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I think I should start this slide with my own personal stance. At this juncture, if nothing changes, I think it is time for Mark Richt to step down as head coach. I believe my stance will become clear at the end of this point.
My reasoning for his need to step down, however, has nothing to do with his ability to coach. People quickly forget how successful Richt has been. UGA went 20 years without an SEC championship and Coach Richt made us relevant again.
Why then do I think, at this moment, it is time for a change? I believe Richt is in full burnout. He has replaced his contagious smile with defending his record at Georgia. In my opinion, the SEC is no longer built for long tenures.
The stress of winning, recruiting, and living under a constant microscope is greater than it has ever been. Unproven recruits are treated like gods while proven head coaches are treated harshly. Look at what it did to Urban Meyer in much less time.
The SEC is not built for long-term success any longer. Compare Richt's first four years to Nick Saban's first four years at Alabama.In his first four years, Mark Richt had a record of 42 wins and 10 losses. Nick Saban, in his first four years at Alabama, had 43 wins and 11 losses. Both men had one SEC Championship during that time.
Saban did when a national championship. However, Mark Richt was one dropped pass away during the 2002-2003 season. Terrance Edwards dropped a wide open pass that would have given UGA the win versus Florida and a chance to play for the BCS National Championship. The point being, he called the right play to get Edwards 15 yards open, the player just didn't execute. Alabama, was one Terrance Cody finger tip away from the same fate.
The point is, the only difference in Richt's first four seasons and Saban's first four seasons is one play. Not to mention, Richt won another SECC in his 5th season. The bottom line is that Richt has the fourth highest winning percentage of active coaches despite playing in the nations toughest conference.
He is 7-3 in bowl games and 2-1 in SEC championship games. He has had 8 top 25 finishes, 6 top 10 finishes, and 2 top 5 finishes. The man can coach with the best of them. However, if he wants to stay at UGA he needs to find the joy he once had.
I don't believe anyone, who is capable of being objective, would doubt if he took a season off and went to LSU he would be right back in contention for the national championship. Yes he needs to find his love for the game but don't mistake that for an inability to coach.