Dysfunction Junction

It sounds like Mark Richt took one lesson to heart from his Georgia days when he accepted his new gig.

And though Richt is quick to credit athletics director Blake James and deputy athletics director Jen Strawley with investing in things that weren’t done around here before — like a nutritionist— that Richt knew were critical to competing for national titles, none of this happens without a lesson learned in his final years at Georgia.

Under some administrative pressure to shake things up, Richt tried to Sabanize his coaching staff, hiring Saban disciple Jeremy Pruitt as his defensive coordinator along with five other staff members who had Alabama ties, giving that group wide latitude to modernize the recruiting operation and other aspects of the program.

The gambit ultimately didn’t work, as Richt went 10-3 and 9-3 in those two seasons but lost the games he needed most, including twice to Florida, once to Georgia Tech and a 38-10 loss to Alabama in Athens that made the Bulldogs seem light years away from contending for an SEC championship. Moreover, there was constant drama inside the football building, as people separated into camps over how things should be done and never developed any chemistry as a staff.

It was a lesson learned for Richt, who was far more clear-eyed and uncompromising when putting together his staff at Miami…

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

I’ll keep saying it — nobody running the show at Butts-Mehre has the first clue about successfully supporting a football program.  “Why don’t we do things more like Alabama”  is envy disguised as strategic planning.  The best a Georgia football coach can hope for is benign neglect from the administration, something that works as long as the reserve fund isn’t being threatened.  Fortunately for us, Kirby appears to know how to play that game.

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51 Comments

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51 responses to “Dysfunction Junction

  1. Is it just me or did the dysfunction start when Adams unceremoniously told Dooley he would retire and Red Panties took over to do Il Duce’s bidding? Dooley and CMR seemed to have a good working relationship. Richt never had respect for Evans, and McGarity seemed out to get Richt from day 1 without providing him support. As you have said, hell of a way to run a railroad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe, but Dooley could have signed off on the IPF day 1 and didn’t. To try to place the culture of BM on Adams rather than on the man who had been running it is a stretch I think.

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      • Adams was not going to sign-off on the IPF period.

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        • If Richt had said after the 2002 SEC championship game: “Build me an IPF or I’m leaving to go to , then I really, really doubt it would have taken another 15 years.

          He was too passive when he had all the leverage, then made bad hires when his back was against the wall.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Napoleon BonerFart

            Blaming Richt for failing to force B-M to appropriately support the football team doesn’t seem right.

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            • Maybe. But absolving Richt for being reactionary and passive while the rest of the conference was growing support staff, facilities, oversigning, etc. doesn’t seem prudent either. The gist of my posts in this thread is that a.) both sides are to blame, and b.) both sides seems to have benefited from the change.

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          • MLB2

            CMR remarked several times his first year about how surprised he was that UGA was so far behind FSU in facilities.

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  2. DawgPhan

    The national narrative over the next few weeks being that McGarity was holding Richt back has got to stick in a few craws.

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    • MDDawg

      It’ll be interesting to see if anyone rises to McGarity’s defense. Not saying anyone should, just wondering if anyone will. And Richt deserves his share of the blame, but saying that Richt was at fault too isn’t a strong defense of McGarity in my opinion.

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  3. Granthams replacement

    Judging from his previous 2 D.C. Choices someone needed to help him pick #3.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Some guy

    Can you give it a break? McCarty may not be perfect or even average, but reading an article with a quote from Richt and calling it fact is the epitome of fake news. Your constant battering of BM has actually made me feel sorry for the folks inside the building, not sure if that was your intention.

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  5. I don’t even know if I have the heart to get into this, because I’m legitimately happy for Richt and I think he deserved to be fired in Athens. I’m able to simultaneously hold those positions, which seemingly puts me in the minority.

    I don’t doubt at all that McG made Richt’s life miserable the last few years in Athens and that he felt like he couldn’t get the support necessary to compete. But the context missing there is that a lot of that mess was Richt’s own doing, either through mismanagement or passivity: he promoted Willie two thumbs, then when that burned down, got completely rolled looking for a new DC (Chavis, Foster, and Kirby all played footsie long enough to get raises) only to settle for Grantham, let S&C fall miles behind bc of loyalty to DVH, ignored roster management at the same time the SEC West was oversigning in waves, let the 2012 roster get down to 68 players, and then hired Schotty. Notice that I’m not even touching on Pruitt—I don’t know what happened there one way or the other—maybe it was a fantastic hire (he’s a fantastic coach) or maybe he brought in a guy that had a mutiny planned to take over the HC job from day 1. I legitimately don’t know.

    I understand and do believe that Richt needed more support and more resources. However, I also get it from McG’s point of view that Richt hadn’t demonstrated that he really knew how to properly deploy those additional resources. Making multiple bad coordinator hires and trying to get halfway pregnant with Alabamazation probably doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence from your boss.

