David Hale returns to his roots:
Few coaches have been cursed by “what if” more than Mark Richt. What if Rex Grossman hadn’t carved up his defense in 2002? What if D.J. Shockley hadn’t gotten hurt just before the Florida game in 2005? What if Steve Spurrier hadn’t pulled the massive upset in Athens in 2007, the year Georgia finished No. 2 in the polls? But, of course, no what-if looms larger than the one in 2012, when Aaron Murray’s pass was deflected and caught by Chris Conley at the 5-yard line, running out the clock on the Bulldogs’ comeback attempt against Alabama in the SEC championship game. A loss by the Tide wouldn’t have done much to change Nick Saban’s legacy, but boy would that win have altered how we view Richt. A Georgia victory likely sends the Bulldogs to the national championship game, where a less talented Notre Dame would’ve been the last obstacle to a trophy. Instead, assuming he never coaches again, Richt will take his place in the pantheon of greatest coaches never to win a national title, alongside Frank Beamer, Pat Dye and Bo Schembechler. Ah, what might’ve been.
Sometimes, I wonder if there’s a quiet time or two when Richt sits and ponders why he came up on the short end of the stick so many times.