Mark Richt is one of the most fascinating individuals in college football. He’s concluding his 12th season as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. Like you’d expect over a 12 year tenure, he’s had his ups and downs.
Saturday represents one of the biggest opportunities of Coach Richt’s career. He leads a very talented team, possibly the most complete team he’s had during his time at Georgia, against the Crimson Tide for the SEC Championship and a spot in the BCS Championship against Notre Dame.
While the media and fans feel the pressure of this moment for Richt, I’m not so certain Richt himself feels the pressure.
Listening to Kirk Herbstreit on the Paul Finebaum show the other night, they were talking about Richt. They were saying the difference between him and Saban is that Saban absolutely hates to lose. Richt, of course, doesn’t like losing, but if Georgia loses, life still goes on. While few likely know Richt’s true emotional state after a football game, Richt’s consistent laid back personality and demeanor indeed give that impression.
We all know that there’s more to Richt than just football. His faith is well documented. He is a big family man with two biological children and two children he and his wife adopted from the Ukraine. It’s the complete picture of Richt that usually leads most fans to first mention that Richt is a great guy. You rarely hear Richt first described as a great coach.
On the same Finebaum segment, Herbstreit mentioned that Georgia has been at their best recently when they actually move outside that laid back Richt-driven demeanor. Most notably, it was when Georgia safety Shawn Williams called out his defense in public – calling them ‘soft’ – when Georgia came out with a passion against Florida and got the key win of the season to give them the ability to play for the SEC Championship.
Perhaps one of the most memorable instances of this was the 2007 Florida game when Richt instructed his offense to celebrate their first touchdown until they received a penalty. The entire team ran onto the field and the penalty was granted. Of
Will there be a moment against Alabama where Georgia finds that spark? We’ll have to see.
Richt is absolutely respected for the man he is in Athens, but Georgia fans are ready for a championship. Georgia fans are ready to talk about Richt as not just a great guy but also a great football coach.
We here at SDS have been throwing around the saying that this game is a potential career defining game for Richt. Beating the team most consider to be the top team in the league right now to win the SEC. Following it up with a real shot at beating Notre Dame for a national title. Georgia has been waiting for this. The perception of Richt’s career can absolutely change based on what happens this weekend and also in January.
We try to convince ourselves that this is Richt’s biggest moment of his life in an attempt to try to will him to another level of urgency. But the reality is that Richt most assuredly does not view Saturday as the biggest moment of his life. Maybe not even the biggest moment of his career.
If you read through Coach Richt’s testimony, he ends it with how he is thankful to “live my life with peace.”
Richt is a good football coach. He might not be as intense or even as good of a coach as Nick Saban (few are), but Richt will prepare his team well for Saturday. Herbstreit was right, though. If Georgia loses, he won’t be devastated. Richt has said it himself that he lives with peace – peace that isn’t dictated by what happens on the football field.
While maybe a vocal minority of Georgia fans have a problem with this, most Georgia fans are thankful for the man leading the Dawgs in Atlanta on Saturday. The few vocal fans who don’t like Richt’s point of view towards football and towards life perhaps should read Richt’s testimony and reconsider the importance of football in the grand scheme of life.
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