensive coordinator.  Mark Richt doesn’t want to open the can of worms that having a former SEC head coach who has ambitions of being a head coach again sitting on his staff would open.  Damon Evans doesn’t want to pay Tuberville the kind of money it would take to entice him and Evans isn’t interested in bringing Jimmy Sexton into his life.  Other than that, he’s perfect.  Well, except that even if Tubs came on board and it all worked out (with a pony!), he’d be gone in a year to the head coaching job that his resume polishing would get him and Richt would have to go through the whole process again.  And, oh yeah, I can’t think of a more sure fire method of getting Rodney Garner to leave Athens than by saying, “Rodney, I think you know our new defensive coordinator, Tommy, here. “ Not gonna happen.


Filed under Georgia Football

47 responses to “We’re here to help, Coach.

  1. Mark Bradley, AJC columnist and super cool guy

    There should be no major changes. Zero. Only a few tweaks are necessary and then everything will be perfect once again. In fact, you’re only struggling because people don’t understand how great you are.

    Wait, we’re talking about Georgia? Ha, I thought we were talking about Jeff Francoeur. In that case, fire everyone. Burn the stadium down.


  2. rbubp

    Thanks for clarifying Tuberville, Senator.

    What is the deal with Garner as Defensive Coordinator? From what people say it sounds as though he would leave if anyone else just the job, much less Tuberville. But what’s the point of recruiting great players if you can’t coach or scheme any better than we’re doing right now? I mean, Vanderbilt and Mississippi and and about 75 other lower-prestige teams have defenses better than ours without RG recruiting studs. How about trying a decent recuiter who can actually coach?


    • What is the deal with Garner as Defensive Coordinator? From what people say it sounds as though he would leave if anyone else just the job…

      I don’t know if that’s the case, but I do know there’s no way Tuberville and Garner would ever be on the same staff.


      • NebraskaDawg

        I think Garner should get his chance. Can’t be any worse than what we’ve got.


        • Umm… isn’t he part of “what we’ve got”?


          • Joe B.

            Are you serious?

            Rodney Garner’s DT position has been the biggest underachieving group on this team over the last 4 seasons.

            Look, Garner is much more hype than substance at this point. Geno Atkins was better as a freshman than he is as a senior.

            Jeff Owens was better as a freshman than he is as a senior.

            Kedric Golston was better as a freshman than as a senior.

            Gerald Anderson steadily regressed throughout his career.

            Kade Weston has played really well the last two games. Yeah!

            Anyone still thinking that Rodney Garner is an important piece of the puzzle is not watching very closely.

            Eric Berry, Morgan Burnett, Allen Bailey, Omar Hunter, Greg Reid, Jarvis Jones, Markeith Ambles, Mack Brown are just the Rivals 100 players from GA that UGA has not gotten in the last 4 cycles.

            That does not take into consideration the Caleb King/John Dwyer mess, that looks more and more like Jasper Sanks and Jamal Lewis every day.

            Garner has never been considered anything more than a mediocre position coach, and if the product on the field is any indication, he has really lost his touch on the recruiting trail too.

            He should go the way of Fabris, Martinez and Jancek.


          • NebraskaDawg

            I meant being the DC.


        • Left to Right

          At the end of the season, Richt is going to demote Martinez, make Garner DC, and make himself special teams coordinator. This way, no one gets fired, no gets replaced, and he buys the entire staff a couple more years.

          He is going to make the absolute minimum changes he has to make in the coaching staff, because that’s just the kind of guy he is.


          • Will (the other one)

            That wouldn’t buy an “extra couple of years” if the results don’t change.
            He shuffled deck chairs on the defense this past off-season and we’re now worse off than a year ago.


  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Buried in your generally spot on comments above is the nugget of an answer to all the deluded Dawg fans who look at Bama and Florida and ye gods, even Tennessee, at least this week.

    Damon Evans, who was trained at the knee of Vince Dooley, who was trained at the knee of Shug and the former AD at Georgia whose name escapes me…oh Joel Eaves.

    It is in the blood in the athletic department to look for “bargains”….Mark Richt was a bargain at the time he was hired, for what ? less than 1/3 what Bama is paying Saban?

    What is obvious to me is that there is a significant disconnect between the expectations of at least some of the fan base and the expectations of the administration.

