Georgia Football: I’m Ready for the Mark Richt Era to Be Over


I just can’t bring myself to do a GIF post after the game yesterday.

Honestly, what on earth do I have to post?

The Chubb run is obviously going to be something of legend once that kid gets the show all to himself. Other than that, the game was full of Florida runs, UGA being bounced off the line of scrimmage like something from a “Breaking Madden” episode, and ‘Mark Richt face’ looking up at the clock and scoreboard as if they were unsolvable mysteries.

About midway through the 3rd quarter, when it became absolutely obvious how this story was going to end, I left the house to go to the store. I remember walking through the aisles not even really remembering what I was looking for. I also realized that I had mismatched socks on and that I’d forgotten to change out of my bedroom shoes. I could hardly think of anything through the gnawing pit that dropping and dropping and dropping in my stomach.

This feeling—which I’ve felt far too often since 2001—has led me to the following conclusion:

 

I’m ready for the Mark Richt Era to be over.

 

Now before you lump me in with the #FireRicht or the #FireBobo or the #FireTheStrengthAndConditioningStaff crazies, let me say this:

I’m not saying we should fire Mark Richt after the Florida loss.

I’m not saying we should ever fire Mark Richt.

Or Mike Bobo. Or any current member of University of Georgia coaching staff.

I’m not even saying that Mark Richt won’t finish his career as the greatest UGA coach of all time. If he wins one or more National Titles I think he will have earned at least an argument for that honor.

I’m trying to get at a certain feeling that I have. A certain inevitable course of events that I just can’t get out of my mind.

 

You see, for me—and I imagine for a great deal of other UGA fans—there is this sinking feeling that the elusive National Title will continue to be just that: elusive.

 

There is this unyielding dread that a Mark Richt National Title will continue to be the dollar bill on the fishing line, the carrot on the stick, the Holy Grail hanging just close enough that we’ll leap over the precipice to get it but find it is just far enough away that we cannot get back, and so we will plummet into the deep chasm of bourbon-soaked “drown-your-sorrows-after-another-Florida-loss” nights that awaits us.

 

This feeling of inevitable failure could be enough to pull the trigger on the Mark Richt era and many in the coming days will probably call for that to happen.

But there is another bottomless pit out there.

 

It’s called the “coaching search.”

 

Almost no one gets it right (cf. Hoke, Brady). Sure we’re all waiting on Kirby Smart. And maybe he’ll be great. But I seem to remember another Saban disciple who went on to be the most in-demand young coordinator, only to subsequently be snagged by a great SEC school. He turned out to be less than stellar. His name was Will Muschamp.

You see, I’ll never advocate that we fire Mark Richt because I know with Richt we are always relevant, always in the hunt for a trip to Atlanta, and, as a result, always in contention for a playoff spot.

 

But I can’t get over the fact that the folks who say Richt is ‘too nice’ or ‘doesn’t have the killer instinct to win at this level’ have a point.

It has always seemed like the gut-wrenching paradox of the Richt tenure is that it takes a loss like this one to Florida to wake a team up into its true greatness, BUT that a loss like this also sinks any chance of the National Title they deserve.

 

Hence, you have the 2007 season.

Don’t get me wrong, that was one of the most incredible seasons of football I’ve ever witnessed. I’m not sure I’d trade it for anything.

But the loss to an abysmal Tennessee team that year only proves this point. It took that loss to wake up a UGA team that looked to be able to beat any team in the country by year’s end. But that loss to UT made it so that our sudden rise in form was for nothing. Sure, it was fun to watch. But even in today’s playoff environment a loss like that probably scuttles any hope of getting in.

And that’s where we’re left again today. Looking down the closing stretch where we could still win the East, still make it to Atlanta, still shake the world with a surprise SEC Championship, but it’s all tinged with the sobering realization that all of it is probably for nothing.

What’s worse, it will mark the final year in the career of one of the greatest college football players of all time, a player with whom we failed to even win a conference title.

When you think about the run of talent Mark Richt has had it really does become utterly maddening that we haven’t won anything more than a few SEC titles. David Green, David Pollack, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, A.J. Green, Jarvis Jones, Blair Walsh, Brandon Boykin, and finally Todd Gurley have all come and gone, with basically nothing but a Sugar Bowl destruction of Florida State and Hawaii to show for it.

via onlineathens.com

It is all the things we don’t know that cause us such torture.

