The power of perception and a modest proposal to end the crisis

So, welcome to Day 42 of the Dawgnation hostage crisis.

Crowds began gathering shortly after the Martinez dismissal, demanding an end to the uncertainty.

The longer it goes on, the worse it gets – because it’s not about getting a competent replacement for Willie Martinez any more, it’s about something much, much bigger.

… While Tide fans cheer (and Smart counts his money), Georgia fans are pulling their hair out.  Again.

Come to think of it, after getting jilted at the altar by Bud Foster and John Chavis, Dawg fans might not have much hair left.  Sort of like if the mange had hit Athens, I guess.

More news will come shortly, but you can be sure of three things:

1.  Smart will get a hefty raise out of all this.

2.  Georgia will now have to turn its attention to someone of lesser “name” value.

3.  Mark Bradley and/or Jeff Schultz of The AJC will use this info as a pointy stick with which to further beat Mark Richt, who seems to be their own personal pinata.

I wonder if the over-the-top negative fan and media reaction to Richt’s first truly bad year in Athens has anything to do with all of these coaches saying “thanks, but no thanks” to the Georgia job?  Nah, couldn’t be.

There’s no question Richt has set his sights high, but as he’s finding out now, that can lead to disappointment in the end.  It seems to have done just that for UGA fans.

But in reality, why would Foster — a man who’d coached beside Frank Beamer for decades and who figures to be his eventual successor — leave Virginia Tech for Georgia?

In reality, why would Smart — the defensive coordinator for a team that will be the NCAA favorites again next year — leave Alabama for Georgia?  UGA wouldn’t help him get any closer to landing a head coaching job… his obvious next step.

Only Chavis had a reason to leave his school for Georgia: the possibility of moving closer to his family.  But in terms of winning, recruiting, national prominence and money terms, LSU is just as good or better than Georgia.

Richt went after the top names in the college game and came up empty.  Now he’ll have to hear about it until September if he can’t find some other big name to make the move the Athens.

And I’m not sure Todd Grantham will/would be a big enough name to calm the Bulldog faithful at this point.

And that’s it – it’s no longer about getting a better coach (and let’s face it, given how Georgia has performed on defense over the last two seasons, that’s not exactly a daunting task) – it’s about us.  And the AJ-C.

That’s why Paul, bless his heart, may turn out to be wrong about this, at least in the short run.  Because as long as the Jackets sign a new defensive coordinator before Georgia does, it’s no big deal.

The cynic in me is betting that the next set of rumors will coalesce around Brian VanGorder returning to Athens.  I can’t think of another move that will generate this type of feeling amongst the Dawg faithful.

Set us free, Coach Richt, set us free!

When… er, if that doesn’t work, it’ll be time for us to insist that Richt and Evans aren’t up to the task (never mind the fact that they were prepared to make a guy with one year’s experience as a defensive coordinator under a control freak the third highest paid assistant coach in the country for some reason) and turn the job over to somebody with more juice.  Not Michael Adams.  He’s pretty much botched every coaching hire he’s had a direct hand in.  Nah, we’ll need somebody whose unquestioned love for the red and black “G” is matched by clout recognized on an international level.

And I’ve got just the guy in mind.

Nobody says "No" to Hugo Chavez. At least not for very long... (AP photo)

All our trials, Lord, soon will be over.  In the meantime, we can always console ourselves with this.

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65 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

65 responses to “The power of perception and a modest proposal to end the crisis

  1. Bort

    And I, for one, welcome our new Venezuelan overlord . . .

    Like

  2. Irishdawg

    Can I please get some Georgia football news that doesn’t fill me with despair? Damn, Reshad, Rennie, and Rejection have made me want to jump in front of an oncoming bus.

    Like

  3. Mark Mandingo

    Its not getting turn down by a new name every week that I dread. Its the inevitable oberreaction on every other blog, message board, or Furman Bisher retirement home. I don’t even read click on Schultz or Bradley so I don’t give them an extra pageview. I’ll worry when Tony B tells me to worry (note: haven’t read paper this morning). I’ll be happy with a competent DC. That means someone so I don’t have to convince my friends how much talent we really have on defense. You won’t know if anybody’s confident till down the road a ways.

