ATHENS — A man, apparently a surgeon, called into Mark Richt’s radio show on Monday, saying he was a leader like Richt, only in the operating room. There are times, the man said, that he has a “complete debacle in my job,” just as Richt did on Saturday, forcing himself to ask what happened. So what questions, he wanted to know, does it force Richt to ask himself?
It seemed an odd parallel to the man who coaches Georgia’s football team.
“I guess maybe a few people died on the operating table or something. I’m not sure what he’s trying to say about a debacle under his regime,” Richt said. “But anyway …”
It was the only really pointed question Richt received on his weekly radio show, two days after Georgia’s 38-10 loss to Alabama. Most of the other callers, as is normal, were supportive, or just asked questions about the team.
Richt’s answer to the surgeon, by the way, was fairly standard: The coaches ask if they had “the right people in the right spots,” are they asking too much of players, are they holding everyone accountable? That’s done on a daily basis, Richt added.
Several times, Richt said he understood the frustration, as he and everyone on the team – coaches, players, staffers, even the custodians – worked so hard and it’s painful to lose.
“Now for the fans, I know it’s probably doubly painful, because all week long they’re kinda thinking about what could happen, and what could happen if we lose, and just think about the game all week long from an emotional standpoint,” Richt said. “(Whereas) we spend Sunday through Thursday thinking about the game from a tactical standpoint. Towards the end of the week is when the blood starts to pump, and the emotions start to crank up as you get closer to the game. But there’s a lot of work that goes into it from January until today. And when it doesn’t got the way you want it’s very disappointing. And I don’t blame anyone for getting mad, or whatever they get.”
But Richt also pointed out that Georgia’s season isn’t over with just the one loss. Mississippi “beat the tar out of” Alabama, he said, then Mississippi lost at Florida on Saturday.
“It’s very rare that you’ll have a team come out of our league undefeated,” Richt said. “But there’s also a one-loss team that is going to end up winning the SEC, probably. Every once in awhile a two-loss team. And who knows what happens beyond that. Our deal right now is we can’t worry so much about what just happened, we’ve gotta worry about what’s coming up.”
Another caller, following up the surgeon’s call, pointed to bigger problems than losing football games, such as injured Southern player Devon Gales, and the floods in South Carolina. Perspective is needed, Richt agreed in his reply, but added that he understood that the mistakes of the football team happens the whole world sees it, and the whole world seems to have an answer too.
“I do appreciate the passion of our fan base. And I’m sad to say, and sorry to say that we didn’t do a good enough job,” Richt said. “But the best thing we can do is prepare to do battle next week.”