Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Richt decision: the future

If I’m glum today, it’s not because Mark Richt is gone.  It’s because the same people are in place running the department.  You know, the ones who have given us this track record:

Greg McGarity has been AD since mid-August of 2010, or for roughly 5 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks. Since that time, I found that all Georgia athletics teams have won a combined FOUR SEC titles, 3 of which came in women’s swimming/diving, and THREE national championships: 2 in women’s swimming/diving and 1 in equestrian.

In the 5 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks prior to McGarity becoming AD, or from early May 2005 through mid-August 2010, Georgia athletics captured TWENTY SEC titles, and TEN national championships: 4 in gymnastics, and 3 each for men’s tennis and equestrian.

Mock those red panties if you must, but the athletic department’s performance on the field is in decline since Damon Evans was let go.

The gory details, if you want them, are outlined by vineyarddawg in this post.  It would be kind to say that McGarity’s hires are undistinguished.  And yet he’s now been given the authority to make the biggest hire of his career.

I don’t cry out for people to be fired.  It’s not my style and nobody listens to me anyway.  So I’m not about to make an exception for Greg McGarity.  What I do wonder, though, is who’s directing the athletic director.  Boosters who pound their chest and cry, “We’re Georgia!”?  Jere Morehead, who to this point has shown nothing more than a willingness to open up the checkbook without giving any real indication that he knows the best way for the money to be spent?

That’s why I’m apprehensive.

There’s been way too much chatter about Kirby Smart to be discounted at this point, and I’m not about to do so.  But ask yourself something.  If Georgia really is this premier program, this sleeping giant, that much of the fan base and the national media believes it is, is the best this program can do in its next hire a coordinator with no head coaching experience?  Wasn’t that the resume of the coach they just fired?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll support whoever is hired, Smart included.  He’ll be Georgia’s head coach and that’s that for me.  But for once, I would love for this program to do the unexpected and take a chance on somebody outside the conventional box.  Show me that some real thought went into the shape of the future.  Please.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The Richt decision: the present

If you watched any of the Iron Bowl broadcast this past Saturday, as I did, you might have noticed a discussion Gary and Verne had about the number of staffers Alabama had up in the coaches booth.  Lundquist was certain it was fifteen and damned if it didn’t look like it when the CBS camera panned the booth.  That room was crowded.

I mention this story not in a fit of jealousy, nor to condemn another program’s wasteful spending.  Rather, it’s a perfect example of what the Georgia Way is up against.  Regardless of where you think Richt falls on the performance spectrum, you cannot deny that for the bulk of his time in Athens, he was not allowed the resources to duke it out with Georgia’s main rivals.

Forget about the IPF.  Georgia was one of the last schools to give out multi-year contracts to assistant coaches.  (Ironically, the administration got away with that because of staff loyalty to Richt.)  Saban bulks up support staff; Richt is forced to come out of his own pocket to pay bonuses to his assistants.  Georgia’s recruiting budget was far short of what other conference schools were allocating until this year.

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning.  Everybody wants to win.  The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens.  And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor.  (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.)  It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

Are things on a better track now?  Hard to say.  Yes, spending on certain things has crept up, but look what it took to get B-M’s collective head out of its ass.  And the jury is still out on whether the increase is being spent wisely.

What do I mean by that?  Georgia is letting coaches go who just received major raises and extensions (as well as Schottenheimer’s big deal, which was a huge bump up from what Bobo was getting) less than a year ago.  It’s in the wake of a disappointing 9-3 regular season, to be sure, but 9-3 is a long way away from unexpectedly awful.  If the firing of Richt is the result of an accumulation of flaws that he was unable to overcome, how come that didn’t slow the administration down when the new deals were made?

That’s not to say that either decision on its own can’t be justified.  But taken together, it’s not a sign of an organization that goes through enough serious consideration before making major decisions.  You tell me if that’s changed in the last month.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The Richt decision: the past

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.  Mark Richt is an admirable human being who also did a lot for the Georgia football program.

Do not forget where things were when Richt was hired.  Jim Donnan recruited well, but had a poor track record against rivals.  His teams would sparkle on occasion, but flop in the spotlight.  He never took Georgia to an SECCG.

In his second season, Mark Richt changed all that.  Georgia won its first conference title in twenty years.  More than that, Richt raised the program to a level of national success it hadn’t seen since the glory years of 1980-3.

