Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You're NOT the reason the Dawgs turned it around.

I received an email last night from a friend who is not "sold" on Mark Richt as our coach. Mind you, this friend is not someone who jumped on the Georgia bandwagon in '05 or '07. He's not even a fan who's been around just since my time donning the red and black and has thus seen a quick rise and fall in a coach. This is a man who attended college with Vince Dooley. He's seen ups, and downs. He's seen a coach who struggled and then found prominence. He's seen that at least twice, in fact. In his email, my friend stated proudly that he is not a passenger on the Mark Richt bandwagon which is "straining with the weight of fans jumping aboard." To quote:

"...when it comes to a Mark Richt coached team, I make haste slowly to climb aboard as I have not seen consistency yet. And once burned, twice shy."


Over 100 victories in 11 seasons, and there's no consistency. At the cusp of UGA's 4th SEC East title in 10 years, and no consistency. Series dominance over every rival outside of Florida, and there's no consistency. And this man calls ME delusional. (It's funny that "delusional" is nearly always used in conjunction with optimism, while the term for unbridled pessimism is "realistic")

He goes on to say,

"...keep in mind that people like me caused the famous "hot seat." And the hot seat caused Richt to get off his butt and coach after a semi-furlough of six years. For without me and my brethren, Richt would have stayed fast asleep and the downward tumble would have continued."
Now THERE is someone desperately clinging to a need for importance. What's frightening about this point of view is that it is a shared one. There has been plenty of Anti-Richt sentiment over the past few years, and now that the team is good again, there is similarly a good deal of chest-thumping by those who "made obvious the fact that changes were necessary." Still, even the guys over at Sports And Grits don't go so far as to say the steaming piles of excrement spewed forth on their pages were the de facto cause of Richt righting his ship.

Of particular annoyance in all of this is the concept that Richt had no idea his teams were faring poorly. In calling Richt "asleep at the wheel", as my friend has done numerous times, he implies that Richt has been perfectly happy keeping things at a status quo, making no changes, making no moves, just praying for the best, and being ok with the worst.

What Mark Richt has he been watching?!?

All along, Richt has acknowledged the team's failures, and has maintained his position that the coaches, as a staff, were working to correct the problems. Some of those problems lay in the talent department - both in coaches and in players. In the past two years, there has been a very high amount of turnover in both areas. It appears that turnover has been for the best. I've been through the entire "Why Martinez lasted as long as he did" debate, so if you're hoping to make a point that Richt waited too long on that one, go elsewhere.

By suggesting that the "fan uproar" over the results in the past two years is what caused Richt to fire coaches, to release players, and to take a different outlook on how he prepares his team for games is a disservice to the man. In fact, it's blatantly disrespectful. Mark Richt knows how to win ballgames. Does our fanbase actually believe that in the face of NOT winning ballgames that he wouldn't sit down and diagnose what's going wrong? Do the other bloggers out there actually think that he scours the inter-webs hoping to find some kind of football rosetta stone that will explain these newfangled x's and o's that have so obviously passed him by? I for one loved it when Richt told that fan "I know what the Hell I'm doing." I can only imagine the frustration he must feel, when he's working hard to fix a problem, and still getting stuck in some areas, and then some Jack-Hole Know-It-All fan gets in his face with his opinion of the job Richt is doing.

When we were in the throws of loserdom, I told people to be cautious about abandoning Richt...if for no other reason than to save themselves the feelings of foolishness when they returned to his coattails. When you've seen as much football as I have, when you've been (oh crap, he's gonna say it) "In The Arena", you start to understand that the Ws and the Ls do not tell the whole story. Over a career, there will be many of both. You don't play football in a vacuum, and just as you change what you're doing, your opponents are going to be changing what THEY are doing as well. Your team may be great, and still lose four games due to bad bounces. Your team and coaching may be horrible, but get lucky enough through good bounces, or limited stellar personnel that you end up hoisting a crystal trophy. Over the long-run, though, you're gonna be what you're gonna be. With Richt leading the way, the Dawgs are going to be a solid program.

As it stands today, the Dawgs are poised for an SEC Title-game berth. They're ready to go 10/11 against GT. They're ready to fight for a BCS bowl. And no pessimist, no blogger, no "hotseat hothead" had one damn thing to do with it.