    I know I’m not the first to compare this to BVG, but it does teach a valuable lesson. Just give me someone to make me think that Bobo is not the best coordinator on the team.

    Like

  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    Ya know, maybe finding someone better than Willie is tougher than it would seem to US.

    I promise to try not reading anything about who it might be, only who it is.

    Since a little self-examination is always good, why has this hire been so difficult for us and so apparently quick and painless for other programs?

    I always had questions about Kirby…a grad student at the Saban School, when we need a full professor, yet this did not seem to be an issue for Mark Richt.

    Did it?

    Like

    • Will Q

      I would say that the hire has been more difficult for us than, say, Florida or FSU because we went for the homerun hire first. If we go after Todd Grantham now, fine, but if we had gone after him before trying bring in a “name,” lots of fans would have been bemoaning the fact that we settled. Not that they won’t be doing that anyway.

      Like

      • It won’t just be the fans.

        How long do you think we’ll have to wait for the “how do you feel about being Coach Richt’s fifth choice for the job?” question to come up at the presser introducing the new coach? I probably ought to run a pool at GTP on that.

        Like

        • NCT

          I know it’s still early in Fox’s career here, and I know this comparison has been made already, but as far as I can tell, the sky sure wasn’t falling last week at Stegeman or even this past weekend in Rupp as a result of our not having one of the ginormous hires last year that we supposedly tried to get.

          Like

        • Hogbody Spradlin

          How long do you think we’ll have to wait . . .

          I wouldn’t bet against it being the first question.

          Like

        • Left to Right

          I’d put the under/over at the third question.

          Like

  5. Left to Right

    Why is it that I suspect if Hugo Chavez and Michael Adams ever sat down and talked, they would find they have a lot in common?

    Again, as for Bradley and Schultz, I am sure they are both scared witless following the recent executions at the AJC. Their jobs quite literally depend on getting page hits. So they have both decided, in an effort to be able to keep making their mortgage payments, to adopt the “Paul Finebaum” style of journalism. It’s too bad, because I think they both have more talent than that.

    Like

    • Randy Floyd

      +1

      Think about how few hits they would get if they constantly wrote about how rudderless and ineffectual Trek has been for near two decades. The Trade School doesn’t move copy in this town, so they have to write with that in mind.

      Like

  6. Randy Floyd

    “why has this hire been so difficult for us and so apparently quick and painless for other programs?”

    I think CMR and/or DE fumbled the KS thing. If that’s who they wanted, then you make him commit to coming or not coming in early December. Shit or get off the pot. It’s a bunch of BS that we didn’t want to upset his planning for the NC. If this job is so damn important, then you offer it then and there and force Kirby’s hand. Instead you played into his strengths and let him call the shots.

    Like

    • The Realist

      I think Richt’s history with the 2000 national title game played into this. He would rather the guy finish his season out of professional courtesy, and talk business once the season is over.

      I don’t have a problem with the timing… just how it was handled on the candidate’s end.

      Like

  7. The Realist

    Make. This. Happen. Hugo for DC… not defensive coordinator… Death Czar.

    Like

  8. baltimore dawg

    the obsession with hiring a “big name” is partly about ego–on an institutional level and certainly on a “fan-base” level. bringing in a big name is partly an act of self-validation, and on an economic basis, it more often than not proves to be a bad investment. yes, there are cases where buying high to bring in a big name pays off (saban being the most obvious example), but the sports economist john vrooman has written about this subject extensively in the baseball labor market (the yankees lie outside of the mean b/c of their unique ability to spend more than enough to cover their bad player investments). it’s also partly the basis for billy beane’s “moneyball” approach.

    i wish this search hadn’t dragged on like this, and it does make cmr and the program look bad to some. but i’m actually relieved that we didn’t pay 750 large for a guy in his 3rd year (or 2nd?) as dc coming off the broyles award. talk about buying high.

    there are *plenty* of people out there who have the potential to be excellent in the dc position at uga. our having our collective ego stroked by a brand-name coach shouldn’t be part of the qualifications though.

