Not surprisingly, members of the Supreme Ancient Order of the Head Coach will rally around one of their own.
Wednesday, during an ESPN conference call, it was Mack Brown’s turn to offer his aid and support to the beleaguered Mark Richt.
Even if some of it went a little overboard.
“Mark Richt has done as good a job at Georgia as you can possibly do,” Brown said. “When he gets through and looks back, they’ll talk about his teams like they talked about Coach (Vince) Dooley’s teams. Because we can’t even really remember when Mark wasn’t there.”
Brown, like Georgia’s Richt, was an institution unto himself at one of the monster programs. But after a 16-year run at Texas, he resigned amid the belief that the Longhorns had pretty well plateaued – or worse – with him.
Brown certainly has some first-hand experience with the tribulations facing Richt.
“What I see (with Richt) is similar to what happened to me when we struggled the last couple years,” Brown said. “He’s had some inconsistency at quarterback and he lost a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back. When you do that, you’re not as good, and it makes it very difficult.”
Brown knows that familiarity can breed anxiousness. “When you stay a long time people have less patience because they go back and remember every loss you had since you’ve been there,” he said. “I stayed 16 years at Texas, that’s four presidential terms. And as my wife has said, ‘They got tired of my stories and I kinda got tired of some of theirs. At that time for me it was time for someone new.”
But, then, is it time for someone new in Athens?
Brown sounded the same warning that many of Richt’s supporters have in the past.
“I think you’ve got to be really, really careful when you start having a discussion about Mark Richt shouldn’t be your coach because I don’t know who you’re going to hire that’s going to have a better run than Mark Richt’s had,” he said.
“Mark will get it back – he played for the conference championship a couple of years ago, he was five yards from playing for the national championship.
“You’ve got to be really, really careful in a year where the ball doesn’t bounce right or you get some key injuries or maybe your quarterback position didn’t pan out as good as you want that you decide the coach can’t coach any more. Because Mark Richt can coach. And I hope he stays at Georgia for many more years because it will be hard to replace him.”