Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Georgia's finish, Eason status shouldn't tilt Richt decision


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Regardless of what side of the Mark Richt debate you fall on, there are two issues getting a lot of attention that I don't believe should be factors in the decision.

1. The last four games.

2. The impending arrival of recruit Jacob Eason.

Let's start with the first. I referenced it in this column, in which I suggest Richt should take over play-calling from struggling offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Georgia is 5-3 and has four winnable games remaining against Kentucky (4-4),  Auburn (4-4), Georgia Southern (6-2) and Georgia Tech (3-6). A sweep obviously would leave them at 9-3 going into a second-tier bowl, which doesn't look bad, and thinking is, "How could you fire a coach after a 9-3 (potentially 10-3) season?

Here's my thought: Georgia's season already has been defined. It came in the four-game stretch against Alabama (lopsided loss), Tennessee (loss), Missouri (9-6 win) and Florida (lopsided loss). The Dogs' SEC East Division hopes were smothered and those games illustrated how wide-spread the problems were (beyond just quarterback). Now we may know why. Seth Emerson and Chip Towers have a terrific piece on Dawgnation.com about internal problems in the program, stemming in part from dissension in the coaching staff.

Will Jacob Eason change his commitment to Georgia if Mark Richt isn't back as coach? (Rob Saye / Special)

Four wins over mediocre teams shouldn't determine Richt's future. Do you really make a decision based on wins over two SEC teams (Kentucky and Auburn) with a combined conference record of 3-8 and the worst Georgia Tech team ever under Paul Johnson? The administration -- primarily athletic director Greg McGarity and university president Jere Morehead -- should have its mind made up one way or the other, regardless of how the team finishes.

Now to the Eason thing. I know. He's a great high school quarterback and the reported gem of Georgia's next recruiting class. He is projected as the starting quarterback next season, at least in part because there are no obvious candidates on the roster.

Don't take this as a reflection of Eason, who may or may not live up to his billing: But the Richt decision is about the big picture. It's about the direction and identity of the program. Eason is short-term, for as long as he is starting and/or enrolled at Georgia. Whether the program gets or loses one player -- even a quarterback -- should not determine whether or not it keeps or parts with a head coach.

Those are my views. I welcome yours.


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.