Apparently, John L. Smith acquitted himself well at SEC Media Days, which, honestly, isn’t saying much, because he’s a bankruptcy-bound interim head coach with a history of slapping himself at press conferences who took over a program that had just fired its head coach after a motorcycle accident with the mistress he had placed on the payroll. Really, he’d have acquitted himself well at SEC Media Days merely by not wetting himself, so he can have the "winning the press conference" crown if he wants it; Robbie Caldwell did the same thing a couple of years ago, and look where that got him.
Mark Richt has no such luxury. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier talked about Georgia. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin talked about Georgia. Missouri’s Gary Pinkel talked about Georgia. Florida’s Will Muschamp talked about Georgia. It would seem a Ray Charles song is relevant here.
Also pertinent for present purposes is a line from "The West Wing." C.J. Cregg, noting the failure of their efforts to persuade the electorate that their candidate wasn’t so much more articulate than his opponent that the outcome of the forthcoming campaign debates was a foregone conclusion, proclaimed: "When you can’t lower expectations, you only have one thing you can do. You have to meet them." Unfortunately, that political analogy reminds us that, since 1980, the Georgia Bulldogs consistently have fallen short of their projected level of success in presidential election years, culminating in the debacle that was 2008.
Well, we once more are in the process of selecting a chief executive, and Mark Richt takes the podium as the dean of SEC coaches and the Eastern Division frontrunner at 11:50 a.m. Eastern this morning, and you may view the proceedings here or follow the live blog here. In any event, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Like it or not, we stand in the glare of the spotlight with a target on our backs. Today will be a day for bland coachspeak, which is what we expect and what we want, but, soon, the time for talking the talk will be done, and everyone is watching, and waiting to see if we will walk the walk.