Let me state two things right up front before I share my views on this topic:
1) I like Mark Richt. I believe he is a genuine, kind person. There aren’t many folks who say bad things about the man, and considering his profession and what I know about most football coaches, that goes a long way with me.
This is a man who helped a player who could not get into Georgia land at conference rival Mississippi State. That, folks, is a good man.
2) What I’m about to write will tick off a number of you, but hey, it’s my blog.
Why is Richt praying for God to bring him the right players?
“I put a lot of things to prayer,” Richt recently said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“And this is one thing I put to prayer. I ask the Lord to give us the guys that belong at Georgia. The ones that don’t belong, work it out. I don’t get too bent out of shape with [recruiting], one way or the other. We’re going to get what we need. We’re going to get the right guys here.”
I’m sure Richt means well and that he believes God has a hand in everything that happens on this big spinning blue ball, but I’m just not at peace with this approach.
For starters, I’d like to think that our creator has given us free will and doesn’t just move us (or high school prospects) around like chess pieces for his own amusement. I guess I’m just not that Calvinistic in my views.
Also, Richt’s approach sounds a bit like someone making a grocery list. “Hey, honey, pick me up some linebackers while you’re out.”
And that line about “the ones that don’t belong, work it out,” makes it sound like he’s dumping a difficult task on a subordinate. “Handle it, God.”
In addition, how much difference is there between praying for football players and praying for a model train set (if anyone still prays for model train sets)?
A 10-year-old praying for an iPhone can be very sincere in his desire for the gizmo, but I don’t think the Almighty is in reality a cosmic genie who sits around waiting to fulfill our wishes. Even if those wishes are for “the players that belong here.”
Now some of you will say this is just a matter of semantics, but I would have less problem if Richt had said, “I pray that God will give me the ability to make the right decisions, the ability to clear my thoughts and accurately analyze my situation as well as what it will take to make my situation better.”
That’s praying for help, for guidance…not safeties and receivers.
To me that makes much more sense. “Help me, God, to do my job better.”
But as Richt currently puts it, to say “we’re going to get what we need,” begs a very interesting question in regards to coaches who don't get what they need:
Do those guys not know how to pray?
For instance, Georgia has had a lot more success than Kentucky recently. They’ve certainly recruited better.
So should Rich Brooks pray more? Or is he doing it wrong? Or is God simply not listening to his prayers?
And what about poor Bobby Johnson? He never has a Top 50 recruiting class.
What’s he doing behind closed doors? Listening to Black Sabbath records backwards?
Again, I like Richt. I think he believes what he says and truly feels that God is looking out for his program because that’s what he’s asked the Almighty to do.
But there are a lot of people praying for their sick children to be made well. There are a lot of people praying for work or for peace.
I doubt that God is sitting somewhere in a celestial sports bar saying, “This kid would be a good fit at Georgia. I’ll send him to Athens. Hey, Gabriel, have you seen the latest rankings from Rivals.com?”