Mark Richt was HUNH before HUNH was cool.

You want to talk about pace and the Georgia offense?  Well, the season Georgia posted its highest average of offensive plays per game was way back in 2003.


2003: 73.1
2013: 72.7
2011: 72.6
2001: 71.3
2002: 70.1
2004: 68.8
2007: 67.2
2012: 66.0
2008: 63.5
2005: 62.9
2010: 62.6
2009: 61.0
2006: 59.1

Over the next three seasons, Georgia’s averaged dropped by fourteen plays per game.  Gee, I wonder what caused that?

Georgia football coach Mark Richt continued the two-year fight for his no-huddle offense this week at the SEC Meetings.

“He and I talked about it for the last three hours,” Bobby Gaston, the league’s director of officials, said Friday afternoon on the second day of the meetings at the Sandestin Hilton.

Since coming to Georgia, Richt has all but ditched the fast break offense he made famous at Florida State because, he says, the league’s officials don’t allow him to go fast enough to make it worthwhile. SEC officials are required to pause for 12-14 seconds between each play, and that’s not going to change despite Richt’s arguments, Gaston said.

“He doesn’t agree with it, but he knows what we’re doing,” Gaston said.

The mandatory pause is to allow the officiating crew to get in position, Gaston said. Richt argued that the officials should put the ball in play as soon as they are set, regardless of how much time has elapsed, but Gaston said that would provide the offense an unfair advantage.

“Mark Richt would eat their lunch,” he said. “He would go straight to the ball and snap it. He’d get in 100 plays. We have about half the coaches who think we go too fast and about half who think we go too slow so we must be in about the right spot.”

Smug asshole.  I wonder how Gaston feels about that now.

I don’t buy conspiracy theories for the most part.  But that decision, more than anything else I can think of, makes me question now and then if somebody in the SEC office was out to get Richt.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

29 responses to “Mark Richt was HUNH before HUNH was cool.

  1. The referees attitude toward Richt affects his innovation as a coach, his quarterbacks ability to stand upright after the whistle and the perception of what is a personal foul vs a legitimate tackle is. It has cost us some games to be sure.

  2. Spike

    Two words. Penn Wagers. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  3. TomReagan

    I’m always amazed at the collective amnesia amongst the media about this and, honestly, amongst fans too. Thanks for keeping this out there.

    • Connor

      Agreed. I do remember this from the early Richt days and I’ve been puzzled by why it hasn’t burbled up to the national media as the HUNH has gained so much buzz. Makes me wonder what would have happened if Van Gorder hadn’t done such a good job and the offense had been forced to bear more of the burden in those early years. Maybe Richt wouldn’t have acquiesced to Gaston and crew so easily and be thought of more as an innovator now.

      • You think a two-year fight = acquiesced easily?

        • Connor

          I guess my point is that I don’t know that he acquiesced at all, as much as the situation changed. He may have been getting this push-back from the officials (which was baloney), but even more important he had a fantastic defense starting in ’03 and was more inclined to slow things down. I think if that hadn’t happened, he would have fought it longer, and maybe more people would remember it.

          • Connor

            I just realized that our fastest pace was in ’03, blowing my theory right out the water. Oh well, it was the refs.

            • @gatriguy

              That’s not necessarily unrelated. The 03 defense was the best of the Richt era. Lots of 3 and outs. The 03 Offense was a hot mess. Lots of drives with many plays, ending in field goals. I wasn’t that surprised to see that was the highest year.

        • So he had a two year fight? How long did AU and T&AM have to fight to install there HUNH offense in the SEC? Ugh this crap makes me mad. When Richt blew up at Wagers and and got an unsportsman called against him, I thought it was about time, because I really don’t see anyone else sticking up for him publicly. I’m looking at you McGarity.

        • uglydawg

          My question is…did you guys look up the spelling of “acquiesced”, or did you know how to spell it correctly? If you knew it, I’m impresssed.

  4. Lrgk9

    Casey Stengel…

  5. joe

    Hmmm…Bobby gaston….why does that ring a bell…cannot imagine him having an Axe to grind with UGA….I always thought having an impartial head of refs was like having an impartial chairman of the playoff selection committee, how silly!

  6. Dog in Fla

    “I wonder how Gaston feels about that now.”

    He and Krispy probably still feel pretty good about it:

    “A veteran SEC official, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity, said Georgia’s no-huddle offense may cause the Bulldogs some problems today in Knoxville.

    Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer called Bobby Gaston, the SEC’s head of officials, to say he expects today’s officiating crew to give the Volunteers the required time to make defensive adjustments when the Bulldogs change personnel….

    ‘I knew (Georgia) was going to have some problems with it when they got into the SEC,’ the official said.”

  7. Bulldog Joe

    We had to play fast in 2003 with the line we had. We gave up 47 sacks.

  8. Bob

    Also, in fairness, the timing rues changed quite a bit which limited plays as well.

  9. I can understand maybe Penn Wagers not caring for CMR after 2007. But before that who and what in the world would CMR have done to attract that kind of ire from the SEC office?!

    I’m serious it dumbfounds me the animosity and general inexplicable ire drawn Richt’s way sometimes by officials and media alike.

    • joe

      Bobby gaston is in the gtu hall of fame and got his ass kicked by uga for his entire playing career. It would be like having Spurrier as head of officiating and bill stanfill coaching uga.

  10. Thanks for bringing this out. I’ve been referring to it since last year, but only from memory.

    I don’t buy conspiracy theories for the most part. But that decision, more than anything else I can think of, makes me question now and then if somebody in the SEC office was out to get Richt.

    And well you should. No question the League wanted to shut Richt down when he first got to Athens, and they did.

    And it’s all the more reason we should question now, how officials have let teams run at an insane pace against Georgia the last 2 or 3 years. Officials are in so much of a hurry to spot the ball and whistle it in play when Georgia is on defense, that they often don’t get set themselves.

    You hate to think of bias against Richt in the SEC office, even unfair treatment. But it’s there. I don’t know why.

    • Lrgk9

      Hey, it’s not like the Refs go a whole year w/o calling a holding penalty on a most favorite team or something….

      Oh, wait

      • AusDawg85

        We did get a significant number of the new helmut to helmut hit calls to even it out though….

        Oh, wait again.

      • @gatriguy

        absolutely. That 2012 no holding on Bama’s OL is the most ridiculous thing ever.

  11. Scorpio Jones, III


  12. Macallanlover

    Gaston’s era is when SEC officiating spiraled downward, then we replaced him with another GT douche and it continued. And the so-called best conference stood by and did nothing, nada. Slime not taking action against Wagers is reason enough to kick his fat butt out of Birmingham.

  13. Mayor

    It’s not Richt that they are out to get–it’s Georgia. This bias predates CMR’s tenure. They may also be out to get Richt now because of things that happened since his arrival but the bias goes way back and it will not stop until the SEC office does something about it. I think it goes all the way up to Slime himself although it didn’t start with him.