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.