It was the safe decision, but was it the smart one?

Kirby Smart

Kirby Smart

Having spent most of my day off today (I’m now working Tuesday-Saturday) away from the computer, I checked back in to find that the rumor one of my brothers had called me about earlier today is true: Kirby Smart isn’t coming home.

It’s disappointing for Bulldogs fans, of course. Smart had been the sentimental favorite for the defensive coordinator job dating back to, well, actually long before Willie Martinez got fired.

But it’s not really all that surprising. When you consider to the move from Tuscaloosa to Athens, what was really in it for Smart? More money? Doubtful. If Alabama hasn’t already matched Georgia’s offer, it likely will.

A chance to make a name for himself away from the shadow of Nick Saban? Well, yes, that was the biggest selling point Mark Richt had going for him.

That cuts both ways, though. Smart wants to be a head coach one of these days. By going out on his own at Georgia, he might have been able to build a strong case for himself. But there was an element of risk in that scenario that probably made Smart gunshy. What if the Georgia job hadn’t worked out as well as what he already has at Bama? Where would that leave him?

Staying with the Crimson Tide, where most people assume Saban is the force behind the defense, probably won’t allow Smart to develop a reputation on his own the way running the defense at Georgia would have. But the safer, more conservative approach for Smart is to continue to ride on Saban’s coattails.

Only time will tell if Smart played the odds correctly or blew his big chance.

381 comments Add your comment

A unstable program now and in future

January 12th, 2010
11:15 am

True bama grads know that they have been basically an unstable program for years and years and years. Yes, they are NCs and I am happy for them. Yes, likely in 2010 they will also be NCs.

Facts are facts; NSaban is the coach there and he jumps about every 4 or so years for the NFL, Pop Warner or wherever he wants. I still say his name will come up for the USC job by Thursday. If not, then it will be next year at Michigan or some large school. Easy to predict this is.
Where will that leave jilted Alabam? Here is where …
Bama has had in the last 13-15 years about 5 or 6 coaches. Stallings, Francione, that guy that got charged with sexual discrimination, the guy that was hired, then got into a tacky situation with some gal in a cheap hotel room ( all Alabama rooms are sleazy and cheap ) and left town PDQ for the Pacific NW and Shula and now Nick The Trick Saban.

THIS is a sign of a very, very unstable program. MOST TRUE TIDE FANS ( grads do ) know this. Francione left Bama wihout even saying good bye to his boys. Gone, slammed the door, got the heck outta the state. He dropped them like a bad habit. See? Why??? Because the state is Alabama is why. Most ot their wiives despise that state is another reason. I rest my case.

Dreamland Bar BQ is not enought to keep them happy in Tuscalooa.

How2fish

January 12th, 2010
11:17 am

ARRRGGGGGGHHHH!

DogGoneGaDawg

January 12th, 2010
11:18 am

There is one thing that is true here. We are having a family argument. You can pick your friends but you are stuck with your family. SEC Baby! Four straight. Five out of the last six. And for the record in ‘07 the Dawgs could have beaten Hawaii in the afternoon and LSU that night! You don’t believe it? Ask UF, AUB, GT and LSU whom we beat in Baton Rouge in ‘08. This is no time to stop stirring the pot!

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
11:20 am

It’s alright DogGone. It’s funny because i was in upstate NY for a while and they tolerated Syracuse football. They were more basketball than anything. Football in the South is a religion, not something to pass time until basketball season gets there.

When I was there, the ‘Cuse had some kid named Carmello Anthony playing.

How2fish

January 12th, 2010
11:32 am

CrimsomPride you run what ? Winning the SEC once is not running anything put a couple back to back and we will talk..you choked in 08 and got it right in 09..congrats but don’t think anyone is fainting in fear.And according to GaGator you guys are toast the Gators have the greatest signing class in history and you should go ahead and mail them the trophy..

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
11:39 am

I will say this. I will stack any team in this conference, sans Miss. State and Vandy, against other conference, head to head, and come out on top.

Technophobia

January 12th, 2010
11:44 am

ROFLMAO, somebody suggested going after Charlie strong. Go ahead, what’s another rejection gonna hurt? Strong is the new head coach at Louisville but he would surely take a demotion to coach for the almighty dawgs. lol.