    All of this said, Richt clearly learned from all of this and negotiated the support and autonomy he never had in Athens into the job at Miami. Which is good, that’s what he should do and I’m glad. He’s calling plays again and looks 100x happier than he did in Athens. Miami isn’t nearly the fishbowl that Athens is and that probably fits his personality better.

    UGA benefited from Richt, but Richt benefited from UGA too. He’s ultimately going to be a better coach bc of what he learned from this time in Athens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as missing context goes, I think Wolken took that into account with this:

      As content and peaceful as Richt seemed in his final years at Georgia, even as the criticism over his record in big games or lack of a national title mounted, it had all become too stale, too routine, too comfortable.

      Coaching tenures aren’t built to last these days as long as Richt’s run in the SEC, and what you’re seeing now at Miami is the direct result of a very good coach getting exactly the shot of adrenaline his career needed at precisely the time the Miami administration was ready to stop fooling around and invest in its football program.

      What we’ll never know — at least not until somebody writes that book about the 2015 season, anyway — is whether the administration’s lack of support caused Richt’s ennui, or whether Richt would have been just as detached regardless.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Far enough. Can we agree that coming out of the 2015 season, we were looking at have to make 2 new coordinator hires? And that there was a iffy at best track record there?

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        • You know that one of the sticking points on Richt signing his last contract was that he wanted more control over the offense and McGarity didn’t want to give him that, right?

          I agree that Pruitt was gone, no matter what.

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          • MDDawg

            I didn’t hear that about Richt wanting more control over the offense. Source? I’m genuinely curious.

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          • Yeah, I’ve heard that. I’d love to know how much truth there is to that.

            That last unsigned contract is an interesting piece in all of this too (I’ve also heard the sticking point was the number of booster club/fundraiser bullshit that was going to be required too).

            Who knows. You’re original point is correct: until the whole truth about how bad 2015 comes out, everyone is just making assumptions. However, Rocker’s “mutiny” quote is a huge tell IMO.

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            • You are correct about the sticking point, which was behind the debate over Richt becoming more active in the management of the offense. McGarity didn’t want Richt’s attention and time being taken away from fundraising and was concerned that Richt wanted to devote less attention to it, which he did.

              It’s interesting to note the compromise reached with Smart in that regard. He’s spending less time on fundraising, but devoting more of that limited time to high end donors.

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            • One other question to consider here: what if Richt recognized that he’d become too detached and believed the best remedy for that was to retake the reins of the offense? If he made that case to McGarity, only to be turned down, who deserves the blame for that?

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              • Well, that’s the most interesting scenario and probably what happened. Which is probably why a change was needed and had been good for everyone involved.

                In this instance, Richt was correct for recognizing the problem. But during McGarity’s time with Richt, he had watch him botch roster management horribly (a point that I believe you agree with), and bring in an Alabama redneck DC that had to be told repeatedly he couldn’t fire people that didn’t work for him (allegedly).

                Who do you think deserves blame?

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                • Respectfully, I don’t think that’s the relevant question.

                  The question that should be asked is whether, after giving the situation all due consideration, McGarity believed that accommodating Richt wouldn’t have been to the benefit of the football program. If there was honest thought involved — and that’s a hypothetical here, to be sure — and the conclusion was that there was no way Richt was going to salvage the program, then McGarity should have stuck to his guns and canned Richt after the 2014 season.

                  Instead, we got a half-assed approach where more money was spent (an easy gesture with all the TV revenue rolling in), but Richt wasn’t given the green light to run the program the way he wanted. The results were predictable, given the parties involved. Blame everyone, if you like, but it was McGarity’s responsibility to manage the football program optimally. You think he did so?

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                  • No, not particularly. I hope I’m not coming across as the defender of all things McGarity. I think he’s an incompetent boob that Peter Principled himself into a job that he is demonstrably terrible at.

                    I’m simply saying that his lack of faith in Richt’s ability to manage his way out the mire was not without merit.

                    The simple fact that there were rumors floating around the Belk Bowl, in retrospect, should have been the canary in the coal mine as to how toxic the situation had become.

                    You’re correct in that McGarity should have stuck to his guns if he had lack of faith in Richt (honestly, part of me believes he would have like to have done it after 2010, but you probably can’t fire your most high profile employee 6 months into the job). The fact that he didn’t? Well, he’s an incompetent boob.

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          • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

            in a world of what might have been involving UGA football and McGarrity, what does our team look like in 2015 if Richt is allowed to promote Lilly into the offensive coordinator role, a la Neil Callaway to help develop the game plan, with Richt calling plays again.

            Does that move re-invigorate Richt the way the move to Miami seems to have done?

