Getting out of the ditch in 2010

Mr. Hale cut me off at the pass with his “hot seat” post this morning – it was a subject I was set on exploring this week, but he’s done such a good job locating the sources of the discontent that I’ll just refer you to it.

That being said, his summary begs a response.

So here’s my question: Have all the offseason moves left you with as much confidence in Richt as you ever had? Or did two years of stubborn insistence on a largely unsuccessful approach shake your belief?

Or perhaps more to the point — will you stick by Richt if Georgia finishes 8-5 again this year, but does it with a more fundamentally sound D, a better approach to kickoffs and a duo at tailback that understands how to play the position?

Barring a rash of injuries (and at certain key positions, it might not even take that much), an 8-5 result this season isn’t going to sit well with me.  I say that primarily for two reasons.  First, the schedule is considerably more favorable than last year’s.  And second, if last year’s team could win eight games despite a minus-16 in turnover margin, I expect better results if the turnover situation improves.  Which it should…

What say you?


Filed under Georgia Football

45 responses to “Getting out of the ditch in 2010

  1. Russell

    Agree. Every body else has problems also. We should be in the thick of things. Close enough where a couple of breaks could land us in the dome. If we’re not I will be very disappointed.

  2. heyberto

    Leave it to you Senator to give me some perspective I hadn’t considered. I’ve already responded to Hale’s piece in his Blog, and said I’d be fine with 8-5 so long as improvement was evident, effort was strong, and the defense progresses as the season goes along. Your post had me rethinking that a bit. But the rational side of me says that 8-5 may still not be reason to panic so long as those losses come early in the season. Of course, I’m one of those that would be happy with a one win season, but only if that one win is in Jacksonville.

  3. Jordan

    We’re breaking in a freshmen QB with a new defensive coordinator with a new scheme, so I’ll hold my judgement on whether a certain win-loss record is acceptable or not. If we’re competitive, if we look good, well coached, etc. and a couple of breaks just don’t go our way and we end up 8-5 I won’t be happy, but I won’t have a problem with it. With that said, I feel if we’re well coached even with our issues we shouldn’t be worried about 8-5.

    • Macallanlover

      I am in this camp as well Jordan. 10 wins look like the number for me, but one game plus or minus wouldn’t surprise me since there are many unknowns for both us, and teams on our schedule. 8-5 looks like a shock level to me, but factors that cause that would have to be considered. I wouldn’t be happy about it but let’s say a game gets stolen like LSU did last year, we lose a couple of critical players for a key game, and keep every game competitive while looking solid on both sides of the ball. Slipping from 10 to 8 might be something I can rationalize if those factors played out.

      I still expect us to win 10 with what I see now, but agree there are circumstances where 8-5 shouldn’t cause us to go Finebaum on CMR.

  4. Turd Ferguson

    I certainly won’t be happy going 8-5 this year, but given Murray’s inexperience, and our entire D’s inexperience with the 3-4, I think it’ll take an equally disappointing 2011 season for me to begin thinking about Mark Richt’s job security.

  5. dboy

    He has two years but I am guessing we will do much better than 8-5 this year.

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Barring injuries (the Mike Bobo AND Robert Edwards variety) I’m hard pressed to see a scenario where we go 8-5. Maybe Aaron Murray could be a total bust, maybe the defense could be the 1974 variety (good years to come). My seat of the pants tells me we’ll be much better than last year.

  7. Will Trane

    If your standard for a coach and a team are UF / Myers and UA / Saban, you are setting yourself up to be more than critical of any result. And apparently that has become the mindset. Coach Richt is an outstanding coach and so have his teams since he has been there. If the investors, shareholders, and managers in a business had the unreasonable expectations a lot of people have about a D1 football program, they would get out. Unreasonable! Some of your commentators are on point. New D coaches and system, young and inexperienced QB, RB tandem with one that has injuries, thin depth at certain positions, the stars may not align for us on kickoff, and etc…personally I just enjoy the games, buy tickets, give to the program, give to UGA, and hope everyone of those student-athletes at UGA enjoy their days at UGA like I did. 8 & 5. That is over 600 ball. Coach Richt’s numbers speak for themself… very good. If you want more than that, start a program of your own.

