Today, in oh, what might have been

I’m not sure why this popped into my head this morning, but something nagged at me enough that I had to go check the archives and, sure enough, there it was:

Per Mark Schlabach,

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, a former Georgia defensive back, is considered the leading candidate for the job. One high-ranking UGA official told ESPN.com that Smart, 39, had to be the “only choice.” Smart has been the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator for the past eight seasons and directed defenses that helped them win three national championships since 2009.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and Houston coach Tom Herman also could be candidates.  [Emphasis added.]

I cannot even begin to fathom the depths to whatever the McGarity reaction to the Ole Miss investigation would have fallen had Freeze been the man hired to replace Richt, but it likely would have made the course he took in the wake of the Gurley suspension look measured.  (Not to mention that Ole Miss very likely wouldn’t have embraced a departed Freeze in the way it’s currently doing.)

And, yes, I know the mention has “Jimmy Sexton ploy!” written all over it, but don’t forget that McGarity wound up hiring a Sexton client.  All said, that’s one hypothetical bullet I’m glad to see the program dodged.

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56 Comments

Filed under Freeze!, Georgia Football

56 responses to “Today, in oh, what might have been

  1. No way Freeze was ever considered. I imagine the AD already knew from Richt what happened with Laremy Tunsil’s recruitment and the smoke (literally and figuratively) that was around the Ole Mi$$ program.

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    • Schlabach isn’t the kind of person to make up rumors like that. He heard from someone he thought credible.

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      • He might have heard that from someone credible, but I don’t think there was any way McGarity would have taken that risk (those guys know where the bones are buried). Of course, that list is exactly what you would have expected as opposed to a home run hire.

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        • Otto

          I could see him getting an interview, but I would also believe it was just filling a spot so they could say with a somewhat straight face that they had a “search”

          I am still a Mullen fan and the football revenue and profits which was posted here, Bulldogs Illustrated, and other blog show how little he is working with yet he is till hold his own.

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      • Tybee Dawg John Forbes

        I really wish we could have gotten Tom Herman. He was already a head coach and did not need to learn on the job

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        • Mayor

          And he could have brought an entire staff of tried and true winners with him. It ain’t just the HC peeps–it’s mainly the assistants particularly the OC and DC. That is what was so egregious about Kiby staying on at Bama for the playoff. While Kirby tried to win Bama another nattie all the best assistants got hired and we got stuck with the leftovers.

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    • dawgtired

      I don’t think anyone other than KS were ever really ‘considered’. My guess is those were names mentioned to make the list look longer. To make it look like someone was really working hard to find the best coach. They even spent dollars (butt-covering money) on a search firm/committee. Maybe Herman ‘would’ have been considered if the KS deal failed…just my .02 of course. I have no real inside knowledge of the politics on UGA hill.

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      • Yep, I agree. I have said from the beginning I hope this works out because the process certainly didn’t inspire any confidence.

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        • Mayor

          B-M and ADGM never considered anyone other than Kirby Smart. They panicked when it looked like USCe was going to hire him and that was the reason ADGM fired CMR in the first place.

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  2. Jim

    Thanks goodness the search firm vetted him and was able to unearth that file the Russians had with all of the dirt on freeze…

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  3. Ben

    If we had hired either of those Mississippi guys, I’d have cashed in my chips and walked away completely. That AA is already a sh!t-show, and that would have made it worse.

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    • For the longest time I was “NOPE. Do not want” on Mullen. Generally speaking – that’s still my stance. However, given the way the search went down and it was clear we weren’t going to try and even reach out to a guy like Herman, Mullen wasn’t the worst option. It’s hard to argue that he isn’t currently the second best coach in the league.

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      • Otto

        Miss St. 10th is in support staff pay, 11th in revenue, and 12th in profit. Mullen is doing more with less than anyone in the SEC. He was my 1st choice for the job.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DawgPhan

        second best coach in the SEC isnt saying much.

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        • Mayor

          Really? McElwaine won the SEC East his first 2 seasons on the job at FU. Bob Stoops looks like he’s making positive changes at UK. I am not really a Bert fan but he did win the B1G 3 times in a row while at Wisky. Malzahn took the Barners to the Big Game his first season. Sumlin isn’t chopped liver either even if the expectations in College Station exceed reality. There are some damn fine coaches in the SEC. Unfortunately Kirby Smart isn’t one of them, though.

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          • Mayor

            *Mark Stoops.

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          • Mayor

            Mark Stoops.

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          • I’ll be honest … I can’t gauge whether Smart works out after one year. I do know this … I’ll have a pretty darn good idea on the morning of October 29, 2017. Another lackluster performance in Jacksonville would be bad. The honeymoon was over on October 15, 2016, and the OJT was over on November 26, 2016.

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          • Otto

            McElwaineI believe is a good coach as evidenced by back to back SECCG trips while playing a 2nd string QB in each season. When he was at CSU, he was on my short list. However, winning the division at UF is good work but not exactly amazing.

            Getting MSU to a #1 ranking is an amazing job. MSU managing to win at the same time Ole Miss is cheating their tail off, and spending more is a solid achievement for Mullen. 7 consecutive bowl at Miss St is an achievement.

            Bert won in the B1G but has struggled at Arkansas bluntly I think Arky can do better.

            2nd maybe close between McElwain and Mullen but Mullen gets it by a nose at the moment due to sustained success. Stoops? I want to see what he can sustain, he is doing well thus far. Part of me is rooting for him

            I’d love to see what Mullen could he do at a school who has the funds and history of success. Diaz and Mullen in Athens would have made me happy.

