Is Leadership an Issue?

Below is an article from the Bleacher Report:

There have been many teams that are the best in the country top to bottom, regardless of sport, that have fallen short of the ultimate prize.  There are a number of reasons that could hold a team like Georgia back. 

The most common ones that I have heard are the schedule is too hard and the WRs stink.

I want to propose another reason that probably outweighs those two combined as to why Georgia will fall short: Lack of Leadership.

It is quite simple actually.  Mark Richt’s team should not need different jerseys and endzone dances to get ready for the game. 

I believe that has to do with the fact that Georgia does not have players that are ready to step up and be leaders.  They should be ready to play, no matter what they are weighing or what they do in the endzone.

Mark Richt is obviously a leader as the head coach, but he needs some help from a few players and the way that things are looking it seems as if he is the only leader on the team.  It is somewhat understandable, though, due to the fact that Georgia is such a young team.

If that is not enough to convince you that the Georgia Bulldogs do not have great leadership coming from the players, then all you have to do is look at how their offseason has gone this year. 

This is a great indicator of how much leadership comes from the players due to the fact that the coaches are not allowed to contact the players during the offseason.  So that means that it is all up to the players to keep each other in line.

It has been a tough offseason in Athens, Ga.  Here is what it has looked like:

In January, cornerback Donovan Baldwin and fullback Fred Munzenmaier were arrested for alcohol-related offenses. Baldwin was arrested on DUI charges, while Munzenmaier was arrested for drinking underage, and he will be suspended for the first game.

On May 14, Freshman Offensive Lineman Clint Boling was arrested because he was pulled over for driving recklessly and he refused to take a breathalyzer test.  He has been suspended for one game.

On June 5, Defensive End Jeremy Lomax, was pulled over for speeding and having a concealed firearm.  He simply was ignorant of the fact that he was not allowed have the gun under his driver’s seat.

On the morning of June 27, Sophomore Offensive Linemen Trinton Sturdivant and Justin Anderson were charged with a misdemeanor of simple battery after touching a girl inappropriately.  It was reported that they had been drinking.  Their punishments are being handled “internally.”

On the night of June 28, Sophomore Defensive Lineman Michael Lemon punched Demarius Jackson at least five times in the face, fracturing the victim’s left eye socket.  Lemon was charged with a felony.  He has been kicked off of the team, and was arrested again this morning for drinking underage.

On Aug. 2, junior long-snapper Jeff Henson, who had been charged with a DUI in November, became the eighth Georgia player arrested this offseason.

He was arrested for public intoxication and urinating in public.  He has been suspended from the team.

Additionally on Aug. 2, Defensive Back Donovan Baldwin and Linebacker Marcus Dotwin were hospitalized after a brawl.  Following the incident, Richt also dismissed Baldwin from the team because it was his second incident this off-season.

The number of offenses is alarming, but the other thing that is alarming is how many of them are alcohol-related.  An offseason full of booze is not a way to win an SEC or national championship.

These are the well documented off-field incidents, but there are probably more that the coaching staff have had to deal with as well.  Rumors get around, and one of the rumors that have floated around on the message boards is that Georgia star running back Knowshon Moreno was sent home during the offseason because his ego has gotten to him. 

Additionally, Moreno was rumored to have been drinking and partying on a regular basis, which may or may not be related to his supposed ego problem.  If that is true, it is even worse for Georgia fans, because Moreno is seen as one of the guys that is a leader on the team.

I also would not depend on a guy whose nickname is “Kegford.”  I see him fitting right in with all of the other Georgia alcoholics.

It just spells a lot of trouble for a team during the regular season when they are having lots of off-field incidents, and it makes it worse when they are alcohol-related.

I am sure that Richt is going to give his team a mouthful about proper off-field conduct when they start practice on Monday afternoon.

I am not one who delights in the transgressions of opponents, even if it is a rival like the Georgia Bulldogs, but these signs cannot be promising for Georgia heading into the regular season.

 I hope the Bulldogs can get themselves together and behave off of the field, because 2008 seems like it is going to be a great year in college football. It would be such a shame to let off-field incidents ruin the season of such a talented team.

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