He leaves with an impressive legacy, both on the field and in the way he conducted himself off of it.  And for that, we should all be extremely grateful.  It’s also worth remembering in the mercenary world of D-1 coaching, he meant what he said about wanting to be in Athens, no matter what that might have cost him if he’d had an aggressive agent negotiating for him.

None of which is to say he was perfect.  I got a good tasting of what was in store for the program in his first year.  I remember walking out of Sanford Stadium after the loss to South Carolina thinking it really wasn’t much different than what I’d seen from Donnan.  Then came the incredible win in Knoxville, when I saw that the team had bought into its new head coach.  Even the questionable clock management that I saw in the losses to Auburn and Boston College didn’t make me think Richt didn’t have the program going in the right direction.  And the next few years bore that out.

Through the ups and downs, I remained convinced that Richt was the best man for the job until the bowl game loss to Michigan State.  At that point, after watching the down years of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, when that sense of buying in had worn away, I no longer took it as a given that Georgia was at its best playing under Richt.  That’s not to say I wasn’t incredibly proud of the way the team suddenly regained its confidence in the middle of the next season, or the way that the team tried to fight its way through the injury-plagued 2013 season.  But the emotional attachment to Richt himself was gone.

Richt’s fatal flaw, if you want to call it that, wasn’t about a lack of passion or not being obsessed enough by the job.  It was something more mundane:  an inability to stay on top of details.  We saw that on the field far too regularly in things like clock management.  But it also manifested itself in how he let his coordinators operate.  When he picked good men for those roles, the program thrived, and when he didn’t… well, he came close to losing his job over Willie Martinez and couldn’t survive what his 2015 staff did.

I give Richt credit for being very good about reacting to problems, once he realized he had them.  There are a lot of coaches who wouldn’t have been able to right the ship after 2009.  Georgia wound up playing in two straight SECCGs, and was a heartbreak away from playing for a national title in 2012.  Roster mismanagement, which was the major reason for the program’s recent decline, appeared to be in Georgia’s rear view mirror with the good work last year and this.

There was always that sense of the little boy and the dike, though.  We’d see one problem be addressed, only to see something else pop up.  And that never seemed to end.

Seth Emerson and Chip Towers reported that the decision to start Fauta against Florida was the back breaker for many of the boosters.  As poor a move as that was – and the implementation was even worse than the decision itself – I’m not sure in and of itself it would have been enough to do Richt in.  For that matter, going 19-6 over the last two seasons wouldn’t have been enough to end his career, either.  But as the last misstep in a continuing series, that’s a different story.

It’s sad to see any fifteen-year career end and Richt is a good enough man that I’m genuinely sorry it’s happened to him.  But I can’t deny that it was a decision that couldn’t be justified, even if the people making the call are at least as flawed in their management as Richt was.  When all is said and done, the little details matter.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

SEC Power Poll, Week 13

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And so, another regular season comes to an end.  This last week made one thing painfully apparent:  this is the most mediocre the SEC has been in years.

As I always do in the last PP of the year, net yards per game for each team will appear in a pathetic attempt to make it look like my evaluations mean something.  (A blogger’s gotta try, you know.)

  1. Alabama (+156.7).  The opening betting line for the SECCG is the largest in twenty years.
  2. Mississippi (+127.3).  The most puzzling team in the conference, hands down.
  3. Florida (+68.3).  Jim McElwain gets my vote as conference coach of the year.  And you know it pains me to say that about a Florida coach.
  4. Mississippi State (+66.4).  A nice year.  Not a great year, but a nice one.
  5. Arkansas (+52.7).  If the Hogs played in the East this season, could they have won the division?
  6. Tennessee (+52.1).  I’m probably giving the Vols too much credit for November.
  7. LSU (+76.5).  The Hat is back, baybee!  SEC Bloggers rejoice in their good fortune.
  8. Georgia (+83.4).  Yes, that’s the third best net yardage figure in the SEC.  No, Georgia isn’t the third best team in the SEC.
  9. Texas A&M (+55.8).  I don’t think this is the kind of season a $5 million a year coach is supposed to have.
  10. Auburn. (-54.5).  It’s something to think about how far short of preseason hype this team fell in 2015.  But for an overtime win against a FCS squad, the Gus Bus would be winterized and up on blocks in the garage now.
  11. Vanderbilt (-24.0).  Is it fair to say that a 4-8, 2-6 season exceeded expectations?  Sadly, yes.
  12. Kentucky (-22.2).  Remember when Mark Stoops got a big raise in the middle of 2014?  Good times, then.
  13. Missouri (-21.1).  You had a feeling when Arkansas scored that first touchdown, Mizzou’s season was over.
  14. South Carolina (-67.6).  Down and out.  And a long way to go to get back.

