Amazing how the Mark Richt narrative has changed in less than a month, from coach on life support to bad ass recruiting marvel.
… The main reason Georgia is on the cusp of having a world-class signing day is Richt. In the college recruiting wars, a high school kid’s family must feel comfortable with the man who will be their son’s primary adult influence for the next four years. Richt wins that battle more often than not.
He might not have had a winning record, and there have been assistant coaching turnovers (strength and conditioning and offense line for now), but as long as Richt remains in Athens, the Bulldogs will attract a quality crop of athletes.
Relationships trump records. And Mark Richt is a master at building personal bonds.
All of which leads me to wonder – if things don’t turn around in Athens and Greg McGarity reluctantly concludes that the program has to move in another direction, how easy will it be to replace that part of Richt’s game? Most would agree that the program has underperformed as of late (although Matt Hinton is kind enough to deny Georgia “underachiever” status), but implicit in that conclusion is the understanding that Richt has recruited quite well.
If like I am, you’re a believer in the Jimmies-and-Joes approach to having a successful football program, that’s a tricky situation for McGarity. On the one hand, the likely candidates from the local theater whom he would consider are being bested by Richt on the recruiting front. But if McGarity chooses to go outside the South for a replacement, then he would likely be picking someone whose first order of business would be to rebuild the relationships which Richt has maintained and maintained well for a decade now. Either way, it’s a step back, at least in the short run.
That’s not to say it’s an impossible task. But it sure wouldn’t be an easy one.