Saturday, January 9, 2010
Conspiracy theories and Coach Mark Richt
Reports broke Friday afternoon that the Seattle Seahawks fired a “stunned” Jim Mora and have targeted Southern California’s Pete Carroll to replace him. Like a flash I spun up a great conspiracy theory about the whole thing and my mind quickly meandered to South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and Georgia head man Mark Richt. Sorta weird I know, but stay with me here Reader.
As for Carroll, as soon as I heard the names of the principals involved I had an idea of what was happening. Later, when I heard NFL reporter Chris Mortensen confirm that Carroll was interested in Seattle as well and that USC was already making overtures to Oregon State head coach Mike Riley, I essentially closed this book in my mind as a done deal. Simply and quickly connecting the dots, I came to the conclusion that there is no way that the Seahawks would fire Mora after one season for “not winning enough” by producing a 5-11 record after Mike Holmgren went 4-11 just the year before. Not unless they had already traded up and had their replacement in hand in Carroll. The situation is primed for Carroll to leave USC with the NCAA sniffing all around the program and the exodus of assistant coaches in recent years, not to mention that it seems the Trojan underclassmen have seen the writing on the wall with Damian Williams and Joe McKnight announcing their intentions to enter the NFL draft on the same day the story breaks. The situation in Seattle currently offers Carroll the opportunity to have total control over football operations (in one form or another) just as he currently does at USC, something Carroll has long said would be a mandate if he were to ever consider returning to the NFL. Finally, later in the day when I heard Mortensen say he would be shocked if Carroll-to-Seattle does not happen, I was further convinced this is a done deal. Will it happen? I guess we will have to wait and see, but if it does I will enjoy the fact (in my own personal universe) that I decoded the master plan from jump. Well, at least as far as I am concerned.
Then I thought about Steve Spurrier and his departure from the University of Florida. When asked why he was leaving, Spurrier said that he felt it was time and 10 years at any place is long enough. Maybe this is yet another reason Carroll may soon be the head Seahawk (**as I finish this up I read that sources say Carroll has reached a deal with the Seahawks**). From there, my mind ping-ponged to the head DAWG and what he is currently doing with the football program at the University of Georgia. Mark Richt is not choosing to leave for greener pastures or walk away from the game to spend more time with his family. After averaging 10 wins a year during his nine seasons in Athens, Richt saw his program begin to slip and he has attacked the causes head on by choosing to bring in a new defensive coordinator and, from all reports at this stage, is looking to make that choice from outside his inner circle of friends. I believe Richt realizes that he needs someone that will bring a new and rejuvenated spirit to the Butts-Mehre offices and will be willing to challenge his decision making when necessary. This is not only good for a program, it is absolutely vital to maintaining the type of edge necessary to compete in a league that has produced the last four national champions, a feat never before accomplished in NCAA college football.
I was NEVER saying that I thought Coach Richt was thinking of leaving or that his job was or should be in any danger. If you have ever read my thoughts here before, you know exactly where I stand on Coach Richt and the program he has built at Georgia. To the contrary, I wanted to acknowledge Coach Richt for recognizing the issues within his program and taking the steps necessary to rectify them. Spurrier chose to leave Florida and it looks like Carroll is headed back to the NFL, but that is not who Coach Richt is. The Georgia head coach has made no secret of the fact that he will be at the University of Georgia as long as the DAWG people will have him and his actions this off-season prove that he is willing to do what it takes to make sure that the Georgia program maintains the level of success he is responsible for bringing to Athens…to finish what he started and has built. THAT is who Coach Richt is and I am glad he is our man.