News |   Obits |   Sports |   Business |   Opinion |   Things to Do |   Life |   Blogs |   Photos |   Video |   Data |   Jobs |   Homes |   Autos |   Buy/Sell


Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Georgia fans getting impatient with Richt

  • Follow College

ATHENS, Ga. - Bulldog Nation and Mark Richt have lost that lovin' feeling.

The mood of the fan base has shifted from concerned to embarrassed to hostile now that Georgia has fallen to 0-3 in the Southeastern Conference. There is nobody happy about the Bulldog state of affairs after Saturday night's loss at Mississippi State.

"This week we will be soul-searching," Richt said.

That's not the kind of searching many of Georgia's increasingly disgruntled fans are calling for. The refrain for regime change is getting louder with every downward step the program takes.

Even though I disagree with the reactionary bloodlust, the "fire Mark Richt" crowd has plenty of ammunition.

The Bulldogs are 0-3 for the first time in the SEC since the middle of the wretched Ray Goff era of 1993.

They are 2-7 in their past nine SEC games, including losses to LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State.

They are 20-15 in the conference since winning the SEC championship in 2005.

They can't seem to go a week without some player getting arrested for some stupid thing.

For those of us less prone to let emotion interfere with rational analysis, it's getting tougher to defend Richt's 10-year tenure on merit.

Even the players aren't defending themselves these days.

"We're embarrassed at the way we're playing," said Kris Durham, one of the bright spots of a dismal season thus far. "Our season could turn into a catastrophe if we don't stay together."

No doubt, some rabid Georgia fans are hoping that will happen to force new athletic director Greg McGarity's hand. It would be a costly move with Richt's $2 million buyout for each of the next three seasons. McGarity has said this is not a make-or-break season.

Fans on the Internet, however, are buzzing with contempt for a coach everyone once adored. Not that the Internet is filled with rational debate.

Even the guy protecting the Web address FireMarkRicht.com from becoming a petri dish of Bulldog anger is waffling on his support after getting more than 300 e-mails since Saturday encouraging him to join the witch hunt.

"I am a UGA fan that appreciates everything Richt has done for us," said William Neilson Jr., Georgia Class of '05. "With that said, it is hard watching us play so poorly. Maybe we do need to make changes, but I prefer keeping those thoughts in-house amongst other UGA fans rather than making it a national event on this Web site."

Other Web sites have no such reservations. FireMarkRicht.net provides a forum for fan venting. Facebook has 184 members of The Fire Mark Richt Club, which has had wall posts pouring in since Saturday's first loss in Starkville, Miss., since 1951.

"Mark Richt is the Norv Turner of college football!" posted Ljdawg Kevin. "I hate to say it but he has to go! I haven't seen a UGA team this flat since the Ray Goff years!"

The discontent has clearly reached multiple-exclamation-point level.

None of this, of course, is news to Richt.

"They're not (happy)?" he said. "Neither am I. Neither is my mom, I can tell you that."

Richt can't afford to sit back and hope things turn around midseason despite all the evidence that it won't. He needs to be proactive in more ways than just kicking off any players who run afoul of the law.

The biggest thing he can do right now is take over the play-calling from Mike Bobo, who has taken over the hot seat left vacant when defensive coordinator Willie Martinez was fired after last season. Georgia's best results in the Richt era came when he was calling the shots himself. For his own good, he needs to get more involved again.

"I need time to watch and reflect," Richt said after Saturday's loss. "Every week we look at our program in all areas. This week we will talk about the things we do well and what we can do better and about things in general that will help us turn this around."

In reviewing the game film, Richt surely noticed how uninspiring the offensive play-calling has been. With A.J. Green coming back from suspension to face Colorado this weekend, taking over the play-calling and getting No. 8 involved in a big way would go a long way to creating a positive vibe before the resumption of SEC play.

Richt will likely not -- and should not -- be fired this season. Collecting 90 wins in nine seasons doesn't just happen by accident. He's earned the right to fix this mess himself, and that might require more staffing changes.

But with things trending the wrong direction, the luxury of long-term security doesn't exist in an arena as competitive as the SEC. Justly or not, Georgia fans are intolerant of mediocrity, and they are forcing Richt out of his comfort zone.

"It's certainly not a good place to be, but we are where we are," Richt said. "We've got to stay together, and I've seen no signs of change in my mindset that we're a close-knit family. But we've also got to look within, starting with me, as to the things that have kept us from having the success that we want."

