Coach Analysis: Mark Richt

Mark Richt is by any measure the Anti-Gator: a former Miami quarterback, former FSU offensive coordinator, and now Georgia head coach. All he’s missing is some sort of grad assistant tenure at Tennessee.

He also is by any measure the best head coach in Athens since Vince Dooley. Not that surpassing Ray “Goof” was going that difficult, and on close inspection Jim Donnan’s record isn’t quite as good as it looks. By the time he’s done, Richt may end up surpassing Dooley himself.

Since Richt arrived in 2001, it’s hard for any Bulldog fans to complain about his record there. Except, of course, that he hasn’t won a national title. And he’s 2-5 against Florida. And he lost to Vanderbilt. You know what? Let’s just move on to his record as a whole.

Here is the tale of the tape by venue for Mark Richt:

Mark Richt at Georgia
Site Wins Losses Totals
Home 34 7 41
Away 25 4 29
Neutral 4 6 10
Bowls 5 2 7
Totals 68 19 87

If you’re counting along at home, he actually has a better road record percentage-wise than his home record. He’s been good in bowls, with the West Virginia blitzkrieg and a loss to Boston College in his first year as his only blemishes. That neutral site record includes his 2-5 record against Florida and his 2-1 record in SEC title games.

That home record could stand to be shored up some, but two of the losses did come in 2001 with Jim Donnan’s players. The away record loses some of its sparkle if you include his record in Jacksonville, but with the crowd there being split 50-50, it truly is a neutral site game.

Here is his his record based on quality of opponent. As with before, first tier is any team that finished the year .750 and up, second tier is .500 to .749, third tier is .250 to .499, and fourth tier is .249 and below.

Mark Richt at Georgia
Tier Wins Losses Pct. Avg. Scored Avg. Allowed
First 9 10 .474 24 21
Second 32 8 .800 28 18
Third 18 1 .947 28 13
Fourth 9 0 1.000 37 14

Richt’s record against the first tier is pretty good, though nowhere near Bob Stoops’s 17-10 mark. The second tier record is good, showing that he wins four of every five against the group directly below him as Georgia has been a first tier team five of his seven years. The one loss to a third tier team was to Vanderbilt in 2006.

It is somewhat puzzling to see that his teams don’t average 30 points a game until you get to fourth tier opponents, considering how explosive his offenses at FSU were. It goes to show that as a head coach he’s been a bit more conservative on offense.

It’s also interesting to note that he averages a 24-21 win against the first tier if you look at points while he’s just 9-10 against it. Part of that is due to the fact that he has some large blowouts over first tier teams (Hawaii in 2007, Auburn in 2006, Tennessee in 2003 to name a few) and part is due to the fact that he generally doesn’t get blown out himself.

For you pattern watchers out there, he’s 0-2 against eventual national champions but 2-0 against defending national champions. That makes for two interesting weeks in a row when Georgia plays at LSU on October 25 and Florida on November 1, given what LSU did last year and the preseason magazines’ fawning all over the Gators this year.

Mark Richt has been good. He’s not been Bowden/Spurrier in the ’90s good or Bob Stoops at Oklahoma good, but not many are. He has two SEC championships, a 13-1 season (which wins a national title nearly every year except 2002 when he posted it), and for the most part he beats everyone he’s supposed to beat.

He’s also an all-around good guy and will have the Georgia job as long as he wants it. Putting partisanship aside, it’s good for college football to have him at a high-profile program like Georgia, and he likely will continue to be one of the game’s top coaches.

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2 Responses to Coach Analysis: Mark Richt

  1. peacedog says:

    UGA did average 30 points a game last year, of course; just the second time in Richt’s tenure and of course for the first time where Richt wasn’t the OC. I was really happy with the offense by the end of the year. In these parts, people had been calling for Richt to hand the reigns over to an OC for some time. I was happy with the Bobo choice but cautioned many overzealous friends that he had a lot of growth ahead of him as a coordinator and coach (as anyone would in that position). Despite occasional hiccups (a poorly called SC game was the biggest issue), Bobo had a pretty good initial campaign. It certainly helps to have the horses, but he really schemed and called a good game over the second half of the season. It will be interesting to see if 30-point teams will become a staple or not.

    Richt definately called a conservative game in his time as OC. That actually got UGA in trouble a couple of times. Settling for FGs hurt UGA against Florida in 03 and 05, for example (note, I’m not saying this was responsible for costing UGA the game). Against Tech in 05 he smartly got aggressive inside the 50 in the 4th quarter and that helped seal the win under the lights of Bobby Dodd (note that I’m using lights somewhat hyperbolicly here; it is the glow from near by sky scrapers that lights Tech’s field since they apparently don’t want to put lights in). I think he was probably seriously thinking abou Bobo as OC at this time, but didn’t feel the time was right yet.

    That has been my only complaint about Richt ever (a little too conservative and sometimes stubbornly sticking to a game plan), and it hasn’t been a particularly passionate one.

  2. IveyLeaguer says:

    Very nice work, there. Enjoyed it.

    I would agree that, as a head coach, Richt has been more conservative as both a gameplanner and a playcaller. Yet that is not the primary reason his offense produces somewhat less than it did at Florida State.

    The primary reason is the Defenses of the SEC, compared to the defenses he played at FSU. There’s a reason the hypocrite Bobby Bowden chose the ACC over the SEC, and it has nothing to do with academics, as he claimed at the time. Richt was more conservative because he had to be in order for his team to win SEC games.

    Now Georgia will appear less conservative this year than we did last year, but that’s because we have more stability in the OLine (presumably) and more offensive firepower than last year. Mike Bobo may be a little less conservative than Richt, but not enough to calculate. Bobo will throttle down when he needs to or when he doesn’t have to step on the gas (you guys may recall Georgia didn’t pass on the first scoring drive last year).

    BTW, FWIW, I’m an SEC guy, and I always pull for SEC teams, with the rare exception of when it hurts Georgia, so I always pull for Florida when it doesn’t hurt Georgia. But because we’re both in the East, I can’t pull for Florida as often as say, LSU or Auburn, because the only way a West team can hurt me is a head-on game. Even so, I probably pull for Florida a half-dozen times a year, sometimes more.

    Thanks again for the interesting work.

    IveyLeaguer

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