We’re a month removed from this:
We all know what happened since then. An inexplicable 4 game losing streak, a program in disarray, back to the abyss.
That this entire losing streak was caused by the head coach, against all logic, switching QBs early in the Virginia game, and then repeatedly refusing to address ongoing issues as they cascaded into each other is perhaps the most galling part of the losing streak. But it’s not the most troubling.
The signs were there long before this losing streak kicked off.
We’re Going Streaking
How is this even possible?
- 4 game winning streak.
- 4 game losing streak.
- 15 game winning streak.
- 4 game losing streak.
- 5 game winning streak.
- 4 game losing streak.
That’s Richt’s entire tenure at Miami. When the Canes were sitting at 5-1, that a losing streak could happen was certainly plausible. In fact, this is his third 4 game losing streak at Miami. But that the losing streak would start with the Richt pulling the QB who had rallied the team the previous week, and then stubbornly refuse to put him back in, pretending like the other QB was performing at a level that no one could see…that was unforeseeable. And that 3 games later he had to undo that decision, losing valuable playing time for a freshman, while not even winning a game highlights just how catastrophically shortsighted and illogical that decision was.
The losing streaks and complete mess are relatively new ground for Richt. This is not why Georgia fired him. Georgia concluded that he had accomplished everything he could there, and would never take the next step, all while he repeatedly lost to rivals. In his 15 years at Georgia, he had exactly one 4 game losing streak, and was fired after a season in which he went 10-3.
You read that right, Georgia fired him for having a season not dissimilar to the 2017 Miami Hurricanes season that got us all excited.
Which is where the angst and frustration has come from. This time, Miami played it safe. They tried one of the more accomplished Defensive Coordinators in the country, with local ties. They tried a coach with no relation to the program who seemed to have done well at Temple.
This time, however, they had a coach with 15 years of mostly successful experience at a major program. A coach who should at the very least bring competence and professionalism to the operation, something that had been lacking for the past decade. Would he win a championship? Maybe not. Never did at Georgia.
But at least it would be a well run organization that would allow the Canes to be solid and frustrations would be limited to what was experienced at the end of 2017…the how did you lose to Pitt conversation.
Repeated, massive losing streaks? Potentially failing to qualify for a bowl game? Those were not even in the realm of possibilities. Such is the level of Richt’s 2018 failures that not only has he continued the inexplicable streakiness (something that never happened at Georgia), not only has he brought missing a bowl game into play (something that never happened at Georgia), but he has thrown away any good will he generated in 2017.
This is not what anyone signed up for.
Fix This Mess
I believe in a few things:
- Barring scandal, or 3 years of complete non-performance, a coach deserves to see his freshman class graduate.
- That coaches are responsible for the process by which they approach the job, how they build their staff, the style of the team, and how they play.
- It is the job of the Athletic Department to judge those results.
And those 3 things apply here. 2017 alone warrants a chance for Richt to correct the issues that have been experienced in 2018.
As for the coaches, Richt owns this. If anyone in the athletic department thinks they need to FORCE Richt to change up his staff, they might as well violate my first point and just fire him now. You don’t trust a head coach to hire his staff yet you still want him to be the head coach? That makes no sense.
And to be clear, Richt’s process caused this. His approach is simultaneously a poor fit for Miami and a poor fit for anywhere:
- There are instances where a coach hiring his son has worked, but the idea that a coach scans the entire country to find the best person for a job, and arrives at his son is a bit far-fetched. And when it doesn’t work, as is the case here? Will he actually do what’s necessary and bring in someone more qualified with better experience?
- There is a global lack of diversity of thought and experience on the offensive staff. The Offensive Coordinator who does not call plays played for Richt at Georgia, and came over with Richt from Georgia. Likewise the TE/Special Teams coach is young and came over from Georgia with Richt. Stacy Searels (who does have ties to Richt at UGA, but is a much more accomplished coach resume wise) and Ron Dugans are the only coaches that would be appealing to anyone other than Richt for the positions that they currently hold.
And there is the problem. This is not a knock on any one of these coaches. This is a knock on the coaches as a unit. This collection of coaches is filled with lack of experience and personal ties to the head coach which will make it very personally painful for the head coach to dismiss some or all of them.
Which is precisely why it should not be forced. He assembled this staff, and the first rule in hiring people is you never hire someone you cannot afford to fire. Richt has other problems beyond assembling the offensive staff. His overall conservative approach to offense, the risk-averse nature of his decision-making, is ill-suited for success at a school that has and will always rely on explosion to win games. Basically the antithesis of Diaz’s approach on defense.
So if Richt is forced to fire coaches, then yes, we might get what we want. But where does that leave us? A coach with no control over his staff who feels like he can’t trust the administration that he works for? How is that overall good?
Richt has to own this. He should not be able to buy himself time by firing his staff, he should not be able to use this abhorrent year as a way to sell improvement in 2019.
The standard in Year 4 has to be competing at a national level, period. It’s not necessarily fireable to not have that be the case (context matters, for example, we see growth, and it’s obvious the program is about to take a major leap forward, ala the Butch Davis Era in the late 90s), but the program will be very much behind where it should be.
If Richt believes that this staff is the best staff to compete at that level, then fine. Retain everyone. If he’s proven right, great, and if not, he has to go.
If Richt believes overhauling his staff is the best way to compete at that level, then fine. Fire everyone. If he’s proven right, great, and if not, he has to go.
Results matter. I don’t care about donations to Indoor Practice Facilities, or investment, it’s about wins and losses. This year will be awful even if he wins 3 games in a row to close it out at 8-5.
He’s out of time now, this season having ejected any goodwill from the conversation. 2019 will be a measuring stick to see if Richt had this all along and we panicked for no reason, if an old dog can learn new tricks, or if Miami will be looking for another coach.
But rest assured, there will be no quarter given from these fans, and there shouldn’t be.