Within the great Bulldog Nation, you can walk ten paces in one direction and find a rabid ‘Mark Richt Supporter’, then turn and walk ten paces in the other direction and find a ‘Mark Richt Hater’. There are no fence-sitters and no one from either group is willing to give an inch on his or her position; I guess it’s the stubborn southern in us that makes us all so willing to stand our ground come hell or high water—what can you do?
But, no matter which side of the fence you lay your opinion on, the question always seems to be the same; from the Pro Richt Side it’s, who can you get that will do/be better than CMR?
From the other it’s, what good is he if he can’t win championships?!
It’s a funny thing, really, but not so much in that gut-busting ‘haha, that cracks me up’ kind of way, so much as it’s in that ‘good grief, can’t we all just get along’ one.
Seriously, you’d think some of this conversation would be quieted by the team’s performance over the last couple seasons, but I guess, by now, I should know better.
Matt in Roswell, Ga., writes: Be honest with us, Chris. Really honest. I know it’s hard to win SEC and BCS titles. I know it is. But if Mark Richt couldn’t win either with this, the most talented UGA team he’s ever had… will he ever? He always seems to have something missing, whether it’s the yearly game where the Dawgs don’t show-up, his refusal to fix special teams, his undue loyalty to poor coaches/players. Please, but honest: if Richt didn’t win this year, will he ever?
Chris Low: I keep getting asked this, and my response is always the same: He was one tipped pass from playing for the national title this season. He’s been to the SEC championship game each of the past two years. So he’s obviously swimming in the right waters. To win championships, the breaks have to go your way. But you also have to get there, and Georgia has done that the past two years under Richt. The Dawgs should again be outstanding on offense next season. A lot of young guys will have to step up on defense, but they have talent on that side of the ball. And one more thing: If you get rid of Richt, who are you going to go get that you can say with certainty will fare better than he has?
Before anyone accuses me of being all ‘Disney Dawg’ (y’all know what I’m talking about), let me say that I empathize plenty with ‘Matt in Roswell’, I am as much a fan as a blogger and I rise and fall with the wins and losses, too. But, I also know that Georgia isn’t the only SEC team not winning SEC and BCS Championships (can we all remember that there are 119 other teams, please?); they are, however, the only team—aside from South Carolina and Florida—who have consistently placed themselves in the conversation over the last few seasons.
What happened to being happy with a competitive football program. Hell, we all want Georgia to win the BCS, but how do you think you’d feel if they were not only not winning, but weren’t even in the conversation?
No offense to ‘Matt’, but how would you like to be a Vanderbilt?…wait, maybe a Tennessee?…Uh-uh, I know, maybe you want to try your luck at being a Kentucky fan? Think they wouldn’t mind trading places with our plight?
Listen, I am not naive to the negatives, believe me, I follow Georgia football closer than any sane person should; but I also know that this program has come a long way from 2009 when Willie Martinez ruled the earth, strength and conditioning was a damn joke (excuse my french), recruiting classes with 30 kids was something only other schools did, and National Championship hopes didn’t end at the five-yard line, they ended in the spring with poor attitudes and bad execution on both sides of the ball.
I’ll take this Georgia program’s trajectory over the one I saw in 2009′s any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Is everything perfect? No, not by any stretch, but if Georgia keeps getting there, you have to figure there’s at least one lucky bounce in the cards somewhere. And until the deck isn’t being held by Mark Richt, I figure I may as well take my seat at his table and play a few more hands—just to see what happens.