Dawgs73

January 12th, 2010
11:46 am

I am not shocked at all by Kirby’s decision to stay at Alabama considering all the pros & cons. What I am confused with is the timing of this decision. Here’s what I mean, why didn’t Richt offer Smart a contract offer a month ago? There was no “legal reason” why Mark couldn’t have made this decision a month ago before the NC game/outcome. Mark put himself in a “no-win” position by waiting until after the NC game, and now UGA is still without a DC.

I know it sounds easy on this end, but the more time passes the more idiotic this search becomes.

dawgrific

January 12th, 2010
11:52 am

As a UGA guy, and someone who really wanted (and predicted long ago) kirby to come home, here is my take. I TOTALLY agree with your take on his decision, as my buddy and I talked about that very thing yesterday. If, perhaps, he did it to screw over his Alma Mater, however, then he is either a chicken sh** or a piece of sh**, and neither one of them is what I want to lead out dedfense. Good riddance, and now let’s go get someone, big name or not, that is dying and excited to be our d-coordinator. I just want someone who really wants to be here, and that also teaches fundamentals and an aggressive/attacking style of defense. We will be fine, and Coach Richt, thanks for being one of the few out there with a sense of integrity and dignity, as I don’t want you trolling with the likes of scumbags like the money-grubbing, arrogant and self-seving a-holes that are so prevalent in the SEC. We will be fine, and I appreciate more than ever, all that CMR represents, and yes, that includes winning.
GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

K-Town Dawg

January 12th, 2010
11:56 am

I think we should look at Travis Jones.
Former 4 year lettermn at UGA.
He works for the Saints as D-Line coach.

Interestingly enough, his coaching career start as a grad assistant at…
you guessed it UGA.

1eyedJack channeling the Blind Seer

January 12th, 2010
12:05 pm

You seek a great fortune, you Dawg fans who are in search of a DC. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek. But first… first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril. Mm-hmm. You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell. You shall see a… many DCs… getting raises from their current teams, ha. And, oh, so many startlements. I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation. GO DAWGS!!!!….and screw the rest of ya.

CrimsonPride

January 12th, 2010
12:07 pm

how2fish:

So in 2008, 12-0 and losing in the SEC-CG to Florida…is “choking?”

Then please tell us how you would describe’s UGA’s pathetic 08 & 09 performances.

Go look in YOUR trophy case to see where UGA stands.

WE RUN……THIS CONFERENCE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I too saw the Ole Miss game

January 12th, 2010
12:08 pm

In the UGA game vs Ole Miss, Manning was knocked out before the half or at any rate, had to leave the F of play. He re entered the game from the visitor’s dressing rom, put his helmet back on to a standing ovation. He was to my left, as I was in the mid level of the student section, around the 20 yd line, near their entrance. We knew that he was a legend.

He and Sullivan were and both were UGA rivals. Sullivan and Archie did compete in a minor bowl later on, I recall. Saw Auburn in 69 or 70 when UGA beat Sullivan his Jr year and Ricky Lake was a real horse that day. Great memory and that was in Auburn. Fabulous party that night, we had.

Jake Scott got beat deep vs Archie Manning but also had a great punt return and a pic. Imagine ………those two …… Manning and Jake Scott would be in the NFL Hall of Fame and Scott was MVP for both the DC Skins and the Dolphins and to this day is usually considered around Super Bowl time, as one of the “greatest safeties in the NFL”.

Great UGA memories which is what 98% of the so called fans on this site will never experience because they stay at hom on Mom’s PC and do nothing all day long. UGA did not win the SEC in either year that I describe here BUT the memories of fun, partying and other things are wonderfull, if you know what I mean. Still married to my UGA gal friend too. Wow …….did we see some games and some fun there getting our degrees.

College is MORE than some NCCA NC title. To say otherwise is to say that you never,ever attended a class.

Gooooooooooooooooooooooo Dogs. Sic em !!

Go Dogs.

CrimsonPride

January 12th, 2010
12:23 pm

how2fish:

Bama: 22 SEC titles, Including:
1964-66 (3 in a row)
1971-75 (5 in a row)
1977-79 (3 in a row)
1992
1999
2009

UGA: 12 SEC titles

See you at the next “funeral.”

