|I'm still here, y'all. (Image: Jim Hipple)|
I did hold out some hope we'd be competitive, blind hope, or so it seemed at the time. Yes, the schedule still looked easy enough. Yes, we'd have a couple of key guys back on defense. Still, the offensive line got whipped in the Boise game. We weren't in a position to run the ball. We couldn't stop the underneath pass or play action. Most damning, we looked tired and uninspired.
At that point, the off season changes appeared to be mere re-arranging of deck chairs. My, how long ago that seems.
I was wrong. Coach Richt made tough off season changes, changes that have yielded results. I think the results are still a work in progress, and we'll find out how much of a work in progress it is on Saturday afternoon. This team plays like teams in the early to mid 2000's did. This coaching staff consistently makes smart adjustments and plays the strength into weakness game well (something we definitely didn't do the past 3+ seasons). On whole, players get stronger as the game goes on.
I am no Mark May. I admit when I am wrong, without alibi or explanation of why I might have been a little right.
There are strong arguments for three coaches to win the SEC Coach of the Year award. Franklin, for getting Vandy relevant (insert your own snark here). Miles for going 12-0 with that schedule and more QB drama than they had at South Carolina. Richt, for completely and totally remaking his team and himself. No one would have thought Richt would be in that conversation back in September.