“He’ll revert back to street ball.”

Of the many sins being laid at Mark Richt’s feet in the last day or two, the one I’m amused about is the discovery by some of the fan base that the staff failed to sign UCF’s two-time C-USA defensive player of the year Bruce Miller out of high school even though – omigawd! – he grew up a Dawg fan.  Nevermind that no other SEC school saw the diamond in the rough that Miller obviously was, somehow it’s a fatal flaw for Garner and Company to have missed on him.  (Ironically, some of the same people waxing indignant about that now would have bitched then about the ding Georgia’s recruiting rankings at the time would have taken by signing an unheralded player like Miller.)

This stuff isn’t an exact science.  In many ways, it’s a crapshoot.  Schools try to move the odds in their favor by signing as many high-profile recruits as they can, but there are always going to be outliers, both good and bad.

And this doesn’t make the evaluation process easier.

“I grew up in Atlanta and I had good coaches, but a lot of them told me just to be myself and be athletic and do whatever I had to do to get the ball,” said Smith, who played for Douglass High in Atlanta. “I wasn’t really taught a lot of fundamentals – it was mostly natural ability. I had a lot of heart, and I’ll fight all day and I’ll do whatever I have to do to win. That’s my mentality. But fundamentals – that’s what I’ve got to work on.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

52 responses to ““He’ll revert back to street ball.”

  1. The Original Cynical in Athens

    The obvious problem is that a kid like that likely would not get coached up enough to make a real impact on the college level here. Unfortunately, we are not seeing a lot of the raw talent from Georgia come to Athens and transform themselves over 4 years through a combination of their personal dedication and work ethic combined with the technical expertise of the coaching staff.

    I watched Akeem Dent’s game his senior year against Washington. Reshad Jones was the headliner, but Dent and Washington’s Freshman RB stole the show. I think Dent had around 22 tackles and the freshman RB was Branden Smith. Not sure that any of those 3 are appreciably better players now than when they left their respective high schools.

    Isiaiah Crowell will probably be a bust in Athens, but may live up to his talent in Tuscaloosa. Whatever bad habits he has as an 18 year old, entitled high school senior will be exacerbated in Athens, whereas in Tuscaloosa, they will likely be addressed or he will hit the road.

    If Coach Richt is going to really make changes, he is going to have to look in the mirror and decide if he wants to be a championship football coach again. I don’t know if hunger is something that you can just suddenly get back when it has been lost.

    I hope it’s possible, but I don’t understand why he didn’t just take the month between the Gtu game and the bowl game to begin changing the culture.

    • GreenDawg

      YES! HIRE GEORGE O’LEARY! The great talent-developer extraordinaire would quickly develop our 5-stars into 8-stars and we would run the table every year! Watch out SEC.

      But seriously I don’t understand this. Richt got credit years ago for winning big with inferior talent. He was a good talent developer. Now he has better talent, and is underachieving, so he is a bad talent developer. I don’t think Richt has lost anything as a coach, because the players are still developing on the offense. What he lost was BVG. He was the talent developer on the defense.

      • The Rodfather

        Winning big with inferior talent? In Richt’s first two years UGA had 8 and 7 draft picks respectively. That’s the most in any 2 year span under Richt. Those were JD’s players. MR walked into the job stacked with talent. That and BVG is the reason for his early success. He has definitely lost something as a coach, the ability to rely on others to assemble a complete team. Ever since 05 (all Richt’s recruits) we have been missing pieces of the puzzle here or there. His reluctance to make necessary changes when the D started its decline is just one many examples that he cannot proactively identify and address the needs of a TEAM. That is what UGA needs.

        TEAM > me.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I have come to the conclusion that Richt never really had it in the first place. The team was stocked with NFL caliber players when he arrived. The real brains behind UGA’s success on D was BVG. I also think that Callaway played a bigger role in the success of the O than originally was believed. The replacements for Callaway and BVG are not up to the same level and the talent has gradually worked its way out of the program. The Emperor has no clothes and had been hiding behind others. Now that they are gone, there he is for all to see–naked.

          • Dawgfan Will

            Your comments about Callaway are ironic, considering how badly many wanted him gone when UAB hired him.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              I don’t know if it was really Callaway or not. But something surely has changed with the preparation and decision making on offense.

          • Callaway was given carte blanche over o-line recruiting, which is how Georgia wound up with Daniel Inman instead of Marcus McNeill.

            You’re the first person I’ve seen suggest that he was the brains behind the offense.