  8. JC in Powder Springs

    With several SEC teams rebuilding, UGA’s 10 starters returning on O, a talented D, 2 top special teamers, and an easier schedule – 8-5 would be a catastrophe. Back-to-back 8-5’s culminated by a loss to gt in game 12, would reduce CMR to the level of Jim Donnan or Ron Zook. I don’t even think injuries would work as an excuse.

    For reporters to say CMR is on the hot seat right now is foolish. But to say that after another 8-5 would be a huge understatement. CMR damn well better win 10+ games this season. He has no national championships and is too young to pull a Bobby Bowden ‘I’ll leave when I’m ready’.

    • Isn’t “CMR damn well better win 10+ games this season” the definition of the hot seat?

      I just don’t see a real strong difference between “on the hot seat” and putting someone on notice that the hot seat is looming.

      • HamDawg11

        You’ve got them kinda fans, too….in bunches over in Bama!

        • We certainly do, and I imagine Finebaum has already pre-scripted the “Nick Saban is over-rated” episode of his show and will just fill in the name of the team that beats Alabama that Monday morning.

          But the point here isn’t that a fanbase is being too critical (it’s not). It’s that there seems to be a certain fan characterized by JC here who wants the best of both worlds: he doesn’t want to be the fan that the Senator is critical of by saying Richt is on the hot seat, but then turns around to basically say the same thing: Richt better win this season.

          Personally, I think ten wins is pretty reasonable considering the schedule, but I don’t think falling short of that is necessarily an indication of Richt’s inability to coach.

          With that said, once the games are being played, I don’t think the “learning a new scheme” argument is really going to satisfy folks. Both Tuberville (whose tenure was the same length as Richt’s) and Fulmer were fired after the first season with a new coordinator, and both did so with a more satisfying record against their conference rivals than Richt enjoys. Fulmer could reasonably be dismissed from that comparison as Tennessee fans were disgruntled for a couple seasons, but when it was suggested Tuberville was on the hot seat in his final season, the average Auburn fan responded with “you wish.”

          Keep in mind, I think Richt is an excellent football coach and I don’t believe he has proven any sort of deficient tendencies to believe he’ll never be a championship coach. But with that said, I could see someone like, say, Michael Adams disagreeing with me should UGA find itself in the Liberty Bowl this season while Tech and Florida head to the BCS again. If that’s the case — and I’m not suggesting it is considering it depends on the undetermined outcomes of two other teams — then Richt is in fact on the hot seat, deserved or not.

      • JC in Powder Springs

        Going from 10 wins down to 8 wins can be excused somewhat as a ‘bad year’. Fans may accept excuses like tough schedule, rebuilding, ‘we made mistakes’, upsets, etc. Back to back 8-5’s with easier schedule and 10 returners on O says you haven’t learned from mistakes and are underperforming. Wouldn’t that be considered a “strong difference”.

        • JC, you’re arguing what would justify a hot seat, which is different from what I’m saying. I’m saying it’s splitting hairs to say someone is not on the hot seat (“hot seat” defined as pressure to win immediately) and saying that if someone doesn’t win now, they will be on the hot seat (or “damn well better win 10+ games”).

          • JC in Powder Springs

            No. You’re not on the hot seat until you actually lose those 5 games in 2010, imho. But it depends upon one’s definition of hot seat, and I agree with others that it’s premature at this time. The games haven’t been played yet and we’re all speculating.

  9. 8-5 would be a total failure. Freshman QB? Lets be clear… he’s a red-shirt freshman, not a true freshman, and after horrible QB play last year there should be an improvement there.

    We have a veteran offensive line, and tons of talent all over the place both on O and D.

    Yeah, we are changing to a 3-4 defense and a new D coordinator, but those are good things compared to last year.

    So another 8-5 year would be a total disaster.

    We have 8 gimme wins: UofL-L, at SC, at MSU, at Colorado, Tenn, Vandy, at Kentucky, Idaho.