    That Mark Richt is a “good man” is unarguable. That Mark Richt has the potential to be a good, or even great coach is the kind of thing that can only be examined in 10 years or so.

    If you look at Georgia’s history, which did not begin in 1980 as some fans seem to believe, Georgia has always hired coaches based not on accomplishment, but potential for accomplishment.

    Bama, on the other hand, and I assume this is obvious, has always hired, with a couple of glaring exceptions before Bear, and several after, coaches who were already accomplished.

    What this seems to indicate to me is that we have to be patient with Mark Richt and hope that he grows as a coach as much as Dooley did after the dismal seasons leading up to 1980.

    I hope Richt responds as the more rational among us believe he will.

    That there is considerably less room for “growth” as a coach in today’s college football market should be obvious to Richt, and for that matter, to his staff.

    If he has any doubt, Tommy Tuberville would be a good person to ask, or Phil Fulmer, or the mighty Zooker.

    Bottom line is that at Georgia, fan expectation and fan frustration has little to do with causing a reaction inside the Butts-Mehre building.


    • D.N. Nation

      Bama, on the other hand, and I assume this is obvious, has always hired, with a couple of glaring exceptions before Bear, and several after, coaches who were already accomplished.

      Bama has always hired accomplished coaches. Except for that guy. And that other guy. And those guys. And that one guy. And that other one.

      I kid. Sorta.

      Not buying the hate on Evans. I thought the way he handled Felton at the end of that tenure was perfect- gave him a short leash even after the conference title, and was willing to can him midseason. He can be a hardass when needed.

      Is it needed now? Yeah, it’s needed now. So we’ll see.


      • NebraskaDawg

        I don’t think Mike Shula qualifies as an “accomplished coach” when he was hired.


      • RedCrake

        On top of which, Evans was willing to pony up trying to get Anderson.

        That wasn’t a successful attempt, but it does demonstrate that Evans is willing to go after non-bargain, high dollar targets.


  4. NebraskaDawg

    What’s wrong with you people? Don’t you know Willie Martinez is the 4th best DC in all of college football?



    • Dick

      How old is that picture of Mickey Andrews (#14)?


      • T-Lud

        How old is that list? It has Chavis still at Tennessee, Steele still at Bama, etc. Ergo, it doesn’t account for CWM’s ’09 performance (or lack thereof).


        • RedCrake

          It also has Spaziani as the DC at Boston College.

          He was even poorly ranked as a DC. Jagodzinski really screwed BC.

          Then again its the ACC, so I probably would’ve done the same thing.


  5. Pumpdawg

    Who are we overlooking here? He seems to be doing a great job at Alabama.He was a Dawg.It’s time to get out the checkbook and tell Kirby Smart to come home.


  6. Crewdawg

    If you think that CMR would ask Smart back to the program you obviously havent been paying attention…


  7. Will (the other one)

    Go out and get the best from a non-BCS school.
    Dick Bumpas at TCU has a great resume, and TCU’s stats (which held up even against far more talented teams) show a very sound D.


  8. RedCrake

    Here’s an idea that is entirely too logical to ever be used:

    1) Look at the Top 15 Defenses nationally in yards allowed per game or in total defense.

    2) Weed out non-AQ teams who played a pathetic

    3) Withdraw sacks of cash from secret Athletic Association bunker.

    4) Go down list.

    5) Find self in hunt for SEC Championship annually.

    6) Profit!!!


    • RedCrake

      BTW…. As a frame of reference (and I say this as a former Willie Martinez apologist)….

      Georgia is now ranked below Syracuse in Total Defense.

      Other than Maryland and Washington St. we are now the lowest ranked BCS conference team in that particular statistical category.


  9. I’ve got a source thats got some decnt connections stating that Willie’s only hope is to win out the rest of the yr. Otherwise they’re trying to court kirby smart away from bama

    you may take this with as many grains of salt as you wish


  10. Rodney Garner: I don’t understand the obsession with coddling this guy. If he is such an amazing recruiter, then we should pay him money to recruit. He shares blame for our crap defense, and our DTs have not developed as they should. If he can’t handle being passed over, then he should 1) Get better as a coach or. 2) Good luck elsewhere, we wish you the best my friend.

    New DC:

    This is where I think fans can’t do much. I think fans can SEE when there is a problem, but SOLVING the problem is where only the professionals can take action.

