As we embark upon Mark Richt’s third seven-year period here at UGA, we have all come to love the man and what he stands for. He is an excellent role model. He is a fantastic recruiter. He was more successful when he first got here than any Bulldogs’ coach.
I consider those who still brag on his coaching, not his recruiting, over his most current 7-year period here, to be what is holding him back.
In his first seven year period here, I said frequently that his coaching staff would be his downfall. He had guys out of their knowledge base, coaching that which they did not even play themselves because well they fit in with Mark Richt’s own ideals. He eschewed anyone affiliated with the NFL, and shunned any such from joining his staff. He said as much.
We won. We won big. We were certainly by all measures, elite. We did not win it all, but we were certainly elite. We beat the top teams. We did not beat all the top teams, but we did win games against top teams. We went on the road and won. We beat teams who went to the bowl games those years. We beat top 25 teams, as measured by what they actually accomplished those seasons in the final polls, not what they were ranked at game time in week 2, only to not even make a bowl game. We got top recruits. We had a dynamic offense. We played great special teams, and played our top players at the key positions on the special teams. We stockpiled talent, and sent them in droves into the NFL.
That was his first 7 years here.
Since, has been anything but acceptable. We lose on the road against teams making the top 25 these latest 7 years. We lose to bowl teams, in fact only beating 54 % of the teams who even went to a bowl game these latest current 7 years by stark contrast. We lose to far less talented teams. We lose all too often nowadays to teams we should have beat the shit out of. We still recruit very well. When we leave Sanford Stadium, we lose. We cannot beat the top teams.
Through it all, we have had a small vocal community of Bulldogs’ fans who call anyone who dares to offer up this realization of the truth of the 2nd half of the Mark Richt era as he enters his 15th season this up-coming season, Mark Richt haters.
How could anyone hate Mark Richt ? There is not a more beloved man on this planet.
His coaching results for his high-class recruiting have been piss poor the most recent 7-year period.
This latest 7-year period, hopefully over now, has been marked not only by bad press of mounting losses, more than 4 losses a season average for 7 seasons damn it, but also this most current 7-year period of Mark Richt here has been marked by horrid off-field strife. It has grown exponentially – these ongoing off-field woes and bad press for Mark Richt’s recruits, for which he is given such high praise and rightfully so for bringing here to our storied program. We got down to only 72 remaining signed scholarship recruits to play in our last game against Louisville a couple of months’ ago now. He had none who went early in the NFL Draft 2014, yet of the 118 he signed to play against Louisville with a redshirt season the latest 5 years, he suited-up only 72. 16 of our signed scholarship recruits in 2014 alone were either arrested, or suspended, or kicked-off the team in 2014.
We have seen Mark Richt on the sidelines basically change from the man he once was when he first got here his first 7 years here of high energy emotionally charged, to a guy who seems resigned to failure, or no longer wants to be here coaching.
He even just recently admitted that he in public can tell us that here at Georgia, we adhere to something more important than winning.
This from the young gun we hired who said when he beat the # 4 vols in 2001 that he had knocked the lid off this program, and winning was going to be a staple for us.
Well, although it was not a staple that year 2001 we beat the # 4 vols because we lost 4 games 2001, but winning certainly was a staple here for the next 6 seasons.
Then, something happened. I have my theory on that, if anyone is interested. And, all of a sudden, overnight, Mark Richt was a changed man after 2007.
We had the # 1 rank pre-season in both the AP and Coaches’ Polls because of the momentum he had built here in winning. And, it all fell apart that very night we I guess the players felt EARNED that # 1 rank. 20 players that very night both polls ranked us # 1 for the 1st time in preseason history for UGA, went out and CELEBRATED.
We never recovered from all the off-field mayhem, culminating with one injured player in the all the bar room brawls, actually beating up St. Mary’s Hospital. That’s right. He attacked the hospital building.
Since then, we have played like shit.
I’d like to point out again, if I may, that the problem we have around here are the fans who act like what has happened since that night following the 2007 season, is acceptable.