Georgia Football: How Much Longer Does Mark Richt Have?
The worst-case scenario happened for the Georgia Bulldogs. They now find themselves 0-2 and 0-1 in the SEC, resulting in Mark Richt’s seat getting uncomfortably warm.
The Bulldogs faced two Top-15 teams in their first two games of the season and were pounded by Boise State 35-21 and edged out by South Carolina 45-42.
It was extremely important for Richt to win one of these games to keep the criticism to a minimum. Now, the question emerges—how much longer does Richt have as head coach?
Personally, I think Richt has done a tremendous job as head coach, and no one can deny how great his work at Georgia has been.
But I know how SEC fans are, and I know that with back-to-back-to-back disappointing seasons, the Bulldog nation is getting restless. (I consider the 2008 season to be a disappointment because of all the talent that team had like Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, A.J. Green, Mohamed Massaquoi and still lost three games.)
Have the Bulldogs been shaky lately? Yes, but Richt is still one of the better coaches in college football today, and this is why he’ll still be head coach for the Bulldogs in 2012.
Numbers Don’t Lie
After serving 10 years as head coach, Richt has won two SEC championships (2002, ’05), three SEC Eastern Division titles and has a winning percentage of .738.
Richt is one of only six coaches in history to win the SEC Championship in his first five years.
There’s no denying that Richt is a winner, and his work at Georgia over the past decade has been admirable.
Richt is one of only seven men in NCAA FBS history to record 90 or more wins in his first nine seasons, has appeared in 10 straight bowl games, was named the SEC Coach of the Year twice and has a non-conference record of 41-6.
It’s not until recently that the Bulldogs have struggled with winning games, but if Richt can get the team re-focused, they have enough talent to turn their season around and make it a memorable one.
Not Only a Great Coach but a Great Man
Before I get started on singing the praises of what Richt does off the field, I want to make it clear that I understand winning comes first in the SEC.
However, you still can’t deny how many lives Richt has touched around the world. Since arriving at Georgia, Richt has put a large emphasis on Bulldog players’ graduation and earning degrees.
Over his tenure as head coach, Richt has seen more than 200 Bulldog players earn their degrees. Not only has he touched lives at the University of Georgia, but he also volunteered this past summer to go to Honduras to do mission work.
Richt is well respected in the college football community and was named to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees in 2010.
If boosters want to run off a man that has brought so many great memories to Georgia football fans and touched lives everywhere that he’s been, then that sends one heck of a message about your football program.
The Bulldogs Season isn’t Over Yet!
Before this pity party goes any further about the security of Richt’s job, the Bulldogs’ season is far from over.
The loss to South Carolina is a big one because of the fact that they are the front-runner in the SEC East and have the best team in the East. But like I said, this thing is far from over. I mean are we forgetting that this is the SEC that we’re talking about here?
Richt and his team will be 2-2 by the time they play Mississippi State on Oct. 1, and the march back to redemption will be on. That game will be put up or shut up. Georgia will need to win that game against the other Bulldogs in the SEC and then go on a run to beat Tennesee, Vanderbilt and Florida in a row.
South Carolina could easily slip up to Tennessee, Florida or Arkansas, so the race is still wide open. The bottom line is Richt is a great coach and will get his talented team prepared.
If it wasn’t for the mistakes by quarterback Aaron Murray, the Bulldogs could have easily beat the Gamecocks Saturday. But hey, woulda, coulda, shoulda hasn’t ever helped anybody, so let’s look forward rather than backwards.
The Bulldogs will still win eight to nine games this year as Murray will take care of the ball better and continue to play wel.
The defense will tighten up and running back Isaiah Crowell will be the sensation that Bulldog fans have been predicting him to be.
Fear not Georgia fans, you have a tremendous coach leading a talented football team onto the field, and 2011 will still be a memorable year for the Bulldog nation.