Tag Archives: Mark Richt

Staples on the Georgia job

Andy Staples has fleshed out his statement on the Finebaum show that Georgia is the number one coaching job in America.  See if you can find the flaw in his reasoning:

• I used to consider Texas the best job in the country, but now I think it’s Georgia, followed by Ohio State. Why Georgia? My top criterion is access to players relative to competitors, and Georgia is in a really enviable position. In the past five recruiting classes, an average of 113.6 high-schoolers from the state of Georgia have signed with Power Five schools each year. (Note that we’re talking Power Five, not all of the FBS.) That number is third behind Texas (179.4) and Florida (164.4) and ahead of California (100.4). The competition between state schools in those states is far more intense than it is in Georgia. With Georgia Tech running the option, the schools aren’t really going head-to-head on offensive players because of different needs, and Georgia is the bigger brand name. It’s also in the conference that more recruits consider desirable. Georgia’s situation is closer to Ohio State’s. In Ohio, kids grow up wanting to be Buckeyes. In Georgia, they grow up wanting to be Bulldogs. Ohio State was very good under Jim Tressel, but you didn’t see the Buckeyes take the next step until Urban Meyer came along. Now, they have the most talented team in the country. Meanwhile, the state of Ohio produced 64.6 Power Five signees a year over that same five-year period.

Do Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, South Carolina and others come in and poach Georgia talent? Absolutely. But there’s such an abundance of it in the state that Georgia can afford to lose a few top in-state targets and still field a team capable of competing for SEC and national titles. Alabama and Auburn have to invade Georgia. During that five-year period, their state produced 36.4 Power Five signees a year. People talk about LSU’s monopoly in its state, but the numbers between Louisiana and Georgia aren’t even close. Louisiana’s average number of Power Five signees during that span was 38.6 a year.

Add to this great facilities (now that the Bulldogs are building an indoor), great tradition, a sharp athletic director, possibly the best college town in America and the fact that they play in the easier division of the nation’s deepest conference. That’s the recipe for a great job that just about every coach in America would crawl over broken glass to take.

• As far as taking the next step, there are a lot of factors. But let’s be honest. If some things break differently in the 2012 SEC title game, Georgia has a national title under Mark Richt and we’re probably not having this conversation. But the fact is Georgia has been the best team in the East on paper for most of the years since Tim Tebow left Florida and has two East titles and no SEC titles to show for it. Given its advantages and the current state of the SEC East, Georgia should be in the national title hunt most years.

• Mark Richt is on a very short list of coaches I’d want my kid to play for. He is secure in who he is and how he wants to run the program. He clearly cares about his players, and the program he created to help transition to life after football is a prime example. He hasn’t compromised what he considers his mission for the sake of winning. That’s great from a human standpoint and tough from a professional one, because he gets paid a healthy salary to win titles. I know no school president or athletic director will ever say it out loud, but coaches almost always get fired because of their win-loss record—not because they didn’t mold enough men.

Give up?  Here ’tis.

Add to this great facilities (now that the Bulldogs are building an indoor), great tradition, a sharp athletic director, possibly the best college town in America and the fact that they play in the easier division of the nation’s deepest conference. That’s the recipe for a great job that just about every coach in America would crawl over broken glass to take.  [Emphasis added.]

Now granted, we live a lot closer to the situation than he does, but I don’t see how anyone who follows the program can breeze in with an assessment like that, given what was going on at Butts-Mehre just a few short months ago.

Again, my point here isn’t to contest the knocks on Mark Richt that Andy lists with some validity.  But I’ll continue to insist, as I have for a while now, that context matters in this situation.  It matters a helluva lot more than Staples lets on.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

He’s only in it for the money.

Is it just me, or does Matt Hayes seem particularly fixated on Mark Richt’s latest raise?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Mark Richt has time for that shit.

I’m sure most of you have seen this by now:

Tell me, is that the look of a man who’s sweating being on a hot seat?  Just wonderin’.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Hi there, hot seat meme. Missed you while you were gone.

I don’t know whether to call Dan Wolken’s assessment of Mark Richt’s job security (ranked 11th in the conference) lazy or nasty.

Within the coaching world, there’s a strong belief Richt will walk away from Georgia and go do missionary work if he sees the writing on the wall. Despite his consistency over 14 seasons, Georgia fans have largely grown frustrated with perceived underachievement (his last SEC title came in 2005). If he goes a third straight year without winning a weak East, Georgia could start itching for change.

The lazy part?  “Georgia fans have largely grown frustrated with perceived underachievement…”  That “largely” toss-in isn’t based on anything other than the perception of someone who evidently spends too much time listening to Finebaum and reading message board and blog comments.  Like it or not, Richt’s gotten a huge financial commitment from the school in the last half-year or so and barring some unprecedented collapse, isn’t going anywhere.  If Georgia merely slips up and lets Missouri in the door to the Georgia Dome for the third straight year, it’s hard to see how the administration doesn’t give him more than a year to try to get a return on the new investment.

The ugly part, of course, is the first sentence, which sounds like something straight off the recruiting trail.

It’s a weird world we live in where Richt’s personal morals are perceived as a sign of weakness, while the fourth-ranked coach on Wolken’s list can evidently slide on his program being connected to a federal investigation connected to allegations of improper responses to reports of on- and off-campus sexual assaults.  Maybe someone should ask PAWWWLLL about it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“Richt is just fine.”

Barrett Sallee swims against the tide.

If Richt can do what he always does—lead his team into mid-November with realistic chances at the division title and dance around the 10-win mark—that constitutes a successful season, just like last year was after Georgia topped Louisville in the Belk Bowl.

Agree?  Disagree?

