I’d say Ed Aschoff has a pretty accurate depiction of Georgia’s fan base in the aftermath of the Richt contract extension.
For one of the SEC’s most accomplished coaches in the regular season, Wednesday’s announcement of a contract extension and a raise should have been considered a no-brainer. But when you haven’t won the SEC championship at a school like Georgia since 2005, you can’t blame fans for their uneasiness toward their head coach. Still, for all the negativity that Mark Richt has had to deal with from Georgia fans — some of it is justified — he’s had a heck of a coaching career with the Bulldogs. His .739 winning percentage (136-48 record) ranks fourth among active FBS coaches who have coached at least 100 games in FBS conferences, and he’s had nine seasons with 10 or more wins at Georgia in his 14 years in Athens. But with an extension going through 2019 and Richt now making $4 million a year, the time to win an SEC title is now. The Bulldogs are equipped with the talent to make a strong run through the SEC, and you know those same fans unhappy with the lack of championship swag in Georgia’s trophy cases won’t be pleased with anything less than a title run or two in 2015.
I know there’s a risk of reading too much into finishing top-ten with a nice bowl win, but really, there is plenty for Richt to work with in the coming season. We may not have expected it in the last preseason, but the 2014 edition of Georgia was good enough to make a run through Atlanta. It just broke down inexplicably at the worst times.
There’s an offense which will have to break in a new quarterback and offensive coordinator, but still has a strong enough foundation to build upon. There’s a defense that improved steadily throughout the year, gets the usual bounce from second-year stability under the same staff and is likely to get a major talent infusion in key areas with the incoming class (assuming things hold up, of course).
Richt always says the goal for his teams is to get to Atlanta. It’s not unrealistic this season. If he expects it, why shouldn’t we?