Old Fashioned Hate: The Riverboat Gambler VS Evil Richt
Paul Johnson and Mark Richt may seem to be completely opposite when it comes to coaching a team, but they are more similar than you think. Johnson’s patented triple option relies heavily on ball control, and a good QB, while Mark Richt’s pro-style requires a smart QB as well. It is always assumed that Mark Richt is a very conservative coach when it comes to going for it on 4th down, while Johnson will go for it whenever, but this season has shown just the opposite.
Paul Johnson is the guy playing blackjack who hits on 15 every time. The Yellow Jackets this season have converted 68.2% of their 4th down tries, and over half of those are on their own side of the field. The Jackets have converted 9 out of 13 tries on 4th down. That is pretty impressive for a triple option team that rarely passes the football. This is compared to last season’s 8 of 18 on fourth downs, and did not convert a single fourth down in November. Johnson is very confident in his young QB, and will let the horses run on saturday if I were a betting man.
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the Sanford crowd boo Mark Richt for sending the punting unit out, I would have at least 4 dollars this season. Did you know that Mark Richt has an 80% 4th down success rate, which is tied for 4th nationally this season? The Bulldogs have converted 8 of 10 tries this year, and a beautiful fake punt against Auburn would have made it 9 of 11. For those of you do not think Richt goes for it enough, pump your breaks and realize it is all a calculated strike from Evil Richt.
Over the past 3 seasons, Mark Richt has been more successful on fourth down tries than Paul Johnson, but because Johnson goes for it more often he gets more praise for his risky play. Georgia has been able to stop the big plays from happening aside from SC and Florida, and I believe they will need to be successful preventing Tech from the big play to win this game. If Georgia can play smart, assignment football, and get Tech into 3rd/4th and medium then they should have no problem winning on Senior Day.