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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits: Finally What You've Wanted to Hear

Great comments from today's news conference at Georgia that I think fans have been anxiously waiting to hear:
"There’s three things that are important: Where you’ve been, where you’re at and where you’re going. If those three things are ever the same, you’re in trouble. I just felt like it was time to visit with, particularly, our veteran players in a very candid way, a very honest way, a way they can understand, that where we’ve been lately as a team from a competitive standpoint, from a success standpoint isn’t where we want to be.

"(Barry) Switzer made this statement: He said Bud Wilkerson created a monster at Oklahoma and now it’s his job to feed it. I understand that. I think when you reel off (a lot of) wins or more, that’s somewhat of a monster that needs to be fed.

"Expectations are high, and I don’t think in the last couple of years, I know that we haven’t met my expectations. I think sometimes what can happen, if a guy’s a millionaire, they don’t think anything about going down to the bank and taking out $50, $500 or $50,000. The bank’s full of money as far as they’re concerned. They don’t worry about beating the check back to make a deposit.

"That’s a different life. I kind of feel like in the past four or five years, the feeding of the monster hasn’t been taking place. The investing and the deposits haven’t been made, yet we’ve continued to live like millionaires. We just keep making withdrawals. That’s not the way this works.

"This is a program that was built on passion, hard work, a great pride in our work ethic, aggressiveness. I think from time to time I’ve heard people say that our team has played harder than anybody, but I don’t think we’ve done that the last two or three years. I think there may have been a sense creep in that we’re Georgia and we’re going to win (a lot of) games."
Wow. Powerful stuff, right? Only problem is that it wasn't Mark Richt who said it. It was women's basketball coach Andy Landers.

But reading those words, tell me it wasn't the football program that you were thinking about -- and not just because that's what the primary topics of this blog have been for the past few months. The words so accurately reflect the problems so many fans see on Saturdays that it's almost uncanny.

It's a lot easier for Landers to say them, I know. He's on the brink of a new season, not smack dab in the middle of one that is quickly going down in flames.

He isn't under anywhere near the spotlight that Richt is. He gets to coast under the radar -- at least until football season is over.

And he's got 31 years of experience under his belt at Georgia. He's a hall-of-famer, and for now, Richt is simply "a pretty good coach."

But I get the sense that, through all the turmoil of the past few weeks and maybe the past few years, a similar statement by Richt would go a long, long way to smoothing over some of the vitriol from fans.

As it is, here's what Richt did have to say about his program:
"I have concerns about the season, of course, with the way we’ve played. As far as the program, we have a very strong program, finishing in the Coaches’ Poll 10 last year, No. 2 in the AP the year before. Six out of seven years in the top 10, that’s not bad.

"That’s the past, I understand that, but when you start talking about a program, you have to look at where we’ve been in recent history. And this season’s not over. I think when some of your main goals become less likely to be attained, it’s tough on everybody. So we’re very concerned about where this season is going and we’re battling as hard as we can battle to get things moving in the right direction this year."
It might have been an eloquent argument for Richt, but on the heels of Landers' words, it probably rings a little hollow for many of the fans who have been so angry in the past 72 hours.

Moving on to some other tidbits from Tuesday's media event...

-- Caleb King will return to practice today and Richt is hopeful he can play Saturday.

-- Vance Cuff will see more action this week and should get in a full week of practice.

-- Marcus Dowtin and Akeem Dent are almost certainly out for this week's game.

-- Richard Samuel is expected to get the start at tailback again but Richt said there will be a mix between all four of the tailbacks for now.

-- Richt said a number of youngsters would see more action. Among them, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten "have earned more playing time" and Branden Smith and Baccari Rambo will get increased reps spelling Bryan Evans, Prince Miller and Reshad Jones. Richt didn't specifically call out those older guys but said they would benefit from getting some snaps off.

-- Richt was emphatic that Joe Cox remained his starting quarterback, but he specifically said that Logan Gray could begin seeing a few series worth of action each game.

-- Asked what would turn the defense around, Richt said there were a lot of issues, but that it should start with getting off the field when they put the opponent in third-and-long.

