NFL | NCAA Football

Mark Richt May Have Written His Ticket Out of Athens

His team could not keep the lead against Tennessee. His team was run over by Alabama at home. His team lost to Florida, and with Auburn next week and Georgia Tech at the end of the season, there is still plenty of opportunity for more disappointment.

The final nail in the coffin may have been hammered on Saturday after, which means Mark Richt may not be walking the sidelines in Athens next season.

Not a possibility, a certainty after losing 27-3 to the Gators. In a season where Georgia was supposed to dominate the SEC East and possibly challenge for a national title, this is now a lost cause. And we all know Mark Richt will be the topic of many a discussion about how he now must leave the program.

I tried to build a case for Richt – the good guy who is the epitome of what student athletics is all about. Raised in the system that Bobby Bowden built at FSU in an offense that put the boot on the jugular and did not let up until the final whistle. Now, the seat in his office on the UGA campus is on fire and no extinguisher could put this blaze out right now.

So with that kind of news and a loss to your biggest rival, who comes in and replaces the guy who was supposed to return the team to the days of Vince Dooley and Herschel Walker? Here are a few names the university consider.

Jeff Collins, Defensive Coordinator, Florida – The former Mississippi State defensive architect moved to the state of Florida this year when Jim McElwain was named head coach. The Gators defense never missed a beat.

Now Collins has been mentioned with the opening in South Carolina. The Bulldogs could be calling as well and if the Gators were to win the SEC (highly unlikely), he should be target number one.

John Chavis, Defensive Coordinator, Texas A&M – A longtime defensive guru in Baton Rouge with the LSU Tigers, Chavis has a new home at Texas A&M. It’s interesting that Chavis hasn’t been named as a consideration for other head coaching jobs, because he is that good.

Georgia might be the ideal situation for Chavis to get his feet wet with a top job.

Justin Fuente, Head Coach, Memphis – Fuente is the hot name this season and could be the top pick in Miami. He has the Tigers looking at a New Year’s Day bowl game, if not a potential CFP berth if the gates open up and hell breaks loose.

Georgia is going to need a solid, young winner. Fuente presents that to the Georgia athletic department.

I think this is a long shot as the school needs to win and win now.

Fuente will be the topic of several openings once the season ends, but time in the SEC is not right for him now. A few more years of experience and then it can be discussed.

Rich Rodriquez, Head Coach, Arizona – Another big name who will be on everyone’s short list.

Rodriquez is a hell of a recruiter and could be the favorite if he shows interest.

The one thing about Rich Rod is that he follows Richt who runs as clean a program as there is in the country. He comes with baggage and could cool some of the boosters who wants a winner now, not later.

Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator, Clemson – if Clemson continues to run the table and the Tigers start out the CFP as the top ranked team, everyone and their mother in Georgia, Miami, USC and Maryland will be knocking on Venables’ door.

Chad Morris left the program to coach SMU. As the offensive coordinator he earned himself a head coaching job. Venables is one of the best at what he does. It’s hard to believe the Clemson defense is better than last season. The Bulldogs have shown they need some help on that side of the ball.

Chip Kelly, Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles – Kelly is going to be the discussion at USC, but why not in Athens?

Kelly’s spread offense made the Oregon Ducks national title contenders. He showed he could use the same offense in the NFL and have success.

Will the issues in Philadelphia lure the head coach back to the college ranks? I think it more than even money it happens. It might be that his ties to the Pac-12 is more attractive, but in a league of top head coaches, Kelly would give the SEC another bump in being the best conference in the country.

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