Radio silence is golden for Georgia coach Mark Richt
UPDATE: Georgia has fired coach Mark Richt, ESPN reported just after noon ET
There is no “Black Monday” in college football as there is in the NFL.
Today’s social media climate ensures there are more sources and news outlets than at any point in history. If change is coming, it tends to bubble to the surface immediately. Often it doesn’t wait until after the regular season (see: South Carolina, Missouri, USC and others).
Still, the Sunday following the regular-season finale can be a nervous one.
Florida pushed out Will Muschamp last year on this day. Many reports indicated Les Miles may get a proverbial pink slip from LSU on this day, but the Tigers informed him last night that he will return. Virginia fired Mike London today.
News out of Athens? There is none.
Other than an informal poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in which more than three-quarters of the participants voted that they wanted Richt back, a recruit or two sounding off and a few tame Richt quotes from his post-game Saturday press conference, the University of Georgia and the accompanying media have remained radio silent on his job status.
Athletic director Greg McGarity again declined comment after the Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech to improve to 9-3, and has yet to offer anything substantial on Richt’s job status in recent weeks.
“The plan for me is to get on the recruiting trail and keep nailing down a great class, and getting prepared for this bowl game, and getting prepared for the future at Georgia,” Richt said after notching a fourth consecutive victory Saturday.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, at the center of rumors and reports citing staff discontent, also made it explicitly clear to DawgNation.com that he wants to return as defensive coordinator in 2016.
There are several things that are working in Richt’s favor:
- He has a chance to collect yet another 10-win season with a bowl victory.
- It would be very difficult to fire him if he closed the season with five consecutive wins.
- His only losses are to the two SEC championship participants and a Tennessee team that took surefire College Football Playoff participant Oklahoma to overtime.
- Georgia is collecting an excellent 2016 recruiting class, perhaps even beyond the normal standard — on paper, anyway. The program doesn’t want to jeopardize that class.
There could be pervasive internal discord between Richt and McGarity, Richt and members of his staff or both. The school has done an excellent job of walling off all of that drama from the public since the team’s third loss on Halloween.
The offense, especially the passing game, remains a major issue. The hire of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer doesn’t look great at this point.
But no news is good news for Richt. Every day he remains the head coach at Georgia beyond today makes his job status all the more secure.
Like fast-drying concrete, there still is an impetus to make change quickly if a school has not done so by the end of the regular season. The coaching cycle already has begun in earnest, with some FBS schools making hires and others launching full-on aggressive plans to secure their No. 1 targets.
If UGA were to make a move, it would need to be now. Not after the bowl game. Not when the team’s recruiting class would be more threatened and the available prospects would be drying up.
So, Richt isn’t officially back for 2016. There has been no pointed, direct headline out of Athens. But one would surmise his chances of returning are very, very good.