Friday, February 20, 2009

Mark Richt and Bobby Johnson might resist the temptation to cheat — but Johnson's the true saint

In an interview on the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer's Georgia football blog, Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans addresses all those rumors that crazed Vol fans have been spreading about Coach Mark Richt since Lane The Mouth said he was going to build a wall around Tennessee and then Richt jumped over the wall and grabbed 6-foot-5 wide receiver Marlon Brown, who by the way will make one heck of a scary bookend to Bulldog wideout A.J. Green.

You know how The Mouth tried to make calling a recruit while he was on a trip to another school sound like a death penalty violation? Apparently so is happening to love Jesus when a player's grandmother also happens to love Jesus.

Anyway, Evans said this about Richt:

"We have a guy leading us who has a high level of integrity."

And then he added this:

"And we're in a place where we don't need to cheat to have success here."

That makes for quite a motto: We don't cheat... and we don't even need to.

At Vanderbilt, the football team IS in a place where it needs to cheat to have success, at least the kind of success that teams like Georgia have.

I've been reading "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell and he asserts that many people appear to be good not because they are innately good but because they're not put in a situation in which they have to be bad.

I'm not trying to say whether Mark Richt is innately or situationally good. He's just not in a situation where he has to be bad.

But I am suggesting that in terms of running a college football program in a BCS conference, Bobby Johnson is a saint. He's resisted the temptation to try to find a quick fix. He does things the right way, and last season his team actually went to a bowl and had a winning season.

Johnson won't be rewarded every season. Vanderbilt fans need to remember that and be thankful that he's not going to cheat — even if he has to.

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