Is less patience a virtue?

I gotta admit, Seth Emerson hooked me from the get-go with this:

Shaq Wiggins liked to sing. During practice last year it wasn’t unusual to walk by Georgia’s defensive backs, often lazing about during a drill, and hear the dulcet tones of Wiggins, the freshman cornerback, belting out a tune.

It’s his intro to a larger point, one that’s entirely expected after the news of Wiggins’ departure from the program.

Either way, there is a larger trend: High-profile transfers and a dismissal have now replaced off-field incidents as an issue on head coach Mark Richt’s team.

Yes, arrests and suspensions have continued, but arrests have been relatively minor — the lone felony charge the past four years was later dismissed — while the suspensions are largely self-inflicted. Georgia’s drug policy, and its harsher discipline for failed marijuana tests, are chiefly to blame.

The amount of quality players leaving the program, however, is not easy to dismiss.

Well… yes and no.

Certainly it hurts losing a bunch of kids who could have been contributors this season in what looks right now like a depleted secondary.  But as Emerson goes on to note, context matters, too.

Let’s be clear: Many of these dismissals and transfers had to happen. Wiggins’ situation is a bit cloudier, but with many of the recent situations, Richt and Georgia are to be commended for taking a harsher stance than many of their competitors.

The result has been more transfers and less serious off-field problems, as well as better locker room chemistry. Yes, Georgia is still the butt of jokes from Steve Spurrier and some media types, but those closer to the program know this is a tighter ship now.

Hard to fault Richt for engineering that.

Several years ago, Richt had a change when it came to dealing with discipline. Gone was the Bobby Bowden philosophy of rehabilitating players under your watch. The rash of arrests between 2007-10 forced the change.

“I’ve probably had a little less patience than I’ve had in the past,” Richt said in July of 2011.

Wiggins’ situation isn’t discipline-related, but it, too, is understandable in the context of the sea change on the defensive coaching staff.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t the last to have a change of heart, either.

In the end, all of this reinforces my belief that the most important lesson Mark Richt has had to learn in the past few seasons is roster management.  As bad a cumulative effect as the departures may have this season, imagine how much worse they’d be if coupled with the severe reduction of numbers the program was facing in, say, 2011 or 2012.  If recruiting is the lifeblood of any successful SEC football program, it’s because quantity is as important as quality.  Staying on top of that 85-scholarship limit is the best way Richt can manage to be less patient and still prosper.


Filed under Georgia Football

30 responses to “Is less patience a virtue?

  1. “often lazing about during a drill”

    That phrase says more about our secondary play last year than anything. Grantham & Lakatos didn’t have Shawn Williams, and surprise, surprise, everything went down the drain in the aftermath. Sure, we were young, but we were undisciplined in the secondary. While Wiggins gets most of the blame for the 99-yard TD pass vs. Nebraska, Mauger(?) was caught completely out of position in the middle of the field and then missed the tackle. I have to believe that Pruitt is going to fix this quickly.

    • That was exactly what caught me too. Can’t be practicing too hard if you’re signing during drills.

    • Hackerdog

      I blame scheme more than effort. Kids who know what to do, but aren’t interested in going all out, don’t stand around pre-snap waving their arms frantically. That was our problem last year.

  2. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    The key to the whole thing is “better locker room chemistry”. Gotta believe, in the long run, that pays off in winning some close games.

  3. DawgPhan

    I can’t wait to see the Dawgs hoist that glass whistle at the end of the season for “best locker-room chemistry for an 8-5 team”..

    Do you think they will do a road show at christian bookstores?

    • lamontsanford

      Easy on the sunshine bro.

    • uglydawg

      I’ve been on some “teams” (sports and otherwise) and I can tell you that slackers can bring a good team’s dicipline down to a very poor level. A lot of people won’t keep busting their ass when a slacker is hurting their effort. Good for CMR and UGA. A half hearted player doesn’t improve a teams record. Even 8-5 is better than the alternative.

    • Hill Dawg

      Why do I think you won’t be there if they do have a road show at a Christian book store.

    • Dog in Fla

      On the other hand, can there ever be a happy ending to a story about better living through chemistry?

  4. Whatever UGA has done in the past (recent past, that is) when it comes to evaluating DB talent, they need to change it. It’s almost as if they need to do what they did with RBs after the litany of problems faced with that unit. Go after the best kids who also won’t fuck up or be a distraction. Get the Marhsalls and Gurleys of the world, not the Crowells and Ealeys. The turnover of DBs in absurd at this point, and I would almost guarantee the DB is the sole reason why UGA will lose at least 1 (probably 2) games this year it shouldn’t. The secondary might be the worst in the SEC this year.