    Richt is going with the old hackneyed “you dinna play foobah” argument, but that’s lame. Fans who watch football for decades (and maybe even played some) can see when there is a problem.


  11. Fair points on Tuberville, Senator. Some slight rebuttals and more discussion of the topic here (at PennWagers.com), if you’re interested.

    I still think it would be a discussion worth having if it could be done without stepping on too many toes of people we still want around.


    • Dog in Fla

      Texas, when I read your post I thought that determining who some may want to keep around while others go, is that when and if Richt is forced to fire assistants, a possibility is that he may leave and take his entire staff with him in masse as I suggested, with no supporting evidence whatsoever of course, on Rex Robinson’s blog recently in a reply to a post by Muckbeast.

      After all, who thinks Richt can be forced to fire long-time compadre Willie Martinez or lay off Mark Bobo with five or so young kids to feed? Not me.

      ‘Somewhere between the extremes of ‘you have to be a jerk to win’ and staying so calm, cool and collected on the sidelines during various repeated blowouts that you appear to some observers to be disinterested in the bad things that are happening and not doing anything about them, there is a point at which there has to be at least an appearance of behavior by a head coach in which assistants and players understand that are being held accountable when bad things that happen and they have some responsibility for those bad things.

      It doesn’t have to be a CPJ ‘Are you that stupid’ remark, it doesn’t have to be grabbing a player by his facemask, it doesn’t have to be reaming out an assistant on the sidelines. There must however be something to show the troops that there is some accountability to the head coach other than the collective we’ll have to do better but I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone line.

      When you’re operating under the FSU Bobby Bowden business model as Coach Richt is with regard to a coaching staff, it’s easy to understand why some may think that staff loyalty is more important than competence. Why? Because that is a key component in that business model. You will not see it in a Saban or Meyer staff and will probably not see it anywhere under any head coach except at Georgia and at FSU. At Georgia, unless and until any assistant decides that he will get the ball rolling on his departure, a highly doubtful proposition, I don’t think that Coach Richt will fire or reassign any of them.

      Why should he? It took years for those in ‘control’ at FSU to make Bobby’s son Jeff leave as sucessor OC to Richt there. That, of course, along with naming Jimbo as head coach in waiting were signs that the beginning of the very long and slow end of the Bowden era was starting and it hasn’t finished yet. The beginning of Coach Richt’s end when and if it happens at Georgia will not be as drawn out as Bowden’s at FSU but my guess is that Coach Richt has at least until the end of next season, if it’s not a good season, to be forced to layoff assistants.

      When that happens, if it ever does, I think he will probably refuse, resign, go somewhere else and take his staff with him. His commitment to his principles will outweigh what others think should happen for the good of Georgia football. He is, after all, its CEO.’

      See also, http://www.dawgsonline.com/2009/10/12/no-one-is-talking-about-the-refs-anymore/comment-page-1/#comment-267173


      • There has yet to be a situation during Richt’s tenure where a coach who clearly would have been fired or demoted at another major program was not fired or demoted at UGA. Not one.

        So the “Richt is too loyal” stuff is just hypothetical and has no evidence supporting it at this point.

        This is the first time we have reached a situation (back-to-back seasons near the bottom of the conference in defense) where coordinators are often removed. So if we finish near the bottom in defense once again and Richt makes no changes, then the “too loyal” claim will have its first point of supporting evidence.

        Until then it has no basis in reality.


        • I’m not really going on loyalty. I’m going on the greatest power in the universe: inertia. It’s not easy to fire people with whom you’ve had a long standing relationship. Even if they merit being let go.


          • No doubt. It’s a lot easier to “fire” someone from the anonymity of the internet and one’s couch than to do so in person with real life consequences and personal ties to the people, etc.

            But there I was simply responding to Dog in Fla’s comments about Richt being too loyal, etc. It’s an oft repeated claim about Richt, but there just simply aren’t any examples the people who make it can point to of where Richt has kept a coach who clearly (based on real-life examples) would have been fired at another major program.


        • Dog in Fla

          Texas, re your thought that:

          ‘There has yet to be a situation during Richt’s tenure where a coach who clearly would have been fired or demoted at another major program was not fired or demoted at UGA. Not one.’

