Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Curious Case of Lipscomin Unbuttoned

I want to preface this post by saying that what happened Saturday in Starkville or how I feel about it has nothing to do with what I'm going to write. I will say, however that some very evident things have been uncovered by the adversity the team has faced of late. I've been disappointed with a lot of things that relate to UGA over the years, but these don't compare to what is going on Athens these days. Before I get into that, let's first discuss some prominent late developments.

When considering recency of disappointment a few names come to mind. Dennis Felton was a disappointment from the beginning. He rode the coattails of Rick Barnes at Providence and Clemson and parlayed that into his gig at Western Kentucky. I wasn't a huge fan of the hire and I certainly wasn't a fan after seeing the product he put on the floor. If you need further proof, he was a defensive guru who's team averaged 152nd in the NCAA in points allowed during his tenure. It wasn't just about his prowess on the court either. Players didn't enjoy playing for the guy (If you knew what these players had to say about him, you'd understand). It just wasn't a good fit.

I think we all know what I mean when I say the words "Willie Martinez". There's no need explaining this one.

The next in line for this dubious honor would be the man- the legend- none other than Evil Richt himself. Just for your information, this isn't intended to be another aimless diatribe on why we should fire Richt because of some pointless statistic. When you're winning things really don't matter. Defensive linemen shoot AK-47's over the head of opposing fans, Heisman Trophy winners can take hundreds of thousands of dollars, and student athletes can get real students to take tests for them when you are racking up wins. When you start getting a few less of those W's and a few more of those L's, you figure out the salt of those who have followed your lead.

Losing has caused some very ugly and concerning things to happen lately. Arrests happen on a team with such large numbers, but the sheer amount UGA has collected tell a story. That story's main idea is centered around respect. It's not any stretch to see that the team has lost it in the last few years.

Exhibit A:

"Yeah, I would say I feel like they don't trust me. What their reasons are, that's between them. But you know, like I said, I'm just asking that they keep coaching me and eventually one of those days give me a shot to do what I can do." - Marcus Dowtin on his lack of playing time. (Fletcher Page @ Bulldogs Blog)

Exhibit B:

"You can't get comfortable. I mean this is D-1, dog, this is Georgia. I don't know that many players that can go from big-time safety and the next week can be a big-time linebacker. You've got some hybrid players out there, but I don't know too many guys that can do that. I just wanna get comfortable at one point." "It is frustrating. I am frustrated. They know that. But I'm not a selfish guy." -Nick Williams on his moving from safety to linebacker. (Seth Emerson @ Bulldogs Blog)

If it's any mystery by this point, I'll spell it out. These type of comments on top of the ridiculous string of arrests point to only one thing- our players have no respect for Mark Richt and the program he's running. It's disappointing because he seems to be a great man and coach, but his style has enabled this mentality. It's not that we're historically bad right now, or that the play on the field is sub-par, it's that no one fears the consequences of their actions.

If you had a problem with your boss and the way you were being treated at work, would you air those issues on the company site? Go ahead a bring a nice, big cardboard box to work the next day. Don't forget the packing tape either. And that nice stapler you let Jim in HR borrow, well kiss it goodbye. People who have respect for themselves and the man in charge don't act this way.

We have gotten by over the last few years with some "fake juice" type of things. Whether it was end-zone dances, The Blackout, or a coaching change, it helped to cover up the real problem. We stayed the course because we thought "next year could be the year". Well, it wasn't. Now that they've become apparent, Mark Richt has to fix them or he'll be the next casualty.

I can only hope that this abortion of a season is a slap in the face. Maybe somehow the frustration will lead to a renewed mindset in Athens and it will right the ship. It's all about TEAM, and it hasn't seemed like we have a ton of those type guys. Those quotes certainly don't lead me to believe otherwise. I really hope Richt gets control somehow, otherwise this is going to be ugly for everyone.





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