I have had a hard time keeping up with football events in recent weeks. I took a week hiatus on to Gulf Shores (the Shrimp Basket has the best shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich ever and Lost Keys Golf Course in Pensacola is ridiculously hard). The Braves are in a tight race and my fantasy baseball team just took a major hit with Albert Pujols getting hurt.
This has been a quiet offseason. No players getting arrested, no star wide receiver selling a jersey. Same old “were working hard” meme that could/could not be BS that I am tired of hearing. I have tried to curb my enthusiasm a little by not reading my Phil Steele religiously yet…I don’t want to get too excited too soon.
I had some time to kill yesterday and ventured over to fellow blogger CCRider’s blog, Sports and Grits. I don’t know CC, although we did do a podcast together for The Leather Helmet Blog. I must say, I like CC’s writing and humor, but we have a fundamental disagreement on Mark Richt. Though I have never spoken with CC directly on this issue, I can tell right off he is not a Mark Ricth fan…he boasts he is a sausage maker. He makes some good points. I don’t agree with some of his names he uses and the tone he takes, and I don’t think it is entirely fair (borderline mean spirited), but I respect his different opinion.
CC has a series of posts promoting his blog’s campaign to have Gary Patterson to come to Athens as the UGA head coach in 2012. Now I am of the opinion that Mark Richt can get things turned around, the defense will be better, and as long as Aaron Murray is healthy then we should have a pretty good offense, despite the fact we have question marks at receiver and running back.
I would love to have Gary Patterson as the head ball coach in Athens if/when Mark Richt’s time in Athens comes to an end. But I don’t think Patterson will ever come, and I must disagree with CC.
First off, TCU is heading east in 2012. TCU will join the Big East a year from now. For TCU to make a BCS game, they will not have to play a conference championship and, despite what Coach Patterson says, it will be an easier road to an automatic qualifying for BCS game, and eventual BCS National Championship game.
It does not take a genius to think it will be easier to run the table in the Big East than it is in the SEC, particularly at Georgia. At Georgia, you have to play South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn annually (despite the fact some of these teams are in rebuilding mode, they are still legitimate teams), must play Arkansas, LSU and Alabama 4 times a decade, and every 5 years, must play Alabama and LSU twice in a season. That is tough. Pitt, Rutgers, West Virginia, UConn and South Florida aren’t exactly on the same level as those schools-no matter how bad Tennessee is.
Going into Patterson’s 11th full season coaching at TCU, they has moved from the WAC, to CUSA, to MWC, and now to an AQ BCS Conference (the addition of TCU gives the Big (L)East instant credibility). He has spent a decade building up the program at TCU-why would he leave a program he has built to come to another stop? Don’t say the tradition or money of Georgia-as noted above he can easily cement his place among college football’s elite at TCU. If TCU hadn’t had the road paved for an AQ, then I would see it more likely. Now, I don’t think so.
And this is an aside, and a lesser reason why he wouldn’t come, but some food for thought still. Gary Patterson is the same age as Mark Richt. He has been a Head Coach about the same time and has a similar overall record (against, by and large, weaker competition). He is no doubt an outstanding coach. If Georgia runs off a decorated, successful head coach like Richt, I think it would be a tough sell to an already established Coach like Patterson to come to Athens. I think we would have to go the Assistant or young Head Coach route. After paying Richt approximately $12-15 million to buy out his contract, I don’t think it is feasible to sign a Coach like Patterson to the $5 million per year contract like CC suggests, although I am sure he is being snarky and not for real.
If I were Patterson, a question I would have would be “Gee, Mark Richt had XYZ amount of success over there, and they cut him loose. Why would I want to go there? What will they do with me if start to have some trouble?”
If I were an established head coach who has built up a program, I would not go to a place that ran off a coach the caliber of Mark Richt. Fans, like CC, may be angry with him, and have justified reasons to be concerned with the direction the program is heading. But I don’t think they see the forest for the trees what the man has accomplished in Athens, and has a pretty short memory.
CC does bring up some good points about more of a spread attack, although I think he forgets that David Greene was pretty good even though he wasn’t an NFL QB and Aaron Murray broke some records in this offense. I don’t have an opinion of his desire to run a 4-2-5, although with Kwame Geathers and Jon Jenkins and our linebackers we have now, I think we are suited pretty well personnel wise to run the 3-4 defensive scheme.
My point is Gary Patterson stands as good a shot of being the next head coach in Athens as Newt Gingrich does in being the next President of the United States. It would be nice, but it isn’t going to happen. If we are going to waste our time talking about “what ifs”, we should waste our time being realistic.