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    • MGW

      I’d take Mullen in a heartbeat.

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  4. Spike

    At least Boom wasn’t on the short list. Or the long one either..

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    • Otto

      He did make the list for DC.

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      • PTC DAWG

        He would have been DC had another major head coaching job not been offered….

        My gut says we made the right call on Kirby..

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        • Otto

          My statement 7-8 years ago when hot seat talk started was no head coaches without head coach experience, UGA is not a learning on the job career stop.

          Would I have hired him? No.
          Can Smart be the guy? Yes. he can. I question if the fans will give him the time. I have a lower bar of necessary wins next year for him than many here and would likely give him a couple more years to prove he deserves the job.

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          • I just can’t get onboard with your last paragraph about lowered expectations and more time. Kirby’s a big boy and knew what the expectation was when he took the job, even if he probably wasn’t ready for it. That’s the reality of the situation he walked into. Whether it’s fair or not to him given the situation he walked into, he was hired to win championships now and not four years from now.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Otto

              By Lower, I expect a 3 loss regular season this fall. GT is the absolute must win or hot seat talk will be undeniable. 3 losses to GT is a no fly zone. I do expect 10 wins in ’18. If he doesn’t make the SECCG in ’18 or ’19, it will depend on what changes he makes to the staff for me.

              Richt wasn’t fired for not winning championships. He was fired for blowing the chances to play in the SECCG (Mizzou playing in the SECCG), and being embarrassed when put on the national stage, Bama in Athens twice, WLOCP when favored.

              I do agree that I am not the majority and my opinions mean absolutely zip in what B-M does.

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              • DawgPhan

                There is no doubt in my mind that our offensive coaches are not good enough to compete at a national level. They arent today, they wont be when the season starts and they still wont be next year.

                We are in a really bad spot because Smart didnt have the experience and sway to get the right offensive coaches. Pittman, on reputation alone, is the only potential upgrade on the offensive side of the ball. Pittman has not proven to be an actual upgrade at OL.

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                • Otto

                  Pittman did good things evolving Drew Breez and the biggest short coming on the offense was on the OL. I’ll give it another year. However do not take this as an over whelming endorsement of Pittman

                  You do get at a reason I would give Smart more time, what if next year is 4 losses with a win over GT and another OC is hired who looks promising.

                  I think Smart wants to recreate Bama’s ball control offense prior to Kiffin. Which I think stands much less of a chance of beating Bama than the dual threat Mullen would run. Granted a dual threat system is dependent on getting the right QB and as such has wider swings in the W/L columns.

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                  • DawgPhan

                    Smart is going to get plenty of time. It’s just that I dont believe in the offense and I believe that you have to play offense at a pretty high level to be competitive nationally. Of course there might also be the issue is that the head guy sees the current offensive style as a feature and not a bug.

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                    • Otto

                      Ball control offense limits possession which makes the defense look better. Bama migrated to a more stat friendly offense but gave Clemson possessions to put points on Bama’s defense.

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          • dawgtired

            “I have a lower bar of necessary wins next year for him than many here and would likely give him a couple more years to prove he deserves the job.”

            I’m guessing the ‘extra’ time is for the OJT. Less hope he is good enough to provide an adequate number of wins while he learns and he learns fast so we don’t have to wait too long to reap the benefit of our gamble and time invested.
            Even if the championships do not come for 3-4 years, if he shows improvement, maybe the fan base will be a little patient. If we boot KS, it better be to go after a proven winner.

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        • Spike

          You guys are right about Boom and the DC position. But like Ben above if they hired that classless asshole, especially after what he said about UGA, I would have cashed in my chips and never would have stepped foot there while he was there.

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  5. Bill Glennon

    After the Tunsil thing, UGA knew Freeze was dirty. He was never considered. The “Georgia Way” thinking would never have allowed even the hint of “sleezy” which is why Jimbo Fisher wasn’t considered, whether or not he may have been playing the game.

    Jim Harrick reinforced this thinking and cemented “The Georgia Way” hiring process as very risk averse (and Kirby wasn’t any more risky because he didn’t have previous experience, think Donnan/Richt). This has been good and bad. Tom Herman wasn’t seriously considered because of this.

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    • Otto

      Agreed but also add in part of the Georgia way is also homering hires.

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    • dawgtired

      Good-ole-boy hires. They rarely work. Bama even suffered for years trying to find the next Bear. They may suffer again after Saban leaves if they repeat the process looking for the next Saban. It’s OK to change the face of a program if it brings wins.

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      • Macallanlover

        Lot of truth in this comment. I don’t really understand the KS hire but I hope last year was a wake up call for him and he is now up to HC speed, and succeeds. This is a damned important year for UGA, Atlanta or bust.. His seeking out Boom as the DC was very troubling and smacks of more “good ole boys” mentality. It goes without saying our incompetent AD played a major role in us looking very awkward and confused in the whole process. Everyone can lay this Keystone Cops routine off on the “influential fat cats” but that doesn’t exist if the Prez and AD are doing their jobs.

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  6. D.N. Nation

    Nothing will beat the ’00 UVA coaching search.

    Al Groh (who they hired)
    Mark Richt
    Jerry Sandusky

    Could’ve been better! Could’ve been worse!

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  7. Got Cowdog

    What is Les Miles up to these days?

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