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Post Eight months to find the answers

Tuesday January 4, 2011

The last offseason was spent discussing and for the most part shooting down the notion that Mark Richt was on the hot seat. I don’t think we’ll have that discussion again this year. Mark Richt will be Georgia’s coach next year – teams not named Maryland don’t willingly try to put a new staff together a month before Signing Day. The outlook beyond next year is what has changed: we won’t throw out ultimatums for 2011 (as if it were our place to make those demands), but it’s clear that the recent track record isn’t cutting it. With a third of the conference playing for national titles since Georgia last won the league, the expectations are high but unmistakable.

There’s a lot of talk about the program being at a crossroads now, but we’re a season past that point. Talking about a “crossroads” implies that the possible paths facing the program lead to roughly equally likely outcomes. Mark Richt, on the other hand, is trying to keep things from going off a cliff. If changes need to be made on offense, that would make an overhaul of both sides of the ball, special teams, and the conditioning program within two years. What’s left after that?

Bad losses have a way of clearing things up. The 2009 blowout in Knoxville wrapped up any discussion on the need for a new approach on defense. The Liberty Bowl did a good job of shooting down the idea that 2010 was mostly a story of with A.J. / without A.J. Without Green, the Dawgs were 1-3. With him, they were 5-4. Better, sure, but only the 2009 season generated more losses for a Richt team than the shortened nine-game stretch of 2010 during which Green was available. The availability of A.J. Green is an interesting footnote on the season, but it’s noise when it comes to the current state of the program.

Mark Richt has already indicated that toughening up the program will be a priority for the offseason. We’ve seen progress in that area with the developments in the conditioning program, and we’re assured that even more work in that area is on the way. But toughness starts at the top, and what we’re talking about is illustrated in a contrast Kyle makes nicely in this post. The new conditioning staff can get its ducks in a row, but it won’t matter if that attitude isn’t carried through all elements of the program from nutrition and academics up to playcalling and execution.

The Boise State game staring us in the face around eight months from now couldn’t be a bigger moment for the future of the program. I’m not really talking about the game in a must-win sense, as a loss in a game like that isn’t necessarily the end of the season (right, Hokies?). But that game, and the South Carolina game after it, will be immediate and legitimate tests of the ability of Mark Richt to right his program during the offseason. Wins also won’t necessarily mean that Georgia is set for an SEC title and beyond, but those wins are necesaary to keep next season from becoming one long and extended march towards the inevitable.

In 2005, Boise State came to Athens intent on measuring itself against the eventual SEC champion. When the two teams meet in Atlanta later this year, the roles will be reversed: this time, it will be Georgia looking to (re)establish credibility by beating one of the nation’s most successful and highly-ranked programs of the past five years.

2 Responses to 'Eight months to find the answers'

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  • In 2002 that was a team with a staff that was lean and
    hungry. They and the staff knew what they had. In 2010 you do not
    have a team. It is a group of individuals with their own agenda,
    schedule, and entitlment attitude. You can be the biggest, baddest,
    best conditioned dog on or under the porch. But are you willing to
    care the fight to someone. This 2010 team never showed that except
    for a Kris Durham. Not even the coaches. They are into rededication
    and the Butts Mehre Building and that event follows a moment of
    silence reflection. For me it starts with the President and the AD.
    Not about CMR and his tenure. You see I think they failed this team
    and the alumni for not sticking up for Green. Let see…Pryor, the
    OSU QB with all those tatoos (do you think your mother is fond of
    color crayon marks all over you like some 2nd grader)needs gas
    money for the “loaner” provided by a local dealer. You get that
    cash plus the cost of those tatoos by dealing your 2008 Big Ten
    ring for $1,250, your ’09 Fiesta Bowl award, and your 08 Gold
    Pants. Plus the traffic violations. So your AD, your Pres, your Big
    10 commish, and the lord of lords, the NCAA say, “play but sit down
    for 5 next season”. And then there is the Cammie Newton, FBI, AU,
    MSU, SEC office, and NCAA affair. Now just think if you are CMR,
    Green, and other players on this 2010 team. You are probably saying
    I can coach, I can play, but at the end of the game not one damn
    soul ar UGA gives a crap about us. But then you can think back to
    that crappy damn call against Green in the LSU game when they came
    back and should have had a W. Sorry, but it is a little hard for me
    to see the 02 Clemson game and Liberty Bowl game, but then again
    I’m the guy who has bitched about Bobo since he had Staffor,
    Moreno, MM, and Green. Just maybe I do not see the D1 ball the same
    anymore. Here is the 1st rule you should use CMR, it goes along
    with our belief. “Better to ask foregiveness than

  • It shouldn’t take this group of coach’s and administrators 8 months to find anything. Go look in the mirror and you will see problem number #1. After getting personally embarrassed for sitting in Liberty Bowl stadium with my fellow alumni and fans, I can safely say we care more than most of them do. I hate to be a synic but I haven’t felt like this since 1995. Pathetic!