    Like

  9. “I wonder if the over-the-top negative fan and media reaction to Richt’s first truly bad year in Athens has anything to do with all of these coaches saying “thanks, but no thanks” to the Georgia job?”

    Someone out there worthy of this job wants this job. It obviously pays well. It takes place largely in Athens, GA. One can expect to continue to keep this job well past one’s expiration date (in the most recent case: January 2, 2006) regardless of being even remotely effective.

    What’s not to like?

    Like

  10. Turd Ferguson

    I really, really don’t care about all of this DC search drama. We’ll get somebody better than Martinez. Is our image taking a hit? Maybe. But will anyone give a damn about that once the season rolls back around and we start winning games? Certainly not I.

    Like

    • I agree. But I’m not sure we share the majority sentiment today.

      Like

      • aristoggle

        I’m with y’all … I’d rather wait on someone that will be effective rather than get a big name for a big splash. (That said, I realize timing is important for recruiting.)

        If we look like we’re panicking, then we look weak. Richt always shows quiet confidence on the sideline. Why shouldn’t we expect that in this situation?

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      • Same here. I don’t care if the hire is some bum off the street. If that bum off the street teaches our guys how to tackle, cover, and prevent points better than the predecessor then that’s all I care about. I mean the new hire couldn’t be any worse, could he?

        Like

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Forget image. Take the time to get the right guy, win games and everyone forgets about it. If you get stampeded into doing something that is when you make a mistake. Remember how we got Ray Goff as HC? Screw the AJC and the usual idiots. Their opinions mean nothing.

      Like

  11. Dog in Fla

    Global War on Mark (GWOM) Crisis of the Day (COD) Piece, “DC Search”, 12 January 2010

    Chopper enroute to Dallas from Athens to get some DC:

    Implementing Plan E, Mark and Damon after the stunning rejection of a three-quarter of a million dollar offer to a guy with one year experience as a DC decide to relax and take a helo ride to invade Jerry Jones’ territory. They thought it was going to be an easy mission today but only because they mistakenly thought they heard over the rotor noise that their door-gunner guide said that anyone who runs is a DC and anyone who stands still is a well-disciplined DC…

    Like

  12. Taylor

    It is hard to believe a UGA alum would play the school and use the school the way Kirby Smart did. Kirby played us like a drum. I just hope the Bulldawg nation makes sure he is never welcome at his alma mater again.

    Like

    • Mark Mandingo

      Do I think Kirby Smart considered coming back to Athens? Yes, therefore I don’t think he “played” his alma mater. Pay that man his money. You rarely know in these cases what motivates someone. Heck, maybe his thinking was that he’ll get a head job somewhere else then try to angle of the UGA job when it opens in 5-10 years. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it’s just as good as the old he played UGA angle. Do I hold this against Kirby? Absolutely and I will pray for us to spank his tail anytime we play him. But if he turns out to be a good HC and wants to come back eventually, I’ll let bygones be bygones.

      Like

      • The Realist

        If he’s a successful head corch someday, why would he want to take a lateral move back to Athens? He has already proven that the draw of his alma mater and a ton of cash is not enough.

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        • NCT

          re “lateral move back to Athens” — depends on where he’s a successful head corch someday. There are a lot fewer head coaching gigs from which a move UGA would be a lateral move than there are from which a move to UGA would be a step up. You don’t have to be a Red-and-Black glasses-wearing, “we’re-elite” homer to make that statement.

          Like

    • Hackerdog

      Don’t act like a high school kid. We weren’t asking Smart to the prom, we were offering him a job. Once Alabama (a program on better footing right now than UGA) raised his salary on par with our offer, he had little reason to come. So he turned the offer down in a timely fashion.

      Boo-freakin’-hoo.

