Georgia Football: Listless, Pathetic, Sad
The four posts on this website preceding this one will do a much better job of summarizing my thoughts on Florida’s 27-3 win on Saturday, and its impact on the Georgia football program as we know it. I’m going to step out on a very sturdy limb as well: it’s time for Mark Richt to go.
In a disturbing and now wholly evident trend, Georgia football under the current regime simply does not have the resolve to punch back once hit in the mouth. We saw it against South Carolina in 2012, we saw it against Alabama in 2008, and we have now seen it on three different occasions in the past month. On the strength of those performances, the Dawgs have gone from ‘perpetual underachiever’ to ‘nationwide laughingstock’. When a team is characterized as not man enough by an Alabama.com journalist, things are going poorly. When the next test of their mettle is an appalling defensive performance against Tennessee, red flags are raised. A listless offensive performance the next week against Missouri? More red flags, and the thought that this could be a longer-term issue.
Then there was Saturday.
Make no mistake, Mark Richt waved the white flag on Thursday evening when he named Faton Bauta the starting quarterback. He told Florida his team couldn’t line up and beat them. He told his offense, “what the hell, nothing else is working. Let’s try the guy who was always a depth guy.” He told his defense that they were going to have to hold the Gators to about 10 points to contend. And he told the fanbase that he had already been surpassed by a program picked to finish 5th in the SEC East.
A great coach can, in many instances, be a good CEO. Look at Dabo Swinney at Clemson. Or Nick Saban at Alabama. Or about 20 more examples from the past fifteen years of coaches who take a hands-off approach to the offense and defense, but serve primarily as motivators, closers on the recruiting trail, and the faces of their respective programs. Richt has applied the same model, allowing Jeremy Pruitt full control of the defense (to solid, though not consistently spectacular results) and Brian Schottenheimer as a philosophical match for his O (let’s not do this today).
The difference between a Swinney, Meyer or a Saban, Georgia fans, and Richt? They show a willingness to change things if they’re not correct. A lack of comfort with a lack of progression. An ability (not on a Brian Kelly level, mind you) to light into a player, coach, or official to correct wrongs. Meanwhile, the video below portrays what should come to mind when thinking of Mark Richt: aloof, disconsolate, and a man without answers:
I discovered ‘aloof Richt face’ in the 35-7 drubbing the Dawgs took at South Carolina back in 2012. As a green Georgia fan, I thought this was a consequence of CMR being confused that his team didn’t come to play. But the same image I keep trying to repress keeps rearing its ugly head in every loss. Behind those eyes is a man who almost seems content with his team’s fate.
For my money, its no better off the field. My only personal encounter with Richt added more fuel to the “holy shit, this guy is clueless” fire. With a former Georgia football staffer of five years, I toured the football facilities and met almost everyone involved with the program (by the way: Mike Bobo– PHENOMENAL dude). After we shot the breeze with Richt’s secretary for a few minutes, he strode by and asked her what he had missed. After hearing he had missed a prominent member of two of his recent contenders, in town from a bye week, he lifted his head and gave a disingenuous “shucks” as if seeing a former player would derail his day.
It was then that he noticed us, prominently and obviously speaking with his secretary. Again, mind you I am here with a staffer who had just left the program the previous spring. Richt sees me, recognizes him, and … completely blanks on his name. It always left a bad taste in my mouth. If Richt can’t figure out the name of a five-year veteran of his staff, is it much of a stretch to draw the #Richthaslostcontrol conclusion? I think not.
When Georgia clocked the ball at the end of the Tennessee loss, an extra three seconds ran off the clock, leaving a panicked Georgia team with just six remaining– time for one play, no longer two. The camera pans to Richt, arms crossed, on the sidelines, rubbing his chin.
Those two anecdotes were my where were you when? moments for jumping off the Richt bandwagon. I’ve twice drafted better versions of this post between then and now, and twice chunked them because I wanted to believe that he could right the ship.
I no longer think that’s the case.
It’s time for Georgia and Mark Richt to part ways.