            • Bryant Denny

              Yikes. First I’ve heard of that. UAB really tore it up this year, too.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              You have made your feelings about Callaway known before plenty of times on this blog. I am not saying for sure that his departure was the catalyst for the downfall of the offense. All I’m saying is look at the before and after. Maybe Callaway was the guy behind the motivation of the offense. I wasn’t there and cannot say. He is the only guy to get a D-IA HC job from that staff, though, so somebody had a higher opinion of him than you do. I would welcome your take on what has happened. Was BVG calling the offensive shots, too? Something sure went into the crapper and it looks like it started when those 2 left.

              • Outside of ’06, which was Stafford’s rookie season, scoring’s been pretty much on the same level it was at when Callaway was here.

                My problem with Bobo is that I think he has it within himself to be a much better, more consistent OC than he’s shown so far.

                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  I agree with your assessment re: Bobo. However, on offense it is the O-line where the problem seems to lie and that was my point about Callaway. I know you and others on this blog love to knock him but the fact is that when he was in charge of the O-line UGA won 3 SEC East titles and 2 SEC Championships in a 5 year period. Since he has been gone UGA has won 0. Plus, when he was with Auburn as O-line coach they won 4 SEC Championships in the 12 years he was there and when he was O-line coach at Bama (4 years) the Tide won 1 SEC Championship. That is a total of 7 SEC Championships with him as O-line coach. I just think he played a bigger role in UGA’s success than what has been let on and his absence may have something to do with the decline in O-line play.

    • Classic City

      Who the F are you and why do squat on this blog all day writing your negative BS. Have you ever had a good thing to say in your miserable life? It seems Richt has a year to get his team sorted out. Nothing is likely going to change this year. New AD will not pull the trigger year 1. So do the rest us a favor ( and the team you love to hate) and shut your Fn mouth.

      • anon

        So Richt has ANOTHER year to get his team sorted out, which has needed sorting for about 4 years.

        Who the F are you?

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Not classy at all Classic City. Way too harsh.

      • The Original Cynical in Athens

        I have lots of good stuff to say. I love to talk about a guy like Arnold Harrison wo came to UGA with character issues, got into a little trouble early on in Athens, then spent the next 4 years working like heck to prove to Coach Richt that he could be a man of character, and that he was worthy of the faith that Coach Richt showed in him.

        I love to think back to the story of Tony Milton, and what a great example of perseverance he was to the rest of the team.

        Those days are sorely missed by me, and I sincerely hope that Coach Richt can summon whatever motivation he had when he first arrived in Athens.

        I love the team and especially love them when they are doing things to make me proud of my alma mater on and off the field. It seems to me that your anger is a bit misplaced, but I realize that sometimes it is painful to hear the truth. It’s ok, it’s UGA football and it will get better one way or another.

        • Classic City

          In hind sight a little over the top. Sorry for the unkind words. Just couldn’t take anymore of the negative talk. Its bad enough to see it on tv in the form of our season. I should take my own advice and and shut the F up.

  2. TennesseeDawg

    Since he was used to acting on natural athletic ability without much coaching he would have fit in perfect at Georgia.

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    And you know, those coaches were right. A big, reasonably quick, spirited guy like that can doo all he’s asked on ability in high school. And unless he’s a real physical freak he may not get noticed by colleges.

  4. baltimore dawg

    something that’s been rattling around in my mind: does anyone else recall reading/hearing uga coaches, oh, 3 or 4 years ago (and maybe it was richt or garner) talk about how high school coaching in ga is so strong that their recruits show up with excellent fundamentals? i swear i remember seeing some comments to that effect, but i can’t remember well enough to be certain. unless i’m imagining this, that would seem to be a pretty damning observation after what we’ve seen on the field the last few years.

  5. shane#1

    B ball coaches have what they call program guys. These are guys that do not have NBA talent so they stay in your program the full four years. Program guys stick around long enough to learn your system and the culture of your program and pass their knowledge on to the young guys. A program guy is a role player that comes in off the bench and does whatever the coach wants done, be it play defense or rebound, he never worrys about the stat sheet or how many minutes he gets. The Dawgs have had program guys in the past that went on to start, Trae Battle comes to mind. I think the Dawgs could use a couple of seniors like Trae now. IMO, there is a severe lack of senior leadership on the team and there has been since the days of Battle and Thomas Brown. The Dawgs need all the talent they can get, but they need the “program guys” too.

    • 69Dawg

      +1 When the player that speaks up about how we need to change the mentality of the team is the frigging field goal kicker your program has a serious lack of leadership. I realize that student leadership is important to a team but the coaches are paid to 1. create leaders or 2 lead the damn team if you don’t have any student leaders.