Would another coach have built a championship team with that kind of talent?

You really can’t say.

And you really can’t blame Mark Richt either.

There are too many other factors involved, too many bounces that went the other way, too many all-time greats on the other side of the ball to lay it all at his feet.

But you can’t help but think that these 14 some odd years will be years that will not be remembered with nothing but fond feelings.

You have to think that the years of the Mark Richt Era will haunt UGA fans as the days of what might have been.

 

And yet there seems to be the universal sentiment that a Mark Richt Championship will be worth the wait. And so we continue to seemingly wait for the apocalypse, for the time that good guys win championships, for the time when UGA is always up for and thrives in the Cocktail Party, for a time when honesty and academic success and ‘the right way’ are rewarded.

But surely we’re not all naïve enough to think that such a time is coming soon.

And perhaps we’ve all experienced just enough of the workings of this world to know that nothing like that is coming on this side of the veil.

 

I will shed many a tear when Mark Richt hangs up the headset. After all, he has been my coach in the way that Vince Dooley was my Dad’s coach. But part of me, and how big a part I’m not sure yet, will breath a long and deep sigh of relief.

Because the terrible weight of being ‘good but not great’ might finally get lifted off the shoulders of the Bulldog Nation.

I love Mark Richt.

But I’m ready for the Richt Era to be over.

 

xoxo

Jason

 

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Posted on November 2, 2014, in Blog, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I told you nearly a decade ago that Richt wouldn’t win a national title. Nothing has changed. The guy is mediocre as hell. How many programs in the SEC swap coaches with us? Vandy? Apparently, our fans operate under this delusion that Mark Richt is the only coach in America that has a moral compass.

  2. Oh, and Geno Atkins, the best DL in NFL, also came through the program wihout sniffing a championship.

  3. I couldn’t have said it better. I’ve been ready for the Richt era to be over for a little while now. I don’t think we fire him but I do think he has taken the program as far as he can.

  4. It’s been time. Losses to Boise State, the Alabama blackout, the Alabama SEC championship game, the UCF loss, losses to UT, Florida chokes, can’t beat USC, and on and on.

  5. Wow, if we had won nobody would have been writing anything. You Dawg haters are fair weather fans at best.

    • its been a span of 7 yrs. of having everything to talent to coaching but what we’ve never had is a coach that can keep a team mentally focused and that falls on Richt everytime.

    • If you read what the posters have ALL said, you reply to, you would see clearly and plainly that the posters you reply to Brad Bradsher ARE Georgia Bulldogs’ Football Program Fans. Your weak attempt to call the posters you reply to “DAWG HATERS” is best described, sir, by the fact that YOU are a MARK RICHT APOLOGIST. Note, if you will, that you have NO RETORT to their facts. This leaves their facts, not replied to by YOU. Calling the posters here to this fine blog provided for you to say your mind to their replies, Dawg Haters highlights that your argument is weak and wrong-headed and that Mark Richt in the 2nd Half of his Mark Richt Era here, has not done as well as he did in his 1st Half of the Mark Richt Era.

      Has he ?

  6. Ah, the old “If you don’t like Mark Richt, you aren’t a real Georgia fan” routine. What a moronic argument. UGA existed before Mark Richt and will be here long after he’s gone. I’d hate for us to get a real coach so we could be as successful as Florida, Alabama, Auburn, or LSU. We’re putting so much at stake by getting rid of Richt. What if we don’t make it to the Outback Bowl or Capital One Bowl every year?

    • Mark Richt only has 2 BCS Bowl Game wins, # 19 Hawai’i and # 23 FSU who was a 5-Loss team.

      We’d be risking getting rid of that, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, to even consider a search for an established head coach who wants his $ 3.5 million a year we pay him to recruit. He needs to be recruiting coordinator, and not head coach. He needs to have a coach.

      He understands not the 1st word about discipline of a football team. He tells the scholarship recruits (16 arrested/suspended/kicked-off just in 2014 alone now ) that he LOVES them. This sends mixed signals to the very ones he needed to be direct and straight-forward to. What do they say ? They say, after Mark Richt kicked them off the team that when they needed him the most, he turned his back on them.

      Football is a full time endeavor in and unto itself. There is no 2nd place to football, not here at Georgia.

      Football “coaching” is more than recruiting talent : It is getting more from less.

      We get less with more.

