We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.
-Robert E. Lee
I am going to have to be the lone, dissenting voice on The Grit Tree. I never would have thought in the nine years of Coach Richt’s era there would be such a negative backlash towards him.
I personally feel like the thought of Mark Richt being on the hotseat for one bad year is complete hogwash. It is shortsighted. Fans like to point to the failures of last year as the unraveling of Coach Richt. While 2008 was very disappointing and maddening, any time you have a 10 win season it is not a down year.
Richt’s biggest mistake is he didn’t take the mistakes of a year ago serious enough. He has said when he was a Florida State, they were always one of the most penalized teams. (Florida and Oklahoma were last year also). The problem this year is that we don’t have the overall talent (raw talent, we have, but not groomed talent) to overcome the penalties, turnovers and lack of turnovers.
To think that Mark Richt is unable to make the necessary changes or be “tough enough” to make tough decisions is ignorant. You don’t interview with Vince Dooley and not coach at UGA for 9 seasons, winning 2 SEC titles, 2 Sugar Bowls and have an impeccable road record and not be “tough enough”.
In an AJC article, Damon Evans came out in support of Coach Richt. Most of the time, when coaches are feeling the heat, the AD does not come out with public praise. See Charlie Wiess and Notre Dame. Usually phrases like “we will evaluate the direction of the program at the end of the season” will be made by the AD if a coach is feeling the heat.
“Mark Richt is our football coach, and I’m glad that Mark Richt is our football coach,” Evans said Monday night. “I have confidence in Mark Richt to get the job done and do the things he’s done over the past years to keep us competing for championships. And I know that what Mark will do are the things he thinks are appropriate for the program.”
Later, Evans added: “I’m glad that our fans . . . know we have a good football coach, a coach that has been through the thick and thin, and somebody who has led us to great heights with SEC championships, BCS bowl appearances. Any program faces adversity, and when you face adversity, it’s what you learn from it and how you come out of it. And I have confidence that Coach Richt will come through this.”
As General Lee said, you can learn more in failure than success. A 10-3 season did not properly teach us of our failures; a 6-6 season will. Now we will see if Richt can earn his paycheck; unlike most out there, I think he can.