SEC East Headlines – 1/12/10 | MrSEC.com

January 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

[...] Mark Fox is doing with his first UGA basketball team.7.  The Junkyard Blawg wonders if Kirby Smart “played the odds correctly or blew his big chance.” (He’s got a better shot at landing a head coaching job by staying at Bama and riding their [...]

John

January 12th, 2010
12:27 pm

On Monday, the Bulldog Nation was like a kid in a candy shop. They thought, much like myself, Richt found his guy – it was a done deal. Then Nick Saban steps up to the table and Kirby is heading west on I-20. Look guys, Richt offered him everything a coach could ask for: Total control, the authority to hire his own defensive staff and lots of cash. He didn’t take it. Would it have been a good move to come to Athens from a national champion? In my opinion, no? Here’s my reason: Smart is a guy that obviously needs a few more years of guidence from his obvious mentor. He’s not fully ready to get out from under Saban’s thumb or should I say his keen oversight of the Bama defense. Smart obviously feels he needs that nurturing – after all the guy is only 34 years old. Sure, it was a lateral move in terms of title, but it wasn’t in terms of total responsibility. On the flipside, maybe Richt didn’t really even need a guy that’s afraid to venture out on his own. Perhaps Richt should stop trying to hit a grand slam with this decision. Maybe Richt should go the D-IAA level and find a man that knows defense like the back of his hand. Georgia doesn’t need a top-name DC or NFL guy to run its defense, it needs a guy who can get the most out of the players on that side of the ball, teach the fundamentals of tackling and be agressive when it’s time to be aggressive. I think all the Bulldog Nation wants is the defense it had back in the early 2000s. Just a thought from this guy who is like the rest – on the outside looking in … My only other question: Can somebody tell me the last coach off a Saban staff to become a major college football coach? Go Dawgs!!!!

LCDawg

January 12th, 2010
12:28 pm

OK great ….we offered and he said “no”. Let’s move on and quickly. Grantham sounds solid and if we can lure Travis Jones from the Saints back home for his staff that would be nice.

DTC

January 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

If anyone wa wondering how much of the defense was Kirby or Nick, the answer just came. By Nick saying we will pay you to stay, he said himslef that Kirby Smart is the force behind the defense of Alabama. Which says a lot about Smart, and the fact that they will continue to build additional good defenses for Alabama. That is the news that is not good for GA fans.

Theres Always Next Year...

January 12th, 2010
12:34 pm

Why would he leave Saban and Alabama, with his star on the rise, for a lateral move to Richt and Georgia, whose star is rapidly descending?

Alabama is loaded with talent, will start next year no.1, they will pay more and, most importantly, he will continue to GROW under Saban instead of helping to SAVE Richt.

But don’t worry Joja fans, timing is everything…

He’ll still be available next year when you guys call him about your HEAD coaching position.

DTC

January 12th, 2010
12:34 pm

By the way Paul Johnson, no GT will not have the talent in 2010 that they had in 2009, that is a fact. for the simple reason of the 3 Juniors that just left. GA on the other hand will be as good, if not better in ‘10 than in ‘09. And as some GT fan said yesterday, “the best team that GT had in 20 years could not beat the worst team GA had in 13 years” says a lot. And when considering the fact that our defense will be better next year, because of the new DC – think about that. The Army DC would be a good hire, if he is available and wants to move out and up.

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
12:38 pm

Im a 2001 graduate of Ole Miss. I remember a lot of games. I was a manager on the 1997 team that beat Miss. State 15-14 on that gutsy two-point conversion call by Tommy Tuberville. I was on the sidelines when we beat LSU 36-21 in Baton Rouge that year. I was there when we held LSU four times at the 2-yardline the next year to win 37-31 in OT, the last play being a QB sneak by Herb Tyler.

I remember Ole Miss beating Oklahoma 27-25 in the last game played in the 20th century. Les Binkley kicked the game winning FG at 12:15 am Jan. 1, 2000.

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
12:39 pm

Ironically, that Oklahoma game was in Shreveport at the Independence Bowl.

