My beloved DAWGS are back this week after our painful loss to South Carolina and a bye week. A conversation occurred, prompted by The Distinguished Veteran, that maybe Mark Richt is just too nice to be a great coach. (I don’t tend to agree with this) It’s an interesting idea and here’s the article that was sent with this suggestion and the discussion that followed. Where do you come down on it in light of the Alpha Male Theater that is the current Presidential race and this kind of thing from the big man behind the camera? In a giant building. With security cameras at the door. Douche.
From the email:
Dude’s screen name on TOS is HacksawDawg, not sure of his real name. It’s long & I’ll just leave it here without comment for those who want to read it. Some may know more about this guy than I do… Most of it is chit that’s been said one way or another before, but I thought it was interesting hearing it from a former player & his conversations with other former players…
“My honest two cents?
Below is actually a compilation of thoughts from posts I made yesterday, but they come from not only my own opinions but those of other players from the Richt era I’ve discussed this topic with. One as recently as yesterday, and he started on our 2002 team. I, and many others from the early Richt years, think the program has had a void of dominant leadership for too long. It’s a common denominator whether the issue has been discipline, toughness, passion, etc.
Richt can get by on his calm, nice guy personality so long as he has dominant presences running each area of his program.
You can’t just have it on one side of the ball, though. Everyone wants to draw the line where it all seemed to change with BVG’s departure. That was only one half of the equation.
It really changed when Callaway left too. With BVG and Callaway, you had two nasty, grizzly, DOMINANT presences on each side of the ball. Both sides of the ball had a leader who the players were uncomfortable around. Guys you dreaded getting into the elevator with or getting stuck seated next to on the bus. They were coaches you avoided if you could.
People don’t understand or appreciate the dynamic we had in place when we had both BVG and Callaway. It could have been theater, but they didn’t like each other either. Callaway once threatened to beat BVG’s ass right there on the practice field when he dressed down one of his OL’s. They berated their players not just on football, but personal levels. BVG challenged his players’ status as “men” constantly. If Callaway hadn’t called you a “pu$$y” or a “worthless fat ass” that week, then you simply hadn’t been at practice.
And I’ll add another element with Fabris. Borderline insane, some ill-conceived schemes at times, but he brought a wildman attitude to special teams. And the other coaches clearly couldn’t stand him any more than the players could. But it sort of worked and reinforced an overriding attitude of tough, crazy…MEAN.
Collectively, those guys gave the program an edge. Just an unspoken sense that we were more grizzled than the opponent, and because of the daily crap the players had to endure with those leaders, there was a cocky swagger that whatever ran out of the other tunnel on Saturday was going to be an easier task than the men that coached them during the week.
And guess what – none of the players liked any of these three coaches. But they ALL respected them and feared crossing them. And yet, when we get together and recount our fondest memories, guess which three coaches get brought up the most? Yep, those three.
That crap is contagious and creates an atmosphere and culture of not only toughness, but MEANNESS. BVG and Callaway are MEAN. Fabris was legitmately CRAZY.
Staff chemistry can be overrated, IMO. Friction creates a lot of positive things in a competitive environment, Richt likes harmony and I have never thought him to be comfortable with confrontation, but the friction is what made him successful. And in fact, the players sensed the friction between staff members and they loved it. It was invigorating.
I hate to dumb things down as Neanderthal-like dynamics, but so much of a competitive environment among men is based on perceived dominance. There is an unspoken heirarchy within any group of men. It’s why when we fired Martinez I harped for weeks here on this board that the #1 qualification for the new DC was to hire an “alpha male.” An alpha male is a real thing and it is necessary especially in football when you must manage a lot of high-testosterone, very confident young men, many of whom are alpha males in their own right.
Richt is admired by everyone, but in a room of strong men, he is not the alpha male. If the leader is not an alpha male, every one of his surrogates must be one.
It’s no different than parenting or managing anyone else. Even children sense weakness and dominance of presence. I have other parents ask how my kids are so well-behaved. Because I am the freaking alpha male in this family and they know ONE thing for sure – they’re not going to win any battle with me. Ever. Period. Poorly behaved kids are that way because they perceive weakness in their parents. It’s why fatherless kids end up on bad paths.
