Yesterday, I was confident that Mark Richt's time with the Georgia Bulldogs would end only when Richt wanted it to end. Today, media reports from FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman and ESPN's Travis Haney call that into question a bit:
Hearing that #UGA power brokers & big dogs now asking questions/talking about potentially moving on--unlike ever before in Mark Richt era.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 2, 2015
This chatter was getting louder last Dec, as well. Another embarrassing Florida loss = (fire emoji) https://t.co/jSkazT59c3— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) November 2, 2015
@TravHaneyESPN Heard this is a much different level than last year or anytime before since Richt's been there.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 2, 2015
Now to be clear, "power brokers" and "big dogs" is basically code for "boosters". While the people who write the checks do have people who listen to them within an athletic department, they're famously pushy and trigger happy when it comes to coaches. For instance, the first reports on any coaching search are always from "sources close to the program" and they're always dead wrong because boosters—unless they're on the Phil Knight or T. Boone Pickens level—actually don't have any real power or influence.
The more worrying thing to me about Richt is this sort of thing, from Senator Blutarsky:
Those of you who thought starting Faton Bauta was a sign of desperation on Richt’s part couldn’t have been more wrong. Alarmingly, it was a sign of something even more disconcerting.
I’ve heard my share of rumors about how Richt has managed the program of late. I don’t know enough to say whether the story of a somewhat detached CEO approach is true. What I can say is that it really doesn’t matter if the program has slid because Richt isn’t involved enough in the day-to-day details or because he is. The real problem is the stunning number of details that are being ignored on a weekly basis.
Once a coach becomes disengaged from some aspects of his job, it's hard not to have things slip in other places. Yesterday again I pointed out that the Bulldogs ended up not having a good quarterback this year and are stuck with thinness at receiver. It could be the luck of the draw with recent signees just not panning out, but it could be a sign of lack of attention to detail with recruiting as well. And with the offense's current struggles, it raises the question of whether Richt delegated too much to the now-departed Mike Bobo and is too out of practice in working on the daily details to get things fixed.
If the situation does become untenable—the Bulldogs drop their rivalry games to mediocre Auburn and Georgia Tech teams, say, or fall against a pretty good Georgia Southern team—the most graceful exit might be for Richt to leave to take the open job at his alma mater Miami (FL). He can say that mama called, and the unhappy forces can get what they want without a (publicly) messy situation. Of course it takes two to tango, and it's not yet been reported anywhere that the Hurricanes would want to hire him.
Long story short, the "Mark Richt hot seat" meme is here to stay in 2015, and it'll continue on into 2016 if his tenure in Athens does too.