Ask The Expert

ATHENS - Dean Legge answers subscriber questions about the current state of the Georgia Bulldogs.

"If BMac were to get the OC position, do you see Thomas Brown coming to coach the RBs?" Someone is going to have to coach the QBs. That could certainly be Mark.

But to have two RB coaches... I can't see that right now. 

I love Thomas. Love him. He is awesome. Georgia needs to figure out how to get him back on staff... how to do that at this second is hard for me to piece together. 

"Any chance Lily and BMac are co-coordinators with CMR calling the plays?"

I'm sure that's possible, but Mark calling the plays is Mark being the OC in my mind. 

"Which recruits do you think are on the fence right now due to the coaching change?"

Van Jefferson is the one to watch. Everyone else we've talked to - Godwin; Slayton; Thompson; Roquan Smith; Sage Hardin... they don't want to see the change, but they are committed to Georgia; not Mike. 

"What are you hearing about the relationships within the Athletic Department? People seem to be reporting that there are developing factions dividing McGarity vs Richt or Richt vs Pruitt. "

Well that's a long story. I certainly think that there are factions... that's not abnormal. Pruitt is certainly playing hardball. But he's expendable... he's not the head coach or AD. He's very unlikely to win a political fight with either - just my take. 

There are some things he's done this season... I just think he made mistakes with his tone; not necessarily the message. Now if you continue that sort of thing people are going to grow tired of it pretty quick. He's not evil by any stretch. He's done some very good/great things. He's also been a major reason they lost to all three games they lost this year - that's not gone unnoticed. 

So it is a matter of balancing someone in Pruitt who quite clearly is kicking ass in his aggressive nature in recruiting, but who is also finding that the aggressive nature and tone he uses in those situations is not always appropriate in others. 

"Also, Do you anticipate any other coaching changes?"

Who knows. Hate to be that way, but there's just no telling. Right this second? No. 

"I am curious to know where the divide lies between coaching and administrative officials (AD, prez) or are there divides within the coaching staff (Richt, Priutt) and what it is all about."

The president at the AD are not going to be pushed around by an assistant coach. I'm not sure if that's what's being intended, but that's not going to happen. Jeremy Pruitt isn't wrong with what he's saying (at least from what I can tell) - HE'S NOT WRONG IN ANY WAY. Georgia does need to be more progressive with things. Times change; and Georgia has to continue to move forward. 

His tone is wrong from time to time. That's an issue. 

"Also,  is our AD really as bad as everyone says he is?"

Not in my view, no. It is overdone. Some people disagree with me. But coming from a perspective of being on the Board of Trustees where I went undergrad, and serving on the executive committee of the board, I can tell you that coaches - no matter how good they are - see their side of things and really that's about all they see. Every origination is dysfunctional in some way. Apple is dysfunctional, and it is the top company in the world. So, yes, Georgia has some things where they need to get things done. But the last I checked Georgia moved pretty quick to get Pruitt in Athens... took about - was it two days? So there are faults to be sure, but they seem to be able move when things are urgent. What is and is not urgent and the tone by which that is discussed is one of the issues here. 

"I do not like the things I am hearing about him and his competency to lead the athletic department, specifically football"

Georgia is moving forward with the IPF. They are not going to accept partial qualifiers, etc. That's not new. The coaching staff (the assistants) were No. 13 in pay last season... not number one, but number one just finished the season 8-4, so to get raises they can win on the field. 

An indoor practice facility or pay isn't going to tackle Florida as they "embarrassed" Georgia in Jacksonville this season. So there is a give and take there, too. Id say the bulk of the hard feelings are coming from Pruitt's direction... and he's not all wrong, and he's certainly not all right. He's both. 

“This is the problem. The two issues are linked. Management by crisis or situational induced urgency is THE issue and certainly feeds into the reasons why Pruitt and others are a bit cranky. Movement and urgency should come from within the department -- not just externally driven circumstances. But, let's not worry about that I guess. Pruitt getting mouthy and having a tone that make people feel insecure is the issue. We should all be thankful that Greg is so generous. The lack of urgency and imagination are the FUNDAMENTAL issues. But, I guess it is better to deflect and go give an audience to Mark Bradley.”

You do have to have a vision… I agree with that. That is vital to what an AD does.

Where do you want to go? 

Lay out the vision, raise the money build the facilities. We've seen that around the department; Foley Field; $2 million in Sanford improvements; Stegeman improvements (which fans can't see b/c the stuff that they've redone is underneath). Have we seen that in the form of an indoor football practice facility? No, but we will see that pass in early Feb. So that's a major facility improvement that's been asked for and will be received - same thing on the planes. They are criss-crossing the country seeing recruits. They asked for use of private planes... they got it. 