If he can't find those answers from within, Georgia is going to start looking outside.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
augustadog
86
Points
augustadog 09/28/10 - 07:29 am
0
0
Mark needs to bite the bullet

Mark needs to bite the bullet and let Bobo go. Don't languish on and on or it will cost Mark his job. The Willie Martinez debacle went on for 2-3 years too long. Take action or McGarity will!

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 09/28/10 - 11:28 am
0
0
As a Georgia fan, I find it

As a Georgia fan, I find it embarrassing that so many in the UGA fan base are ready to fire a head coach with the 3rd best winning percentage among active head coaches in the college ranks. Mark Richt has won before and he will win big again, if the Georgia fans will stop their whining.

ruudvonbaron
0
Points
ruudvonbaron 09/28/10 - 01:28 pm
0
0
Richt will never win again at

Richt will never win again at UGA. That ship sailed in 2008 when he squandered what should have been a championship team. He has molded a staff in his stale, emotionless image except for the new hire of Grantham and he is obviously outside of Richt's comfort zone. Bobo is horrible as an OC from playcalling and red zone offense and penalties and overall consistency and strategy. They have no strategy on offense. They try to do a little bit of everything and do nothing particularly well. Searles' schemes has made the offensive line very soft. Player development is subpar. Keep Richt another decade if you want but I'm telling you he will never win anything ever again at UGA.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 09/28/10 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Richt will definitely win

Richt will definitely win again, and win big. It's up to the UGA people as to whether that will be at Georgia or a competing school. Look at his record.

Just My Opinion
5296
Points
Just My Opinion 09/28/10 - 03:58 pm
0
0
Scott, good article. Well

Scott, good article. Well said comments. The only thing I'd add of things to be done is to get rid of Coach Van Halanger. I realize that he is one of Richt's closest friends, but his allowing the strength & conditioning program to fail these past few years is, I believe, one of the roots of the problems for this team. We are getting pushed around like I've never seen before. Even players on other teams are saying we're soft! Van Halanger used to be one of the nation's top S&C coaches, but after his heart attacks and failing health, he isn't doing his job. One part of that job is to prepare the team PHYSICALLY. The other part, which is just as important, is to prepare the team MENTALLY. The man is hardly ever in the gym with the players, so how can he do that? Ruud, you commented on Searles' schemes making the offensive line look soft..no, the problem is that they aren't able to push back to make the holes! Richt should've fired Bobo and VH last year...why he didn't, I don't know. This year is almost too late to do much better, but we can work to correct mistakes (i.e. firing 2 coaches) and prepare for next year. The Georgia fans need to shut up, get behind the program, and realize that nothing radical will happen the rest of the season. All of their irresponsible and irrational whining is doing nothing but hurting an already damaged program! GO DAWGS!!

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 09/28/10 - 06:24 pm
0
0
It is hard to stay hungry

It is hard to stay hungry when the salaries are so large. Some can do it and some can't. If your financial security for the future rests on the next game you look under every rock to fix things. Success can hurt any of us and move us from great to good and to average in a hurry. They need players with character as well as ability. Those without character certainly aren't concerned about giving 100% to anything. We all need one day contracts and a everything would change.

Just My Opinion
5296
Points
Just My Opinion 09/28/10 - 07:26 pm
0
0
I really think another issue

I really think another issue that has the fans so irate is the way they perceive Coach Richt's demeanor and attitude about what is happening. He is NOT loud, deliberate, or in-your-face with his opinions or feelings. He chooses not to let the public know what he is really thinking. He has been this way for the past 10 years. He is very careful about not saying or doing the wrong thing. Even so, people misinterpret his quiet affect for not caring or not being in touch with what is happening with his program. Not true.

easy breezy
14
Points
easy breezy 09/28/10 - 07:31 pm
0
0
Well said csrareader! When

Well said csrareader! When you're a true fan, you keep pulling for your team no matter what the situation is. No body was running their mouths when Richt was winning games.

apex24
0
Points
apex24 09/28/10 - 10:53 pm
0
0
Georgia fans have always been

Georgia fans have always been fair weather fans along with big arrogant mouths. They fired Jim Donnan after he went 8-3. What the Bullpup fans need to realize is that Vince Dooley, Larry Munson and Hershel Walker are gone and college football has much more parity. You can't win every game anymore!!!!!!!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Property tax increase OK'd

Augusta commissioners broke a seven-year trend Wednesday and agreed 7-0 to raise property taxes by 1.75 mills to cover a deficit and provide employees a small bonus.
Search Augusta jobs