Matt Zemek explains that Mark Richt’s hot seat problems were all just a matter of “psychology”.
… The thing to realize about a coach’s tenure is that when the mood in and around a campus becomes so negative that trust is lost on a wide scale, the coach’s political leverage and real-world authority are eroded beyond rescuing. It seemed that Richt was at that point following his team’s loss to South Carolina. The bad vibe that swirled through the air, the black feeling that pervaded the Georgia program, was so pronounced that even if Richt deserved to stay, (and he DID, given all the accomplishments he’s registered as Georgia’s coach, restoring glory to the program that drifted through misery and pain in the 1990s…) the politics of the situation were making his position untenable. The loss of a fan base’s trust was on the verge of happening, but because Georgia won 10 out of 10 regular-season games, that threshold was never crossed.
That strikes me as a touch too glib. The truth is that Richt had built up an enormous amount of good will based on his accomplishments and then proceeded to burn through his account at an alarming rate because there was a clear sense in the fan base that he allowed the program to drift and seemed unwilling to take even the most obvious steps to right the ship (I’m looking at you, Willie Martinez).
It’s to Richt’s credit, of course, that he finally woke up and made the hard decisions he’d seemed reluctant to take. And that’s why he finds himself on far less shaky ground today than he did after the ’10 season ended. The loss of trust Zemek mentions wasn’t a whim on our part. It’s something Richt brought on himself. If Zemek wants to indulge his inner Freud, it might be a more useful exercise to point his psychological interests in that direction.