I know I shouldn’t waste my time quoting Fran Tarkenton, but, honestly, this is such a perfect encapsulation of the mindset of a certain few who wanted a change without wasting any time on a credible search process that I can’t resist.
“Head coach in pro football, college football is a tough job, and I think that it was probably time for a change,” Tarkenton said. “You say, ‘Well, he won 10 games,’ and I understand that, and nobody would’ve faulted (athletics director) Greg McGarity if he’d kept him. He probably got a lot of ridicule for not keeping him. But here’s my point: I think the University of Georgia football program, I think it should be the best football program in the country.
“I think that the standards that we should set is we should compete every year for an SEC championship and have a chance to go (to the national championship). That’s what Alabama does. With (Nick) Saban they do it. They did it with Bear Bryant. Why not us? Why should we be content with winning nine or 10 games?”
The point here isn’t to argue about whether it was time to replace Richt. Nor is it about whether Kirby Smart can succeed at Georgia. It’s about how much consideration went into whatever planning was made for elevating the program to the place where Tarkenton believes it should occupy before McGarity made the decision to hire Smart. Does anybody seriously believe there was much more contemplated than “Hell, Kirby worked for Saban for years. That ought to be good enough.”?
Then again, maybe that’s all it takes. I don’t know. All I can say, though, if it were that easy, there are other resource-laden programs that could have duplicated the Process and gotten similar results. That no other school has done so should give people like Tarkenton pause. Maybe it will when it comes time to hire the next head coach.