-- On Richt's call-in show last night, he said a couple of things worth noting as well:

On Aaron Murray possibly playing: "I'm not saying it's an impossibility at this point, but I'd say it's not very likely. I can see where people want a young guy to get in there right now. I'm not saying it won't happen, but right now the main focus is to win this game against Vanderbilt."

On his assistant coaches: "I think a lot of people expect blood. They want somebody to be let go or fired or that kind of thing, and maybe that's what needs to be done, but at this point right now, we're going to do what we know is the best thing to do and that's to focus on this game this week."

Still think he won't fire someone? Doesn't sound that way to me.

-- Also, I talked to Rennie Curran and Bryan Evans and both expressed some frustration that perhaps there was a lack of effort in the film room on the part of some of their teammates. I'll have much more on this in today's post-practice notes.


Anonymous said...

You are cruel for teasing us in that way. MR could definitely learn something from that quote. I can't believe that there are no changes to the starting line up. The fact that Evans and Prince are still starting tells me that Richt is unable to make difficult decisions. I am tired of only seeing the backs of their jerseys during games because they are chasing a receiver. Rambo should be starting. What message does it send to the rest of the team when poor performers continue to start?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first Anon. A good article, but I dont like how you did the beginning. A fan base that is looking for hope right now doesnt need to be built up and let down so quickly.

I still love the blog though!

Anonymous said...

Bryan Evans doesn't need to be calling out anyone for not watching film, because he has been a complete worthless dog out there. He is constantly getting burned and failing to make any impact at all. In short, he sucks, and needs to step up his game or just shut up.

David Hale said...

Sorry that was a little evil of me. I was going for resonance and impact over humanity. Chalk it up to all the bad lessons I've been taught as a writer.

As for Evans, he didn't call anyone out in particular, he simply said it's been an issue. And for the purposes of rectifying and identifying problems, I don't think we should ignore Evans simply because he's part of the issue.

Telling the guy who blew the whistle on cigarette companies to shut up because he smoked wouldn't have been much help, would it?

JRL said...

Wow David - you had me levitating out of my chair then poof LOL.

Just like the season my expectations grew with each word I consumed then poof.

Cruel - not really - more of a reality check.

Anonymous said...

Evans calling out people for not watching film? LOL. The reciever could tell that kid where he's going pre-snap and he would still be 5-10 yards off, then he'd arm tackle him.

MikeJones said...

If richt is so soft, and I assume the recruits know this, and uga has the 2nd most players in the NFL (ironically number 1 is FSU) then of course we're gonna attract super talented recruits who arnt really looking to work that hard but wanna end up in the NFL. For the talented player that doesn't want to get yelled at, wants to win in college but doesnt really care when the going gets tough but still wants to be in a decent program that spits kids into the NFL, then uga and richt are for u. There's your undisaplined play, lack of heart and top 5 recruiting classes all in one. Man we're in trouble...

Matt said...


Maybe you're writing this up later, but... If Rennie Curran (obviously a leader on defense, and a redshirt junior) and Bryan Evans (lots of experience, starter, senior) see problems with guys not paying attention in the film room...why don't they speak up? It's not like they're freshmen. Is there something holding them back from calling others out?

JRL said...

One more thought - MR will make the tough decision at seasons end - I'm as sure of that as I am we will have one KO sail out of bounds or one untimely turnover against Vandy.

The Evans comment is puzzling - shouldn't a coach be chewing backsides if the players are not studying film. Bazaar at best.

David Hale said...

I'm going to touch on that later, Matt, but yeah, I think they have spoken up. I think Rennie, in particular, seems very frustrated. I'm not there with them every day, so I don't know what the problem is. But as I said to Rennie today, it seems like we're still talking about the same issues that we were talking about a year ago and nothing has changed. He didn't disagree.

David Hale said...

One last thing on the film study issue: It's not that they AREN'T studying, it's that apparently there aren't enough guys putting in EXTRA time. The coaches cannot demand more than the 20 hours per week allowed. The rest is up to the players if they want to do more... sorta like Jennifer Aniston's "flair" in "Office Space."