      Like

  13. D.N. Nation

    Do yourselves a favor and go over to Team Speed Kills’ discussion on the SEC East next year. Year2, the local Gator, has reasonably high hopes for Georgia next year.

    Let Bradley and Schultz giggle to their hearts’ content. I mean…if they laugh hard enough, Trek will have somehow beaten Georgia at something, right?

    Like

  14. D.N. Nation

    Also, w/r/t LSU, Bama, and VT (lol wut?) being galaxies better than Georgia…

    Richt vs. Saban
    2-3

    Richt vs. Miles
    2-1-1*

    Richt vs. Beamer
    1-0

    Ooh, we’re So. Absolutely. Terrible.

    Like

  15. Will Trane

    When you watch how Foster, Chavis, and Smart considered, manipulated the situation, and end their interest says alot about their character and who they are. In addition it says something about the staff in which they coach. As a parent of a D1 prospect, I would have to let my son understand the type of people he will be involved with for at least 4 years during some important years of his growth and maturation. The are all grown men (I think). I would have had my interest handled alot different than they did. Like I said before I am puzzled by the interest in a lateral hire. I do not think those are good. Find a position coach who is on the move. I’ll post some later. But remember Donnan’s great hire from UT. Remember he sent him to the bench in the 2nd half so the Dawgs could come back. Foster, Chavis, and Smart are good coaches. Is there someone else out there better. Damn right there is. Look at the Coach Mark Fox hire. I bet there were big names by the legion. Who was Fox. Well we know who he is. We think we have the best men’s basketball coach in the SEC. Who was Dooley. Get the picture!

    Like

    • Tenn_Dawg

      You may very well be right about Fox but he has not done jack yet….at least not enough to say he is the best men’s basketball coach in the SEC.

      I do think there is a guy out there who wants this job badly and would be great but I don’t think that Richt knows who he is.

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      • D.N. Nation

        Fox is doing more with less than any coach in the SEC, save the one game Bruce Pearl had against Kansas. And even then, the Vols are still more talented than Georgia.

        Georgia has one legitimately good player (Trey Thompkins) and one pure raw talent that Fox is getting a ton from (Travis Leslie) and that’s it. The Dawgs have already knocked off Tech, last seen beating Duke, and Illinois. They damn near came into Rupp and stole a win. Imagine what Fox will do when he gets some talent.

        Like

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Yet.

        Like

  16. S. FL Chapter of the Bulldog Nation

    T.F & Senator..

    I agree with you to a certain extent, but my concern lies more with the 2010 class and keeping the guys who have already verbally committed and some of the guys that are on the fence at this point. I have faith that whomever CMR hires for the job will without a doubt be qualified and have the ability to coach up our boys! Is the suspense killing me? Absolutely. Is my pride hurt a bit as a Dawg because KS didn’t come back home. Sure. But, I’m sure that once they start popping pads this spring all will be forgotten. I would like for this to get taken care of as soon as possible, but at the same time you can force CMR’s hand, and it was just going to settle then the job would be filled already…he’ll find his man. All the boys who want to be Dawgs will sign on the dotted line. And, then we can get back to the usual suspects and how to beat them….let’s just get this over with and get back to work! Go Dawgs!

    Like

  17. Hogbody Spradlin

    I imagine your Van Gorder comment is halfway tongue in cheek, but I recall hearing early on that he declined overtures.

    Like

    • D.N. Nation

      Pollack’s pushing for VanGorder on Twitter as we speak.

      Our pal Adam Krohn has wanted VanGorder from the start. That is…to be the *head* coach. Which is why Adam Krohn should be taken very, very seriously.

      Like

  18. HVL Dawg

    Hey Senator- I haven’t heard you mention the “Rooney Rule” this cycle. I’m not poking a stick at you on this- I’m in favor of it. Wouldn’t that drive the UGA (un)faithful crazy if CMR decided to interject some social justice into the process!

