One Mistake Leads to Another

What the hell is Georgia thinking?

by Cody McClure | @CodyMcClureCFB |

The Dawgs just pulled an epic “Georgia” with the hire of Kirby Smart. If I was a Georgia fan, I would be severely pissed off. The entire administration should be fired for this lack of competence.

I had two initial thoughts when I heard the news that Alabama’s defensive coordinator was headed to Athens:

  1. This is Will Muschamp 2.0.
  2. This is your desperate attempt at winning a national title?

It makes sense that Smart wants to bring Muschamp with him to Georgia, because basically Muschamp is his mirror image. Both are Nick Saban prodigies. Both are defensive-minded. Both have made a living being the next guy in line (recall Muschamp’s time at Texas).

The thing that really makes these guys hot commodities, still, is the fact they have worked with Saban. I’m not sure why the media puts so much stock into that. Derek Dooley worked under Saban, too. I know Saban is great and all, but just because you worked for him doesn’t make you great too.

Muschamp has had a lot of opportunities because his reputation was enhanced by working for Saban. I’m afraid it could be the same thing with Smart, who has been feeding off the “great one” for seven years. The only thing Muschamp has done that Smart hasn’t, is fail miserably as a head coach. That’s could change, though.Kirby Smart 3

Look, I don’t want to dog Smart too much. He’s obviously an intelligent guy. He waited around under Saban for seven years, when he could have had most any head coaching job he wanted. Although, I think he would have been far more valuable between 2008 and 2011. It was after the ’11 season that the offensive revolution really began to pick up steam.

But it makes sense that he would take the Georgia job, because he played there and it’s an elite job. So, from his perspective, I get it. It just doesn’t make sense from Georgia’s perspective.

Here’s the deal. Georgia is fine defensively. Since losing to Florida, Georgia has given up a total of 10 points per game. The Dawgs got the job done on defense, in what could be considered a down year on that side of the ball, in all but a pair of games against Alabama and Tennessee. Jeremy Pruitt is one of the best coordinators in football, arguably better even than Smart. If you disagree, realize that Nick Saban is going to hire Pruitt to replace Smart, while Smart focuses on hiring Muschamp.

That’s why Saban wins titles and Georgia doesn’t (really though, if Muschamp comes along with Smart, this whole thing will become even more laughable).

Anyway, Georgia didn’t need a defensive upgrade. It’s the offense that has been one-dimensional. If you’re going to get rid of Mark Richt and bring in a new coach, wouldn’t it make sense to bring in an up-and-coming offensive mind? That’s where today’s game is headed. I love defense, but it’s becoming more and more clear that offenses are a major necessity.

Alabama is one of very few teams that can still make a living defensively. And the Tide is very good at it. I would take this year’s Alabama team against Baylor or any other high-powered offense, but a defense like this year’s Alabama defense is a rarity. Bama’s front seven is equally good at stopping the run and getting after the quarterback.

If you have that rare combination, then sure, defense is more important than offense. But Georgia doesn’t have those rare breeds on its roster. A great defensive performance these days is holding the opponent under 24 points.

Look at Ohio State last year. The Buckeyes had a great quarterback, a talented offensive line, and an elite running back. They gave up 24 points or more in nine games and won a national title. They won a natty and Alabama’s vaunted defense couldn’t stop them.

So why, Georgia, are you bringing in an unproven, defensive-minded Saban prodigy?

We have known for a few years now that Smart would land somewhere at some point. But, Georgia? This is one of the best jobs in college football. Really, it’s in the top five, if not top three, interchangeably with USC, Texas and Florida.

I have a couple other reasons for questioning this decision by Georgia. First of all, what is so special about Smart’s track record? The only notable thing he’s ever done is spend time with Saban. Is this really the guy who’s going to bring you the national title? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a huge uncertainty thinking a guy who’s never actually been a head coach is going to excel more than Richt.

Second, isn’t it Saban who pretty much runs the defenses? And isn’t it Saban who has the final say in recruiting all the great players on those defenses? I’m not saying Smart hasn’t been a significant factor in Alabama’s success, but he hasn’t been the cornerstone.

What will he do in Athens without the stockpile of Saban’s talent? Can he get that same kind of players to “Commit to the G?” Seems risky to me, Dawgs. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but maybe I’ll be wrong. Maybe you’ll get your coveted national title. I’ll just say “good luck.”

You know, filling those shoes.

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