Culture Change: Bringing the Dawgs Back to the Junkyard
''Attitude might be worth 80 percent of any athlete’s makeup." -Erk Russell
Mark Richt has not forgot how to coach a football team. The one glaring weakness in Coach Richt's methods, may be the cool and calm demeanor. While in 2001, as a rookie in the league, Richt's calmness help lead to arguably one of the greatest drives in Georgia football history in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Georgia fan's praised him for this and now most, including myself, criticize him for it. To me, Richt's calmness is not Georgia's biggest problem, it's the calmness on the other side of the ball.
This is what I like to call the "Willie Martinez Hangover." Most people around Athens are still excited about seeing how animated defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been on the sidelines this season, even after a less than stellar performance on the field.
It is exciting to see a guy with some fire in his belly, especially after seeing Coach Martinez sit back and let the offense come to him, without any hint that there would be any aggression to come anytime soon. His players reflected the same attitude on the field.
I do think that Georgia is on their way back to gaining that attitude. It takes some time to get that back, and just as we saw in years 2005 and 2007, it takes time to lose it as well.
Brian Van Gorder was a hard-nosed, big time defensive coordinator, and the players on the field during his tenure were hard-nosed football players. When he left UGA, his players played with the attitude he gave them, but after years of Martinez being vanilla, it has worn off.
On the brightside, we all saw glimpses of the attitude coming back under Grantham in his first year. Justin Houston pointing at the ground after his interception against Tech and yelling "This is my house," is the attitude we missed. Georgia defenders swarming Cam Newton in the first half against Auburn, and letting him know they would be back, that is the attitude we missed.
I have been one to get upset after a loss, and jump on the coaching change bandwagon. Mark Richt is not the problem right now though. Mike Bobo may not be either. It is hard to blame offensive coaches when Georgia has scored so many points in the last two seasons. I think as fans, we should simply give this defensive staff one more season to instill that "Junkyard Dawg," mentality. We all know that there is no lack of talent and with the right attitude this thing can get turned around.
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