I know the focus is on Mark Richt today. And there’s little doubt he deserves plenty of criticism for how poorly his team was prepared for Florida. But Mark Richt isn’t Georgia’s big problem. It won’t surprise me in the least if the team rights itself this week, plays a competitive game against Auburn and wins nine games. (The alternative wouldn’t surprise me, either.) There’s a very good recruiting class shaping up. Pruitt is an improvement over Grantham. There are a number of things to point to that can give a Georgia fan hope.
I’m sick of writing these existential posts about the program every couple of years or so. And it seems like every time we think we’re seeing a real turn around the corner, reality comes back to bite us in the ass with more evidence of the Georgia Way. This time around, I looked at last season, with a team that fought in every game despite an injury-riddled offense, subpar defense and special teams and thought at least Georgia was hitting a point where it was no longer going to fail to show up on a consistent basis.
Wrong, bacon breath. What I saw was how much Aaron Murray meant to the competitive spirit of this Georgia program.
The reality is that Georgia is a program that believes it’s better than it is. I can almost envision the congratulatory speech McGarity was constructing in his head as Georgia nobly fell on its sword about Gurley and kept winning. Too bad about Jacksonville, Greg.
But it’s not like that’s anything new. It’s a recurring drama. And when things fall short, as they inevitably do, the decision makers shrug, make some vague sounds about the coaches needing to do more, maybe even fire somebody if they’ve dawdled long enough, check the bank statements and console themselves with the thought that at least they’re doing things the right way. Whatever that is.
What they’re unwilling to give any hard thought to is how to win doing things the right way. Whether that’s out of a sense of guilt, as Wolken surmises, or because it’s too hard to make the effort, I can’t say. But it’s clear, and not just to me.
Those of you chomping at the bit for new coaching as a cure for what ails us need to think about something first: since Vince Dooley retired as head coach, who are the best high-profile hires Butts-Mehre has made? If you’re honest, it’s Ron Polk, who basically fell into Dooley’s lap and left for momma after a couple of seasons, and Mark Richt. That’s why the idea that things are fixable if they just get the right man for the head coaching job is laughable, honestly.
Until there are people in place who are willing to look at how things are done from top to bottom with a sharp eye, a willingness to demand the best and, just as importantly, are going to supply the best in support of that demand, what you see is all you’re gonna get. Because if the folks in Butts-Mehre are anything these days, it’s comfortable.