Vince Dooley

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Vince Dooley says he would not have fired Mark Richt at Georgia

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There was a bit of a shock when Georgia decided to move on from former head football coach Mark Richt last year. Richt had been a model of consistency in a profession that sees that becoming more and more a rarity and he did so in a conference bubbling with as much pressure as any conference has from top to bottom. Regardless, it was time to try something new if the goal was to get Georgia over the hump of being a perennial SEC East Division contender and more of an annual SEC championship and College Football Playoff contender.

If the decision were up to him, former Georgia head coach Vince Dooley says he would not have fired Richt. This is something you might expect to hear from the man who brought Richt to Georgia in the first place.

“He had to make to real tough decision in changing coaches,” Dooley said to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, referring to Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity and the decision to fire Richt. “Mark Richt, I hired him and, well, you have this loyalty when you hire someone that you’re going to go the extra mile. If I’d have been the athletic director, I probably would have sat down with Mark and said ‘next year is very important,’ and I probably would’ve gone another year with him.”

That’s fair, of course. But it is also worth noting Richt had plenty of time to win more at Georgia and was never able to prove he could for one reason or another. At least, not to the extent others in the SEC have raised the bar during Richt’s tenure. Keep in mind how many SEC programs won SEC titles and national titles during Richt’s tenure at Georgia (Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Nick Saban among them). With all of the resources and the talent pool to recruit from available, it is easy to argue Richt should have accomplished more on the field than he ultimately did. That is not to suggest Richt was a failure at Georgia overall, because that simply would not be true at all. But when you have to compare rings, Georgia was lacking in one critical department.

And don’t think that Dooley is against current Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. On the contrary, Dooley is very optimistic and positive about Smart as the head coach of the Bulldogs.

“He’s got a great background,” Dooley said. “He knows what it takes in this league. He’s a Georgia man. He played here but then he had his training under a guy who is a proven success in Nick Saban. He’s got a good staff and the recruiting has been great. So I really think that the future is really bright.

Richt didn’t take long to land on his feet once being released by Georgia. Richt was named the head coach at Miami and is already building the Hurricanes up the way he did with Georgia. Entering the 2017 season, Miami appears to be trending upward, and we’ll see if they can keep that theme going for an entire season. In the meantime, we’ll keep dreaming about the possible collision course Richt thinks Miami and Georgia are on.

Nick Chubb rushes for 269 yards to power No. 13 Georgia by No. 21 Louisville in Belk Bowl

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Georgia running back Nick Chubb finished off an impressive freshman campaign by rushing for a Belk Bowl record 269 yards to help No. 13 Georgia (10-3) put away No. 21 Louisville (9-4), 37-14.

Chubb had a 31-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give Georgia a 17-7 lead, and he had a shorter eight-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to help drive the final nail in the coffin for Lousiville’s postseason experience. Georgia took a 27-14 lead into the fourth quarter and slammed the door on the Cardinals with a 10-0 final quarter.

Georgia did not celebrate a win without losing a couple of bodies along the way. Quarterback Hutson Mason left the game with an undisclosed injury. Wide receiver Michael Bennett also left the game with a possible knee injury.

Louisville was hit-or-miss for much of the night on offense. The Cardinals used quarterback Kyle Bolin for most of the night, completing 20 of 40 pass attempts for 301 yards and a touchdown. He was picked off twice. Despite the rough night for the offense, DeVante Parker had a good showing with 120 yards on eight receptions for the Cardinals. The offense only managed 14 points and 380 yards, but the defense was no match for Georgia’s running game.

It was quite a day for two of the young running backs in the SEC. Before Chubb got a chance to take the field in Charlotte, LSU’s Leonard Fournette turned in a powerful performance against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl, although that was in a losing effort. Next season should be a lot of fun to watch the resurgence of power running backs between these two alone.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt picked up his ninth career bowl victory, while improving to 9-5 all-time in bowl games, moving him past Vince Dooley for most all-time bowl victories at Georgia. That accounts for about a third of Georgia’s all-time 28 bowl victories. This will be the 11th time since 2001 Richt will coach Georgia to a top 25 finish in the AP poll.

The SEC is now 4-1 in the bowl season, including a perfect mark against power five conference opponents. LSU took a loss to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl earlier in the day. The SEC is now tied for the best conference bowl record so far with a 4-1 mark. Conference USA is also 4-1 and the Pac-12 is 3-0, with Stanford taking on Maryland in the late kickoff Tuesday night.

The ACC took another loss to drop to 3-5 this bowl season. That record includes a woeful 1-5 mark against power conferences, with two wins against the American Athletic Conference lumped on top to help balance out the wins and losses. All that is left for the ACC is Georgia Tech and Florida State, so there is still a chance to come out of the postseason with a winning record overall, although it will be impossible to record a winning record against power conferences this bowl season.