As much as I would love to be in the greater metropolitan Birmingham area for SEC Media Days, I only recently got back from vacation and I’ve had an unusually busy week at work, so I was not in a position even to consider making the trip.
Now, we in Bulldog Nation are pleased with and proud of our head coach, but, in a conference that features Lane Kiffin, Steve Spurrier, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, Lane Kiffin, Urban Meyer, Lane Kiffin, Houston Nutt, Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, and (lest we forget) Lane Kiffin, we have to admit that Mark Richt is hardly at the front of the pack as a quotation machine. This is not a bad thing, though, because truth may yet be found in the midst of blandness.
Here are a few lines provided by Coach Richt this morning:
I’m amazed I’m still here.
On Jacksonville: I want to focus on winning that game.
Every decision I’ve ever made since I’ve been in Georgia has been to try to make a decision that would help us in the long run.
Everything I’ve done is to try to make sure that we will be here for the long haul.
When interpreting a coach’s comments, of course, you have to bear in mind the questions he’s being asked. If you believe Coach Richt is looking to bolt, your response to the first and last lines is that he doth protest too much.
My interest, though, is in the middle pair of quotations. While the word "decision" may appear one time too many in the third comment, it’s hard to argue with Coach Richt’s sincerity. He hasn’t made every decision correctly, of course, but we’ve never had to worry that he was guided by any other motivation than the best interests of the Georgia program.
The most welcome remark, though, is the second one. After inviting more criticism than he anticipated when answering a question about the location of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party earlier in the offseason, Coach Richt is concentrating on what matters: winning. Go back to beating the Gators on a regular basis, and folks will start to remember the importance of recruiting in South Georgia and North Florida, the large concentration of Bulldog fans in the Jacksonville area, the closeness of the Gateway City to Peach State soil, and the fact that the ‘Dawgs have a winning record by the St. John’s River. No one ever won a battle by cutting and running.
Compared to some of his conference coevals, Mark Richt may come across as dull. I prefer to think the man simply has his priorities in order and prefers to provide motivation to his players instead of the other team’s.
Man, I’m ready for some football.