Today is Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. I am not a football strategist or analyst BUT I am a born in Georgia, bleed red and black fan who writes an SEC travel blog traveling around to different venues and writing about hospitality, tailgating and different traditions. Also, I graduated in 1977.
Vince Dooley was our head coach (I know, no one needs to be reminded of him!). In 1974 our record was barely above .500 and there were calls out to can Coach Dooley. In 1976 we went to Auburn and beat them soundly (28-0) and won the SEC Championship. On the way to Auburn we had beaten the "Bear", legendary coach Bear Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide in Athens (sadly not to be repeated this year...heavy sigh).
1977 was an inauspicious year and by 1978 the Junkyard Dawgs and Coach Erk Russell were making huge gains for the entire team. (Please allow me to admit that I might have the records off by a win or 2; I am not fact-burdened historian). What I do remember is about every 4-6 years if the team went under 8 wins, the "Dump Dooley" bumper stickers would appear and everyone would scream for a "better coach" (absurd!). As every Bulldog knows after 1978 Coach Dooley led Georgia to SEC championships, a National Championship (1980) and overall winning record second only to "The Bear."
Coach Richt is now in that same situation. Yes, October was a difficult month for the team, the coaching staff and the fans. No one wants to go 1-3 during that 4 game stretch that would determine who will make the Final 4. I hope we beat Kentucky, Ga. Southern, Auburn and Georgia Tech. Even if we don't win out the last 4 I will always be a Bulldogs and Coach Richt fan.
Have we as fans become like Alabama who fired a 10-win coach (Mike Schula) so they could hire the vaunted Nick Saban? Would you woo Mike Kelly or Urban Meyer away from their schools? Would you choose to allow 2 more wins per season to cost us our sense of morality and family?
As a 38 year veteran of teaching young people (32 years high school band and now 6 years at a small university program) I can personally speak to the damage done by a supervisor/authority figure in a student's life who is abusive and teaches all the wrong moral lessons. It is devastating and may become the 'straw' that causes a student to suffer a problem from which they may never recover; psychosis, even suicide. College football players may be "grown up" in the sense of size and speed but they are still adolescents who need (may even crave) approval of a strong moral person in their life.
Coach Richt's comments to kicker Marshall Morgan at the end of the Missouri game (heralded and expounded upon before today) epitomized a mature leader reassuring his young player. The kicker needed that comment "I love you no matter what" before the kick; even if Coach Richt had said it afterwards doubt could have been sown that would rear its ugly head at an even more inopportune time, either as a player or worse, later in life.
We were in Athens in December 2000 for my wife's 'hooding' ceremony at UGA's December graduation when she received her Doctorate. Just before going to graduation I had read of this young coach, 14 years assistant to the great Bobby Bowden, and I looked at Susan and said "This is the guy we have been waiting for!" I believed he would be the best coach for Georgia since Vince Dooley and after 15 seasons and some ups and downs, he is STILL the best person for Georgia.
Georgia fans: show your faith and hospitality; fire the printer companies - get rid of those "Railroad Richt" bumper stickers and put them in the back of the warehouse where the 'Dump Dooley' stickers are continuing to gathering dust!!
Coach Richt - WE believe in YOU, and............GO DAWGS!!!! Sic' em!