Two quick and obvious facts: The more talented team lost in Memphis. The team that wanted it more won.
In the argument of Liberty Bowl Dawg effort, count me on the side of our new AD. However, I'll put it in plainer words: our effort and attitude sucks. To borrow from Durham Bulls manager Joe Riggins, how'd we ever win 6? Because from what I saw Friday, I have a hard time believing we wanted it more than those six teams we somehow beat. We likely did so because we were simply more capable, deeper.
Given a month to start the process of righting a listless ship, Coach Mark Richt has evidently decided it either isn't needed or he can wait until spring practice starts. He set the tone for the whole game when he settled for a field goal from the 2 yard line. It's a freaking bowl game and we had just driven the entire length of the field and he somehow, inexplicably decides we're not man enough to get the last two yards. If he leaves Blair Walsh on the sideline, the worst case scenario is UCF is backed up at their own goalline. But...our players understand that we're in this to win it. Nothing is going to be handed to them. They're going to have to earn every damn yard.
But no, this bowl team closely resembled the same one that played this season...with little urgency...and waiting for something to happen. Memphis wasn't a business trip for Georgia. It was a leisurely and casual stroll down Beale Street towards our next loss.
So what's changed for me? Somehow both a lot, and very little. I stand by my off season to do list. I just no longer have faith that Coach Richt can be the one to institute the change we need so soon. I want him to be the one, but I can't keep waiting for it to happen. Can the talent we have mask the problems within? Can a new S & C program instill the need to win in the players that the coaching staff has not been able to do?
Can Aaron Murray grab the reins in the off season with a firm enough grip so as to not make the 2011 season another dance toward ineptitude? One thing's for sure, our QB has the fire in his belly and this will be his third off season in the program. Can his moxy become contagious? 2011 could technically be his final season in Athens. We need to get as much out of him as we can in case he becomes Knowshon 2.0.
And while it's way too early to speculate on Murray's 2012 status with the team, it's past due to consider Coach Mark Richt's future. I don't want to put a specific number on wins CMR needs in 2011 to retain his job. But McGarity doesn't strike me as someone who's interested in seeing crapfests in lesser bowls.
That cute Ford commercial where Richt talks about his phone being in sync with his truck...it's time for him to be in sync with his players. It's quite noble to mold good men, but unless he starts also molding them into good football players he won't be around much longer to continue doing the former.
It starts with attitude...and can breed wins from there.