Friday, July 15, 2011

Mr. Richt's Loved Or: How UGA Fans Learned to Stop Worrying and Wait in Pain

Over the past year and a half, many Georgia Bulldog fans have expressed their displeasure with how the football team has performed. They have even put a head coach who has won 96 games in 10 years on the proverbial “hot seat.” Even more recently, some very outspoken fans have blasted the entire coaching staff for not recruiting hard enough and not offering soon enough.

A 6-7 season is far from what the average college football fan wants. No fan wants their team to have a disappointing season. Many outspoken UGA fans have made it known that they are very displeased with the record and apparent fourth quarter conditioning problems.

Sports blogs were flooded with comments about how “weak” their strength and conditioning program was and it has since changed for the better. The players have also been placed on a structured nutrition program. The defense is in its second year and is much bigger up front, faster and stronger at the linebacker spots, and with the incoming freshman cornerback class, UGA will have much-improved depth at secondary compared to last season.

How is one of the winning-est coaches in the past 10 years on the “hot seat”? Bob Bishop, a 29-year UGA executive board member, stated, “He’s not in my hot seat; he’s still in my lap, I love him. I don’t think you can find a better human being anywhere and he’s a fine football coach.“ UGA President Michael Adams believes “you look at a person’s whole body of work. And I think the whole body of work by Mark Richt the last 10 years is very strong.”

Some of the frustration that has to do with recruiting is universally understood. When Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Ole Miss pick up recruits who are also recruited by UGA, it is frustrating to see multiple players choose another team. That being said, fans do need to remember this is the most important decision in the prospective student-athletes life. It is very likely that most try to decide what is best for them and their future.

Many UGA fans were upset that UGA missed out on LB prospect Dillon Lee, brother of UGA OL Dallas Lee. His family loves UGA, his brother plays there and he had attended UGA games since he was a child. It is hard for some to understand how he could choose “against” UGA.

The reality is Dillon Lee chose what is best "for" him. UGA was recruiting him at linebacker and tight end and they are absolutely filled to the brim with top-notch talent at both positions and will likely continue the trend. He may have been buried in the depth chart for his entire career at UGA.

UGA will continue to recruit players like Lee. Geno Smith recently narrowed his list to a top five, excluding UGA. But after he was asked, he admitted that it is not a final five. He will still be entertaining other offers and it is likely that if UGA has a top 25 season they will be in it for Geno Smith at the end.

UGA has the potential to put together a very nice 2012 class if the wins start to stack up. Five-star recruits like Keith Marshall and John Theus have UGA around the top of their list and many 4-star recruits are keeping a close eye on the Dawgs.

Many UGA fans are hoping that with the addition of John Jenkins, Jarvis Jones, Isaiah Crowell, Malcolm Mitchell and Ray Drew, all goes well for UGA this season so all the worry could be for nothing.