JRL said...

Interesting David - I hadn't given much thought to "extra" time. I wonder what the Tide, Tigers and Gators do.

Trey said...


That wasn't cool at all. I was floored with joy as I was reading... not cool at all.

Greg said...


From your interactions with the coaches and players, do you honestly feel that Logan is the heir apparent for next year?

To me, from all that I have seen (games/video/gday) of Logan Gray which admittedly probably is not a fair sample to judge on (and call me unfair if you must), I do not believe Logan has what it takes to be a starting QB in the SEC, except maybe at Vandy or Kentucky.

If it is the case that the coaches don't expect Logan to take over, it seems like it would be a waste of time to give him too much PT.

Also- being that the consensus on Murray is that 1) he is hugely talented and 2) he is not prototypical NFL material, do you think #2 factors into the coaches' decision to RS him with their thought process being that the guy will give them 4 solid years starting next year so why sacrifice a year of his eligibility for the remainder of a season that is halfway complete?

Hope that makes sense....

Anonymous said...

Truth be told, I would rather Coach Richt not say during the week who will start or who will play.

Keep the opponent guessing.

Call me old school if you want.

Anonymous said...

I don't like talking about my flair

Anonymous said...

I believe if you want to know why Rennie and Evans are not more vocal about things, you need look no further than the coach. Richt is timid, doesn't like to call people out and has been proven to allow failure to run rampant in his staff for years, why honestly would we expect any players to be different whilst they are under the influence of this commander and chief? We had 4 NFL top 3 round draft picks last year and the best we could do was the capital one bowl. If this year is any indication of what we truly have at OL and defense, Stafford and Moreno truly carried Richt and company for 3 years here.

Anonymous said...

David - you are such a "glass half-empty" guy. Negativity drips from every word you write lately. Why don't you spend some time looking at positives? This blog has been reduced to a vent session, with you providing the fodder, and countless pissed Dawgs calling for the firing of the greatest coach we've ever had.

BurritoDawg said...

This is probably looking a little far ahead, and is making the assumption that there will be a change at DC. However, I was curious as to whether or not you think that Coach Garner will expect to be named DC. He seems to be the only member of the staff who has any fire to him and he clearly has not shied away from calling his players out in the past.

It is an interesting predicament to consider.

Option A: You bring in a new voice to the staff and a proven DC.
Risk: Lose your recruiting coordinator and the only position coach who has shown any ability to coach his players up.


Option B: Give the job to Garner. Risk: You lose your job due to a perceived unwillingness to bring in a new voice if he fails.

I have never been a fan of making big changes like this in the middle of a season, but if Richt thinks that Garner is a real possibility it might be wise to go ahead and make the move soon in order to give Garner a "test drive" as Interim DC. If done this way you drop the Interim tag after the season and he either keeps his promotion or not, but he had a chance to prove himself over the course of a few games.

This is purely speculation and could all be moot if you don't think Garner is even in the running. It appears to me, from the outside that he is the only one currently on the staff who has the personality to do the job effectively.

Zach said...

I would disregard that last comment, I thought it was a great post.

When I was a senior my HS soccer team was loaded with talent, but our seniors while talented lacked the motivation to win. We lost in our second play-off game. The next year, we finished 2nd in the state to a team with 2 players on the U17 national team.

Extra time in the film room is akin to studying extra in a class you really want to get an A in rather than just pass.

Execution is about knowing what to do, adapting to obstacles correctly, and most importantly doing it fast with proper technique.

Unfortunately this comes with hard work, not just physical work. Strenuous, taxing, draining mental work.

Perhaps the dawgs need to become better students of the game that they play or face the peril of getting schooled.

Zach said...

I meant disregarding the last anonymous comment

Zach said...

and the story about the soccer team was meant to illustrate that when there is little motivation from players, regardless of talent, its difficult to put the time in to do the extra things it takes to be truly great.

Jameson said...

People can get a cheeseburger anywhere, okay? They come to Chotkies for the atmosphere and the attitude. That's what the flair's all about. It's about fun.

adam said...

burrito (ha!)

totally been thinking the same thing

Anonymous said...

