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Monday, September 27, 2010

McGarity: 'Everybody's concerned' about football team

Greg McGarity hasn’t been on the job a month at Georgia, and he’s already being asked the biggest question an SEC athletics director will probably face: Could there be a change in the football coach?

That may be premature, given that it’s only four games into the season. But with Georgia 1-3, and with yet another player arrest, head coach Mark Richt’s status is being pondered and debated.

Sitting in his office Monday afternoon, McGarity preferred to talk about he and his staff are remaining upbeat, and doing whatever it could to help Richt. But he knows from emails that fans are “frustrated” and that “everybody’s concerned.”

When it came to the hot-seat question, McGarity said that all staffs, all programs, are evaluated throughout the year. But he wanted to be careful with choosing his words.

“This will not play itself out in the media. It gets back to the question of do you have confidence,” McGarity said. “I’m not going down that road. We have confidence in everyone. I’ve just seen it twisted and turned to where the words of various A.D.s throughout the country gets turned around. So whatever you say can be twisted by whatever angle the writer chooses to take, or whatever to make it fit. So really all personnel decisions and everything that is done, are confidential and dealt with in a person-to-person manner.”

Richt's deal at Georgia runs through the 2013 season, and his contract includes a longevity bonus in excess of $3 million, which would be owed if he were fired without cause. Richt is 91-30 in his 10 seasons as the Bulldogs coach.

McGarity said he’s spoken to Richt almost every day, trying to be “uplifting,” and asking what he can do to help. He has also gone to about a practice a week, studying the program and how it works.

“There’s so many things that go into the games on Saturday. You’ve got so many moving pieces to this,” McGarity said. “I don’t know how many people touch the football program. But you’ve got strength and conditioning, you’ve got recruiting, you’ve got player development, you’ve got the philosophical approach. There’s so many moving parts to having a successful football program.”

One factor in Georgia’s poor start may have been the absence of star receiver A.J. Green. The junior was suspended by the NCAA for selling his jersey, and is eligible to return Saturday at Colorado.

McGarity was asked if it was fair to judge the Bulldogs given the absence of Green.

“Oh yeah, I think so. You know, as Mark has said, one person can make a difference, but at the end of the day one person can’t really dictate your season,” McGarity said. “You’ve seen other programs that have injuries or have unfortunate things that develop, and someone else steps up. So I think what this has done has maybe let some other receivers develop, I think Kris Durham certainly has been one of the highlighted receivers. I think it gives others a chance to pick up and play. …

“It’s all how you look at it. A.J. doesn’t play defense, he doesn’t block, he’s not an interior lineman. I’m sure it hurts the team. But I think there are so many other moving parts with it – it’s the what-if word, probably the two worst words you could use in coach-speak. You can’t play the what-if game.”

The recent spate of player arrests has not been helpful to the program. Demetre Baker, a freshman linebacker, was dismissed from the team Sunday after becoming the 10th Bulldog arrested this year, and the third since August.

McGarity said he was “stunned and disappointed” about the arrest, adding that Baker knew the consequences. Richt has said he would be harsher with alcohol-related issues.

“Mark basically did what he needed to do,” McGarity said.

A Georgia graduate himself, McGarity said it was important for fans to remain faithful, and agreed that apathy, not anger at the program, was the biggest danger.

He also knows that the current spate of bad publicity could hinder recruiting or fundraising, but they couldn’t pay attention to that right now.

“I’m sure where you’re speaking to some prospective student-athletes there are some institutions that are probably piling on right now,” he said. “But at the end of the day I think student-athletes have confidence in this institution and the leadership that we have in place. It’s a phenomenal school. These are sort of dips that we’re going through now, but it’s no indication of where we’ll always be.”


Anonymous said...

Two things:
1. No one should be fired or questioned during a season. It helps no one. Taking Bobo away from play calling should be as extreme as it gets.
2. Seth, heard a rumor (from some high level people) about our strength and conditioning program that exiting players are realizing they are not getting the best care at UGA. Ever heard that before?

CSA said...

I like what McGarity is doing so far. The Oregon games, while fun and interesting, are probably not the best thing for the program. Seriously.

His answers were fairly political, but he also sounded like he can make some tough decisions if necessary.

Anonymous 5:05... it's very widely known that our S&C program sucks. Several coaches have said we're weaker, heck, even NFL personnel have said our players are fat and weak. Not only that, but I have spoken to several people on the football team, one who was a powerlifter and is now a walk-on who plays on the scout team. He was repeatedly told me that S&C coach DVH doesn't even understand the most basic principles of strength and conditioning.

DUH... said...

Someone should put a microphone in front of Jarvis Jones, and ask him about the difference in S&C between UGa and USC. That might be the most telling answer of any that we could get from phantom ex-players and opposing coaches...

Anonymous said...

No one should be fired or questioned during a season; take Mike Bobo away from play calling ?

Pardon me, if I am confused ?

Yes, we cannot beat Oregon.

Widely known that our strength and conditioning is poor ?

I thought it was widely known that our play calling Coach Richt himself criticized today saying that it was "mindless calling of repetitive running plays which were not working."

I thought it widely known that we have not recruited well on offense in the 2010 signing class and now again the 2011 signing class.

I thought it widely known that we are # 21 in wins after the 2005 season to-date.

I thought it was widely known that we prepared no QB 2006 & lost 4, 2009 & lost 5, and now 2010 losing 3 of the first 4 games.