    That means to get to 10 wins, we only need to win 2 of these: Arkansas, at Florida, at Auburn, Ga Tech

    We have a GREAT schedule this year. Honestly, anything less than 10 wins is a disappointment, and 11 is extremely possible.

    • Sanford222View

      @ SC is a “gimme” win? Even Georgia’s best teams have struggled in Columbia. Playing them early in the season before Murray and the D have any quality game experience would hardly make this a “gimme” win in my book.

      That being said, with the schedule, a regression the mean on turnovers, and a reasonable amount of injuries I fully expect this team to win 9-10 games. If it makes it through September unscathed I think 10+ is very realistic.

      I also feel you can’t just throw out a record of 8-5 and say that will equal a failure as far as the season is concerned without knowing under what circumstances it occurred.

  10. Jerald

    We know that Hale is not a dawg and likes to create issues. We have many foolish people who do not realize the quality head coach we have at UGA. I wonder what coach who has averaged over ten wins a season for the last ten years that they feel sure they can bring in to UGA. I think some people have been hitting the bottle a little to much.

    • D.N. Nation

      We know that Hale is not a dawg and likes to create issues.



      • Walker07

        Hahahaha. Wow. What a joke.

      • Ray

        I thought I have read several times when Hale said he is not a Dawg fan too. I could be wrong though…

        • Walker07

          Not being a dawg fan isn’t the problem. The problem is that he likes to ‘create issues’. Hale is a reporter, and a really good one at that. He isn’t a Georgia fan which allows him to take an objective look at our program, and he states what he finds.

          He’s definitely not the type who likes to ‘create issues,’ whatever that means.

          • David

            He’s pretty good at analysis. I don’t know that reporting is really his thing.

            The Richard Samuel stuff is tiresome. Look at Georgia’s RB depth chart in 08-09. Knowshon was almost certainly going to leave early. You’ve got brittle Caleb King and non-existent Dontavius Jackson. Why the hell would you NOT put Richard there as a freshman, hoping he could grow into the job once Knowshon flew the coop, for depth purposes alone?

            And then this year, same situation with Caleb being brittle, Jackson a non-entity and Ealey an unknown quantity. If Richard opened last season at LB, Richt’s staff would have looked completely inept for not having enough RB depth.

            They’ve made some bad personnel decisions through the years — every staff has — but the Samuel stuff is half-cocked Sunday morning quarterbacking at its worst.

            • Caleb King played a goodly part of last season with a busted jaw, so I’m not sure “brittle” is the best adjective you could use to describe him.

              Hale didn’t put Richard Samuel in play. Mark Richt did. All Hale did was report on what the man said and put it into context. Last time I looked, that’s part of his job description.

              • David

                That Samuel comment was not in reference to Hale. It’s in reference to all the hand-wringing over Samuel in general. Nothing more than not understanding the depth chart and revisionist history. There was a good reason he was there, even if it isn’t where he has the best potential.

                Broken jaw notwithstanding, Caleb has a well-earned reputation for being injured with regularity. Remember, he missed a good portion of last season before he ever broke his jaw. The reputation goes back to his days in high school, and not just when he broke his leg as a senior. He has the potential to be phenomenal if he can stay healthy. He hasn’t done that for a full season in quite a while.

  11. JC in Powder Springs

    I’m really surprised by the responses and seeming acceptance of mediocrity. Seems like a lot of fans are willing to watch fl, bama and gt(!) advance their programs to national prominence – while Dawgs go 8-5 again?! Is it too much to expect top national recruits and highly paid coaches at UGA to actually produce top results?

    Since CMR’s been at UGA, 3 coaches have been hired at other SEC programs and have gone on to win national championships! Which coach gets a national championship next – Dooley, Chizik, Johnson or Richt? I’ve heard excuses for 9 years. A great coach finds a way to overcome all the problems. CMR needs to win and win big – now. No more screw-ups and excuses.

    • Prov

      Once you compared GT to UF and Bama I stopped reading.

