Mark Richt’s congenial personality, charisma and charitable nature often result in him being viewed as passive. However, from time to time the head coach in Athens has stepped out of character and traded his conservative worldview for the aggressive motivational tactics and fiery responses of Evil Richt.
Remember the first blackout game against Auburn? Not just the uniforms, but also the dancing on the sidelines and the swagger the Bulldogs possessed in their new getups. Remember the world’s most excessive celebration against Florida and the penalty it drew?
Those kinds of things go a long way in motivating young, impressionable players and to say that Richt was not at the forefront of such events is ridiculous. When a coach says something to the effect of, “If we score first we better get a penalty for excessive celebration,” it’s hard not to blame him—or give credit if you’re me—when the entire team runs onto the field to dance.
However, lately such tactics have been missing from Richt. The “blackout” jerseys were overused and produced diminishing returns with each use (see the Alabama game) and Florida’s rebuttal in 2008 effectively scolded Richt for the dancing and hoopla of the prior year.
In essence, I think Richt stopped employing such strategies out of the embarrassment that came with the disappointing results in 2008 and the following two seasons saw a Georgia Bulldogs squad that consistently was slow out of the gate, less physical than its opposition and generally underperforming.
Well, I think Evil Richt might be back—and that’s a good thing. The heat of his seat and the necessity to turn the program around has had Richt on a tear this offseason. First his anti-tomfoolery dealing with Washaun Ealey led to the starter’s transfer, and Richt didn’t bat an eye. He criticized Ealey’s performance publicly and showed no remorse when the talented but troubled running back’s departed.
Richt even went so far as to snap back at naysayers during his annual Georgia Bulldogs Peace Tour. When questioned about prior performance Richt had no problem telling alumni and donors alike that he’s the professional and they are the fans. Richt seems more determined than ever to fix things and is not mincing words when informing everyone that the job is still his.
Even last week Evil Richt made an appearance, on a mission trip of all places. A counselor in Honduras asked Richt’s wife, Katharyn, for a ticket to the season opener against Boise State and she obliged. However, the ticket offer was rescinded when Coach Mark Richt learned that it would be used by a Boise State fan. Richt drew a hard line.
I anxiously await seeing Richt employ incendiary tactics on the field once again this season and I think that the players’ response could yield tremendous results. Will the black jerseys return? I don’t know, but I’d like to see the enthusiasm that they embodied on the field against Boise State. Can we look for a team dancing on the field following a touchdown this year? I highly doubt it, but I hope we see that degree of energy surrounding the Dawgs once again.
Evil Richt can save Mark Richt’s job.