Saturday, August 24, 2013

Coach Richt, five yards ahead of us

Ever since he and I went on a break following the 2010 season, I try and reassess my relationship with Coach Richt each summer. I'm sure he appreciates the sentiment and the time I put into this. You're welcome Coach!

There's been a great debate this off season. I've found myself in the minority. Some fans have re-watched the SEC Championship game as either a means of catharsis or just because they are gluttons for punishment. Perhaps both.

during the NCAA college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators in Jacksonville, Fla., Sat., Oct. 27, 2012. (AJ Reynolds/Staff)
Regardless of which side of the fence your off season tent was pitched on, that game instantly became both a classic and a haunting remembrance of the 2012 season for Georgia fans. And although that one game has consumed us all in some way or another, being five yards short of the mountain's crest has been something to build on. For everyone.

Except the team.

It didn't take long to hear that the team as a whole was not looking back at what happened in the Georgia Dome for motivation going forward. In fact, Coach Richt was pretty concise about the second consecutive loss in the SEC Championship game.
“When something's over, you watch it, grade it,” Richt said. “It may not be easy all the time. But looking back on it, I was most proud of the effort. We belonged there.”
Instead of doing something very Dabo or very KiffyBaby and beating that one game into 2013 battlefield cannon relentlessly between January and August, Mark Richt has fallen back on the same thing that got his team to the threshold to begin with. He emphasizes working hard each day. He preaches to the fact that you can't obtain your goal in August and then he re-emphasizes working hard each rep, each play, each game.

That is what helped his team nearly slay the giant last season. To continue to relive that one game would've only built a sense of entitlement, a feeling that another trip to Atlanta in December and the Pasadena is low hanging fruit easily picked. Instead the players got an earful of a message centered on focus and controlling their own destiny.
"Our focus right now [isn't] so much the big picture dream than what have we got to do every single day, every single practice, every single play, to get where we want to go." - Mark Richt (via)
And so once again we are not on the same page as our head coach. Yet, unlike a few years ago, this is a much more comfortable feeling. While we've been overly engaged in one game, one drive that fell short but came so very close to helping us realize our dreams, Richt has pressed on and refused to rest on that one laurel.

Nothing says those extra five yards will come at all, much less this season. But I'm glad Coach Richt is directing the charge.

(PS - I'm just getting started. For this next post,  you better have your big boy britches zipped up tight.)