      • JC in Powder Springs

        I sure as hell am not going to sing the praises of yech, but they have had consecutive seasons of improvement and finished with a better record. I’m making the point that CMR is running out of chances to get it together and bring the Dawgs back to the top of the heap. 8-5 sucks!

        • Prov

          “they have had consecutive seasons of improvement and finished with a better record”

          I still wouldn’t call that National Prominence.

          As far as Richt, he’s earned at least the three years on Grantham’s contract to turn it around. After that, who knows?

        • NRBQ

          8-5 tends to happen against SEC competition when your QB and TB decide to be top NFL picks, you lose several other key players on your team to graduation, the draft and injury, then get hosed by inexplicably bad calls, and have the pointy ball bounce away from you all season.

          None of these can be blamed on CMR, directional kicking and fair-catching notwithstanding.

          If the NorthAve Dilberts don’t win their panty-waist conference, they probably don’t sniff a BCS at-large bid (and get the shit kicked out of them for the second straight year).

          If karma is out there, CMR’s handling of discipline, bestowing well-deserved scholarships to walk-ons, and wooing high-character, kick-ass athletes this off-season should soon pay dividends for all true Dawg fans.

    • MT

      4 tickets, 4 hotdogs, 4 Cokes

    • The Realist

      Tom Osborne and Bobby Bowden agree. Going this long without a national title is just embarrassing.

  12. MauiDawg

    This is the first year I can honestly say that looking at the off season and the issues at hand, Richt has correctly addressed every one of them. Or at least made cognitive decisions on how to deal with them that makes sense to every one else “outside the arena”.

    Enough of this b.s. “Richt on a hot seat” talk. Pretty much ALL Bulldog fans I know or have Richt wholeheartedly. The program would have to have 2-3 really down seasons before that could even come into question. Richt has shown the ability to successfully evolve the program and when he has, it’s really paid dividends.

  13. MauiDawg, I totally agree. CMR is not on a hot seat or even a warm seat. The 2011 class is coming in knowing that CMR & all of his coaching staff will be around for several more years. Personally I am very excited about the program for the next 4 years.

  14. shane#1

    Saban was shocked when Tubbs left Auburn. If I remember correctly Saban said “well, I guess I am just one 7-5 season from getting fired!” So which SEC coach is on the hot seat? All of them! We have ESPN and Fox Sports and all the newspapers and web sites out there throwing bombs at coaches, plus a new generation of fans that think they “deserve” a BCSNT and want it now! How can a fan that has never had his ass busted out on that field think he deserves a title. Mr fan, you don’t deserve crap, except a possible drunk and disoderly! No coaches job could be considered safe today. If Richt is fired after one or two “bad” winning years it will be the ultimate in stupidity.

  15. dawg4life

    I agree with JC in Powder Springs!

  16. Dawgaholic

    How you get to 8-5 is very important. A year similar to 2001 (8-4) would not be problematic as we were in every game that year (lost 3 in the last minute), won a big game and were competitive against a Spurrier coached UF team.

    A year where we get blown out by two or three of Auburn, UT, UF, or GT and lose to SC, KY, Vandy, or Arky to end at 8-5 would be very dissappointing. IF that happened and Evans did something stupid with CMR, I would not contribute another dime until Evans was gone.

    IMO opinion Evans is very good AD moving towards great and would not do anything like that.

  17. 69Dawg

    Ah UGA fans, gotta love them. No one ever answers the prime question “who do you get to take CMR’s place????” Name names and let us share the laughs. There are only 4 coaches with better records over the 10 year span and trust me 1-4 are not going to give UGA the time of day. This hot seat thing is around because there are only two SEC coaches that have been around long enough to be mentioned, CMR and The Hat.

    Let’s just stop the stupid talk about hot seats, it’s much ado about nothing.

  18. 69Dawg, Sounds like you may have been around nearly as long as I have. Butts had Sinkwich & Trippi. Dooley had Herschel. CMR has done more with less than any other Dawg coach,period. Whoever the next Dawg coach is, He will not do as well as CMR. He is the best coach the Dawgs have had in my lifetime & better than any I ever expected My Dawgs to have.

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