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What if We Had to Replace Mark Richt?

Although I try to write about college football fairly comprehensively, we must never forget that Dawg Sports is, first, last, and always, a Georgia Bulldogs weblog.

If you're not in favor of a Constitutional amendment that would make Uga eligible to serve in the U.S. Senate, Dawg Sports is not the blog for you!

Accordingly, before any more Georgia Tech bloggers characterize me as "[e]veryone's favorite bulldog" (not that I don't appreciate the compliment, but still . . .), I need to call your attention to matters of a Georgia-specific nature, starting with the fact that there's yet another Bulldog blog out there.

I am speaking, of course, of Dawgs of the World Unite. The author, E.A.L., is a fellow Drive-By Truckers fan in addition to being a Georgia man, so I know he's good people.

Elsewhere in the Dawgosphere, Paul Westerdawg has reported that yet another Elite 11 Q.B. has committed to the 'Dawgs and Kit Kitchens has raised an intriguing question:

"If Mark Richt did leave UGA, who would be his replacement?" Now, before there are conspiracy theories thrown about, it was just a hypothetical question, and even though I think the list I put together blew, it was still fun nonetheless. Here is who I came up with:

Rodney Garner
Mike Bobo
Pat Hill
Jeff Tedford (REALLY on the fence with that one)
Brian Van Gorder
Butch Davis

Kit's list isn't as bad as he seems to think it is. Let's examine them one by one . . . or, in the case of the pair of coaches currently on the Georgia staff, two by two:

Rodney Garner and Mike Bobo

(Photographs from Georgia Sports Information.)

My reaction to each of the first two names on the list is identical: "Someday, absolutely . . . but not today."

Both coaches are outstanding assistants and I suspect both will be coordinators---Coach Garner on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Bobo on the offensive side of the ball---somewhere sometime soon. While both men have compiled impressive resumes, the leap directly from position coach to head coach is too large to risk.

Brian VanGorder

(Photograph from Online Athens.)

I take a similar view regarding Coach VanGorder, which is why I am taking him out of order. (I really didn't mean for that to rhyme.)

There is nothing inherently wrong with the progression from Georgia defensive coordinator to Georgia Southern head coach to Georgia head coach---it is, in fact, the career path I wish Erk Russell had trod---but Coach VanGorder has yet to coach a game for the Eagles and, after the Jim Donnan debacle, I will need to see how he fares before I am ready to take a chance on hiring another head coach from Division I-AA.

If Coach VanGorder displays the same acumen in Statesboro that he demonstrated in the Classic City, though, he will skyrocket to the top of my list of would-be successors to Coach Richt.

Pat Hill

I am quite fond of Coach Hill, whose teams are unafraid of playing in big games and conditioned to be tough, as evidenced by his defense's motto: "Shut up and hit somebody!" Plus, he already has a penchant for coaching Bulldogs.

However, I doubt seriously whether he is interested in leaving Fresno State for an East Coast team and, even if he were, I am troubled by the fact that, while the West Coast F.S.U. has acquitted itself well against the big boys, Coach Hill's Bulldogs have not finished higher than second place in the W.A.C. since 1999.

A fellow has to be able to take care of business in conference play and there is scant evidence to suggest that Coach Hill is that man.

Jeff Tedford

I am not at all on the fence where Coach Tedford is concerned. His Cal teams have been on the losing end of such scores as 30-28 (against Southern California in 2002), 42-28 (against Kansas State in 2003), 45-31 (against Texas Tech in the 2004 Holiday Bowl), 48-38 (against Washington State in 2002), 47-40 (against U.C.L.A. in 2005), and 52-41 (against Arizona in 2002).

I lived through the Ray Goff era once already, thank you very much; I have neither the need nor the desire to repeat that experience. Next, please!

Butch Davis

I have to admit, this possibility is intriguing. Coach Davis took over the Miami program at its lowest point, cleaned up the 'Canes, and restored them to their status as a national championship-caliber team.

Frankly, though, I'm leery of guys who veer between college football and the N.F.L. It has worked well at times---Pete Carroll is a clear example; Charlie Weis showed promise in his first season at Notre Dame; Dennis Erickson has always fared better on campus than in the professional ranks---but I want a coach who knows for sure that he prefers college football.

Those are my thoughts on Kit's list. What do you think? Whose name doesn't appear on that list but should? Let me know in the comments below.

Go 'Dawgs!