When last we left off with Mark Richt and the Georgia coaching staff, they were preparing for their Liberty Bowl date with UCF and Richt was swearing that 1. He wasn't going anywhere 2. The overwhelming majority of his staff weren't going anywhere, disappointing 6-6 record be damned.
Well, now that a hideous 10-6 bowl loss to the Golden Knights has dropped that record to an extremely disappointing 6-7, Georgia's first losing record since 1996, has anything changed? No, says Richt, no it hasn't (emphasis added):
Richt has made one minor concession to the unruly mob demanding his staff's heads, replacing his strength-and-conditioning coach with former Georgia quarterback Joe Tereshinski. But otherwise, it appears the "change" Richt will attempt to fix the problems that led to this year's disaster will simply be to "rededicate" the team and coaches rather than any large-scale overhauls.
"There's reasons why we ended up the way we did," coach Mark Richt said. "We've got to make change. We've got to make sure that doesn't happen again in the future."
By change, Richt said "that doesn't necessarily mean personnel," but "it's more how we go about our business."
"We've got to go back and rededicate ourselves to doing what it takes and that's every single man, every single coach, everybody in the Butts-Mehre to what it takes to be a championship football program," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.
Before this season, Richt might have maintained the benefit of the doubt on taking that approach. But at this point, Bulldog fans have to be forgiven for thinking maybe some stronger tonic is needed; Georgia has gone 14-12 overall over the past two seasons, hasn't beaten a team that finished with a winning SEC record since 2008, has lost four or more regular seasons games three of the past five seasons, etc. With the exception of the blistering run to close 2007, the Dawgs haven't looked like a championship-caliber team in half a decade. If Richt couldn't get his team "rededicated" after 2006, or 2008, or 2009, why is 2010 going to be any different? What tricks can he have up his sleeve that he hasn't already put to use?
It's true the Dawgs weren't as bad as their record (going 0-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less) and should take a big step forward on defense in 2011, thanks to being in the second year of coordinator Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme. But as jarringly inconsistent as Georgia was this season -- with the previously reliable offense's total no-show against UCF now exhibit A -- it looks like it's going to take a lot more than a little better luck and a little better effort to get the Bulldogs back into the SEC title mix.