    • jermaine's dye

      When a coach is in a crisis, he will think back to his foundation and the formula he knows for success. He will harken back to the system that maximizes the potential of the athletes and the staff around him.

      I shudder when I think that person for CMR is Bobby Bowden.

      Because we’re way past the Peter Warrick & Sebastian Janikowski Stages of Discipline and Player Development. We’re now in Chris Rix Program Territory.

  6. Will Trane

    How heralded was King? But what has he done as an RB. Green is great. But his numbers could be better.
    Too many UGA bloggers and fans focus on the recruiting process. They base that on what they read from sites. But how many of those people actually go to high school games and even financially support those teams. How many saw Greg Reid at Lowndes High School. How many of you saw him layout Lattimor? That one play changed the old ball coach’s play book in the ChikFil.
    I tell my peers all the time to be careful about looking at those rivals lists and all those other compilations of talent.
    I do not think Georgia has not recruited like it should have the past 3 years in this state. The players are here. But CMR needs to change his offensive scheme. Most of the high schools run the wing, triple option, and veer. Few run the pro. Why? They do not have the players. I’m not sure what they look at, proces, and evaluate. During the playoffs, they sent three coaches to watch Crowell. Everybody knew he was good in the 9th grade. Where was UGA? Here is a clue. Sitting on their highly compensated butts and not working the other months. No one on the UGA staff looked at Ward at CCHS until Belue pointed him out. He was a player last year.
    What I’m saying is that CMR needs to change and re-evalute his recruiting. At present it is very poor. Rest assure his AD is going to look at with CMR. That is one change that is coming along with the S&C staff changes.

    • FisheriesDawg

      Dude, lots of people knew about Greg Reid. It was a big deal when he decommitted from Florida. I for one was crossing my fingers hard to get him. Saw him play in the state championship game against North Gwinnett and he was absolutely dominant.

  7. The COACHES are likely not Program guys.

  8. 69Dawg

    Mark has a serious management problem. He is merely doing his personnel management like his mentor Bobby Bowden did. Unfortunately for Mark and Bobby the genteel days of hiring a staff and making it a family are gone with the wind. Up until the D coaches got wiped out last year the coaching staff had only undergone minor changes, mostly not of Marks making. The D coaches were the most surprised guys in the house when they got canned. This was totally out of character for Mark and the coaches were pissed. Bad employees are always pissed when they get canned. Believe me Mark is not in his comfort zone making personnel decisions, that’s why he is so slow to pull the trigger. If we and the AD are ok with that then we can kiss any future SEC championships goodbye. Coaching is a tough profession and is compensated well for a reason, you are expected to work as hard or harder than your competition to win. Do any of you think our coaching staff out works UF, UA, AU, Arky or even UT. Not from what I’ve seen.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      “Bad employees are always pissed when they get canned.” +100. Spoken like a man with insight.

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Georgia is loaded with talent, and there are always going to be plenty Bruce Millers who go to other programs and blossom. But our recruiting can be bizarre at times. Example, our current recruiting class will sign long snapper Nathan Theus, instead of other O-linemen like Athens OT Alan Posey (TN verbal), or lifelong-Dawg-lover OG Thomas O’Reilly (AU verbal) from here in Cobb. It’s difficult to determine CMR’s recruiting philosophy when you look at something like this. Not to denigrate the position’s importance, but how does a long snapper make a recruiting “dream team”?

    • brad

      I think they are recruiting the long snapper in hopes of signing his younger brother that is a great OT.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Kinda like UT giving his QB a scholarship to sign Da’ Rick Rogers, a tactic we all made fun of at the time.

  10. Will Trane

    Recruiting service allege there is a shortage of D lineman across the state. Belue thinks our D line are too slow, too heavy, too light, not conditioned. He blames Gardner for that along with other recruiting short comings. But if you look at certain numbers you have to say D is ok. But if you look at the GT game you will conclude there are issues with the rushing defense. This year I thought the D coaches coached up their players. Many are crying about Houston if he goes early (and players going early at UGA is a problem) and Dent’s last year. If there was a bright spot with the team, it was the defense…secondary and linebackers. Those position coaches have done well. Alex Ogletree is a player and a game changer. Georgia has had a tendency to over focus on skill position players. He did not have the press of a Scott Woerner. But he will change how offensives will change their game plan. And a week to prepare during the season is not long enough. CF did that to Green. The D hires last year should should show off a bigger pay off in 2011. If Houston and Green returned for one more season, it allows the recruiting not to have hills and valleys. What UGA needs on the D side is a leader. Houston can be that guy if he returns. Robinson can be that guy. You have to find recruits that make plays in a game. Players are legion, but game change players are not. Those are the kids you have to find. CF had a solid defense. But once again, even with a Green, Bobo and staff could not attack it and press them down. They could not convert 3rd downs in the 2nd half. Look at the numbers for 3rd downs in the 1st and 2nd half. Again, that is a game plan and play calling. But I’d recruit a long snapper. Why? They are huge on extra points, field goals, and punts. Ben Jones is a solid average center, but he aint no long snapper. Historically the Dawgs have recruited very good field goal / extra point kickers and snappers. I’d think those two players alone would like to have a solid long snapper. My point about Reid is that UGA needs to move quicker for game change players, dude.

