The sleeper awakes. But is it in time?

In fairness to Coach Richt, I think this is more than preseason happy talk.

… For the better part of a decade, the calm and steady approach worked for Richt at Georgia. He won two SEC titles, had one of the best winning percentages in college football and was generally considered one of the nation’s best coaches.

When the team slipped in 2009, winning only eight games, Richt overhauled his defensive staff but didn’t change much else. Those around the program seemed to expect a natural improvement, because at Georgia just didn’t have losing seasons under Richt.

But when it only got worse last year, low-lighted by that bowl loss to Central Florida, more changes were made.

“Sometimes you need the kick in the pants to get going,” said David Pollack, who played during Richt’s first four years in Athens, when the team was a combined 42-10. “The realization is that 10 wins isn’t guaranteed anymore. For the longest time with Coach Richt it was. It’s about grinding.”

Pollack has watched a change in the program from his spot in the media. Sophomore linebacker Alec Ogletree has seen it up close.

“The atmosphere around here changed a lot,” Ogletree said. “He’s a lot different from last year.”

Really, moving Van Halanger out of his position earlier this year told me all I needed to know about the difference in Richt’s attitude.  And obviously for things to change for the better this season, it has to start with the head man.

But here’s the thing:  it takes more than one man to right the ship.  And in terms of human behavior (my wife would add, especially male human behavior), there’s no more powerful force in the universe than inertia.

Right now, Georgia football reminds me of one of those pulp science fiction stories in which a spaceship is hurtling through space, its crew in suspended animation.  A dire problem comes up and the captain is awakened; he’s got to figure out how to fix the problem and awaken the rest of the crew all at the same time.  There’s usually a happy ending because of the captain’s ingenuity, but we all know that life ain’t a neat little fictional story.

I don’t doubt that Richt knows where he wants to go.

Q: You’ve spent a month now getting your team ready. Do you believe this one has a chance to win big?

A: We’ve got the potential to be a very good team. The difference between really good teams and average teams are how well you finish. Do you make plays, big plays, at the end of the game? That’s going to define us, really, I think. I think it could go either way. It just depends on how these guys finish.

The question is whether everyone else wakes up in time to have his back.  We’ll find out on Saturday.

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

21 responses to “The sleeper awakes. But is it in time?

  1. ScoutDawg

    Well, the Dome sure is going to be Georgia loud, louder than Sanford is usually. The alarm clock is set, let’s hope no one sleeps through it.

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  2. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I feel good about what I have seen this off season. If history means anything the Dawgs will be back big time this year. The Liberty Bowl may be a blessing in disguise because it my have been the “kick in the pants” (to quote David Pollack) that CMR and the rest of the staff needed to wake up.

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  3. TennesseeDawg

    The attitude and tempo of the BSU game will tell us if things have changed. I think the game will be close but can the Dawgs close the deal in the 4th quarter.

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  4. Will Trane

    Do we have worm sign? “It is a grind.” “Will it translate into wins.”

    Like the practices being closed to the media. That should be SOP through the season. Along with limited media access to players. And let the SID provide limited injury and player status re games.

    The guys I’d like to see awaken and for a complete game…Bobo and McClendon. Nothing has more impact on an opposing sideline than a punishing, lightning quick ground game.

    This will be a tough opening schedule for the Dawgs. They could play really well and still start 0-2. Then you have to worry about how the media and bloggers respond and discuss that.

    For me the “and how can this be” moment will be at the end of the season and how the OC put this offense in a mach, attacking, aggressive, scoring mode…and never takes the hammer off.

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  5. W Cobb Dawg

    “The difference between really good teams and average teams are how well you finish.”

    No, it’s how well you prepare. Come to the game fully prepared and kick a$$, and the finish is a foregone conclusion.

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  6. AusDawg85

    Aliens in the cargo hold…BSU, Usc, FL. Slay’em Dawgs!

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  7. JBJ

    I vaguely remember this same type of discussion before the 2010 season. Richt had a new attitude and was finally dealing with UGA’s “real problems” by getting rid of his friend, Martinez. Things were going to be different.

    CMR is a good coach. He could be better and he definitely could be worse. My biggest issue with him is that someone needs to wake him up. From S&C, to defensive coordinator, to kickoff coverage.

    It happens to everyone at some point. They get disillusioned and need a reboot.

    At some point, the leader has to take responsibility. That will be a huge theme this year with the presidential election. Even though everything may not be his fault, he has failed to lead us out of misery.

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    • Spence

      And then you have to evaluate if things have really been that bad, how much fault he deserves, and if you want to replace him with some ass-clown.

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      • Gil McLemore

        Thdawg

        Spence, well said.

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      • Skeptic Dawg

        I think we can all agree that things have been bad around this program for 3-4 years now. CMR is a free agent playing in his “contract year”. Move up or move out. I feel confident that McGarity will find a more than suitable replacement. I am not sure who this ass-clown you refer to.

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        • Dawgfan Will

          Perhaps Spence is irritated by the same thing I have been this offseason: that Richt has basically addressed everything that was said to be in need of addressing, yet there is still a segment of the fan base that, rather than praising him for the changes, is tsk-tsking how long it took and circling like vultures over him while he tries to make things work. There comes a time when actual support would be nice, and my definition of support is not “who can we get to replace him when he fails?”

          Your mileage, of course, mat vary.

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          • Skeptic Dawg

            I do not fault Richt for any of his offseason moves this year. I think he has done a great job this offseason. However, the proof is in the puddin’. The past few (3-4) seasons have colored me a skeptic. I will belive it when I see it. That being said, if McGarity does let Richt go, I feel confident that he will not hire some “ass-clown”.

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            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              SD, I really don’t think it has been 3-4 “bad” (your word-not mine) seasons. 1 mediocre season (2009) and 1 poor season (2010)–that’s all. 2008 was a 10 win season (overly high expectations made it seem less successful than it really was) and in 2007 the team finished #2 in the country and got screwed out of playing for #1. Those are not “bad” seasons.

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              • Skeptic Dawg

                You are correct, I did say bad. I guess we will agree to disagree. I obviously view 08, 09, and 10 as bad years. What I think we both can agree upon is that we want what is best for this university. Regardless of who the head football coach is, we want to see UGA in the beat light possible and completely successful.

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                • Skeptic Dawg

                  I will say that the Dawgs were not screwed in 07 by anyone other than themselves. 2 bad L’s screwed them. I was as excited as any Dawg fan watching that WV/Pitt game with sugarplums dancing in my head. However, the fact that they did not win the East settled it for me. Yes, the polls were nutty. But point to the UT game doing them in, not the polls or ESPN.

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                • Xon

                  Perhaps the medieval philosophers (and, like, everyone else) are right and there can be more than one concurrent cause for the same outcome?

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        • Cojones

          Many, Skep Dawg, many.

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    • Cojones

      He’s had a lot of help along those lines from the ones who got us into the misery and stated that they hoped he would fail. Some of that extends to some insensitive fans.

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  8. AthensHomerDawg

    Sure was an interesting weekend here at GTP!
    “Are we not entertained?”

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