    Like

  19. 69Dawg

    Lets face it CMR is still in OJT status as a head coach and Damon Evans has very little to offer in the way of experience as well. If Mark really didn’t want to fire Willie then he was not ready to hire someone. All head coaches keep a file of position coaches and coordinators that they would be interested in if they had to. Since Mark has only had 3 coaching jobs in his life he is not used to the highly mobile nature of the coaching profession. He is a bit naive in the ways of the world. He is in short an honorable man in the land of the pirates. They (the DC’s) have used and abused him and yet he is still suffering in silence. He is handling this in the same deliberate way he coaches, it doesn’t make any difference that we are down by 21 (3 DC’s x 7) late in the game we well comeback.

    Like

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Mention should also be made of the fact that other head coaches of rival schools ( not saying any names but his first name rhymes with “prick” and his last name sounds like “Satan”) are using the UGA DC search as a means to abuse UGA. I am certain Bama sees what others do not at this point-that the Dawgs have a really good shot at winning the SEC-East next season and playing guess who in the SEC Championship game. Matching the UGA offer keeps Smart from being an adversary of Bama next season and is a chance to f#ck with the UGA program. The best revenge is to GATA next year and win.

      Like

  20. Pingback: Reaction to Kirby « The Grit Tree

  21. Macallanlover

    Never was a fan of the KS hire anyway, but hate the way this came down. If he reneged after signing an offer or just used this as a bargaining chip, how could you ever support him as a HC at UGA? Badly played by him considering his ties to Georgia.

    If we wanted a high profile DC as a lateral, why not go after Monte? He has less upside than Smart and has to be tired of watching his retard son shoot his toes off one at a time.

    Like

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I’m sure you are joking but nevertheless cannot resist telling you: “Blood is thicker than scotch.”

      Like

      • Macallanlover

        Yeah, just kidding because I really wouldn’t want either Kiffin at this point. But I will test that scotch and blood thing. Not much on thick scotch so I kind of hope that is true.

        Like

  22. Pingback: The Delicate Art of Losing One’s Cool « The Athens Avenger

  23. Dawg N Suds

    Just got a call from Damon…

    I, too, had to turn ’em down.

    Like

  24. Scott

    I’m sorry but I don’t see this as the typical “lunatic fringe forcing the issue”. At least 5 other schools have had to hire DCs this offseason and have done so…meanwhile it’s Jan 12th and UGA and MR apparently have no clue who they are going to hire. If he’s feeling backed into a wall…it’s his own fault.

    You can’t play MR’s favorite game of “I’m not going to say a word about anything and say everything is going exactly how I want it to even though it would appear to a blind squirrel not to be” and not expect the natives to get a bit restless. Had he hired Todd Grantham, a retread NFL coach that apparently noone else is interested in btw, a month ago…I’m sure some would have thought it a bit odd..but most would have been happy he wasn’t WM.

    But by dragging this out for so long, and staying completely silent even though the people he’s been talking to have certainly had plenty to say, he’s let this thing get a whole hell of a lot bigger than it ever had to be. Now no matter who he hires is pretty reliably going to be consisered a fall back fifth choice and the first comments we will actually hear from the great MR will be when he pees on us and tells us it’s raining by saying he wanted NFL retread all along and that this search went exactly as planned.

    Like

    • When has MR said this is all going according to plan?

      That sounds like something out of Junior’s playbook. 😉

      Like

      • Scott

        He hasn’t said it’s all going according to plan..he hasn’t said ANYTHING, which might be the smartest thing to do, and is certainly his right…but when you say nothing, while others say a lot, the perception generally doesn’t go in your favor. And I’d be willing to bet that when he does make the hire, we’ll hear the usual BS about how this was the guy he wanted all along, when obviously that’s not the truth.

        Like

        • And I’d be willing to bet that when he does make the hire, we’ll hear the usual BS about how this was the guy he wanted all along, when obviously that’s not the truth.

          Who knows if that’ll be the case, but in any event, why should we care? As long as the new guy is an improvement over Martinez, shouldn’t we be happy?

