Mark Richt made his point loud and clear that discipline isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"The root word of discipline is love," said Richt, during an interview with media members. "If you love your child, you’re going to discipline them. If you love your team, you’re going to discipline your team. Discipline, to me, has three facets to it. No. 1, if someone does something they shouldn’t do, there has to be a penalty, something punitive to make them not want to do it again or anyone watching doesn’t want it to happen to them. There’s got to be some of that."
While some people think that Richt has already lost control of his team, he hasn't, and won't.
Richt has a three-fold approach to disciplining his players. He believes in first educating a player on what they did wrong. The best way to fix a mistake is to learn from it. Next, Richt believes that a player needs to understand the magnitude of his mistake, and get back on the "right path". Finally, the most important step in the process is showing love for the player. This is a very fatherly approach, and that should be respected, instead of criticized by outsiders.
Richt's fatherly demeanor is appreciated greatly by players, and he equates disciplining a player to disciplining a young child.
"If a child makes a huge mistake and you discipline that child, you may spank their bottom," he said. "Some people don’t think you should spank a kid’s bottom, but I think you do. Then you tell them, ‘If you run across that street, you might get run over by a car.’ So I educate him on why it was wrong. Then I’m going to hug him and say, ‘I love you, and I’m doing this because I care about you.’
If you don’t care about your kid, let him do anything he wants. If you don’t care about your team, let them do whatever they want. If you want your team to stay united, then you discipline everybody with the same set of rules. Not so-and-so gets special treatment because he can run or jump better than the next guy."
Richt's philosophy is very admirable, but the real question is, are these players really "children"? In Richt's eyes he can discipline them as children, guide them as children, but in reality he is dealing with grown men. The approach Richt is taking is beneficial for players attempting to strengthen their bond with their coach. Outsiders may be judgmental, but put yourself in Richt's shoes.
In general, Richt is a "player's" coach who has his player's best interest in mind. He has made it known that by building the character of his players, he will in turn build a great team. He is more concerned with teaching his players about leading a fulfilling life, rather than just teaching them about X's and O's. And there's nothing wrong with that, because in Richt's eyes, a team that is filled with straight-laced players will inevitably come out as winners.