    • Joe Schmoe

      And that will be sooo easy to do since the bad kids where signs around their necks that say “Don’t recruit me, I’m a Fuck Up”.

      • You don’t think the coaches know? You can’t be that naive. Coaches know exactly what they’re getting when they recruit a kid.

        • Hackerdog

          Talk about naive. NFL scouts spend hundreds of hours evaluating talent and character. And they still get it wrong. You think that college coaches, limited by NCAA rules as to how much contact they can have with a kid, can always get it right? Hokay.

          • Yes. And scouts get it wrong if the player can translate to the league, but they know if he’s prone to stepping out and getting in trouble. That’s what I’m talking about. Don’t kid yourself.

            • As a father of three twenty-somethings, the idea that an adult can accurately gauge what’s in the mind of a teenager he’s met on a few occasions is… well, let’s just say I’m a wee bit skeptical.

            • Hackerdog

              Scouts also get wrong whether a player can handle some off-the-field vices and be a productive player. Michael Irving was a drug user who had a hall of fame career. Ryan Leaf was a drug user who was a huge bust. If you’re trying to argue that pro scouts have infallible crystal balls about player habits, but choose to waste millions of dollars anyway, I suppose we’ll just agree to disagree.

            • Joe Schmoe

              You are also talking about a situation where a kid is going from a fairly controlled environment (high school) to one where they will have their first taste of adulthood (college). I would risk a guess that many kids who never got into trouble in HS have some sort of run-in while in college as they experiment with their new found freedom.

      • Red Dawg

        that is why there are in-home meetings….

  5. Bulldog Joe

    Better late than never, I say.

  6. I Wanna Red Cup

    My guess is there was no “lazing about ” during any drill this spring. I have never heard of any coach who would like to hear singing from one of his players on a practice field during practice. Todays players are more likely to want instant playing time whether they deserve it or not and that can explain some transfers. I predict our DBs will do a better job this year than last and combined with the strong DL and LBs the defense will do much better. At least 7 points a game better. But of course I am a disney dawg.

  7. Normaltown Mike

    Rumor mill has him transferring to Carnival where he’ll play Conrad in the Caribbean Cruise production of “Bye Bye Birdie”.

  8. Joe Schmoe

    I hope our players are too busy trying to catch their breaths between drills this year to be singing.

    • DawgPhan

      Do our S&C Coaches have our players so poorly conditioned that they need to catch a blow between every drill?

      Auburn isnt going to slow down so we can catch our breath.

      • Bulldog Joe

        More immediately, Clemson will push us in the hot weather.

        Simplification and better conditioning is a necessity.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I was more referencing the fact that I hope our practices are demanding enough to require the full mental and physical attention of the players.

        I played sports in high school, and even at that level our practices were serious enough to keep me from thinking about pretty much anything but what I was doing.

  9. IveyLeaguer

    Emerson: … when the news came late Friday night that he was transferring, it was a jolt, and it was hard to see it as good news.

    Not for me.

    Emerson: Imagine a secondary with Marshall, Sanders and Love.

    Marshall sucked as a freshman, the few snaps he played. But especially on ST’s. A lot of that was due to coaching. He would’ve had the same coaching last year.

    Sanders and Love? Love should have never been recruited, and Sanders wasn’t anything special. I doubt either makes a splash. Wiggins is better than both, and he’s nothing special. Regardless, neither was talented enough to have helped us last year.

    Emerson: … there is a larger trend: High-profile transfers and a dismissal have now replaced off-field incidents as an issue on head coach Mark Richt’s team …

    Crapola. That’s not what’s going on at all. There’s no issue, except in the minds of reporters and some of their followers who believe everything they write.

    Emerson: The amount of quality players leaving the program, however, is not easy to dismiss.

    I beg to differ. Depends on what you mean by “quality”. To be a PLAYER in the SEC, there’s a lot more involved than just size, athleticism, and ability. And some of the players the media raves about have the first two, but are actually short in the latter.

    We’re better with JHC and Wiggins gone, IMHO. And there may be one or two more. Martinez created the environment that allowed the cancer to form. That’s where it began. Then he enabled it to spread by not correcting it.

    Pruitt is undoing what both Martinez and Grantham failed to do. If it means losing a handful of players, then fine. I have no problem or regret about it at all. What we’re seeing is WAY overdue.

    • IveyLeaguer

      Should have said Pruitt is ‘doing what both Martinez and Grantham failed to do.’

      Better correct that before I get my character assassinated, and slandered by the ever-ready and accusative AthensHomerDawg, and be falsely charged, once again, of “making stuff up”.