Dawg fans will hear a familiar echo, echo, echo in this piece.
Filed under ACC Football, Strategery And Mechanics
Tagged as Mark Richt
My friends from FSU say he wasn’t a very good play caller in Tallahassee either.
Think what FSU could have done with a better coach. All those seasons wasted in the ‘90s….
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I still have a lot of fond feelings for Richt – but Mickey Andrews’ ridiculous defenses during that time were more responsible for their success than Richt’s offenses. Just like Van Gorder’s defenses deserve more of the credit than Richt’s offenses for the success of those first 5 years that Richt was here.
People forget how frustrating and predictable Richt’s play calls were, and how we’d move up and down the field between the 20’s, but always bog down in the red zone (we were Field Goal U during that time). Those FG’s were what kept the lesser teams in the games. If Van G hadn’t had some lights out defenses during that time, we wouldn’t have tasted nearly as much success.
Correct. I was living in Florida in the 90’s and watched most of FSU’s games. Simply put, back then FSU was recruiting on a Bama like level and deploying that wealth of talent against the likes of Wake, Duke, UVA, and all the other ACC basketball programs (with half-filled 45K football stadiums) that simply didn’t stand a chance against them. Hell, even Clemson was a dumpster fire and couldn’t get its act together until just a few years ago.
FSU would call very basic plays, and their TE and FB’s would literally outrun the CB’s of the opposing team while outweighing them by 75 lbs. I mean, it really wasn’t fair, and how soon we forget how much FSU was ridiculed for turning down an SEC overture to join the conference, only to take the easy route and beat up on a bunch of basketball schools who were at a huge disadvantage.
Richt is a hell of a coach when he has markedly superior talent. When the talent level is equal or he has slightly inferior talent is when his real coaching ability is revealed.
Bobby Bowden was at least honest enough to admit he didn’t want to be in the SEC because the competition was too tough. I think FSU went something like 9 seasons before they lost a conference game in the ACC.
Yep, there was an offer on the table, and Bowden/TPTB at FSU said hell no, as they wanted the easiest path to a title in the new BCS era. I had no clue they went 9 years without losing a conference game – that is astounding and just goes to show what a complete mismatch it was with FSU in the ACC. And again, the only other football school in the entire conference was Clemson, and they were a mess throughout the 90’s and 00’s with lackluster at best HC’s (West, Bowden, earlier years of Swiney, etc.)
It wasn’t 9 years, it was like 4 years, close to 30 straight games or something like that. Still an impressive run. It was actually Bluto’s other team that broke their streak!
Stopped Warrick Dunn on 4th down near the goal line on a direct snap play, I remember watching it on tv. I also remember thinking that was a predictable playcall at the time, and that was before I knew anything about who Richt was. 😀
They had run that play a lot with Dunn tho, and UVA was totally prepared for it and stuffed him.
That was a hell of a game.
As a previous C’ville resident with many UVa friends, they still talk about that game as if it happened just a few years ago. Sadly, they really have no other good memories to fall back on, other than some occasional come from behind win against NCST type stuff.
Based on the limited sample size thus far, I’d say your first sentence also applies to Kirby.
It may even apply to Saban. But because Saban has put together an unmatched recruiting machine at Alabama, we’ll never really know.
We’ll see. If Kirby starts having inexplicable losses and games where the team looks like they weren’t aware they were playing that day I’ll have the same opinion of him and I’ll be ready to get rid of him and try someone else. I hope the powers that be in BM don’t take a decade to decide to make a change this time because he’s such a “good man and good ambassador for the university” if that becomes the case.
Looking at the differences in how Kirby seems to be running things and his attention to detail compared with Richt’s methods I’m not overly concerned.
Year three and if everyone qualifies, they are still below the scholarship limit.
82 is outstanding compared to the 60’s and 70’s we were accustomed to until a year or two after Pruitt arrived.
Time to hire Brian Schottenheimer. I hear he’s an offensive genius.
Is this writer suggesting that the Miami AD force Richt to hire an OC?
Headlines to come:
“Is there a discipline problem in Corral Gables?”
“Richt should face the music and realize he needs a new DC”
“Miami OL is weak link in what otherwise should be an explosive offense”
“Palace intrigue among UM assistants cause for concern for CMR”
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Think Richt inherited a squad still recovering from sanctions and had only 69-70 players when he got there. He also had a half dozen leave/dismissed the first year. If he is up to 82 this year a pretty remarkable feat. Having watched a couple of their games last year their QB could not hit the side of a barn some games, yet others like Notre Dame he looked decent?
