Why Kirby Smart isn’t getting criticized like Mark Richt did for player discipline
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Comparing Georgia football player discipline under Mark Richt and Kirby Smart
Following the arrests of Tyler Simmons and Tyrique Stevenson stemming from an alleged bar fight over the weekend, people are talking a lot about Georgia football and the leadership of the program. And not in a good way.
It was the fourth arrest of the offseason, as Latavious Brinni was arrested earlier in March, and Jaden Hunter was arrested last Wednesday. All four arrests are misdemeanors.
The arrests have allowed critics to point out that Georgia football seems to have a problem with this kind of stuff every offseason.
Four Georgia football players have been arrested in the past month. It’s nice to see that even with Mark Richt gone Georgia offseason gonna Georgia offseason.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 25, 2019
Of course we have a way of knowing how often this happens with Georgia and every other college football team, thanks to the Fulmer Cup.
The Fulmer Cup, named after former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, first came into existence in 2006 from the wonderful mind of Spencer Hall at EDSBS. The standings are kept up to date by r/CFB on Reddit. A better explanation on what the Fulmer Cup is below:
The Fulmer Cup is a parody award that tracks the criminal achievements of various college football programs during the offseason and declares a “winner”. It is open to all Division 1 football programs (FBS & FCS), and points are awarded based on the level of crime (more details here). The Fulmer Cup season starts the minute the national title game is finished and ends the day before the first day of the season.
While initially a joke award and something to keep track of during the long offseason, it’s actually become a useful tool to gauge how often a school’s players or staffers have gotten into trouble over the years.
A 2019 standings update has not been released yet, but given that the Bulldogs have now had four different arrests, you can imagine they’ll make the top-10 when the first set of standings come out.
Of course one thing that’s absent surrounding the talk about Georgia football and its player arrests is the claim that Smart’s lost control of the program. For those who don’t get the reference, the “Mark Richt has lost control of the program” joke or meme was prevalent whenever the Bulldogs ran into off-field issues in Richt’s tenure.
Taking a look back at the Fulmer Cup standings of the past, Smart and Georgia still have a ways to go to catch up to the Richt years. It’s worth noting that the point totals only exist for years in which Georgia was in the top-10 of the rankings, which turned out to be a lot under Richt.
Fulmer Cup Standings under Kirby Smart
Fulmer Cup standings for Georgia under Richt:
2014: Seventh 20 points
2012: Seventh, 14 points
2010: First, 21 points
2009: Ninth, 10 points
2008: Seventh, 15 points
2007: Tied for ninth, 11 points
*The Fulmer Cup was not awarded in 2013.
The “Richt has lost control of the program” meme came about because Georgia continued to find itself on the top-10 of the Fulmer Cup rankings. The Bulldogs made the cut every year from 2007 through 2010 which culminated with a first-place finish in 2010. These arrests also don’t factor in the NCAA issues Georgia had in Richt’s tenure, such as AJ Green’s suspension in 2010 and Todd Gurley’s in 2014.
It’s also fair to point out that while Richt had a string of offseasons dealing with multiple player arrests, he never had an offseason as bad as Smart did in 2016, which included arrests for a BB gun incident and Jonathan Ledbetter’s DUI.
But Georgia didn’t make the top-10 in each of the last two seasons under Smart. It’s probably not a coincidence that the arrests haven’t been as prevalent since 2016, which was Smart’s first as a full-time head coach. Georgia didn’t make the top-10 of the Fulmer Cup standings in 2017 or 2018.
But another big reason Richt was criticized for all of it was the same reason Georgia parted ways with Richt: He didn’t win enough.
Fair or not, winning rules over everything. Smart and Georgia won’t have a problem with player discipline in the eyes of the public so long as they continue to bring home SEC championships. No one is going to wake up on Dec. 9 asking about Georgia’s player discipline record under Smart if the Bulldogs have another SEC title and College Football Playoff berth.
Smart will meet with the media on Tuesday. He’ll surely answer questions about the leadership of the program. But so long as the arrests don’t continue to happen and the Bulldogs win, the news stemming from the arrests will blow over.
Tate Ratledge draws hilarious comparison to iconic Office character
Tate Ratledge is a major Georgia recruiting target. The 4-star offensive lineman out of Rome, Ga. showed why that was the case on Sunday, as he was named the offensive line MVP of the Atlanta Regional for The Opening.
While at The Opening regional in Atlanta on Sunday, Ratledge wore a purple bandana while dominating his competition. Of course one of his high school teammates at The Darlington School took the time to point out Ratledge’s resemblance to an iconic “Office” character who famously donned a purple bandana.
I’m referencing Michael Scott as Prison Mike, a character from an episode of the Office. If you’ve never seen the full clip, go watch it.
— Griffin Brewster (@GBrewsterQB) March 25, 2019
For most of the day on Sunday, facing off against Ratledge was about as fun as taking on a Dementor. The 6-foot-7 offensive tackle dominated some of the top defensive linemen in the region. Ratledge faced off against 5-star defensive end Myles Murphy, and the matchup lived up to the billing.
As for where things stand in Ratledge’s recruitment, he spoke with DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell about how Georgia is recruiting him.
As is usual, Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman is a big reason why the Bulldogs are in good standing with the country’s No. 5 offensive tackle in the country.
“Coach Pittman is probably the coach I have come the closest with in my time of being recruited,” Ratledge said “I like Athens. I feel like I’d be happy there if I wasn’t playing football. Like I could live there and coach Pittman.”
On Sunday, Ratledge also spoke highly of the relationship he has built with Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. Ratledge visited Georgia on Saturday and got to spend some quality time with Smart.
— Tate Ratledge 🐺 (@tateratledge22) March 23, 2019
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football podcast: UGA hosts another crop of impressive recruiting visitors
- Georgia sports roundup: Baseball moves up in polls after LSU series win
- Two Georgia football players allegedly involved in ‘chaotic’ downtown Athens bar incident
- 5-star priority Myles Murphy looks at his recruiting in a new light in a lot of ways
- Elite OT Tate Ratledge has somehow become an even bigger UGA prospect
- Solomon Kindley speaks for Georgia’s offensive line: ‘I want to dominate and win a national championship’
- Malcolm Mitchell was everything a Georgia football player should strive to be
Dawgs on Twitter
Hold up, Cole Anthony and Anthony Edwards are really playing on the same team at the McDonalds All-American Game?
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) March 25, 2019
Ignas Sargiunas is transferring from Georgia, a source told ESPN. Lithuanian national team combo guard will sit one, play three.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 26, 2019
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) March 25, 2019
— Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) March 25, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) March 25, 2019