    • Silver Creek Dawg

      Ben Jones isn’t the long snapper on punts and field goals.

      Ty Frix is.

    • Hackerdog

      How can you criticize play calling in the CF game? I didn’t see anything that was working. The problem was execution.

      Also, the problems of our defensive line is not that they’re too heavy. That’s why we’re all anxious to see if Grantham can sign a big, 340lb nose guard. The absolute last thing our D line needs is another quick athlete at 305lb.

  11. The Watergirl

    Watching all of the bowl games I cant recall one top team so far that ran a pro-style offense. Yes a few like bama and others have offensive game plans based on pro-style but even they know how to change it up (pistol, wildcat, etc.). UGA biggest problem is we have a “vanilla” offense and when we blitz on D you can see it from a mile away, what happened to the attacking D where the QB wouldn’t know where the pressure was coming.
    My last comment is we never hear other schools trying to steal our coaches away, does that not concern anyone? Tell me the last UGA (other than BVG) coach that we were worried about leaving, it never happens because no one wants them!!!

    • gastr1

      The HC in that boat as well. Colorado and Miami were the first times I recall hearing his name for vacancies.

      • GreenDawg

        I think that is because this was the first season any believed he would even think about leaving.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Before we started losing, why would anyone have thought Richt would leave to go anywhere else? If he didn’t want to go to Florida State or Miami, why would he have gone anywhere else?

  12. BKDawg

    I think a great example of how the recruiting process is a crap shoot is Marlon Brown. He was a highly touted receiver that has not panned out…who knew? But you don’t pick up a rough DL with just heart over a record setting WR to complement Green, seemed like the better choice in my opinion, but it turns out that UCF caught a break.
    I think with some recruits you can spot traits that could lead to potential problems however. Like C.King, I remember King breaking his leg and then transferring to GAC, right then and there you know he was damaged goods and the transfer lets you know he was running from academic problems before he got on campus. Without King perhaps we get Dyer or Lattimore the next year. I think the Crowell kid is another example, everyone is recruiting this kid up and down but when I saw him play all I saw was a immature attitude and a knee brace, not to mention awful run defenses at all the schools they played until Calhoun. It’s all about the transition for these young kids to the D-1 level, hard to say who can and who won’t, so unless those UGA recruiting detractors out there can provide a fool proof method, I would let the staff continue to do their jobs and let the chips fall where they may. GATA.

    • The Original Cynical in Athens

      Not to bang on Marlon Brown, but if you watched more than :30 of film on the kid you would have seen him competing against a level of competition that is well below that of GISA. He was a TEXTBOOK redshirt case, a guy with a lot of physical talent who made his reputation going against 5’6″ 135 private school kids.

      I have seen AJ Johnson and Bryan Randolph this year, and they would be 2 of our top 3 recruits on defense right now, but both are going to Tennessee.

      • Dawgfan Will

        But imagine the howling from the same fans that the Senator is talking about if our five-star WR recruit rode the bench. Not saying that you aren’t right, but it seems that redshirting is almost as much guesswork as recruiting is.

      • Mike

        You are right Cynical, we keep getting the wrong players brought to Athens, while our rivals get the right ones. One can’t make chicken salad from chicken shit!

  13. AthensHummerDawg

    If Mark Richt is such a great coach, then why does his teams suck so bad?

    • Dawgfan Will

      Maybe the same reason the Gators sucked so bad this year even though Urban Meyer is the awesome.

  14. Dawgshit!

    We all had to listen to Mark Richt cry about Sturdivant for two years. Sturdivant returned and we are 6-7 on the season and a 3.87 ypc average, which is worst than without Sturdivant.
    He’s not going high in the draft and maybe not at all. He is too slow.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      A couple of knee surgeries back to back would slow the “Road Runner” down my man! I’ve had two and it tweren’t no picnic. He’ll bounce back.