Regardless of what side of the Mark Richt debate you fall on, there are two issues getting a lot of attention that I don’t believe should be factors in the decision.
1. The last four games.
2. The impending arrival of recruit Jacob Eason.
Let’s start with the first. I referenced it in this column, in which I suggest Richt should take over play-calling from struggling offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Georgia is 5-3 and has four winnable games remaining against Kentucky (4-4), Auburn (4-4), Georgia Southern (6-2) and Georgia Tech (3-6). A sweep obviously would leave them at 9-3 going into a second-tier bowl, which doesn’t look bad, and thinking is, “How could you fire a coach after a 9-3 (potentially 10-3) season?
Here’s my thought: Georgia’s season already has been defined. It came in the four-game stretch against Alabama (lopsided loss), Tennessee (loss), Missouri (9-6 win) and Florida (lopsided loss). The Dogs’ SEC East Division hopes were smothered and those games illustrated how wide-spread the problems were (beyond just quarterback). Now we may know why. Seth Emerson and Chip Towers have a terrific piece on Dawgnation.com about internal problems in the program, stemming in part from dissension in the coaching staff.
Four wins over mediocre teams shouldn’t determine Richt’s future. Do you really make a decision based on wins over two SEC teams (Kentucky and Auburn) with a combined conference record of 3-8 and the worst Georgia Tech team ever under Paul Johnson? The administration — primarily athletic director Greg McGarity and university president Jere Morehead — should have its mind made up one way or the other, regardless of how the team finishes.
Now to the Eason thing. I know. He’s a great high school quarterback and the reported gem of Georgia’s next recruiting class. He is projected as the starting quarterback next season, at least in part because there are no obvious candidates on the roster.
Don’t take this as a reflection of Eason, who may or may not live up to his billing: But the Richt decision is about the big picture. It’s about the direction and identity of the program. Eason is short-term, for as long as he is starting and/or enrolled at Georgia. Whether the program gets or loses one player — even a quarterback — should not determine whether or not it keeps or parts with a head coach.
Those are my views. I welcome yours.
•Recent ramblings • Richt should take over Georgia’s struggling offense • Overreaction Monday: Loss-loss-loss means chaos all around • Mark Richt has failed too many big moments — it’s time for a change at Georgia • Falcons may be 6-2 but they don’t look the part • Short takes: Sloppy Falcons gift-wrap game for mediocre Bucs • Matt Ryan: ‘It comes down to me being better’ • Weekend Predictions: Jacksonville on Halloween? Ooh, scary: Gators over Dogs • Georgia’s quarterback problems fall at Mark Richt’s feet • Budenholzer can coach but can he build a champion? • Overreaction Monday: Ryan’s off, Tech’s alive and Georgia… • Georgia Tech has unforgettable moment in otherwise forgettable season • Short takes on Georgia Tech’s miracle win over Florida State • Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, ACC miserable • (Full column) Rick Pitino should lose job, culpable for Louisville mess • Rick Pitino may not survive latest claims regarding strippers, recruits • Overreaction Monday: Would Richt give Ramsey another look? • Misery like this shouldn’t happen at Georgia Tech • Short takes: Tech’s run of bowls, non-losing ACC seasons will end • Falcons flash some of their ugly past in loss to Saints • Short takes: Falcons still plagued by poor pass rush, turnovers • Weekend Predictions: Spurrier, Cubs, Playboy…and Georgia can still win SEC East! • Spurrier changed face of SEC, and then he walked out the back door • Health would be Spurrier’s only good excuse for retiring in middle of season • Florida quarterback suspended for PEDs — and claims of, ‘I didn’t know’ ring hollow • Overreaction Monday: Chubb’s loss isn’t Georgia’s only problem • There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia’s season • Short takes: After loss, Georgia is trailing even Kentucky in SEC East • It’s too late to save season but Sefolosha deserved to hear words, ‘Not guilty’ • Weekend Predictions: No fantasy, Chihuahuas will rebound (I think) • Braves may have a plan but it will be a while before masses buy in • Here’s your Depressed Braves Fan viewing guide to the postseason • Overeaction Monday: Now is not time to make decision on Richt • Falcons 4-0, Freeman 7 TDs — who didn’t see that coming? • Short takes: An easy Falcons win, and this is a team to take seriously • Richt and Georgia fall off stage again when it matters most • Short takes: Georgia’s reality check — there’s a problem at quarterback • Georgia needs win over Alabama to alter perceptions