Given how the defense has played over the last three years, promoting from within is the last thing we want to do. We need to hire a proven DC and tell them they can bring in what ever coaches they need to keep any coaches they want from the existing coaches. It is a business not a social club. Unless there is change and hope of improvement, all of this will come to a head next year when GA asks it fans in a deep recession to buy season tickets.

Anonymous said...

Well, me thinks not only does Mark Richt need to make some changes in his staff at the end of the year, he needs to once again look in the mirror and this time not be blinded by the light of God and truth and right.

I feel confident he will do what it takes to right this ship. One can be the kind of individual Richt is and still compete (and win for that matter) for titles and championships...with change. It really is the only thing constant.

Anonymous said...

Said Richt, speaking of 2006: “It’s hard to measure a team’s ability to withstand pressure. A lot of teams and a lot of coaching staffs would have folded, but we never did. We didn’t make wholesale changes. We stayed the course. We kept grinding. You never know how close you are to success."

So why are many of us still thinking Richt's definition of success is just a wee bit different than Saban's, Miles' and Meyer's?

bnwdog said...

Alright, Richt Haters! Lets make this simple.

1. Coach Richt is the one that set the precedent for us as fans expecting so much.

2. With the exception of Hershel Walker's 3 years, Richt brought as many SEC championships to UGA in his first 8 years as in the previous 32.

3. Urban Meyer:
2005 9-3
2007 9-4 with TEBOW! That is like UGA not winning the SEC and playing for the MNC with Herschel

4. Nick Saban:
2000 8-4 2002 8-5 2004 9-3
2007 7-6

5. Les Miles:
2001 4-7 2002 8-4 2003 9-4
2004 7-5 2008 8-5

6. Be the bigger man, suck it up and let the man do his job. He has earned a down year or two here and there

Texas_Dawg said...


Richt said exactly what he should say. There are a lot of people that appear to be very new to UGA football and/or have an incredibly, really almost indescribably, bad understanding of CFB outside of UGA. (This isn't surprising as I often find that CFB fans have a very poor understanding of the game outside of their own team, and especially outside of their own conference.)

Georgia has historically been a Tier 2 program. Upper Tier 2 maybe, but still, certainly Tier 2. Yet it has just done nearly a full decade as a Tier 1 program. Not the very top of Tier 1, but solidly Tier 1.

All because of one man: Mark Richt.

Wanting to fire him (or even suggesting he should be on some hot seat) because of one bad team (in a rebuilding year after having lost players at the two most important positions to the first half of the draft) is just indescribably stupid. An utter, absolute, complete lack of understanding of how CFB programs other than their own typically fare. Truly pathetic stuff, really.

Texas_Dawg said...

So why are many of us still thinking Richt's definition of success is just a wee bit different than Saban's, Miles' and Meyer's?

Because you're idiots?

ChicagoDawg said...

Damn you David Hale, DAMN YOU!!! I was reading the "monster" quote and was completely taken in and already thinking about what I was going to say in my letter of encouragement to Richt and reflecting on why I have so much pride and respect in his being the head coach at UGA. Then you cruelly pulled the rug out. Evil, pure evil.

Of course, upon more calmer reflection, I realize that the A. Landers quote is probably a bit too philosophical, too honest and too much to ask for in the middle of the season. I think he said about what we could hope for, both last night and in the presser today. I think he gets it and I trust in his judgment and will to make the right call when the appropriate time comes. Those who want a mid-year blood letting are emotionally over wrought and do not fully appreciate the damage that would accompany such a move.

dc_dawg said...

Two things puzzled me about the game Saturday that I have not heard from anyone else. One, why on obvious passing downs (2nd or 3rd and long) was Brandon Smith replaced each time with Darius Dewberry as a nickel back. It happened everytime and Smith is supposed to be our star DB of the future. Second, last week CMR was asked why Logan Gray wasn't playing very much and he said he did not want to play him because the 3rd team QB was injured and he did not want to take a chance on him getting injured. However, I saw Gray playing on every kickoff coverage team as the sideline defender. What's up with that?