You put those two together and my over-arching opinion is that Greg McGarity may be a good athletic director one day. Maybe even soon. But right now he's putting for par from 30+ feet.
Let's just rewind to Tuesday. That rumor of Mark Richt retiring wasn't simply a rumor. I give message boreds a hard time. But this wasn't just a post on a board that happened to gain significant traction. It was something much more than that. Otherwise Richt wouldn't have had to address it post-game. My thoughts (pure speculation, but honest to God feelings on the subject) are that if Georgia had lost the Belk Bowl, McGarity was ready to move. Hell, he may have been ready to move had Georgia won. But along the way, Richt, Lilly, Pruitt, and all of their charges embarrassed Louisville, who happened to have a former Georgia assistant coach. The feeling post-game was a definitive positive trend. Nick Chubb had become and even brighter national star.
And he was standing beside his coach.
In the end, on Tuesday, sometime between the tailgate and Nick Chubb raising the MVP trophy, the rumor (or whatever it was) fizzled. Hard.
What Mark Richt said after the game speaks volumes. "His" plan was to return. He had the privilege of being able to glance back at his freshman phenom running back as he did so, but Richt put to rest any question of where his feelings were. Mark Richt is many things, the most of which is the epitome of integrity. He's not one to recruit a kid to his school (don't forget, many of which were actively packing for Athens this week) only to back out suddenly and unexpectedly. And that's not even taking into consideration all of the guys that were currently on the roster.
So fast forward to Athens, sometime between late Tuesday night and Thursday morning, McGarity changed his underwear.
Yesterday was a big day. As I sobered up and all of the happenings from Tuesday sunk in, I felt the state of the program was truly in flux. It really seemed a power play was in the balance. I wouldn't have been surprised if Richt, despite everything I mentioned above, up and left Butts-Mehre. Sure, he loves those kids, but he also is not one to fight it out with power hungry weasels. And he wants what is best for the program, his coaches, their families. I don't think that was being given as freely as he would've preferred.
So we received a positive sign yesterday. The truth is UGA needs to spend more on its football program. It needs to pay its assistants more and it needs to show a commitment to doing what it takes to win. The message from the Athletic Director yesterday was one of change. A renewed commitment to competing with the almighty dollar. A show of faith in the men who have put their blood, sweat and tears into the program.
I honestly don't know where we'll be a month from now. There's still so much to play out. The new strength and conditioning coach has a staff to hire. Richt has offensive coordinator candidates to interview. The recruiting coordinator is packing for Fort Collins. So there is much to iron out. But yesterday, both AD McGarity and Coach Richt, together, sent a message that there is a collective investment in the future of Georgia football.
And I am most definitely listening.