How Mark Richt rallied his fan base and refocused his team for a special Saturday in Athens
Posted by: Pete Roussel on Monday September 09, 2013
Did you notice how Mark Richt kept his team together and rallied the Dawg Nation following an extraordinarily difficult season-opening loss at Clemson?
It was reMARKable.
While a percentage of the Georgia fan base completely melted after the heartbreaking loss to Clemson, Richt remained vintage Mark Richt -- calm and focused on what to do next.
His plan included a tweet last Sunday to the Dawg Nation, “Calling all Dawgs!! We need you this weekend. Best Dawgwalk! Best crowd noise ever! We need your energy to feed off of. Don't be late!!”
Wednesday tweet: “Finished our last day in full pads. Tomorrow dress rehearsal. 1st SEC game Saturday. We need the Dawg Nation to rise up! Dawgwalk at 2:35”
Friday tweet: “Our crowd can cause the opponent to jump offside call time out be late off the ball have a delay of game and miss an assignment. WE NEED YOU”
Friday tweet No. 2: “DawgWalk 2:35. Just as we expect our players to give their best for 60 minutes of game clock I'm asking the same from you. Thanks! Go Dawgs!”
Richt also described his overall plan on Friday morning during the Tim Brando Show: “Two things we try to do with this team: We try to stay positive because if you beating down your players and pointing fingers, then you’ve got problems. No. 2, we’re going to stay united. We believe in each other, we trust each other, we built up a relationship from player to coach, player to player, whatever it is to that we can withstand these types of dings and this type of adversity, so we stay positive, we stay together, and we believe. And we keep moving forward. Two years ago, as bad as it started, we ended up in the SEC championship game.”
Richt built the anticipation perfectly.
The result was terrific performance by his team and one of the better atmospheres at Sanford Stadium in a long time.
Richt tweeted on Sunday, “I want to thank everyone in the DawgNation for their support last night. Best atmosphere since the Blackout!! A true 12th man!! Go Dawgs!!”
Today, he sent a special message to his fan base.
He said from his office, “The student section was off-the-chain during pre-game warm-ups. Everybody was there. Y’all set the tone for the day. When our boys came out right before kickoff, everybody was in their seats ready to go. It got crazy, it got loud. It made a difference for us. Now, we’ve got an open date. Everybody can get some rest up a little bit, but we need you back for the North Texas game to do the same. Get in a habit of really getting after it and being the best twelfth-man in the country. Thank you.”
That, my friends, is why Mark Richt has coached in the SEC since 2001. It’s also why his team is in the hunt, year after year, to play in Atlanta and has finished in the Top 10 on six different occasions.