Daily Archives: December 2, 2015

The Smart hire, amusing part edition

As you can imagine, I received more than a few emails last night when the news broke.  One of those reminded me that Kirby Smart’s agent is none other than Jimmy Sexton (so is Will Muschamp’s, by the way).  The person who sent that expressed the hope that Sexton wouldn’t let Smart take the job without fighting to make sure that McGarity got his way on how the responsibilities of the position are structured.

To which I could only respond, the idea of Jimmy Sexton as the savior of Georgia football is about as ironic as you can get.

In any event, I hope that Kirby is a huge success here, if only to sit back and enjoy what Sexton will put McGarity through when the inevitable day comes that Nick Saban retires in Tuscaloosa.  (Sexton’s probably mapping his strategy out for that as you read this.)  McGarity deserves nothing less.  LOL.

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The Smart hire, nervous part edition

Change is exciting.  Change means hope.  But change means change, too. And I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t admit to a certain amount of apprehension about how well Kirby Smart is able to do as Georgia’s next head football coach.  I’d say my concerns are two-fold.

One, and this is a generic issue, is that obviously Smart has never run a football program before.  It’s one thing to be a gifted assistant and recruiter.  It’s another to be the man.  That’s not to say he’s guaranteed to flop; it’s more like he’s not guaranteed either way.  We don’t know what he can do running the show.  The good news is that he’ll have a running head start on that.  But there’s no other way to look at it for now as a great unknown.  And, yeah, that makes me nervous.

The second issue, though, is anything but generic.  I guess the best way to describe it would be to ask what happens when The Process Meets The Georgia Way, for want of a better expression.  Kirby Smart has been at a place where it’s a given that everyone rows the boat in the same direction. That ain’t the way things have been in Butts-Mehre for a long time.

What happens with Georgia’s drug and discipline policies?  I doubt they change much, but at least it would be nice to know that somebody might put his foot down about scheduling a random drug test for players returning from spring break.  Also, there’s the question of money.  And that’s really two questions:  how much can be spent and how wisely can it be spent?  How much control Smart has over the purse strings will be some indication of how much success he’ll  have making the program go the way he wants.

I am skeptical, because, well… because there’s a track record at Butts-Mehre that’s hard to ignore.  If things really are ready to change, it could usher in a new era of greatness.  I’m not ready to make that kind of pronouncement yet… and probably won’t for a while.  But I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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The Smart hire, good part edition

There’s a lot to get excited about with regard to Kirby Smart taking the helm of Georgia’s football program.  He’s a sharp guy who’s trained under the best in the business for years.  He’s regarded as a top notch recruiter. He’s got roots in the Georgia program, which can’t hurt among a certain element in the fan base.

In particular, here’s what I like:

  • Recruiting.  There isn’t a candidate Georgia could have realistically considered for the head coaching job who could do a better job of holding on to Georgia’s solid 2016 class than Smart.  Indeed, there’s a likelihood that he’ll be able to build upon that.  The initial reaction from recruits who are in play for Georgia has been quite favorable. And while this isn’t a reason in and of itself to hire Smart, it’s certainly not a negative, especially when you consider how important this next recruiting class is in restocking the talent level at Georgia.
  • Xs and Os.  Yes, I know – he’s Saban’s defensive coordinator and Nick really runs that defense.  However true the conventional wisdom is on that perception, there’s still no way Saban keeps a guy around and pays him the kind of money Smart gets just to rely orders and directions from the boss.  Smart knows how to coach defense. Hopefully, he also knows from that what kind of offensive approach works, too.
  • Scott Cochran.  Smart and Alabama’s strength and conditioning coach are close – close enough that Cochran is widely expected to join Smart in Athens.  I can’t begin to tell you how big a deal that would be.  Suffice to say it would represent a 180 degree turn from how S&C has been handled here for decades.  Admittedly, things had started to change in the past couple of years.  They’re about to change even more, and that can’t be bad.
  • Timing.  He’s going to have a decent amount of time to get things in order with staffing and recruiting.  If he’s as organized as I would expect someone off the Saban coaching tree to be, the transition should be relatively smooth.

Note that everything there is short term.  That’s really all I can judge the move on right now.  Anything longer is speculative until we see how he settles in.  But at least there appears to be some certainty around the program again and that’s not a bad thing.

Although I’m dreading the barrage of bad puns we’re going to be subjected to over the next few years.  I promise to do my best not to add to that.

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