Sitting at 1-4, with bad losses to Mississippi State and Colorado, it’s easy to provide reasons for why Coach Richt should be fired. The new defense that Richt chose to go with hasn’t been any improvement over last years, the offense has been unimaginative (aside from one small play by AJ Green) and even last years strength, special teams, appears to have taken a step back.
A lot of times, with coaches as successful as Coach Richt, people will stick to what’s taken them to the top. Richt has won two SEC titles, 3 SEC East titles and owns a 7-2 bowl record: why change now? But Richt isn’t taking his job forgranted and isn’t taking his criticism lightly. I mentioned the defense before, and while it hasn’t had the desired affect Bulldog nation has hoped, switching schemes takes at least a year to get going. Nick Saban seems to be the poster child for doing everything right in the coaching world but people seem to forget that installing the same scheme Richt is attempting to pull off led him to a 7-5 season in year one. How can we honestly expect more from Richt when defense is top priority in the SEC? Richt has also switched up his recruiting tactics. Initiating a “Dream Team” strategy, Richt is going back to locking down the state of Georgia and focusing on keeping the talent in state, rather than watch Saban and Urban Meyer pick pocket the region. Finally, Richt let on that this weeks practice indicated a(nother) change in philosophy. Richt has put his players in pads and hitting each other three times this week. Not only has Richt never had pads on a Monday, he’s never had players hitting each other 3 times in a week. In his press conference on Tuesday, Richt talked about this change, saying the team needed to get better at blocking and tackling and the best way to do that was blocking and tackling. Richt got away from this train of thought when he began the season in 2007 with around 30 injured players. But no more will Richt’s boys be pushovers. Better to be hard and hurt and soft and healthy (See our offensive line).
So yes, there is some merit to hiring a new coach. But I would rather have a coach who’s won in the SEC, humble enough to admit when he’s wrong and make changes for himself. In speaking with current and former players, I know they all have his back. So maybe it’s time we do also.
After a horrendous week last week, my record is down to 10-9-1, though still above .500 unlike the Dawgs. This weeks lines are much more favorable and I’m feeling confident about rebounding (red flag!).
Alabama has a brutal…yeah you already know. They’re on the road for the third time in four weeks and play a motivated, rested South Carolina team. Throw in ESPN Gameday and a drunker-than-usual Colombia and you have a recipe for a close game. It’d be bold to pick an SC win here, especially with Steven Garcia at the helm, but laying 7.5 points is a lot in this situation, even for Alabama. Saban has made me look stupid before, but this week I’m still going with South Carolina +7.5
Auburn goes to Kentucky in a revenge-factor game for the Tigers/War Eagles/Plainsmen. Losing to the ‘Cats last year was forgivable for Chizik but with the SEC’s top player Cam Newton and a lackluster Kentucky defense, I expect a lot of points and an Auburn win. There are a couple of warning signs here, it’s a night game in Lexington and Auburn could be overlooking the ‘Cats for next weeks clash against Arkansas. But I expect Newton to buckle down when it matters and cover the 6 points. Auburn -6
I was stunned to learn the line was just 6 between Florida and LSU. Les Miles was atrocious in his last game against Tennessee. They’re offense is a mess and the defense hasn’t quite been what was expected. There’s not much I can say about LSU that hasn’t been said but I’ll revisit what I’ve been saying all year: I can’t wait until LSU hits the meat of their schedule so I can bet against them. Take the less-than-a-touchdown gift, Florida -6.
Finally, I was almost as stunned to learn that Georgia opened as a 12 point favorite over Tennessee. Going back to LSU, it’s a major red-flag alert when an undefeated #9 LSU opens at 16 against UT a week before, almost loses and then UT still comes out a 12-point dog to 1-4 Georgia. That’s how bad LSU is. Ok, enough with the Tiger bashing. As much as I want to believe Georgia will get it done, I can’t: faith has run out (to clarify: in GA covering games). This could easily be the breakout game for Georgia where they finally put it together and right the ship. But there’s no way I can bet on a team that’s crushed me ATS all year. Granted, my record for picking Georgia games has been atrocious this season because no matter how hard I try, my heart is always in it. Still, I’ve had nightmares of Tauren Poole running all over us, and while I think the Dawgs can pull it off I just can’t lay 12 points. Vols + 12
Until next time, Ball Hard.