Think this season sorta decides how his tenure there goes. And yes to give a couple the haters a shot at me I am pulling for him to succeed.
Make no mistake, I’m pulling for CMR to succeed as well and hope he goes 13-0 this year or whatever. Just because I wasn’t keen on him as our HC starting around ’08-’09 doesn’t mean I wish him ill-will, as he’s a fantastic person and I would love for him to end his career on a happy note at his alma mater.
There will always be a fine line between sticking to your guns and doing what you believe in no matter what others might say, and being bullheaded wanting to prove you’re right no matter what.
Given the level of complexity in college offenses and defenses, and all the time demands throughout the week/year (I realize he technically has Thomas Brown as an OC), I just don’t see how it makes sense.
If he wants to call plays, go for it, but go be an OC somewhere and let someone else be the HC.
Gotta give them credit – it only took them 2 years to come to this realization. Took us a lot longer.
Yep. My thought as well.
Bbbuuuttt he won 10 games a year in Athens. We were crazy to fire him!!!
Not upset they fired him. Upset they took (at least) two years to do it “the right way” after they had clearly made their decision, rather than just ripping the bandaid off. Didn’t do him or us any favors.
Not being a Richt apologist, but he won a couple of SEC Titles early. Brought in some top recruiting classes in his early years and had our fan base excited about where we would go. I might also add that he did those things at a time when his SEC competition was much stronger than a run though the East in today’s environment. He rebuilt a program here that had fallen to the middle of the pack in the SEC. He didn’t inherit a 10 win per year program. Of course he didn’t play for for a National Title in year two, but I belive in giving credit where it’s due. Richt was a much needed shot in the arm at that time. People seem to forget that.
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If you throw out Donnan’s first season (only fair to give him a year to get the Goof out of the team) CMR’s winning percentage was almost exactly the same as Donnan’s.
It was Donnan losing consistently to Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Tech that doomed him.
Correct, and we won a ton of close, ugly, low scoring games with CVG running the D early on. No to mention the sheer talent Donnan left over for CMR in the early years. Also, SOS left UF in ’01, and thus UF was left was Zook, and Fulmer/UT was clearly on the downturn at this point as well. To this day I have no clue how Ron freakin’ Zook ended up with a winning record against CMR.
Even SCU was coming off a winless, 0-11 season (and something like 1-21 over several years) and was a far, far cry from where they are now (or in the mid 90’s). So CMR had a far easier road than Donnan did with UF, UT and GT at their absolute zenith in the mid/late 90’s after taking over for the completely disastrous Goff.
Almost exactly when you leave out SEC titles.
Sure, over 15 seasons, it eventually was. Leaving out Richt’s first year, which is only fair, his next four seasons saw him win 83% of his games, including two SEC titles and three title game appearances. Donnan won 73% in his four good years, never sniffing even a title game appearance. Richt had plateaued and deserved to be shown the door, but there’s a reason that he was given 15 seasons. He did revive the program, and Smart to some extent is benefiting from that.
Absolutely agree with your last two sentences, but comparing CMR to Donnan first 4 years or whatever is totally unfair, as again Donnan took over a disaster from Goff and was going up against both UF and UT yearly at their absolute best (both were top 5 programs yearly), and GT in the mid/late 90’s also were at their best with O’Leary, etc. Also, the talent Donnan left behind for CMR was impressive (people forget just how good of a recruiter/talent evaluator Donnan was), while Goff left Donnan far less to work with, including both a DL and OL that was weaker across the board than Donnan’s lines at Marshall.
For example, in ’02, CMR inherited from Donnan what would be his best OL group of his entire 15 year run at UGA (Stinch, Breedlove, etc) that he never again replicated on his own. CMR also came into his role with his major rivals/SEC on the decline – SOS was heading out the door at UF, Fulmer was on the downturn at UT, Bama was under severe NCAA probation due to the Albert Means mess, etc, and SCU was again something like 1-21 over the past two years.
