Take a gander at what former Georgia defensive back Shaq Wiggins‘ father had to say about the release process at Georgia—particularly as it related to their interactions with head coach Mark Richt.
“I was very impressed with the way Mark Richt handled the whole thing, the way he released him, the way the conversations went with him and Pruitt,” Al Wiggins said. “It was so positive it was unbelievable in a lot of ways. There was nothing negative about it. It was really impressive to see that in modern-day football, that a separation could be as positive as this. I was very impressed with the University of Georgia. They didn’t want him to leave, but they didn’t try to get in his way. They were very professional. There’s absolutely no bitter feeling.” (Chip Towers, AJC)
After reading that, it almost seems las if Richt not only held the door open, but also gave the Wiggins family a lovely parting gift.
Which leads me to the following questions, should he have stood in the way of it…especially now that Wiggins could end up back with Georgia’s former DC Todd Grantham?
Whatever the answer to that question might be, it’s clear that Richt is less concerned about the number and name on the jersey, than he is about the emblem in the middle of Sanford Stadium. Bottom line: for Richt, it’s about playing for the University of Georgia. Period. If you’re not keen on doing that, then he won’t stand in the way of your finding a new uniform to step into on Saturdays.
I’m not afraid of attrition,” he added. “Sometimes attrition is good. Life is too short for guys not being where they ought to be or where they want to be, all those types of things. In the end, you want everybody to be where they want to be and have the best opportunity to do what they want to do. There’s a lot of that going on, but it’s not all that shocking, really.” (Gentry Estes, Dawgs247)
Of course Wiggins had his reasons, Senator Blutarsky pointed to a big one in yesterday’s “Get The Picture” post, pointing out that new defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, Jeremy Pruitt, is teaching a different technique from what Grantham did last season. However, my response to that is, why not stay and learn from a guy who has used said technique to help win National Championships?
Why not see the value in being pushed to succeed, rather than allowing your discomfort with something new (something that you’ll see again should you make it to the next level, mind you) sabotage a promising career?
Where’s the value in that?
But I digress…
Back to my original questions: Should Richt be so accommodating to guys wanting to leave and play elsewhere? I mean, could you see a guy like Nick Saban or Urban Meyer being that gracious? I couldn’t.
Whatever your opinion may be, here’s mine: either you want to play for Georgia or you don’t. It’s that simple. And while I hate seeing former players leave Georgia and hurt us from the other side of the field, I’d hate it more to see a guy refuse to live up to his potential because he’d rather be somewhere else.
Richt may very well be the nicest guy in college football, but he’s right about one thing, you want a guy to “want to be” playing for you, if he doesn’t, then I’d not only wish him well, I’d hold the door open and wave “good bye”.