            All of that assumes McGarrity begins, you know, ceases to put roadblocks in front of Richt.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, and I wish that’s what had happened. It still wouldn’t have addressed the fact that Pruitt was going to have to be replaced, but maybe Richt still goes out and gets Manny. Who knows. But in retrospect, Schotty was the deathknell.

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              • MDDawg

                If I remember right, Diaz’ name was floated around as one of the possible targets before we got Grantham. It would’ve been interesting to see if he’d gone after him again.

                But that also would’ve meant switching back to a base 4-3 from a 3-4, so you’re signing up for at least a year of growing pains there due to the change in system. That includes the teaching/learning aspect of it as well as a change in recruiting philosophy. I thought it was interesting when Richt said he was going to implement a 4-3 when he got to Miami after switching UGA to a 3-4. I’d love to hear his thoughts on the pros & cons of each system.

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                • I’m a 4-3 guy, so that would’ve been fine with me.

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                  • MDDawg

                    I don’t know that I really have a preference. My main point was that if UGA had decided to keep Richt and Pruitt had left, then Richt tabs Diaz or some other 4-3 guy to be DC, you would’ve had to put up with a transition year on defense which would’ve further frustrated the fanbase. That on top of still starting Eason as QB at some point during that season. Probably not a recipe for a great year. Not that it matters much now anyway.

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    • MDDawg

      Excellent writeup IMO, I couldn’t agree more.

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  6. Chaney's Other Shoe

    “envy disguised as strategic planning”
    This ^ all along.
    Read this article this morning. My first thought was the correlation between being “nudged” to hire Bama folk and the coaching division that took place immediately thereafter. The Bama way (where turning the other cheek means looking the other way) & doing things properly on the recruiting trail aren’t cohesive.

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  7. Bright Idea

    “Uncompromising” at Miami is the key word here. He was acquiescent at UGA and the result is what it was. Plus any coach is on borrowed time after 10 years no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ^ This. College football changed dramatically from 2001 to 2015, especially with Alabama giving Saban full control. Coaches that were already entrenched in their jobs were going to have a tough time demanding the resources to keep up. You have to negotiate it up front (which is seemingly what both Kirby and Richt have done).

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  8. saildawg

    I think the real narrative is that Richt is successful when he #1 has a good defensive coordinator and #2 is hands on involvement with the offense. He did that in the early 2000s and he has that now. The rest of the time those 2 things didn’t line up during his tenure in Athens.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gene Simmons

    Just SO GLAD to see Rudy go down in flames.
    SUCK IT national media!

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  10. W Cobb Dawg

    If CMR learned any lesson, perhaps it was he can’t mail it in and expect to challenge for championships. I wonder if his league of hangers-on have joined him in Miami – Hynes, Van Halanger, Eason, Tereshinski, et al.

    As far as Pruitt is concerned, he was doing most of the head coaching work for the 2 years he was in Athens – recruiting, defense, S&C, facilities (IPF), and staff hires. Pruitt was the workhorse that allowed CMR to keep his job.

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    • 79DawgatWork

      If you need anymore evidence that the victors write the history books folks, the comment above that Tereshenski was Richt’s “hanger-on”, is the ultimate example of that.
      The Tereshenski situation is a shining example of The Georgia Way and Butts-Mehre dysfunction to a “T”.

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      • Napoleon BonerFart

        Come on, dawg. You didn’t know that the Tereshinski family are FSU legacies who carpet-bagged into Athens on Richt’s coat tails?

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    • HVL Dawgs

      Yes his hangers-on have joined him in Miami. His son is the quarterbacks coach! And Thomas Brown, all of 30 years old, is OC. And his DB coach came from a SoFla high school.

      And they still busted ND’s dicks.

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  11. 1) CMR is a damn good football coach
    2) he only has himself to blame for the dip in 2009 and 2010 that lost him so much good will.
    3) I don’t think he ever recruited at a level that maximized our potential as a program
    4) he is surely coaching with a chip in his shoulder now
    5) Miami may be a much better fit for CMR. You don’t have to instill confidence and swagger in those guys. They show up with it. One of the huge problems we always seemed to have was guys playing too tight in big moments. That’s just not how kids from the “state of Miami” roll. I also think recruiting kids to miami who are from the area is even easier than recruiting metro-atlanta kids to come to uga.
    6) I hope that CMR succeeds to a degree that UF suffers for a very long time

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  12. garageflowers

    This may be only for Russ. I saw this sign while watching the game and took a snapshot. I almost spit my beer all over myself.

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/68607254@N08/wVxL24

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy for Richt and what has worked out at Miami and happy for UGA with Smart and future looks bright for both.
    I think mama calling has worked well for both.

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  14. Plus, agree with recruiting Miami to Miami is easier than Atlanta area to UGA. If he can gold mine Miami, good for him and bad for UF.

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