Even the most critical of Coach Richt can agree on one thing: his best attribute might be the fact he is a master motivator when adversity strikes.
Just think about it. How much adversity this team has faced over the past four or five years. If the players didn’t believe in Mark Richt, and play their tails off for him, he’d be doing a show with Gene Chizik on the SEC Network now.
Remember back in 2011? The Bulldawgs were coming off a losing season, then lost the first two games of 2011. Everyone was saying the loser of the UGA/Ole Miss game would be fired. His seat was scorching hot. What happened? The Dawgs went out and won 10 straight games and played tough against LSU in the SEC Championship.
In 2012, the Dawgs were coming off an ass whoppin’ for the ages in Columbia, then almost lost to Kentucky. What happened? Georgia beat Florida and then came 5 yards shy against Alabama.
Even last year. All the highs (LSU and South Carolina) and lows (Vanderbilt loss). With all that went wrong last season with defense and injuries, the players never quit. If they had, we’d gotten beat by 40 against Auburn, and not overcome a 20 point hole against Tech.
When their backs are against the wall and adversity creeps in, Mark Richt is able to rally his guys and they still fight for him.
Don’t scoff at this. If it were that easy, Mack Brown would probably still have a job and the Braves would be playoff bound.
We have heard the same song and verse after the loss in Columbia. “We still have all of our goals in front of us.”
How much longer can this message be repeated? I hope this isn’t the case, but gut wrenching loss after gut wrenching loss, how much more can the psyche take?
My biggest fear for the rest of the season isn’t we get beat again by a quality opponent. I have no problem with losing to South Carolina. You play a tough team on the road, and you lose by 3 points. Like with Clemson a year ago, there is no shame in that. Nothing to hang your head one. Don’t miskate this for accepting defeats; I am simply being pragmatic.
But it is the way you lose that is so bad. It is not that Georgia gets beat. It’s that they get beat in the worse possible ways.
My fear is that the players finally don’t say the hell with it and stop fighting hard for their head coach.
Richt has proven time and time again he can rally the guys and get them to play hard.
Can he do it again?