It’s the holiday season, and Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt has a lot to be thankful for.
First, he’s been head coach of the Bulldogs since 2001, making him the longest tenured coach in the SEC.
Second, his team is getting ready for another New Year’s Day bowl game for the third consecutive season.
And the last thing Richt has to be thankful for is his health and a family that has supported him through thick and thin.
But everyone young and old has a wish list, and Richt more than likely has a few things he wished for in the upcoming year, especially with the talent he has coming back on both sides of the football.
Here’s Richt’s holiday wish list for the upcoming year.
As mentioned previously, Richt has been with the Bulldogs for 13 seasons and has had a lot of success. But with legendary coaches such as Mack Brown and Bobby Bowden stepping down unceremoniously, Richt could be put in that place in the next few years if things do go south.
However, Richt has stated that he has no plans of retiring anytime soon. He loves what he does, and as long as he’s healthy and happy, he’s going to continue to coach in Athens.
So the retirement questions should cease for now. Richt has to focus on the Gator Bowl as well as gearing up for the 2014 season.
Speaking of the Gator Bowl, a win over Nebraska on January 1 would be a nice start to 2014 for the Bulldogs.
That is nothing new for Richt, but this game could mean more if they can get a convincing win over the Cornhuskers.
This game will not only be the final game of the 2013 season, but it will also be an early look at what the 2014 season will bring because of Huston Mason starting at quarterback and the young defense that will be back next season.
So a win would be a good boost for the squad, which will make Richt’s life a lot easier.
In order for the Bulldogs to be successful in 2014, they will need a playmaker in the secondary. Guys like Shaq Wiggins and Tray Matthews showed glimpse of that in 2013, but they need consistency.
Malkom Parrish can be that guy for the Bulldogs. He is from Quitman, Ga., and Rivals has him listed as one of the 10 best cornerbacks in the country.
But what Richt wants more is one of the younger guys to step up and Josh Harvey-Clemons is the leading candidate. Harvey-Clemons was third on the team in tackles with 66, and he also had one pick and two forced fumbles in 2013.
When it comes to the recruiting game, the Bulldogs have one of the 10 best classes in the country via Rivals. But if they really want to get back into the SEC Championship Game sooner than later, then they will need to a have a top-five class when signing day is all said and done.
They can do that if they can get Lorenzo Carter to sign, one of the best defensive ends in the country.
The Bulldogs already have a strong class, but signing Carter would put them over the edge from a good class to a superior class.
The ultimate wish for Richt would be to hold up the SEC Championship trophy a year from now in Atlanta. He was able to get to the title game in 2011 and 2012, but Richt’s crew has not won the SEC in eight years.
The Bulldogs will have the talent to reach that goal, but it’s going to be a matter of staying healthy and doing the little things right.
And next season would be a great time to win the SEC. With the new college football playoff system in place, the Bulldogs would have a great shot of playing for the national title.
So Richt will check this list twice and hopefully when the 2014 is all said and done, his wishes will be reality.