As Georgia’s players gathered for their meeting with AD Greg McGarity there was some expectation of answers as to the reason why coach Mark Richt had been fired. After all, that group had been recruited by Richt and his staff to play and win at Georgia.
For the most part that had happened for everyone in the room.
But after about ten minutes of meeting with McGarity, the players were getting the same sort of interaction the press had - non-answers to questions.
“He danced around a lot,” said one person in the room. “He didn’t answer any of the questions.”
Anger continued to be the mood for the Bulldogs with Silver Britches. Sunday night a veteran player summed up the other all mood of the move to fire Richt:
“In one word? Go look Tennessee,” he said. “It is a sad day in Athens.”
Monday was not a good day publicly for McGarity. For whatever reason, and it has not been uncommon at Georgia through the years, the AD sat with an outgoing coach after he had been fired. While McGarity looked scripted he had done the job he had been paid to do - move Richt along in hopes of snagging a championship coach.
For all of the negatvity aimed at McGarity, and there is a lot, he didn’t make this move in a vacuum. Its clear that Richt’s make-or-break game came in Jacksonville. Georgia, like the Alabama game, simply was not prepared to win that game offensively.
McGarity said on Monday that he pretty well decided to can Richt on the way back from Atlanta on Saturday, but the wheels were set in motion as soon as the Gators (pitiful as they are currently) won that game and pretty well clinched the SEC East.
Again, McGarity didn’t do this in a vacuum. For all of the Twitter and message board hate headed his way, a large enough percentage of power brokers who matter were glad to make the move - and this time Jere Morehead didn’t get in the way.
But the day, Monday, was not a good look for McGarity.
“I was embarrassed for him,” one behind-the-scene person said. “He cost himself that job today if this hire is not a home run.”
Another: “I like greg but that dude is not a leader. He's a behind the scenes organizer.”
Yet another: “Richt dominated him in that press conference. It was not close.”
Others are critical that the path is seemingly going right towards Alabama defense coach Kirby Smart:
“I just wish the administration would act like they’re the top 5 program that they seem to think they are.”
“This is their chance to go big. Kirby might be big but it's a huge risk. I'd hire Bobo in a vacuum without question, but you can’t hire him right now.”
“Richt took over a small mess in 2001 and they were beasts for five years. They're not a mess now. He has that program set up to be huge. Just gotta put the right guy on the ground. Mullen would be a failure.”
Meanwhile the coaching search continues to barrels towards a new replacement. If Kirby Smart is selected, Georgia partisans should expect him to coach Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, and possibly in the College Football Playoffs.
The key here is the dead period in recruiting. It starts on December 13 and ends January 13. All but one week in the period of transition would be an active recruiting period. Most Georgia partisans would want their coach to be in place from day one - many will be furious if Smart is the guy, and he’s not in place immediately - but the likelihood is that he will coach the Tide defense through its final 2015 game.
If Smart is hired, keep and eye on TCU OC Doug Meacham and Western Kentucky OC Tyson Helton for the offensive coordinator position. Defensive coordinator is a little bit more up in the air because of the fluid situation with Will Muschamp at Auburn and Jeremy Pruitt’s (how to should I call it?) complex relationship with Greg McGarity.