Mark Richt walks a mile in Dabo Swinney’s shoes.
Richt understands what Swinney endured Monday, when he announced the dismissal of sophomore quarterback Chad Kelly. Before the spring game on Saturday, Kelly battled for the starting role with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson. A series of regrettable offenses, including Kelly’s verbal lash to an assistant coach on the sideline Saturday, provoked Swinney’s decision.
Richt said he does not need to know all the private details to understand Swinney’s motivation — the fundamental responsibility to protect the long-term interests of the program.
“I don’t know how good Kelly is. I don’t know where he was in their mindset, and I don’t even know what happened,” Richt said, “but somewhere along the line, they were like, ‘We can’t have this and sustain this program the way we want to sustain it.’
Uneasy lies the head that wears a headset.
According to Georgia coach Mark Richt, few truly grasp the responsibility required of his position.
Few realize the breadth and depth with which difficult decisions must be weighed. Few understand the complex duty of managing the consequences of those decisions in public when many of the details provoking them must remain private.
“People are like ‘Why is he doing that’ or ‘What is he thinking?’” Richt said Wednesday evening before visiting fans at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, the second stop along the Bulldog Club Tour with Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox.
“There have been times where I wish I could just explain to everybody what I know, so they’d understand,” Richt said. “Until you sit in the chair you really don’t know what that’s like.”
All of which may explain why he often appears coy discussing player discipline.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said he may not announce any discipline including possible suspensions for the four players who were arrested on the eve of spring practice before the Clemson opener.
“Every time I discipline a guy I don’t tell everybody what I do all the time,” Richt said. “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”
Or maybe that’s what comes of us not being in the arena. It’s a fine line to walk between honest decency and patronizing the fan base. Richt handles that about as well as we should probably expect from a head coach these days.