Georgia Football: 5 Things Mark Richt Must Improve in 2011
Georgia Football has been brought back to respectability thanks to Mark Richt. But over the past few seasons, complacency has set in the program, and this could be due to internal issues we may not know about.
Since the departure of David Green and David Pollack, UGA has not had the same bad-boy swagger. Now in his 11th season with the ‘Dawgs, Richt oddly does not have the luxury of being a coach who can lose a few games. After the firing of defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, there are no more excuses.
Richt must first get rid of the “soft” label.
He is a stand-up guy who is everything we want in a coach personality wise, but a job of this magnitude requires a lot of effort and time. Richt has to learn how to seperate his professional life and overly generous charity life very soon or he may find himself without a job.
This slideshow will present several things UGA must improve in 2011.
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Like I stated earlier, Mark Richt is one of the nicest guys in the world but here is a perfect example of him being too soft.
When you continue to have arrest issues this only brings in more reasons for the NCAA to nail you. In 2010, the Georgia football team had 11 arrests. Yes, that’s right, 11.
The hard part for many to swallow is that most of the players arrested were not even the scrub underclassmen. Most of them were impact players who had extensive time on the playing field.
You can’t let your players take advantage of you and the opportunity they have at their respective Universities. Richt must put his foot down and inject discipline into his program.
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Mark Richt during his tenure at Florida State enabled the flawless play- action system for Bobby Bowden and helped him win a 1999 BCS National Championship. Then when Richt first arrived at UGA, his teams were known to effortlessly run the football with elusive runningbacks and fooling teams with the dreaded play action thanks to UGA legend David Greene.
It’s been an up and down roller coaster with little consistency in the numbers. Rushing statistics hit an all-time low since the 2006 season with only 143 rushing yards per game. To make it so bad, UGA returned 10 starters at the beginning of the 2010 season and failed to move the football down the field in critical games which led to many losses
Yes, Aaron Murray (6'1'', 209 pounds) is clearly the star quarter back in the SEC but with the departure of A.J. Green, Richt must get tight end Orson Charles (6’3’’, 240 pounds) more involved to keep teams off balance.
Though the offensive line has 86 starts and will be less experienced, UGA has no excuses as to why they can’t improve their offensive attack in 2011.
Caleb King anyone?
Cocktail and out of Conference Play
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Georgia can’t seem to get over the hump when it comes to playing the Florida Gators in the cocktail party. Richt even tried mental games having his players rush the field taking a unsportsmanlike penalty trying to excite the fans.
Sure, it ended up as a win but overall those tactics didn't work the next year as Urban Meyer told Richt to sit down in a 17-41 loss.
In four of the past five years, UGA has been predicted to lose to Florida. In fact, last year, UGA was predicted to win, and unfortunately lost again in overtime 31-34.
Look ‘Dawg fans, I’m going to be honest—the loss to Colorado in Boulder was embarrassing to the SEC. As an SEC student, I expect a win verses Boise State in Atlanta—a huge win.
Boise State is a well coached program that runs a lot of gadget type of players in a wide variety of spread formations. If Richt does not have his team focused and loses to an up and coming program, it will be a long year inside of the SEC once teams break down the Bulldog offense and defense.
Booster and Donor Morale
Like UGA the Bulldog, Mark Richt is beginning to feel the heat too.
You can hear it all across the southeast. From the Paul Finebaum show to Comcast Sports Southeast—the UGA donors are beginning to get fed up with mediocre 6-7 type seasons.
The reason for this?
After being dominated by Florida in the cocktail party and having poor showings in the SEC East, something has got to give to a once proud program.
UGA must find a way to get at least a SEC East crown before Will Muschamp gains his footing at Florida.
Think about it.
Steve Spurrier continues to build offensive machines with Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery. Tennnesee will fire Dooley in 3-4 seasons and hire a brand name coach. Florida has Will Muschamp and Charlie Weis. It's clearly obvious those two will make the Gators an offensive and defensive powerhouse. Kentucky will continue to catch people sleeping in Lexington and head to December Bowls.
This is the year that UGA must win the SEC East, or it will become even harder for Richt to gain support from his boosters to keep his job.
Photo Courtesy of IntelligentCollegeFootball
Keeping Players in State
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During the early 2000’s the University of Alabama struggled against opponents in the SEC and amassed a mediocre record until Saban's arrival towards the end of the decade.
The Crimson Tide was on probation and didn't have the players to compete compared to the talent in the SEC.
UGA does not have that problem.
Over the past few seasons, the Georgia Bulldogs have had decently ranked recruiting classes. Richt must do a better job to keep players like Cam Newton (College Park native) inside of the State.
Yes, I know he didn't fit the offensive scheme, but a player the size of Newton can't be ignored.
Think about it.
UGA is one of the richest schools in the state—they also sport great facilities and a passionate fanbase that fills the seats in a beautiful stadium between the hedges on Saturdays. Sure, Georgia Tech is in Atlanta, but is it really a thorn in the side of a tradition rich program like Georgia?
If Richt can continue to keep the best talent within the state, he will have a better chance to win the SEC East and battle Nick Saban for the conference crown. Yes, I said Nick Saban.