In thinking about how this football season generally, and the Georgia Bulldog's season specifically, has gone, do you think there is anyone out there right now that can challenge Alabama?
I am not saying 'Bama will go undefeated, but I am saying they are the only team I see that can legitimately say they have the team (as opposed to the schedule) to go undefeated. It seems that Nick Saban has put together the perfect team: strong running backs, an offensive line that finishes blocks, a serviceable passing game and QB that rarely makes game changing mistakes, a strong defense that covers receivers, attacks the ball and defenders that tackle, rather than just hit. A sight to behold, really.
One thing that sticks out in my mind is Nick Saban's first season at Alabama. In 2007, Saban's team lost four in a row, including games to Mississippi State and a humiliating late season loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Nick Saban era had begun with a thud. Despite the hue and the cry from the 'Bama faithful, Alabama stuck by their man. The administration believed in Saban, what he was doing and how he was going about his business.
Now, they are the defending national champions and are set for another run to a crystal football.
All of that makes me think: Be careful what you wish for in asking for a replaced coach. Unless I am mistaken, there isn't another Nick Saban out there who will come to Georgia. Furthermore, there are very few coaches with the proven record of success Mark Richt has that are obtainable and ready to come to Athens.
I will fully admit, I am a Mark Richt supporter. I reject the Mark Richt apologist label, as that reeks of a talk show junkie's attempt to paint me as some kind of fanatic who's views are to be rejected with out evaluating those views on the merits. I understand where the annon commenter is coming from with his/her taking up the mantle of '10-11 isn't good enough in the SEC', a point I fully agree with. Where we disagree is that my feelings on merely looking at the last X number of games, without fully exploring the record of the coach and what is going on around him, as the proper metric to evaluate a coach by. Actually, very Florida Gatorish. I also disagree with the notion that 'anyone' would be better than a coach with two SEC championships and 90+ wins. I also have a tendency to focus on the positive, rather than the negative, so there is that.
In my mind, until Mark Richt has a sustained period (more than a two seasons) of mediocre football, and is unwilling to make the necessary changes to fix that, he is my coach. My trust in him may be misplaced, something I'll admit openly and honestly when that moment comes. Right now, there is plenty of upside and I personally feel we are at the bottom of the trough.
I asked the question back in August and I'll ask it again: Will someone tell me who we should hire to replace Mark Richt? Please limit your answers to those that would come (so don't throw out Cowher or Gruden or Saban or Mike Smith) and that would be an improvement over him from a record and experience standpoint (so don't say Smart or anyone that has coached at Duke). Both Tennessee and Auburn fired long time head coaches who had successful records. Both schools fired those coaches after their second losing season at those schools. Both ended up with subpar coaches vis a vis the man they replaced. In Tennessee's case, they have become the running punch line to any number of jokes as a direct result of that decision.
My point is that we aren't those places. Greg McGarity is smarter than Mike Hamilton. For all of Mike Adams' flaws, he is more shrewd and smarter than Jay Gogue.
I guess that might be my biggest fear about a replacement and disagreement with anyone who wants Richt fired right now. To me, those people are acting like Tennessee and Auburn fans. We are better than that, right? Our fans are, our administration is, our school is, Bulldog Nation is.
Mike Adams and Greg McGarity won't make that decision without at least having a short list in mind. That short list will be one that has coaches with at least the same experience/ability as Mark Richt or has significantly more long term upside than Mark Richt. If we let Coach Richt go, Georgia won't do it to hire Lane Kiffin or Gene Chizik. We can have the Mark Richt must go/stay debate all day, but surely we agree on that.