To be or not to be, that is the question. Should Mark Richt continue to be the head coach at Georgia. With all due respect to the Bard, that is the question now. At least in these parts. Like any coach at any program, Mark Richt has had his detractors for years now. But, until recently, they were few and far between and did not include many of the power brokers around the Bulldog program. After being thoroughly thumped for the second straight year in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the wolves are not just at the door they are at every door.

There are still some that support the beleaguered coach mostly because he is a very good man and does the right things in most areas of his job and beyond. It is hard to not like Mark Richt, he really does seem to be a great guy. In fact, I’ve heard for several years now that when he retires he will most likely become a preacher. I don’t know if that is true or not but it does lead me to what I see as one of his shortcomings as a head coach. Have you listened to the man talk? The SEC Network interviewed him over the phone this week. Listening to him, I couldn’t help but wonder how anyone was going to stay awake on a Sunday morning through a thirty minute sermon by this man. I’m sure his words would be great but his delivery makes Ben Stein sound like Ted Nugent. I can’t imagine how that plays in the locker room. It does play well in the living room apparently because he recruits well every year.

But, let’s face it, Georgia did not lose to Florida because the head coach is a boring monotone. In the end, it really does come down to coaching and part of coaching is game planning. I do not know who made the decision to start Faton Bauta, but after the decision was made it would have been a really great idea to put together a game plan that actually utilized this kid’s strengths and talents. Bauta had virtually no experience playing in the SEC. Throwing him out there to face the brutal Gator defense was an iffy proposition from the start. However, the kid can run with the football. Florida has been susceptible at times to running quarterbacks. I figured that was why Bauta was chosen to start the game. Where were the Read Option plays? Where were the quarterback draws? Who drew up this game plan? It appeared as if the Georgia staff choose to go with a running quarterback to change things up and then run the exact same offense they had been losing with already.

But I digress. Mark Richt’s future will not be decided based on one beat down in Jacksonville. This decision must be based on his entire career. Richt is in the 15th year as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. His first eight years on the job saw him win an average of ten games per season along with four SEC East titles and two SEC championships. Even if Georgia wins out this season his last seven seasons would average nine wins a season with just two SEC East titles and zero SEC championships. While these are still respectable statistics, it is understandable if Bulldog fans have become skeptical that Richt is going to suddenly make them perennial championship contenders. Too many seasons have seen the Bulldogs begin the campaign as popular picks to win it all only to end up with a couple of inexplicable losses along the way and a feeling of having just missed the train again. What’s worse is the perception that they had the most talent on the field that day but were outcoached from the other sideline. Suddenly even the most loyal Richt supporters are saying that perhaps it is time to move on.

So, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume the powers that be at Georgia are debating whether or not to make a change at the end of this season. What must they consider? Is this really a good year to be looking for a new head coach? There are already ten coaching vacancies at Division I schools and it’s only early November. There is still unrest at Texas and Charlie Strong could be in trouble there. Texas would be a job equal to that at Georgia, as is the vacancy that already exists at Southern California. Virginia Tech and Miami are vacant and not without their attractions. I say all of this to point out that Georgia could find themselves in a competition for the coach of their choice. There is also the incoming recruiting class that includes the supposed best high school quarterback in the country to be considered. How would the firing of Mark Richt affect this class? Personally, I believe that if you start keeping coaches just to maintain one recruiting class it will probably not end well. But, all of these things must be pondered before you cut ties with a good man who has averaged nearly ten wins a season.

That said, I think it is time for Georgia to make a move. Steve Spurrier once said that twelve years coaching one team is about as long as one can hope to keep the necessary edge. I believe he was correct. It is nearly impossible for a coach to keep the energy it takes to keep a program at an elite level that long. Also, the players start to hear the same things over and over again and they eventually begin to tune it out. There is a chance that, if retained, Mark Richt will have that season where everything falls into place and he leads the Bulldogs to a national championship. That seems less likely after each failed attempt but it certainly remains a possibility. However, it would seem even more unlikely that after 15 years Richt would suddenly figure out how to put his team in that position on a regular basis. During Richt’s tenure at Georgia four other SEC teams have won at least one national championship. Two of those teams have won multiple titles. Georgia must decide between the safe route of keeping Richt and winning nine or ten games a season or rolling the dice in hopes of finding a coach that will infuse some much needed life and energy into the program and give them a chance to hoist the crystal football in celebration of an accomplishment most Bulldog fans have not seen in their lifetimes.

If Georgia opts to bring in a new head coach, who would that be? Kirby Smart? Promote Jeremy Pruitt? Maybe Mike Bobo? Of course, there will be the typical ridiculous names thrown out like Chip Kelly, Jon Gruden and some idiot will suggest that Georgia throw enough money to lure Nick Saban. I’m thinking that Georgia will want to avoid the embarrassment of being turned down by unrealistic choices and will therefore go after a young, energetic coach with some ties to the program. With that in mind, the answer is quite obvious. The new Georgia head coach will be Will Muschamp.