I thought it was widely known that the running backs' coach used to be our wide receiver.

I thought it was widely known that our wide receivers' coach used to be a great running back.

I thought it was widely known that our offensive coordinator Coach Richt went and STOLE from Jacksonville State after he spent 1 season there as just the QBs' coach.

I thought it was widely known we are 1-5 vs SEC East the last 6 games.

I thought it was widely known we are 2-7 the last 9 SEC games.

I thought it widely known that we are 10-11 vs SEC East teams after the 2005 season.

I thought it widely known that we are 2-7 vs Florida.

I thought it widely known that we are 3-8 vs Top 10 Final AP Polls (assumes SC and Arky are not Top 10 Final AP Poll teams.)

I thought it widely known that our secondary coach refused to watch tapes of the Arky QB vs 15 our of defensive players from last year playing this year. He didn't want to study last year's game film, when that is ALL Arky did.

It showed.

I thought it widely known that we have had 120 arrests / suspensions in the Coach Richt Era.

I thought it was widely known that we have had 10 arrests since March 7 this year, half a year. Slightly more than our average over the last 10 years.

I thought it was widely known that our coaching staff doesn't understand the basic principles of blocking, tackling, and running.

I thought it was widely known that our coaching staff refuses to get in the players' space prior to game to motivate them and that that has not worked. Just keep their music soft.

I thought we could all just run out on the field and make butts of ourselves on National TV.

I thought it was widely known that our offensive coaching staff does not understand the basic principles of talent evaluation.

I thought it was widely known that our coaching staff has zero control over the team anymore on the field or off.

I thought it was widely known that all of our runners run a 4.12 forty yard dash, all throw the football 89 yards, all punt the football 76 yards, all clean 560 lbs and all leg thrust 1700 lbs.

I thought it was widely known the players run this program now, and that they can say whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want even when the NCAA tells them they can say nothing.

I thought it was widely known that if you are not Arrested, there is no punishment.

I thought it was widely known that we have played 3 SEC teams so far and that their QB was far better than our QB in all 3 games.

I thought that it is widely known that we are 17-21 vs Top 25 Final AP Poll teams and had lost 9 games to teams not ranked in the Top 25 Final AP Poll. That is your 30 losses.

brad said...

"But you’ve got strength and conditioning, you’ve got recruiting, you’ve got player development, you’ve got the philosophical approach."

Sounds like the four pillars that need examining to me.

Anonymous said...

Seth, while listening to ESPN radio the other day they made an interesting comment about how a coach going through a spat of multiple straight losses needs to change his attitude and talk toward the players - or the players will begin to think the coach is 'same old, same old' and lose their faith in and respect for the coach. Do you see CMR beginning to change his attitude and the way he is talking to the players? Demetre Baker aside (CMR HAD to kick him off of the team and most likely everyone else who gets an alcohol-related arrest), is CMR taking a more firm stance with the team and other coaches?

Anonymous said...

Our Strength and Conditioning program is one of our biggest problems. We recruit some of the top athletes in the nation but we always fail to develop them physically. Look at our offense and defensive lines. They are getting blown off the line by teams that should be inferior to us. The fullbacks are resorting to missed chop blocks when they should be squarely blasting linebackers onto their backs. Our running backs, most 4-5 star recruits, can't break the first arm tackle or hit they encounter. W. Ealey took a heck of a shot on Saturday and fumbled the ball. Do you think he would have fumbled the ball if he was physical enough to take a blow like that? I don’t think one of our running backs are what you would call a physical running back. It seems like King is always getting hurt. It’s not like they are the workhorses of our offense.

Hard hitting physical safeties and linebackers used to be the staple of our defense. Now the linebackers are too busy fending off offensive linemen because our defensive linemen aren’t requiring double teams. The safeties aren’t punishing receivers or running backs anymore. It is easier for them to run along side them and jump on their backs for a game of rodeo. We are injury prone year after year. That isn't just a coincidence!

Anonymous 5:05 was dead on about what other coaches in the NFL and at other colleges are saying. “We are weak, fat, and out of shape”

I hate to compare other teams to UGA but look at Alabama's S+C program. Scott Cochran has his team physically ready to beat their opponents into submission. The offensive linemen are driving defensive linemen into the linebackers. Their defensive linemen are clogging up the line of scrimmage. Even the receivers and cornerbacks play physical.

It doesn't matter who is calling the offensive or defensive plays. If our players are all wearing green jerseys or can't knock an opponent on his back then we will continue this path of mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was widely known that people who use the same phrase over and over and over are considered douche bags and truthfully have no merit until they can present in a non douche bag format....While their info may be good, their delivery is an extreme turn off....

crabdawg said...

our guys represent ga very well every year in the combines.jeff owens may be fat but he can bench 225 44 times.over 40 guys on last yrs team could clean 300 lbs and two did 400.even knowshon did 225lbs like 26 times.did you see the big fat tackle price and mt cody? come on guys,tell rennie currin he wasn't prepared for the nfl.

r u kiddin'me said...

The last two games last Mark Richt was totally eneregized and engaged in the game and it showed. He coached the coaches, the players and was up and down the side line on a mission. Get back on that mission, get engaged, coach and get in some faces even if that face is a coach. CMR does that and I guarantee you will see an immediate difference in our play and results. Right now he looks like he won a contest and was told he could wear a headset and be on the side line as long as he didn't say anything and stayed out of the way.