Greg Poole followed up on a comment he made here the other day with a post at Bulldog Illustrated about why he thinks the culture at Butts-Mehre has changed.
UGA will receive $4 million this summer for the first year of SEC Network operations and, remember, the Network did not begin broadcasting until August of 2014.
The new spending a UGA is long overdue and has kick-started changes in attitudes and momentum that are easily noticed by program observers – especially recruits. Nothing puts a spring in one’s step and improves one’s attitude like a big fat wallet.
I get that the SECN didn’t begin operations until August of last year, but Greg is being a little disingenuous with that, as the expected revenue figures had been discussed for some time (and don’t think they weren’t on everyone’s mind when the negotiations with ESPN were underway to begin with). The burgeoning bank account wasn’t exactly a surprise, in other words. And even with that in mind, it’s not as if we saw a sea change in attitude in Athens along with Paul Finebaum’s televised face in the afternoon. That took more time, and probably weathered some hard feelings. I mean, let’s not forget McGarity’s “I’m in charge” December interview with Mark Bradley and this moment of embarrassment after the Belk Bowl.
Do I think the extra revenue flow made it easier to offer more support for the football program? Sure. Do I think it’s been the primary driver of the changes we’ve seen since the bowl game? Honestly, I don’t.
I will say it seems to have become a collaborative effort, though. And that’s to everyone’s credit. Here’s something Dean Legge told the AB-H:
“I think Georgia has put more resources into recruiting and if that’s what people think the Jeremy Pruitt Effect is, maybe it should be called the Greg McGarity Effect. Georgia went from hardly spending money compared to other schools in the SEC on recruiting to making it basically a top priority. That doesn’t just happen because you get a new assistant coach comes in. That happens because there’s a fundamental shift in thinking on the higher end of things. I think that’s one thing you notice right away. They’re more organized, which I do think a new coach could do for sure, but they have also spent more resources and time. They’ve thought more about where things are going to go. I use to think Georgia didn’t take football seriously compared to the rest of the SEC. I can’t say that anymore, and that’s happened over the last eight, 10 months. I think all of that will take away any possible excuse for not winning a conference and national championship. The excuses aren’t there.”
That last sentence mirrors the last line of Poole’s post. And they’re both absolutely correct about that.
I’ve been frustrated – and misunderstood, primarily by people who think Richt hasn’t been properly held accountable – by the dysfunction we’ve observed between the athletics department and the football program. It’s hard for any football program, even one with the wealth of resources seemingly available to ours, to succeed when everyone isn’t rowing in the same direction. In my mind, that’s truly where Alabama has enjoyed a significant advantage over Georgia.
By that, I’m not talking about rolling over and giving a head coach everything he asks for. What I mean is that you develop a coherent, strategic plan to take things where you want them to go, make sure everyone is on the same page about implementing it and then you do it. And that’s when you can start holding everyone in the chain of decision making accountable for failure.
I think Georgia football is in a better place than it was six months ago. I can’t tell you if that means the program is about to embark on a hugely successful run as a result, at least not yet. But I can say I’m a willing participant in the no-excuses chorus now. Because there really aren’t any anymore.
The funny thing is, if the tide has finally turned for good, the book that will inevitably be published in its wake that I would want to read won’t be the one about the success itself. It’ll be about the inside story of how things finally changed.