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Fifty shades of Mark Richt

My last post got me to thinking (“Oh, Gawd,” you’re saying, “what now?”) about some of the ongoing debates we’ve had in the comments section – okay, the debate we’ve had in the comments section – and I can’t help but believe most people are missing the bigger picture surrounding the football program at present.

It strikes me that what the pessimists get correct is Mark Richt’s failings as a game manager.  It’s not his strong suit, to be sure.  We’ve all seen (or recited) the litany of games where there’s either been a head scratcher of a decision at a key moment, or a game where the team came out unprepared, mentally or emotionally, to play at the level expected.  It’s a reality and it’s probably not going away.  If that’s not something you’re prepared to concede, you, friend, are a blind optimist.

That being said, it ain’t necessarily the end of the world.  If it were, I’d expect to hear a lot of similar comments about the dire straits Alabama is headed towards.  After all, consider how the Tide’s last two seasons have ended – in 2013, a loss to Auburn on a play that Saban’s team looked totally unprepared to handle that knocked them out of the SEC and national title hunt, followed by a listless performance against Big Game Bob (!) and then last season’s smoking at the hands of Ohio State, a team Kirby Smart admitted Alabama took lightly because it was starting a third-string quarterback.  Gee, where have I heard that before?

But that’s not really the point I’m trying to make here.  Instead, my main point is directed toward those who’ve wanted a coaching change.  Well, in essence, I’d say you already have that coaching change.

Consider the following:

  • Assistant staff.  With Tony Ball’s departure, there is only one are only two assistant coaches on the staff left from 2013, and one of them, Brian McClendon, is not at the same position he occupied a mere two seasons ago.  You’d expect to have a similar amount of turnover if Georgia had replaced Richt, wouldn’t you?
  • Recruiting.  As I said in my earlier post today, to go from the days of voluntarily running a roster with less than 70 scholarship players on it to the aggressive signing of a legit recruit four+ months after national signing day is a 180 degree turn of events.  When you consider that was Georgia’s second such signing of an offensive lineman it plucked from another major program in this class (Madden) and what Georgia did to secure Roquan Smith’s commitment, recruiting is clearly in a different and better place than the one it occupied just a few seasons ago.
  • Special teams.  If serial undersigning has been Richt’s biggest sin over the last six years or so, the second biggest has been how he let special teams deteriorate.  Georgia went from having return games that were weapons to a fair catch specialist.  Inexcusable.  I’m not saying the Dawgs are out of the woods completely, but anyone who watched special teams play last season has to concede that things are moving in the proper direction.  That only happens when a head coach wakes up and realizes what he’s done wrong.  (Or the new guy corrects the predecessor’s glaring mistake.)
  • Infrastructure.  You may not think an IPF is all that necessary, but one is still in the works.  There’s been a robust increase in the size of the support staff for the program.  The recruiting budget has been seriously jacked up.  All of this is stuff that a new head coach at a program like Georgia would likely demand as a condition for taking the job.  Which leads to…
  • Administrative support.  We’ve come a long way from Greg McGarity’s interview with Mark Bradley and the weirdness surrounding the post game Belk Bowl.  And again, there’s no way somebody comes in after Richt without making demands that B-M quit working at cross-purposes with the football staff.

You wanted wholesale change; you got it, brother.  The only thing you didn’t get was a different name at the top.  And maybe that spoils the whole thing for you.  You’d call yourself a realist for that.  I’d argue, instead, that it makes you a blind pessimist.

I have no idea if all these changes are going to pay off.  (Then, again, I’d have no idea if a new head coach would pay off, either.)  But there’s enough happening to intrigue me sufficiently to want to see what Richt can do with this over the next two or three seasons.

If Richt’s greatest flaw has been loyalty to a fault – really, that explains Martinez overstaying his welcome as defensive coordinator and Richt’s reluctance to put himself in a position where he might potentially screw over a kid who committed to Georgia – his greatest strength has been his willingness to look at himself in the mirror, see his strategic mistakes and take concrete steps to correct them.  There are a lot of head coaches at programs inferior to Georgia who could never remake themselves.

And Richt, to his credit, has done that once already.  Tell me – after the debacles of the ’09 and ’10 seasons, how many of you anticipated Georgia would reel off back-to-back SECCG appearances and come within a whisker of playing for a national title in the next two seasons?  I know I thought Richt’s departure was a more likely outcome than that.

I’m not saying this because I’m a Richt apologist or because I’m satisfied with Georgia football failing to win a championship of any sort for a decade.  I’m saying this because it’s hard to think of any other major program that’s remade itself to the extent ours has in such a short period without a change at head coach.  And that’s a big enough deal for me to want to see how the story plays out.

It’s a helluva lot more interesting a story than the bullshit the national media spins out about Richt and his program these days, that’s for sure.  Maybe you should stick around for the ride, too.  With your eyes open.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Readings from the Book of Steele, SEC Chapter

Stop me if you’ve heard this before:

HC Mark Richt has never finished lower than 3rd in his division in his 14 years here and no other SEC team has done that.

Of course, here’s comes the “but”.

UGA has never won a National Title under Richt and many fans believe he has underachieved because he raised expectations so high.

Mark Richt has lost control of fans’ expectations, damn it.  But that’s not all he’s lost.

Georgia has been favored in all but 1 game (at Auburn 2013) the last 2 years but have been upset 7 times.

None of which is to say that Steele doesn’t pick Georgia to win the East this season.  He does, and, citing talent and a schedule with only three conference road games, goes on to call the Dawgs “a legitimate SEC and National Title contender”.

All in all, I’d say Steele has a pretty good handle on the state of things.  What about you?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water