People romanticize successful teams, but in the early Richt years we had some bonafide turds not only playing, but starting on those teams.
And I tell ya something I’ve learned over the years…if they’re coachable, the turds make great football players because they’re just naturally mean and intimidating. Odell was MEAN. Derrick White was MEAN. Chris Clemons was MEAN. Those were guys who with their pads off in the real world would rather knock your teeth out than give you the time of day. Clemons is the only freshman I was ever intimidated by – he was tall, skinny, and quiet but that boy was mad at something in life, and I made sure it wasn’t going to be me each day. And you know why guys like that were coachable? Because Van Gorder was a more dominant presence so they fell in line.
Discipline is 100% about strength of leadership and the perceived dominance of the man in charge. It’s not about character education, it’s not about suspension policies. It is about genuinely believing the man in charge is a stronger character than you are, and an element of fear is there as a result. You fear having to deal with the guy in charge, not the suspension or penalty. When I was a kid, I feared my Dad, not being grounded. THIS is why we have discipline issues under Richt. They know Richt will hand down a suspension but ultimately love on them and give them a hug after they serve it.
Saban recruits plenty of thugs. But he has a stronger, more dominant presencethan they do and they don’t dare cross him. Facing Saban is what they fear most.
You cannot truly lead unless you are THE dominant presence. Richt isn’t, and he doesn’t have enough surrogates who are. Folks like to think Richt doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he absolutely does, and as well as anyone in the country. The foundational principles and methods of Richt’s program are nearly identical to all the great coaches in the game today, and I’ve always thought his most closely align with Urban Meyer. Perhaps that’s why Meyer likes Richt so much. Richt is a fantastic coach who understands the plan and the process to be successful, but he doesn’t have the presence to execute it. He needs that presence and dominance from his surrogates.
That dominant presence over the team isn’t there, nor has it been for several years. The plan is sound, but it must be executed with authority and unwavering dominance from the leadership. It ain’t there.
People are tired of this example but watch in pregame when we walk to the end zone after flex and run up to Richt on the 25. They don’t run, in reality. A handful of geaked up players do, but most of the team drags ass up to him, many don’t listen to what he’s says after they break it down, and too many look disinterested. That is disrespect, and in a public setting.
There is no fear in the program. There used to be.”
Me: Bailey has actually postulated this same theory to me many times. I think the last quote was something along the lines of “Look at Spurrier. He’s a terrible man. But he’s a great coach.”
The Coach: All the good coaches are. Nick Saban is quite possibly the devil. If Urban Meyer wasn’t coaching football, he’d probably be a serial killer.
And it makes sense that John Fabris was crazy. Why else would he insist on directional kicking when we were so clearly terrible at it? The kicker couldn’t kick it, and our special teams couldn’t cover it, but by God we ran it out there every week…
Captain Bannan: A very redeeming read. I have felt this way for years too. As the player noted, Richt may be a great guy, well organized, etc, but college football is more like joining the military than a Boy Scouts of America excursion.
Anyway — other things and stuff…
This is myth. These people don’t exist in DC. But I think they’re about to…
I can’t watch the actual episode yet. Reading about it is enough (h/t Miss Cat).
This video made me laugh so hard. Hingle McCringleberry is genius. The Coach said it reminded him of the second video and I must agree.
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/nnDb_WMC?p=1 width=”550″ height=”443″]
In an email about our FF game this weekend, Charlie (the smartass) wrote the following:
“Also, my Spotify told me that Sarah is listening to Nine Inch Nails right now so lets be nice to her this weekend because shes obviously going through some dark shit. haha”
It was randomly selected by the radio station I was listening to but I did get called “insignificant” earlier this week so I admit, it was therapeutic.
Silky! “He enjoyed himself, and good for him.”
Ash and I will be here later for dinner — if she’s not too mad at me. She thinks the fact that I let myself get called “insignificant” makes it almost impossible to be around me…
I enjoyed this. Find the biggest straw man and attack it. Big Bird never saw it coming.
Also randomly selected. I love this album and cannot help but move when I hear this song. People walking past my office door just sadly shake their heads…