Gatorzone

January 12th, 2010
12:41 pm

And you guys though Gator fans were obnoxious…

I give you Crimson Pride….

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
12:45 pm

Amen Gatorzone

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
12:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Trent

January 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

Lets face the facts. We have become a second tier program in the SEC east along with Vandy and KY. We lose out on top rate recruits every year from our own state. We have lost the status and prestige that we use to have, and that is why we are in this situation. I dont see it getting any better in the years to come. Get use to the phase, wait until next year.

CrimsonPride

January 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

The rest of the SEC is just ROAD KILL.

WE RUN THIS CONFERENCE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rebel Fan

January 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

Enjoy it now, CrimsonPride. Saban leaves in 2011 or 2012. That thud we hear will be Alabama’s football program going through the ground as it comes back to earth.

Hootie

January 12th, 2010
12:53 pm

It appears that Tim Deruyter is now favored. UGA officials in College Station where Deruyter is scheduled for an interview with A&M.

Blackberry Cobbler

January 12th, 2010
12:59 pm

Kirby Smart has followed Nick Saban around for what, 3 jobs now? He impresses me as someone who is not yet quite sure of his abilities and not comfortable in his own skin. He chose to continue to suck at the Nick Saban tit rather than get out on his own and make his own mark. I hope the Kool-Aid taste good and I wish him the best.

Dawgbone

January 12th, 2010
1:02 pm

“You have chosen….poorly.” Not so smart. Saban will be gone within two years – bolting just before Bama goes on probation and gets the death penalty. Then where will Kirby be? Enjoy it now before the “hammer” falls in Tuscaloser.

DAWGBONE

Gatorzone

January 12th, 2010
1:15 pm

Hey Reb, thanks. Funny, mr. Pride has just appeared since Bama won the title. Where has he been the last 5 years? Claiming to run the SEC after one championship in 10 years is a joke.

Indra Moedjio

January 12th, 2010
1:15 pm

What’s next……get Ray Goff for DC ? Not a bad idea !

gt

January 12th, 2010
1:16 pm

The greatest DC we have ever had was Coach Erk Russell. When Coach Dooley hired him he was coaching in h.s.- hd been dismissed from Auburn.

longtimedawgfan

January 12th, 2010
1:19 pm

no mystery here…he did what was best for he and his family…don’t we all….hard to come home….and consider for the moment…how long has Coach Saban remained at one location….wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t move on to Southern Cal and Smart become the next Head Coach at Alabama…

Bout to get Married Dawg

January 12th, 2010
1:22 pm

I know Richt and Damen are taking heat with the PR backlash, but I think what they are doing is commendable and Dawg fans should be happy they are going for the top and working their way down. They can’t MAKE Foster, Chavis or Smart take the job. What they can do, and did, was put the best offer they can possibly put on the table in front of them and make them make a tough decision. They all stayed with their current schools, but we are expending every possible resource to get the best guy. Sometimes the best moves are the ones that don’t work out, and I am optimistic that this will be the same. Richt and Damen will get the guy who WANTS to come here which will mean he will work even harder and put together the best staff he can from the college ranks and NFL.

Bulldog fans are sounding as crazy as Clemson fans about this and they need to back off and let Richt/Damen do their do diligence and get the RIGHT guy. Obviously, Kirby was not that guy or he would have come.

Be patient….don’t sound like Clemson fans….and we’ll ok soon.

saweverysmartgame

January 12th, 2010
1:26 pm

Good riddance. ONe of the main problems on def. was lack of basic tackling skills. Smart was a fast, intelligent player at Georgia but one of the least physical players to ever play for UGA. Didn’t use his shoulder pads in 4 years so it may be a blessing he isn’t trying to teach our players tackling fundamentals. Saban is the one who is doing that at UA as it is well known that is Saban’s favorite part of his job.

Reality Check

January 12th, 2010
1:34 pm

Crimson Pride you are delusional. One Conference championship in a decade does not consitute owning or running the Conference. LSU-three, Florida-2 and UGA -2 all have more SEC rings this decade than you do, as well as BCS games played. As said before, when you finally win more than one every 20 years without Cheating get back to us.