Yes, Donnan did recruit quite well everywhere but running back, and he wasted it. You’re also ignoring some core ingredients that were leftover from Goff on Donnan’s best team. It was anchored by Mike Bobo, Hines Ward, Robert Edwards, Matt Stinchcomb, Chris Terry, Travis Stroud, Ronald Bailey and Greg Bright. Four of those Goff recruits also helped in landing Champ Bailey, Terrance Edwards, Marcus Stroud and Matt Stinchcomb. I’m not sure where the idea came from that the cupboard was completely bare for Donnan. It wasn’t.
Never said it was completely bare, but it was a far cry from what CMR inherited from Donnan. I was a student then and was friends with several starters from those ’95-’97 teams. Simply put, the program was at it’s absolute nadir then, and the stories shared from me from players on the team as to how shocked Donnan and staff were as to the lack of talent they inherited were actually quite funny in retrospect.
If ’95-’96 was the nadir, what was ’90?
I’m generally referring to most of Goff’s tenure, or the early-middle 90’s. Sure, 1990 was bad, but most chalked that year up to a young coach still trying to find his way…and the Kemp situation. And sure enough, in ’91-’92 UGA went 9-3/10-2 and things seemed normal again, only to take another dive down into the abyss, where by ’95 everybody knew not only a HC change needed to be made, but we were light years behind UF and UT.
1990 sucked … my last year in Athens. 1993-94 were pretty bad as well … and that was with a record setting QB. Who knows what our record would have been without EZ.
Lose 3 in a row to tech … get fired. That’s what did in Donnan. That, his stubborn support of Quincy Carter, and Kevin Ramsey … Donnan’s best season was year 2 at 10-2 when we got our doors blown off by Tennessee and faceplanted at home against Auburn after the Florida win. Richt’ best season was year 2 at 13-1 with an SEC championship, a Sugar Bowl championship and a #3 final ranking.
I’ll take Richt’s record over 15 years over Donnan’s record any day of the week.
Donnan was gone before the last lost to Tech but yes 3 in a row to GT will get you fired from UGA, win 3 in 8 years at Tech and they’ll give you a lifetime contract.
UGA is slow to fire, so part of me will take Donnan’s record. I am tired of consistently being good but not great. Smart can and should win titles. At the same time, I am not hung up on being a Bammer but Richt should have had 1 title in his 1st 8 years. The Boise St loss cemented to me that Richt would have a game a year where you walked away thinking what in the world was that? Smart in year 2 did not have that game. Hope he keeps it up. Donnan, Richt, and even Goff teased early in their time in Athens.
He coached through the bowl game, and he wasn’t fired until after the Tech loss.
While technically true, it was widely accepted the decision was final after Auburn. Donnan’s record against Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee was widely publicized then.
He was under fire, but I think a win over Tech could have bought him another year. Unless it was behind the scenes stuff that ultimately got him fired. There are all kinds of rumors surrounding the 2000 team.
Disagree with the 1st statement but agreed on the next 2 sentences. I will admit their is chance your view is correct and as I also stated in this topic, UGA is typically slow to fire.
Another one of those things UGA fans will debate until the end of time just like RIcht’s last year and when the decision was made to fire him. Was it after GT, OT to Ga. Southern, or the WLOCP?
After the embarrassing UF game, it was a 50/50 split among TPTB, and the prevailing theme was that CMR was hanging by a thread but would probably get another year. Then, the ugly GSU game followed which finally cemented things in favor of his dismissal. Ironically enough, it wasn’t so much the ugly OT win (though it didn’t help) as it was CMR celebrating with his team in the locker room afterwards as if they just won the SEC. That finally torqued enough important people off that many those in the 50% pro-CMR camp finally said enough is enough.
I knew a girl who ahem knew several football players and per her intel, the senior leaders in 2K went to Dooley AFTER the UF loss and said the team had lost confidence in Donnan.
I know Dooley fought Adams to keep him but I would say there was a lot of chum in the water before then.
I’m confused Normaltown…we are taking about CMR ’15, not Donnan in ’00.
Wrong. Dooley wanted to give Donnan another year. When Donnan showed his ass on the call in show AFTER the tech loss, which was a legit beat down btw, Adams pulled the trigger over dooley’s objections.
This is 100% correct, and I know this as a fact.
Everyone has their sources and opinions are like…..
We are hopefully in a better place now. You can’t enjoy the good without the bad, and this is the sweetest year in a while.
Who can believe direct quotes from the actual sources printed in the newspaper?
No one, because “sources.”
The reasons for Donnan’s firing were very public. We know what Adams and Dooley thought and did because they fucking said it out loud, on the record.
