By my calculations, it’s been nearly a full year since I last posted when Gamecock Man at Garnet and Black Attack was so gracious to exchange Q&A’s with me last year just a few days prior to the beginning of the end of the 2010 UGA football season. Since then, we’ve gone through the whole turmoil that was losing four in a row, a heartbreaking loss to Florida, losing to Auburn when Mike Bobo decided to take his foot off the gas, and then the humiliating end to 2010 with the worst lack of effort I’ve seen from a Mark Richt coached team against UCF. The whole time last year, there were many times when I wanted to weigh in and add my thoughts, but I remembered a post by Paul Westerdawg a few years ago:
You want to know why I haven’t blogged much the past few weeks? What’s to say? From mid 2005-2008, the song has remained mostly the same. We got a 6 game reprieve from our problems in late 2007, but it’s been the same problems for most of that period. It gets redundant saying the same things over and over. “If we tackle well, don’t get lots of penalties and score points in the redzone, blah, blah, blah.” It gets old talking about that every week.
This is the mindset I’ve pretty much been in since I got back from the game in Columbia last year and didn’t really feel like talking about UGA football much. Much to commenter Darth’s delight, I’ve decided to finally update something here.
Now we sit here roughly 36 days away from opening kick-off in the Georgia Dome against Boise State and I don’t really know how I should feel about the upcoming season. Normally, this is a time of great excitement and anticipation for me, but frankly I’m not truly feeling it this year. I suppose it’s the old “fool me once – shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me” syndrome”. While I’d love to buy into the offseason hype and believe everything is going to be okay and it’ll be just like 2002-2005 all over again, it’s just too soon for me right now to do that. I’m firmly in the wait-and-see camp.
With all that said, now I have to figure out where I go from here on out to make this blog interesting without getting myself too worked up. I suppose an easy topic this off-season has been the question of how warm the seat on which Mark Richt resides truly is. However, this is a touchy subject and I don’t want to get in a pissing war with these guys who are utterly done with Mark Richt nor do I want to get in a pissing war with these guys who believe that Mark Richt is going to turn this thing around by citing examples such as not giving up on Bear Bryant or Vince Dooley when they went through rough stretches in the middle of their careers and the schools were subsequently rewarded by sticking with their men.
Personally, I believe both are right and wrong to an extent. The “cold blooded sausage makers” are right in that the argument that we can’t get anybody better than Mark Richt is false considering there are a ton of coaches that we could have hired that would have done much better over the last three years than Mark Richt. I also believe that they’re wrong in completely writing off Mark Richt because I genuinely believe he truly realizes how far awry the program had slipped and he’s now reinventing himself and how the program goes about its business in a way that hasn’t been there since DJ Shockley was running the show in Athens.
I believe TKK is right in that given a long enough sample size we are going to see highs and lows and what we’re seeing in Athens the past few years is an inevitable low point that would occur for any coach given enough time in any high profile job (even the great Urban Meyer lost five games last year and Nick Saban lost six games his first year in Tuscaloosa). I also believe he’s wrong in citing the Bryant and Dooley examples, because it’s never as simple as saying that “my belief must be true because everything that has ever happened in the past will happen again”. While Mark Richt very well may turn it around, the idea that he should be held onto by citing the Bryant and Dooley examples is false. Mark Richt should be retained because performance on the field improves this year, not because history says he should.
I suppose the point I’m getting at is that the fanbase is divided right now (however, it’s not in the black and white manner that these guys would have you believe). While there are certainly a few that will defend Richt to the end and some that are truly done with him, I believe the bulk of us rest somewhere in the middle. We know that the program isn’t where it can and should be, but we also don’t believe that we should just keep railing on how much we want Richt gone. The fact of the matter is that Mark Richt is the coach right now and will be for 2011. There’s no need to get worked up about who we could get or when he’s going to get fired. In my mind, the goodwill he’s built up in Athens is all but gone, but the man is still the head coach at my alma mater and me bitching and moaning about him isn’t going to get him fired or retained any time soon. Ultimately what I’m saying is that it’s time to stop debating what will or won’t happen sometime in the next six-eight months and rather we should hope for the best from the young men and coaches that will represent our alma mater this fall. While I will truly never understand the perpetually optimistic UGA fan, I’ll also hold equal contempt for the fan that decides to spend all his/her time railing on how bad the current coaching staff/program is. At some point, you’ve got to get behind your program no matter how bad it gets and trust the people up top (i.e. Greg McGarity) will make the correct decision going forward.