Marietta Dawg

January 12th, 2010
1:42 pm

Hey Bill,
Who is next? Is CMR still going after Grantham or does he have some one else in mind?
Do you have any idea?

GO DAWGS !!!!

Otto

January 12th, 2010
1:49 pm

Anyone that thinks Smart will be offered the keys to the Bama program in the next few years as HC is crazy. If Saban leaves Smart will be looking for a job or moving with Saban. Bama will be looking for someone with HC experience.

IMO he was taking the job until Tx Tech came knocking for a HC interview. If you are interviewing for BCS HC jobs why take a new DC job anywhere? Also lets assume he does take the job at UGA, how long does he stay assuming the defense does turn around?

rabun

January 12th, 2010
2:00 pm

UGA has had some of the best talent in the country over the last several years. When you have two first round picks including the first overall you should at least win your conference and make a run a the national championship. All this chatter about DC is just shaddowing the fact that Richt is not getting the job done. UGA leads the nation in penaltys every year, they have a severe lack of leadership and would rather show boat and look good than work hard and win. Maybe Kirby Smart saw what UGA fans keep over looking, Mark Richt is not getting the job done. The talent has been there but the finished product has not transfered to the field.

RedandBlack

January 12th, 2010
2:02 pm

Hey Bill,

When is someone (you?) going to finally look at college team defensive statistics to determine who is consistently coaching well on defense to ulimately identify real candidates for the UGA DC job? Or, are there going to be more articles (by you?) written about rumors on our horizon, again.

Please do something new that may be news worthy. I appreciate. Go Dogs!!

longtimedawgfan

January 12th, 2010
2:32 pm

You might be correct Otto…but it didn’t deter Texas from naming the Texas DC, Muschamp, as their next coach … heck, if Saban leaves, UA might give Muschamp a call… I figure that Saban might find interest in only one/two other college jobs,i.e., at Texas and USC, especially the latter

David

January 12th, 2010
2:34 pm

You have bigger problems than securing Kirby. Are you sure CMR isn’t on his downslide?
So you guys are just waiting to beat us up? Surely even you dog fans can get a clue.

SEC Fan

January 12th, 2010
2:42 pm

As an SEC fan I read some of these comments and just laugh at the inorance. Why in the world would KS take the DC position in Athens? Remove the fact that KS went to UGA, and put all the positives and negatives on the table? Is he learning more under Richt than Saban? Is Bama’s program in better shape than UGAs? Is be bulletproof under Saban as a DC? Most importantly, why take the DC job on a sinking ship when he’s going to be offered the job as hc in a few years?

You guys are freakin’ idiots and just be happy when he takes the hc job in a few years. This should be more of an indictment on MR than KS.

dawg

January 12th, 2010
2:51 pm

I hope this secures the deal to avoid any future attempts to bring him to Athens for a coaching position including the head coach unless he has proven himself at another school with a BCS national championship as the head at another school. He should not be in the discussion even then unless he makes a formal application. He abused Mama and needs a spanking before being allowed in the house at UGA.

Tide Fan

January 12th, 2010
3:09 pm

You knuckleheads talking about Saban leaving slay me. You do realize that the man is 58, right? What- you think he’s going to be looking for a new challenge at 60? Gimme a break.

I see him at Alabama for 5-7 more years then hanging ‘em up. Don’t think his drive and workaholic mentality will last deep into his 60’s.

But we’re glad to have him now! This won’t be his last NC…

Roll Tide!

Mora Sr.

January 12th, 2010
3:16 pm

Play….offs….if you clowns at Georgia want a good Defensive Cor.call my son….Jr liked Atlanta and is unemployed now………PLAY….OFFS…YOU WANNA WIN MORE A …..GET A MORA !!!

Andrew

January 12th, 2010
3:21 pm

Alabama fans kill me. Your hero was a racist POS in a houndstooth hat!

Alabama Slammer

January 12th, 2010
3:22 pm

Tide fan….Saban leaving????”No I haven’t even thought about another job..my heart is here”….Quote he made to the Miami Dolphin media 3 weeks before he quit saying “my heart isn’t in it anymore”…..LIAR,LIAR, LIAR..Pants on Fire!