GO Dawgs!


Hatch said...

Excellent analysis. Your last two posts have been spot on, some of the best I have read anywhere. Keep up the good work.

DawgDaze said...

If i knew how to write well, I would say exactly what you have said! Thanks for being the voice of reason, er delusion.

Mr. Sanchez said...

Dude, cheap shot.

And I thought you knew we took complete credit for this turnaround. The dream team was clearly because of our significant impact on recruiting. And without us holding Richt's feet to the fire, we'd still have Van Halanger, Walker, and Gray as our lone S&C men, with Willie and Jancek running the D. Come on Ben, give us our due for the control we have over things!

tckr83 said...

Serious question...

Can you explain the special teams or the thought process behind it since you've been around this group of coaches?

With Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin, two of the most explosive players in the SEC, menacingly staring down opposing punters/kickers... why do the Dawgs neither attempt to block or set up a return 95% of the time on a punt?

I just don't understand it with those two back there shagging fair catch after fair catch, regardless of field position it seems like. Just drives me nuts.

CCRider said...

Did we forget to take full credit for all of this?
Wow we must be getting lazy.
I like the way you called our site Poo-Poo but with fancy words. If we are Poo-Poo then you have dookie in your eye when you read us.
You must have missed our post yesterday that paid hommage to side-boobage. I don't know if the Pulitzer has an award for titty talk but I am pretty sure we are in the running right now.
Oh Ben what would you do without us?

Ben Dukes said...

tckr83 -

Welcome back.

You've admitted in the past that you don't have the greatest amount of experience with the game of football, so I ask...if YOU, with your expressed limited knowledge, know that Smith and Boykin are two of the most dynamic and dangerous returners in the nation...don't you think the opposing coaches know that?

That's why they use rugby kicks and sky kicks to decrease the possibility of big returns. Also, we have proven ourselves to be vulnerable to fakes. So, we've seen punt-safe a bit more this season. It's indeed frustrating to not get the chance to have a big return, but that's something that's been going on across college football, actually. Coaches are perfectly willing to have a punter knock one 10 yards shorter, but a mile in the sky in order to prevent the possibility of a kid like Boykin breaking a 90 yd return.

It's annoying that we lose the possibility of the big one...but on the flipside, I sure am glad this defense is forcing this many punts.

BuLLdawg said...

Ranking this morning AP Poll Top 25 :
teams we’d beat this season :

1.UNRANKED Coastal Carolina
3.UNRANKED Missy State
4.UNRANKED Tennessee
5.UNRANKED Vanderbilt
6.UNRANKED Florida
7.UNRANKED New Mexico State
9.UNRANKED Kentucky
10.UNRANKED Georgia tek
11.UNRANKED bowl opponent
NONE will end up in the AP Poll Top 25.

Ben Dukes said...


Put on the nice lip gloss, pucker up, and get ready to kiss my bulldawg butt when we win the SEC and whatever RANKED opponent we face in our bowl.

Love and Kisses.

tckr83 said...

I believe you have me confused with someone else... I played high-school ball in Augusta and college ball at Shorter. My football 101 is just fine, thanks.

kc said...

Dawgs will win the SEC and beat the Hell out of Houston or effing Cincinatti or whomever they put us up against... repeat of Hawaii.

And we will get no respect, saying we ONLY beat LSU.

Personally, I would like to see Oregon go to the MNC over Bama, and have the Dawgs take on Oklahoma (possible), Stanford (never happen), or VaTech in the Sugar... although Beamer-Ball against our special teams could turn U-G-L-Y.

The Lone Stranger said...

I've been interested reading your posts for about a year, without commenting, but wanted to on this one. It summed up, for the casual fans among us, the sometimes frustrating disconnection between knowing something is wrong but not realizing quite what that is. I'll always be a CMR guy, and respect this prism (of one with actual playing expereince) through which to view his machinations. Sic 'em Dawgs!

DJ said...

tckr83 AKA (Shorter football hero)

Congrats!!!! You played football at 2 highschools!! Shorter, REALLY???? Shorter, REALLY??? Ben, please tell this Shorter football hero that if his football knowledge were dynamite...he wouldn't have enough to blow his nose!!!! Great blog Ben!!! Way to fight for your DAWGS!! We are on the BUS and the DOORS are LOCKED!!!!