Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Energizing the Fan Base...

My friend Bob is a writer. We work together and often times finish our day with talks of college football. Bob is an avid fan of Texas and I am, of course, a Dawgfan. Yesterday he posed the question of what happens with Richt at the end of the season. He's been reading the same news across the college football media that says Richt is in dire straits, that he's past his prime, that he can no longer bring the wins. Bob is curious as to whether Will Muschamp might be plucked away from UT and inserted at UGA by our brand new AD, Greg McGarity.

I told him I didn't see it happening. I told him that I seriously doubt the new AD will come in and fire a proven winner who is struggling through a difficult season. He took the contradictory position. He said there's no better way for McGarity to energize the fanbase and get people excited about Georgia football than to fire the Head Coach. This led me to today's blog.

Bob is out of his frikkin mind.

There is a better way to energize the fanbase and get people excited about Georgia Football - that way is TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES. That way is TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. That way is TO TURN THIS THING AROUND.

Changing coaches does not do that. I read Tony Barnhardt's column today with excitement. He's a guy who truly "gets it." I love Mr CFB. He lays it out in plain language so that even the most lay of lay-persons can understand. When you fire a proven coach, you better be extremely careful in doing so. There's not always an Urban Meyer, a Nick Saban, a Mark Richt sitting there waiting for that job to open up. It took Bama a while to get to Saban. Florida didn't find Meyer on its first try. Tennessee botched the deal by taking Kiffin, and may have done a decent job of rebounding with Dooley - that remains to be seen. Chizik at Auburn? They look good right now - how will they finish?

More often than not, when a program makes a coaching change, it gets worse before it gets better. Sure people are excited at the "hope" of something new - but let's be realists, when this season is over, fans will start buzzing with recruiting news. They will buzz about spring practice, and by the time fall gets here, they will be plenty excited about the hope of a new season. That hope and excitement would not be increased by bringing in a new coach. In fact, that would raise even more questions about whether or not the personnel can adapt to a new philosophy, a new scheme. People would wonder what this new coach will do with the old coach's personnel...and how long it would take to get "his recruits in."

Want to see the UGA fanbase get energized? Deliver a win against UT in Sanford - and deliver it resoundingly. Follow that up with a pounding of Vanderbilt, and if at all possible, a shocking win over Auburn.

THAT will get the fanbase energized. THAT will get them excited. Do those things, and maybe - just maybe, Joe Everymangeorgiafan will start to see that this downturn has light on the horizon. Yes, there will still be the negative crowd who won't be able to help themselves when they scream "Why haven't we been playing like this all year??!" Yes, there will be those who bemoan the thought that Richt will have bought himself another year to right the ship. Still, there will be a great many more who will simply be excited to see the "W" column start to even out with the "L" column. They will cheer, and chant, and buy t-shirts, and look forward to 2011.

I will be among them.

Go Dawgs!


Kelly and Brad said...

Good stuff as always Dukes, I hate I couldn't make it out to Colorado with Pete, sounds like it was fun.
Funny that you mention energizing the fanbase, I just thought about this today.
Follow along this plausible scenario:
South Carolina loses games to Bama, Florida, Arkansas, and they already have a loss to Auburn
Vandy loses to UGA, UF, Scar, LSU, etc
Tennessee loses to UGA, Bama, already has losses to UF and LSU*
Kentucky loses to UGA, Scar, UT, already have a loss to UF
Florida loses to LSU and UGA (hardest part to believe in this whole scenario), already has a loss to Bama

UGA beats UT, Vandy, Kentucky, Florida (maybe?), Auburn (similar to Stafford leading UGA onto the Plains after losing to UK and Vandy and beating a top 5 Auburn team in '06)
I present your SEC East Champion Georgia Bulldogs!
The march to Atlanta begins Saturday!
Is this the most likely scenario probably not but it's not like we are depending on Vandy beating Florida, it is a real possiblility, this is college football after all.

Ben Dukes said...

This is just one of the many reasons I love you, Brad. Your undying optimism. If UGA were to somehow win the east, every HC other than Mark Richt should be fired.