Mitchell: Why Mark Richt Should Be Fired
Posted Oct 8, 2012

Russ Mitchell: Again, Why Mark Richt Should Be Fired

By Russ Mitchell

Since December 2009, I have been on record advocating that Mark s time at Georgia should expire – and I carry many a red & black arrow still stuck in my back as a result.

A good coach and an even better man, it was apparent then that Richt's laissez-faire coaching style had long since worn out its welcome between the hedges. His "relaxed" approach, an undisciplined one, that since the middle of the last decade has commonly resulted in more discipline issues and recruits leaving Athens than most – if not all – of his SEC opponents.

These losses have served as the backbone of a program that has failed to win a signature SEC game since 2007. But it's far worse than that – Georgia's hardly even been competitive in these vital games.

For my regular readers, I beg your indulgence one final time…after nearly three years of pointing out what has to me been obvious, this will be my last time on the subject. The writing has been on the wall since the 2009 season, and it's getting clearer with each passing year.

2008 began with great promise as a consensus preseason #1, but ended with loses to all three regular season top 25 opponents the Dawgs faced, surrendering 135 points in the process, along with their pride.

2009, again, no signature SEC wins. 2010 was even worse.

Last season, UGA fans were gathering pitchforks and fire after Georgia started 0-2, even though those two defeats came against teams that were actually better than UGA. Then, as expected, the inevitable festival commenced once Georgia ran through its soft schedule…though again with no signature SEC wins and 0-4 against the better teams on their schedule

Before that season, I once again laid out the argument against Richt – and the nod to Joe Paterno aside, the points are still the same…still valid in October 2012.

I have been suspicious of the Gamecocks' 2012 secondary and Connor Shaw's arm strength. For those reasons, I picked UGA to win in Columbia…on the misplaced belief that Aaron Murray's ability to victimize the Gamecocks secondary would trump Richt's penchant for losing big SEC games.

That mistake is stinging my professional pride, but degrees of magnitude less than it should any UGA fan who still dreams of hoisting the SEC championship trophy one day soon.

Even after its lowest offensive output since 2006, Georgia could still back its way into a trip to the SEC championship game just like last year. SC is already a three point dog to LSU in Baton Rouge next Saturday (itself a bit surprising, though that's a different column), after which the Gamecocks travel straight to the Swamp for a date with the Gators.

The Bulldogs have just one tough game left on their particularly easy schedule – that neutral field contest against Florida, which the Gators must play the week after tussling with Carolina.

Under Mark Richt, that is what Georgia football has become: backing into honors.

At the risk of multi-year redundancy… Georgia is one of our conference's richest athletic departments, both in terms of revenue and brand awareness. Its football team is a crown jewel of not just the SEC, but college football in general. It deserves better than mediocrity.