Adams is the picture of open and on the record
And didn’t Adams gave Donnan some sort of cash bonus behind Dooley’s back?
2 years prior when Donnan flirted with UNC
But Donnan’s call in shows were EPIC!
IMO, and in the opinion of some Donnan players I knew back then, including two grad assistants, these four things doomed Donnan: 1. too much of a ‘players coach.’ 2. Loss of key assistants (Chris Scelfo in particular). 3. Hiring of poor assistant back fills (Ramsey). 4. Quincy Carter.
If Donnan would have sat QC or kicked him off the team altogether and started Greene instead in ’00, the history books probably would have been rewritten, as Donnan would have kept his job while CMR would have most likely taken the UVa gig.
Donnan has consistently stated that if he had taken the redshirt off David Greene, he wouldn’t have gotten fired.
After the 5 int debacle against SCU, Donnan should have benched QC for the season right then and there. But by that point he was so far down the proverbial rabbit hole that I’m guessing there was no escaping. Regardless, much like CMR in his later years, there were some other systemic issues within the program that Donnan would have eventually gotten fired at some point, and unlike CMR he did not have goodwill built up with influential boosters and other UGA brass.
That game was awful, but there were a lot of them from the 22-3 woodshed job UT did to us with GameDay in Athens in 1990 to the tech debacle in Athens of 2000.
I never understood Richt’s reaction to that GSU game. I walked out of Sanford that night relieved we won but feeling like we lost.
That UT game in 99 was a good primer for Quincy against SC in 2K and his inability to anticipate where an opposing player is LIKELY to be standing. He had no conscious or memory of his last poor throw.
1998 – not 1990
Their long walk in the wilderness hath begun
“….and there’s no telling how high the ceiling for this team would be with a couple of changes.” Now that’s the most familiar line in the entire article. Even during the 2015 season when deep down I knew it was time for Richt to go, I was still telling myself with a couple of tweaks he could get things turned around. Looking back, that was my rationale for the last six years of Richt’s tenure.
Yep, but as Bluto has pointed out a few times, making those tweaks wasn’t Richt’s problem. He made the tweaks. His problem was he couldn’t stop issues from then popping up in other areas – so he would make those tweaks, only to have more problems pop up in yet another area…..and the cycle never stopped.
So far, Smart seems to be better at fixing problems without losing sight of the areas needing his attention too.
Exactly 1 group struggles and improves in another year, only for a group that was doing well to decline.
Smart isn’t running a team at probation scholarship levels and with big gaps at one area of the roster. If an area does have gaps, grad transfers or JUCOs are an option at fixing the problem in the short term.
41-8 over Notre Dame.
I’d be happy with that next September.
I never really thought Richt’s issues were game-day.
They were the little things in between games and over the off-season that all added up to maddening inconsistency. Richt is an exceptional football coach and a meh program manager. The second overtakes the first at the most inopportune times.
Roster management was the downfall of CMR. Between that and the recruiting misses at QB, it was too much to overcome.
IMO and from others who would know have shared, it was the general culture that CMR set forth that what finally did him in, which was one of a relatively relaxed state with no sense of urgency in pretty much anything. Also a lot of reactive decisions instead of proactive ones. By ’15 the roster issue repairs were underway as we we back to around 80-82 on scholly I believe, though all of the coaches knew in fall of ’13 that their latest signing class featured a ton of busts who would never be SEC caliber types.
Deshaun Watson would have helped, but that was the direct result of the culture change that occurred over time. Between Kathryn’s illness and the penny-pinching of Adams and McGarity, I think he had decided to ride it out.
Talking to former players off the record and/or after a few beers, they will pretty much say the same (though not exceptional; more like good/very good). It was well known that in/around the program felt more like a country club type of atmosphere than one with a sense of urgency to improve and take the next step to greatness.
Self-professed Richt fan but thankful for Kirby now. My two favorite quotes from article:
Classic Richt team while at UGA: “Playing down to the opponent was a concerning dilemma for the Canes”
Classic UGA fan during Richt tenure: “19 wins in two seasons isn’t bad at all, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Pretty much sums it up.
“... Shoot, why does anybody who’s ever won something do it again? Because it’s cool. So, let’s go do it again. Let’s see if we’ve got what it takes.” -- Stetson Bennett, The Athletic, 3/22/22
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