      10 Losses to teams unranked the 14 seasons and counting. It’s getting MORE prevalent, not less.

      10 of the last 11 games in addition, to teams who ARE ranked on the road at their field, he’s Lost as well. He was 7-2 at that in the 1st Half of the Mark Richt Era.

      17-19 the 1st Half the Mark Richt Era vs ranked AP or Coaches’ those years 2001-2007
      7-28 since

      I list the wins and the losses in order and provide the URL Link to this for you to see yourselves. It includes the 10 losses to teams unranked either AP or Coaches’.

      If you play a 1-AA team and lose that counts against you as a loss.
      If you play a 1-AA team and beat them, that does not count as a win.

      Same applies to Top 25 teams. We should not win every Top 25 game. We should not lose to 10 not Top 25, as Top 10 All-Time Program in Wins, which is what we are.

      We did well at 17-19 from 2001-2007 vs Top 25 those seasons.
      We haven’t done a darn thing since.

      Something happened after 2007.

      Didn’t it ?

  7. I think Richt needs to revisit his preparations for his bye weeks.
    How do you have a bye week then Loose to South Carolina?
    Then another bye week and lose to Florida!
    What the HECK!!

  8. I have been saying this for as long as i can remember CMR is a nice guy but, this program will never advance with him at the helm. In football terms he is a loser plain and simple! Please please retire him!!!!!!

  9. jasonisasmith, sir,

    I appreciate you opening-up like this – and, this is a great read. You bare your soul to all. Almost makes one cry to see such honesty. Make no mistake about it though, you are calling for him to move on, sir.

    If that is not what you meant to say, it is what you did, sir.

    I’m impartial on this. I just read and studied your bared feelings.

    I see you struggle with it; but ultimately, you want Mark Richt gone. There is no other feeling you have.

    You list the reasons why he should not be, or this not the cause – not this tenth loss in 14 years’ time to teams even with their win over Mark Richt, still could not crack the AP Poll or the Coaches’ Poll these 14 seasons.

    You mention for example whom would we hire ?

    Well, I said December 20, 2000 that Vincent J. Dooley had selected a coach with no experience. Unfortunately for Mark Richt, 14 seasons’ later, he still has just one year’s experience, 14 times – continuing to make basic errors as a head football coach. A lot of that is explained or excused by the fact that Mike Adam$ did not allow Vince Dooley to TEACH him a thing. Nothing. Less than nothing. And, I am not all that certain that he could have, as Mark Richt is really set in his ways.

    One of the world’s best recruiters, he has 75 NFL Draft Picks and average # 9 Scout.com recruiting ranking 2001-2015, and it never stops – all this talent he has.

    Coaching is getting more from less.

    We’re the opposite.

    You mention some names. I could name more who have been through the program and for the most part, all of them were what could’ve been…

    Unfortunately for me, God gave me the Gift of Total Recall, and I hate it. I remember everything forever. I wish I could remember less about the 2 BCS Bowl Wins you listed, such as those are the only 2 BCS Bowl Wins by Mark Richt. Did you not want to say in more detail that they were over # 19 Hawai’i and over 5-Loss # 23 FSU those seasons, 2002 and 2007, sir ?

    We beat # 19
    We beat # 23, a 5-Loss team in a BCS Bowl Game – these are the HIGHLIGHTS.

    Sure, we knocked the lid off Top 10 All-Time Football Program UGA 2001 when we beat the vols on their cut down checkerboard end zone wide open, but sir, we LOST 4 games including to a horrible team who was unranked at game time, Boston College.

    The SEC was down back then.

    2002, only 4-Loss Auburn, was the only other team in the Coaches’ Poll Top 25 for 2002 from The SEC.

    Still, what we did back then was great for our hearts !

    That was unfortunately so long ago, most folks not blessed as I with memory, can only recall that we have LOST games the 2nd Half of the Mark Richt Era – which is what I blogged about today on my blog.

    We’re not a Top 25 team after 2007.

    If you think we cannot hire a REAL HEAD FOOTBALL COACH for $ 3.5 million dollars a season, think again.

    We can.

    I am concerned with a search.

    I just want some decisions to be made correctly and for the right reasons for Kentucky.

    I do not ask much.

    In fact, as fans, to keep Mark Richt NONE OF US DO.

    I love the guy : His 2nd Half of the Mark Richt Era notwithstanding.

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