So its not like they are sitting on their hands in the athletic department. 2 million here; 2 million there... it does add up. 

I also think that there are ways to attack things the right way, but that's me. I think that you have to make sure not to bite the hand that feeds you. Greg, too, has to have the long-term health of Georgia in mind. Pruitt does not. So there's a tug of war on that front as well. 

Pruitt may have felt that he had to do that on going to the media to say what he said the way he said it. He may have regretted doing it that way pretty much right away, too (which is what I have been told). That the defensive coordinator is only willing to meet with the media to criticize the athletic department wasn't well taken I am sure... particularly after the defense's performance in Jacksonville. 

I'm not here to take sides necessarily - just call it the way I see it; at least pass it on the way people I trust see it.

"Did we counter before he took the job?"

I do not think they countered b/c unless they countered with the head job at Georgia they didn't have anything to counter with... 

"If not, would that be because a counter would not have mattered or because of other reasons?"

Right, Mike wanted to be a head coach one day. That day came a little faster than I expected, but I am not surprised in any way that people are interested in him. 

"Who really has the power at UGA right now and if u had to predict in a year will McGarity or Richt be gone."

No one person has more power than Jere Morehead. He's the president of the school. He runs the University. It is his show, but he's not as out in front as Adams was - for whatever reason. I couldn't say why or why not, but he's been dealing with the athletic department for years before he became president. 

That's sort of the part people forget. Athletics is a very visible, but small piece of the pie. You can certainly lose you job if athletics get out of control. See Penn State, Ohio State or North Carolina for example. 

The University of Georgia has a 1.1 Billion (that's billion with a "B") budget. Athletics is about $100 million - or a little less than 10% of the budget. Its a very important thing because it is so viable. But in terms of time in his day I doubt very seriously Morehead is spending 10% of his time dealing with athletics. That's not the job of the president of a major research institution. 

So he runs the show. He's the guy that, as the chairman of the athletic association, would pretty much fire Richt, Fox, McGarity - maybe Landers. After that its almost certainly Greg's call. It could be Greg's call on Fox and Landers. I doubt Greg can just say: Oh, Mark Richt is fired. It just doesn't work like that. The president, obviously, would need to know that the most visible person in the state - yes, the entire state - is being terminated; what the cost is; what the fallout is; and who and how much is next. 

Being in executive board meetings I can tell you that when you get ready to fire an officer of the school you need to have you ducks in a row. Everything is discussed and thought out; how; when; what is the media plan; who is the replacement; what is the cost; are we dealing with lawsuits; what mistakes did we make getting into this situation?

Its not a quick decision. Usually it has built up over time. 

So long answer. Short answer is that Jere is the guy in control, as he should be. You don't want a situation like South Carolina has (according to several folks I know over there) where the head football coach is pretty much calling the shots and the AD isn't serving the school as much as he is serving the football coach. That's a disaster. 

"Also if we give Bobo a raise to 1 mil last year is he even looking for a job like CSU. The second best job in Colorado in a non power 5 conference?"

Mike was going to get a raise - that seems certain. But he has always wanted to be a head coach. He can't be the head coach at Georgia right now. No amount of money changes those dynamics. Mike had to leave, in my opinion, to eventually have the ability to come home... will that ever happen? That is impossible to know, but he's certainly doing what he needs to do to make that be the case one day. Is Kirby? He's going to have to leave Alabama eventually. Is Pruitt? He's going to have to understand that the head football coach is much more than a coach... much, much more than a coach. Is Grantham? Is BMac? Is whoever? All coaches, particularly coordinators, think they can be head coaches. 

Some can. Some can't. 

"Crazy amount of smoke from old posters that the AD doesn't want CMR around but will not fire him."

Greg will fire Mark if he needs to. 

"Who are the big money boosters at Athens and why do they settle for cheapness and lack of championships?"

I don't run around in the world of the big-money boosters very much to be frank, so I couldn't say. The lack of championships isn't a "Georgia" problem. The rest of the athletic department seems to be doing pretty well had lifting trophies and hanging banners. I realize football is competitive, but so is tennis and Gymnastics  and they've gotten it done and how.

  "Coaches from other schools drool over the possibilites in Athens. I have heard this from outside  coaches multiple times."

I'm sure they do. But they probably do the same about many other programs in the South. Georgia is a special place, but it is not without its own disfunction and stupidity. 

"AD going on 680 after Tech loss has made alot of folks mad."

I think, and he would have to speak for himself, that he was trying to send a message to the fans that losing to Georgia Tech is not acceptable. I didn't hear it. The Mark Bradley article seemed dumb to me. 

"I realize that the AD is better than Damon but who woudn’t be."

Very few people. Very few indeed. 

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