Kirby Smart to UGA: Why Bother?
Maybe I’m getting into NFL fan groupthink here. When a team fires a defensive coach, it hires an offensive one. When they lose a player’s coach, they go to a disciplinarian. What I’m saying is, when one side of the ball gets a coach fired, the idea is normally to maintain status quo on the good side and fix the issues on the bad one.
I know Mark Richt was an offensive guy by trade, so logic would dictate that its time for a defensive guy. And yes, given the offensive struggles of 2015, that’s not a legitimate argument, so…this rant is off to a bad start.
Okay, I’ll start over: Kirby Smart has the worst resume of the candidates mentioned for the Georgia job. Georgia should be able to hire (with only a few exceptions) whomever they want. Kirby Smart is not the right man for the job.
Start Schematically? Let’s Start Schematically.
The Georgia defense of the past two years alternated between good and excellent under Jeremy Pruitt. Why not, instead of going for another disciple of the Saban Coaching Tree, throw a blank check at Pruitt (who, after the reported ‘issues’ in November, isn’t doing better than DC at Georgia yet) and get an offensive-minded coach like Tom Herman, or a proven overachiever (and offensive coach as well) such as Dan Mullen?
And what has Smart REALLY done aside from ensuring Saban’s scheme stayed afloat? DC at Alabama may be the easiest assistant position (other than verbal abuse from someone as tall as your mother) to have success in the country. And with the proliferation of the spread in the SEC, Alabama’s defense has gotten worse versus peers, not better.
But Kirby is a Georgia alum, and #DGD conquers all.
I’ve seen ‘in the family’ hires derail programs. Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were ‘family’ hires at USC. I watched UNC basketball almost slip to irrelevancy in the early 2000’s after hiring Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty (not to mention John Bunting in football).
Family hires appease boosters with longstanding relationships to the subjects of those relationships, but have proven way more often to be a bad idea than a good one. ‘Alum’ is a catchall that throws blinders over the masses and makes them think its a good hire.
But he’ll bring an Alabama approach to Georgia.
That was what Pruitt was supposed to do, and thus what Richt was trying to imitate.
At some point, people will realize that the way to beat Alabama is NOT to try to BE Alabama. They’ve had the #1 recruiting class in America for each of the last five years, and have the resources to hire former successful head coaches in advisory roles.
Whomever finally (temporarily) dethrones Alabama is going to be innovative. Maybe like, oh I don’t know, a top-5 recruiting team running a spread offense? (see: Ohio State 2014).
If Georgia wants to gain that 1-2 wins per year to achieve at the level of the league’s preeminent program, imitation needs to give way to innovation.
I’m not gonna make the Muschamp comp.
But it’s there.
The Mark Richt firing got sadder today, because Georgia football is now worse than it was 48 hours ago.