There you have it:  two good teams, several meh ones and a few poor ones.  2015 won’t go down as the SEC’s finest hour.

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Filed under SEC Football

My Mumme Poll ballot, Week 13

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Thanks, Stanford.  You made my ballot selection easy this week.

  • Alabama
  • Clemson
  • Oklahoma

Really, that’s the fastest I’ve ever put a Mumme Poll vote together.

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Fabris Pool results, Week 13

Another season in the books, with a down to the wire ending.

First, the results from the week.

STANDINGS for WEEK 13
Rank
Selection Name
Standings
Adjustment
W-L
Pts
Tie Breaker Game
58-23
1 Biggen Adj 9-1 9   42-38**
1 Dawgfan0000 Adj 9-1 9   34-28

Congrats to Biggen.

And Biggen needed every one of those nine wins to pull out the seasonal race.

SEASON STANDINGS through Week 13
Rank
You
Selection Name
W-L
Pts
1 Biggen 75-55 75
2 erikzatuga 74-56 74

I’m not sure we’ve ever had anything come down to the end that closely before. Pretty cool.

Again, that’s the end of the regular season. If there’s sufficient interest, I will set up a pick ’em for the bowl games. Let me know in the comments if you’re in for that.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

47,402

I doubt anybody will be shocked to learn that yesterday shattered the record for number of site hits.  (The prior top was a little over 34000.)

I posted a lot because I thought everyone needed the opportunity to have their chance to vent, regardless of how his or her feelings might be about Richt’s departure.  Me, too, for that matter.  GTP saw a record number of comments yesterday, so a lot of you took me up on my offer.

Emotions are running high, obviously.  I let a lot of behavior go yesterday because I recognize that some folks need to get things out of their system before moving on.  But it’s time to tone things down.  I would ask that you all remember my request from the beginning of the month and respect that.  Respect the online community that GTP offers.

Let’s stop insulting and threatening each other.  Let’s quit with the smart ass remarks about what motivates Mark Richt from people who’ve never known the man.  Let’s find a way to differentiate between criticism of Will Muschamp’s public behavior and unflattering characterizations of what kind of human being he is.  I’d like to think we’re better than that, even in tumultuous times.

I’m not going to shut down the comments section, but I’m inching ever closer to commenter registration.  And some of you won’t be allowed back if that’s the decision I make.  For those of you who bravely state you’ll follow the blog even if you can’t comment, I appreciate the loyalty, but yesterday gives the lie to not caring about expressing yourself here.  Nor do I want to run you off from the comments section.

But I will.  So next time, before you hit that send key, look at what you’ve typed.  Don’t ask yourself whether it might bother you to read that after you’ve posted it.  Ask yourself whether it might bother me.

We’re all Dawg fans here.  Regardless of your feelings about Richt and the program’s future, don’t lose sight of that in your anger and frustration.  Thanks.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

Masters of PR

I guess you haven’t been happy with the media, fellas, but this seems a wee bit ham-fisted:

After the meeting a security team brought in by UGA for the night prevented the media from talking to most players. They got between media members and players, and at one point told the media to move across the street, which the media refused as the area is public property.

Jenkins left the building with fellow outside linebackers, and was willing to talk to the media. He said Sunday night’s meeting included Richt, players, and most of the coaches and staff members.

“It just was jacked up. Not everybody on the team is sitting right with us,” Jenkins said. “But we’ll find out more stuff tomorrow.”

At that point a security member came up to Jenkins and ordered him to get in his car.

Jeez, if you’re that insecure about the decision, why did you make it in the first place?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Off the road again

Georgia works the recruiting trail with a skeleton crew.

Most of the Bulldogs assistants have been called off recruiting duties, a source told DawgNation on Sunday night.

At least three UGA staff members – recruiting coordinator Bryan McClendon, running backs coach Thomas Brown, and Todd Hartley, the director of player personnel – will still be representing the Bulldogs on the road this week.

However, the rest of the regular coaching staff will stay put.

I’m curious as to who made the decision.  And even more curious about what kind of instructions those three have received.

114 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Best faux tweet ever

This wins the Internet today, for sure.

The best part, of course, is you can’t entirely discount the possibility that’s actually happened.

29 Comments

Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, Georgia Football