          Does this mean that you think that WM would have survived as long as a DC under a Meyer, Saban, Spurrier or Miles as he has under a Richt, assuming that his defenses at any of those places had the same results as his defenses have had at Georgia?

          If so, I think plenty would take issue with that.


    • What makes Tuberville so special, assuming he’s interested? Somebody like Bumpas strikes me as being just as accomplished, will come with a lower price tag and is likely to stay. Why wouldn’t Richt go with someone like that should the time come?

      One thing we all should keep in mind is that there are more than a few options out there for MR to consider. If he has to go hire a new DC from outside the program, he’s got a more than credible track record on that front based on his first hire.

      The hard part will be getting to that point, of course.


      • He knows the SEC very well, and he has coached some very strong defenses.

        Even with a good DC, UGA is going to have a hard time really getting a true upper-hand on Florida as long as Meyer is there. They have a huge natural advantage in their in-state talent base. And while UGA’s recruiting has been strong under Richt, and is somehow getting stronger, we have yet to have a truly consensus top 3 (let alone #1) recruiting class under Richt. No UF ’96, LSU ’03, Texas ’02 type out-of-the-park #1 on every list type class that eventually wins MNCs.

        Tuberville might give us a shot at that given the hype his hiring would bring. Bumpas might be a great DC, but he wouldn’t bring the same boost to recruiting.


        • It’s a one year hire at best and TT isn’t exactly the world’s greatest recruiter. I don’t think you’d get as much of a bump out of it as you think.

          There are plenty of good recruiters on that staff and there’s enough talent to win big. What they need is a technician who can run a successful defense.

          Like they used to have.


          • Fair enough.

            Obviously, it has very little chance of happening. And it would require Tuberville not just coming onboard but putting his full effort into it (which would not be a given).

            Anyhoo, just thinking out loud…

            I haven’t seen any names so far that really seem that exciting. I haven’t been a “Fire Willie” guy largely because there aren’t any obvious options out there, and I realize coaches don’t get fired because of one bad season with an injury-plagued defense.

            But we’re now finally to a point that changes do actually happen within CFB programs.


            • I’d call myself an agnostic on the subject of CWM after the last season and a half. The main reason I can see for letting him go is simply that he’s not getting through to his charges anymore.

              And I disagree about a lack of options. There are plenty of fine defensive minds out there for the hiring.


          • Aligator

            i agree with you here and there are plenty of great coordinators who would love to coach at GA


        • Ryan

          Florida’s natural advantage isn’t nearly as far out as it would have to be to support 3 major D1 college programs and scores of other “second tier” teams. So really their advantage should be almost nil whenever FSU and Miami can actually turn it around for good.

          Also when it comes down to it, I know this is an old argument, but it really is about 47 year old men with clipboards evaluating 17 and 18 year olds on a scale from 1 – 5. The “rankings” of the classes are especially asinine, case in point Notre Dame over the past decade. A 1-5 rating will get you in the ballpark most of the time but how a kid adjusts to a REAL playbook (see Marlon Brown) and college life has more to do with it than anything else.


  12. I’d love to have the #1 recruiting class in the nation, whatever that means. But what I’d really love to see is our defensive staff get the most out of the guys we have now. Anyone seen that lately? Anyone…..(crickets, lonesome train whistle)………


  13. Aligator

    okay everyone, go out and pay good money to get good coordinators and coaches, stop trying to get the people who either are position coaches at the school and or former coaches or alumni to come in and coach em’ up. this is not alabama, and that only worked in the earlier years of CFB!!


  14. smart1

    Dont forget Coach Richt hired and promoted Coach Jancek as the defensive co-coordinator. He has a proven track record of turning defenses around and would probably get a nice reference letter from VanGorder. You may remember Jancek coached for several years as a DC for Vangorder. He was also the DC coach for Brian Kelly at Grand Valley with two national championships and CMU going from last in the division to winning MAC championships.
    It is time to let Jancek start making the calls and see if we have some improvement over the next several games.


  15. TallyDawg

    Just got linked to you via David Hale’s blog. Interesting comments you guys have. Did anyone give thought to whether Richt might hire his son-in-law? Given that he played many years as a top-flight pro quarterback, he certainly could bring some new gimmicks to the offense?


  16. TallyDawg

    Sorry – meant to say brother-in-law. Can’t recall his name at the moment….old age.