"I knew it was the wrong call. I took away 1 or more opportunities for us to score"
"It was just the wrong thing to do, period"
"I did not help the team get into position to win the game. If someone doesn't make a block or drops a throw, that's easier to take"
"Once it jumped out of my mouth, there was no turning back. It jumped out a little quick. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but it was too late"
"I was just praying we would knock it in so we wouldn't look so dumb"
"I definitely made a mistake at the end of the game. It was a foolish call"
"I blew it"
The problem is all of those quotes are from November 2001 after we let the clock run out following a Jasper Sanks run (with 0 timeouts left) as we lost to Auburn in Richt's 1st year as coach. I am sure everyone that is reading this blog remembers that game - I sure as hell do. In fact, believe it or not, that is when I became such a fan of CMR. Obviously, I didn't like the play-call and poor clock management that resulted in a loss. But, it was refreshing to hear our new Head Coach man-up and accept the blame for the loss. In contrast, here is what we heard after the loss to Kentucky in reference to the controversial toss sweep on the goal line in the closing minutes....
When explaining the failure of the play, Richt said it was because Ealey started going downhill too fast and went on to say, "Why? I don't know. I'm sure it had to something with the guy being a true freshman"
"It's part of our offense. Toss sweep all year long. … I'd have to look at the film but the back certainly looked too close to the quarterback on the pitch. I don't know if it was by alignment or the track he took. It looked like he was downhill more than he should have. But the toss sweep is a pretty fundamental play. We've run it many times, so I'm not going to sit here and try to second guess that."
From offensive coordinator Mike Bobo: "That's our bread-and-butter play, the toss sweep. Earlier we were on the goalline and they had kind of crammed everybody inside on a third-and-1 when we had to settle for the field goal, and we talked about next time in that situation we were going to run the toss sweep outside. It looked like he was a little tight."
Doesn't sound like the coaches are exactly taking any responsibility for the failures of the play. If you ask me, they are throwing Washaun Ealey under the bus. And, yes - from what I saw, #24 was not in a good position to receive a pitch. But, this defensive "us against the world" stance has been a recurring theme from CMR all season long. Earlier in the season, CMR began feeling the heat and lashed out with the infamous "in the arena" quote.....
“If you’re a leader or a player and you are brave enough to be in the arena, there’s going to be people outside the arena that want to throw things at you and say things about you. But there’s honor in being in the arena, and a lot of people don’t understand it because they’ve never been in there.”
Compare that to another 2001 quote when he was catching heat after the Jasper Sanks play-call vs. Auburn...
"I don't care if people get upset. That just means they care enough about the program to get upset. Now, if someone wants to get nasty, they just need to realize they're just bringing down the thing they love. Prospects don't want to get into all that"
Say what you want about Coach Richt - everyone has their opinions. I love him as our HC and I don't want to see him leave Athens anytime soon - he has earned the right to have a chance to fix the current problems. But, something has changed over the last few seasons and he needs to go back to the drawing board. Our staff needs a major overhaul/shakeup as soon as the Tech-Geek game is over. I don't know if it is discipline, scheme, work ethic, strength and conditioning, lack of accountability, evaluation of talent or all of the above. But, something has got to change.
While I was looking up the quotes from the 2001 Auburn game, I found an interesting quote from one of the players. This is from Terrance Edwards after Richt took all the responsibility for the Auburn loss...
"Right now, he's taking all the blame. That's the type of person Coach Richt is. That's what everyone in the Georgia family likes about him. He'll take responsibility for his mistakes"
For all I know, today's players would agree with Edwards and I hope that they feel the same way towards our staff. But, as a fan, it seems like Richt is more concerned with staying loyal to his veteran senior players and to his coaching staff than he is to the entire UGA football program right now.