          Like

          • Scott

            You’re probably right Senator. I guess when it comes down to it, the thing that would bother me about that is that it just serves to remind me that MR(and most coaches) are as much a politician as they are football coaches, and I’m not a big fan of most politicians. Now I’ve certainly never bought into the MR walks on water and is the nicest, most Christian guy every brand that many do, but I guess part of me just wishes that we could hear some straight talk from him on this. Naive I know.

            Like

            • Tenn_Dawg

              Richt did his finest politician impersonation with his “I am going to fix these problems and we are going to get better” empty promises speech after the 2008 season. Between that little speech, the handling of Logan, the god awful choice to wear black helmets and pants, getting punked by Junior, getting punked by Meyer…again and now this mess of a DC search its getting hard to have confidence in him.

              Hey….but like everyone is saying anybody should be an improvement over Willie……right?

              Like

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Scott, I do not want to make this sound like I think DCs are a totally fungible commodity but the reality is that there are a lot of coaches out there who could do a damn good job for UGA at DC. I don’t give a rat’s ass if the guy who finally gets hired is the 100th pick, if he can do (and does) a good job for the Dawgs as DC. CMR is no dummy. He won’t hire somebody who cannot do the job and do it well. Also, history tells us that all the ballyhoo over this is BS and after it is over nobody will remember any of this. When the Dawgs win the SEC East next year the hiring of the DC process will not even be in the rearview mirror. All people will be talking about is how great the Dawgs are and what a great hire the DC was (if the DC hiring is discussed at all).

      Like

      • Scott

        I would actually agree Mayor..my main point is that by dragging this out for so long and having so much of it become public while MR says nothing about any of it, he’s made it into a heck of a lot bigger deal than it ever had to be.

        I certainly don’t consider myself part of the lunatic fringe but I do like to judge things, but if MR had hired Joe Bob Smith from Arkansas International last month to be the new DC, I’m sure myself and some others would have questioned the hire for a couple of days but would probably have forgotten about it by now.

        Rightly or wrongly, MR by dragging this out and pretending to keep it quiet when it was anything but, has made it into a hell of a lot bigger deal than it ever would have been. Has the lunatic fringe helped with this? Of course…but it’s not all the lunatic fringe that’s puzzled, disheartened, etc by this something of a fiasco.

        Like

        • I see what you’re saying, Scott. To me, this is similar to the Brandon Spikes eye-gouding incident. By letting it linger Florida turned what should have been a one day news story into a week long fiasco and it was a PR nightmare.

          As stated earlier, I don’t care who the heck we hire as long as it’s tangibly better than what we’ve gotten since Jan 2, 2006. Any perception issues will dog this team until it takes the field in September because unfortunately the Mark Bradley’s and Jeff Schultz’s of the world have nothing else to discuss between now and then. I guess it is what it is.

          Like

    • Hackerdog

      So are you in the Van Gorder camp, or the Pollack camp? 😉

      Like

  25. Scorpio Jones, III

    Perception is the issue here.

    Unfortunately, whether it is best for the PROCESS or not, Coach Richt has taken the stance he can’t say anything about anything until he has hired his guy.

    And as we know too damn well, when there is an information void there will be a significant number of folks who will empty their bladders trying to fill the void.

    It really no longer matters whether we “swung for the fences” or are proceeding according to “the plan”, or took a long walk off a short pier.

    The perception is that it took Coach Richt a long time to acknowledge their was a problem on the defensive side of the coaching staff.

    The perception is that it has now taken way too long to correct that problem.

    The perception is that Georgia has offered the defensive coordinator’s job to damn near anybody who could walk, crawl or fly, and still don’t have a defensive coordinator.

    And please don’t add to the void-filling with denials we have offered (read approached) anyone but Smart…remember we are talking about perception here.

    If you are not on the “inside”, if you don’t have a copy of the “plan” then these perceptions become your reality.

    And right now, the perception, based on reading all these comments, and many others is pretty damn bad.

    Coach Richt may be in a tough spot, too tough in his view to talk about candidates, but I think he needs to at least give us all something cling to besides hope.

    Like