Mark Richt and Georgia Players React to 'Hot Seat' Status

John SmithCorrespondent IIJuly 27, 2011

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Mark Richt averaged 10 wins per year (90-27) in his first nine years as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. However, in 2010 the team finished with a disappointing 6-7 record.

"Richt" and "hot seat” were used sparingly in stories heading into the 2010 season, but that is not the case as the 2011 season approaches.

When asked if he paid attention to rumors about his future, Richt said, "I don't. I know if you walk in the Butts-Mehre Building, there's not one sense of doom or gloom."

Richt wasn't the only Bulldog asked about his status; quarterback Aaron Murray, cornerback Brandon Boykin and center Ben Jones were all asked about Richt's future.

“We love Coach Richt,” said Murray. “I know for me, that’s why I committed. Richt is a tremendous religious man. He is a man that’s going to make you a better person, not just a better football player."

Murray was picked to the SEC coaches All-SEC preseason first team after a phenomenal freshman season. The 6'1", 211 pound sophomore started 13 games, threw for 3,049 yards on 209 completions and 24 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.

Brandon Boykin, a multi-faceted player who plays both cornerback and kick returner, doesn’t pay attention to outside sources.

“As a player, we don’t really look at the media outlets or what they are saying about our coaching staff,” said the Fayetteville, Ga. native. “It’s our job to just go out and play as best we can and focus on each game and the task at hand.”

When asked about Coach Richt on the hot seat and potentially being fired, center Ben Jones said, “That would just crush us if something happened to Coach Richt because of us.”

A lot of what is said at media days is to be expected, and the Georgia players gave the textbook answer when questioned about what they thought about Mark Richt.

While Richt has the ultimate responsibility of managing the entire team, he cannot step onto the field and make plays. The players will ultimately determine Mark Richt’s future in how they prepare and play in the biggest two game stretch of Mark Richt’s tenure at Georgia.

Although the final prize of winning an SEC Championship and a BCS Bowl Game may be greater, if Richt cannot beat Boise State in the Georgia Dome and South Carolina in the home opener, he might be out as head coach of the Bulldogs.