Fran Tarkenton is adamant about two things. One, he respects Mark Richt and thinks the coach is a “wonderful guy.” Two, Georgia football has lost its way in the past few years.
“Ten wins for Georgia is not enough,” Tarkenton said. “Winning SEC championships and playing for national championships should be our goal. And we didn’t do that. We won a few SEC championships early on, but when’s the last time we won an SEC championship? It’s been a while.”
The last time an SEC championship trophy made its way back to Athens was in 2005, when the Bulldogs beat LSU 34-14. UGA hasn’t played for a championship since 2012.
“Why should Alabama be winning national championships and not the University of Georgia? Why should Auburn win them and not us? Tennessee? Florida?” Tarkenton asked.
The NFL Hall of Fame member thinks Richt did an admirable job in Athens, but agreed with the program that it was time for change. Georgia’s aspirations have slipped over the years, Tarkenton said, and it was time to right the ship.
“Our goal is to win the SEC championship and be able to play for a national championship,” he said. “It shouldn’t be any less than that. And it has been. We’re happy with 10-win seasons. And we are in the weakest conference of the SEC. And we play every year, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, three sisters of the poor, those five games are sure wins, and let’s face it, Georgia Tech, who I have great respect for, they can’t recruit against us. So we’re going to win nine out of 10. So we ought to have six wins before we start.
“So 10 wins is not a measuring stick of what our potential is and what we should be. And I think Kirby Smart understands that. He wants the same thing the rest of us want. We shouldn’t play second fiddle to anybody. We should be up there with the big boys. The Ohio State’s, the Oklahoma’s, and the Florida’s and the Alabama’s. We should be right there with him.”