The Coach Is Dead, Long Live The Coach

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. I tell you what, there’s one other thing that will put your mind right just about as well as a Zombie Double Feature, and that’s a college football marathon. How much fun was it watching the Gators getting stomped by Alabama? Too much fun, I tell you. Watching Carolina give Clemson fits was also fun, although I was ultimately pulling for Clemson.

Seems Clemson’s all world, Heisman candidate quarterback was a Mark Richt reject. Well, maybe not so much a reject as an ignore. The fact that Deshaun Watson grew up in Gainesville, always wanted to be a Bulldog, and holds most of the states records should have been enough to get him on the Bulldog roster. Some of Deshaun’s records include: total yards (17,134), total touchdowns (218), career passing yards (13,077) and career passing touchdowns (155). He also rushed for 4,057 yards and 63 touchdowns. He also led his team to a state championship. I like that kind of pedigree.

Apparently, Coach Richt didn’t see enough to woo Deshaun into staying close to home. Instead, Richt recruited two quarterbacks that have transferred out, and another that became our new punter. Hard to argue with that kind of success. Maybe it was Deshaun’s ability to avoid a tackler that tilted Richt’s scales to our current starter. Who knows? If we keep our current commit, Georgia will be starting a Freshman next year, backed up by a sixth year Senior. There are two prayers here, new kid doesn’t get hurt, new kid pans out.

So, I guess the story here is how did someone making minimum four million dollars a year decide that he’d just phone it in, and it’d be ok? Honest to God, I can’t come up with an answer that would satisfy a working man. For four million dollars a year most of us would kiss naked butts up and down the length of Peachtree Street everyday, and feel blessed to have the job. Something must have gotten severely skewed in Mark Richt’s “work life balance”.

That’s what Human Resources folks are calling it now, “work life balance”. It’s the catchall phrase they use when they find that you haven’t taken a day off in two months, or a vacation in two years. It might arise when the C.S.R. next to you keeps borrowing your stapler and not returning it. And maybe you’ve warned them repeatedly about returning your stapler and finally you say something like, “if you don’t put my stapler back where you found it, I’m going to stick it where the sun don’t shine”. The next thing you know the HR wench is talking to you about your “work life balance”, and perhaps you need to take more time off. You know you don’t need to take more time off, you’re just barely getting the stuff done they’re expecting you to do now, how could more time off help?

Anyway, I don’t think the “work life balance” thing played out this way for Coach Richt. If so, it was more, “I want to coach as little as I can get away with and do my own thing the rest of the time”. I guess we don’t have to speculate what his other thing was, whether it was chasing skirts or chasing souls, the end result was the same. He wasn’t chasing Deshaun Watson and other highly rated recruits for the Bulldogs.

Coach Richt’s “work life balance” apparently didn’t provide enough time to find quality coordinators, Jeremy Pruitt clearly being a fluke, or the time to see that his coordinators were preparing the team for the rigors of the SEC. To a sane rational person, and I’m including myself here, the decision to start the third string quarterback against Florida, the game that would decide if we would play in the SEC championship, was clearly sabotage. Was it the O.C., or was it Richt that came up with the idea? No matter, it was Richt that should have said, “hell no”, I need to win this game to save my job. Therein lies the rub.

Richt did not sign his last contract extension. Rumors abound that there was language in the contract that would have prevented him from proselytizing. Apparently Richt’s lack of commitment to the contract was played out in the arena. Now he’ll get the chance to save souls, and bring a football program up to mediocrity in Miami. So ends our fairy tale relationship with Mark Richt. Fifteen years for thirty five million in salary, I feel cheated.

Coach Kirby Smart is coming to Athens, and all of our expectations are sky high. So, I guess in a sidewise kind of way, this is my first column about him. The coach is dead, long live the new coach.

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