Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't "Dismiss" This...

We've all been (at the very least) taken aback by the dismissal of one high profile scholarship player and one walk-on in the last week, bringing the number to three this off-season.

Without going into all of the drama that has ensued in the blogosphere, message boards and newspapers, it's quite simply a puzzling time for fans. We all want answers, and the issue as to what information exactly we as fans have a right to is a matter of some debate.

I'll simply add that it's quite possible that Coach Richt isn't just fed up...he may be more than a little sick of the nonsense. He may even be too tired of the late night/early morning phone calls. There's at least a reasonable chance there's more to it than that. 

And it was the dismissal of back up punter Trent Dittmer that got me thinking. Although we don't know what has occurred behind the scenes, this appears to be Dittmer's first visit to CMRs DawgHouse. The head guy has assuredly made it his last. 

Let me be perfectly clear that I in no way believe that CMR would use a kid's life simply to make a public point that he's tired of being portrayed as Mr. Nice Guy. But CMR has been more than fair in the past with his second chances. And in some cases those second chances multiplied further (read: Odell Thurman). I'm certainly of the opinion that I am on a needs to know basis with what happens within the program that I so dearly love. When I need to know, Coach Richt will tell...Mr. David Hale...and I'll in turn digest it thoroughly.

Montez's case was played out in the media more due to public access to police records. He had a much publicized extra opportunity, and sadly mishandled it.

Mettenberger's case has been well publicized for similar reasons to Robinson's, but the details (at least publicly) don't add up to a dismissal. I am quite certain however, that privately they equate.

Which brings me back to Dittmer. His dismissal affects the team the least, certainly. But of the three, it's the most curious. He got drunk and became an asshat. Something most of us have done a time...or two. Just maybe not to the extent that Mr. Dittmer did. Still, it begs the question, was it the timing that brought such a swift and definite punishment? Or are there other details?

Again, the answers to those questions are not my property. But the contrast between the Dittmer case and the one of Jeff Henson (the only other walk-on to my knowledge to have been dismissed under Richt) is at least fairly dramatic. Henson got a second chance then fumbled his long snap. With Dittmer however, the kid gloves were no where to be seen.

All of that to say this: I can't help but wonder if having made the tough choices he's made in the past few months...and having let go of colleagues, some of which he's worked with for years...maybe Richt has developed the attitude of you're either with me, or against me.

If could be a long off-season if these kids aren't getting the message. I hope they are. Cuz it certainly ain't for lack of trying.


ucheedawg said...

You could be spot on with your final point. This has without a doubt been CMR's toughest off-season to date, and I'm sure he's aged a few years in the past few months. Couple the tough decisions with kids acting like, well, very stupid kids, and you've got to imagine that his patience is pretty thin.

Evil Richt has been good to UGA in the past, maybe it will play out for the 2010 season.

Ollllddude said...

I am not sure that I would agree it has been the toughest period. Bernie mentioned Odell, then there was Lemon, and Ian Smith, and others. I actually think part of the problem is the NCAA idea that you need to 'mainstream' the players. When there an athletic dorm (McWhorter, in my day) Coach Kasay could keep tabs on them and cut them off as they were trying to sneak out of the dorm or get into trouble. (Granted, the Mettenberger thing could have happened even then, but that is a different matter than most infractions.) Back then, nothing public happened and the infraction could be dealt with on the steps at Sanford.

The NCAA attitude is a nice idea: the players are students first, and should enjoy the whole college experience and be a part of it as opposed to being set off in a separate dorm and with separate rules. But, the reality is that to some extent they are public figures and also, unfortunately, targets for mischief.

The fact that it is not just at UGA, but really NCAA wide really supports my point. I doubt we are even in the top ten in the Fulmer cup, and we certainly haven't had any armed robbers, or drug dealers (that I know of) so the problem is everywhere. I also realize that you have to grow up and learn to live in society, but at the same time, not that many ordinary students who commit similar infractions are having their career plans taken away for the error. I just think having a separate dorm for athletes is not as horrible an idea as the NCAA thinks it is.

Dawgfan17 said...

Possible that Richt told the whole team at some point that he was giving them all their warning and they had better not mess it up. If players don't get the message after him getting rid of 3 players in a short span then there really is nothing more he can do.