“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

Some good stuff here:

Kirby Smart needed outside help.

Alabama’s defense had just been shredded for 42 points and 537 yards in the Sugar Bowl by the eventual national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. A defense that had been top 5 in yards allowed per game six years in a row finished 12th nationally. A unit full of future NFL Draft picks looked a step slow, finishing 59th in pass defense.

So Smart, then Alabama’s defensive coordinator, gave Tom Herman a call.

“You talk about evolution and adjusting to the competition, for us that meant talking to coach Herman,” Smart, now the head coach at Georgia, said during a coaching lecture at the Texas High School Coaches Association Convention. “We said, ‘Give us everything you got. Help us, be honest. Tell us where we stink.’”

They “stunk” where they weren’t supposed to stink.

That meant facing a fact – Alabama was built to stop a thing of the past.

“We’re built for big, physical, eight or nine in the box. How are you going to stop the run?” Smart said. “That’s a dinosaur.”

Smart’s lecture began with a chart of Alabama’s starting lineup during the 2009 national championship game. Featured prominently were nose tackle Terrence Cody (365 pounds) and inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower (260 pounds). Smart flashed to another slide displaying his 2017 equivalents to that All-American pair, John Atkins (305 pounds) and Roquan Smith (225 pounds).

The dinosaur age of Smart’s defense involved stopping 21 personnel and two-back sets. That’s what Hightower and Cody were built for. In the age of three and four-wide sets, Atkins and Smith represented an evolution. The recruiting prototype changed for Smart changed from big run stuffers to more agile prospects capable of running in space.

I would have loved to have seen Kirby’s reaction when he first realized what he had in Roquan Smith.

Anyway, read the whole thing.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

11 responses to ““The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

  1. TomReagan

    Read that piece yesterday and also highly recommend it.

    One note I’d make is that what makes things even more difficult for defensive coordinators and head coaches is that you have to be able to stop the spread type offenses but to also have the personnel to be able to stop the Stanford, Alabama, and Georgias of the world who will still line up in heavy sets and run it right at you.

    That’s another benefit of what Smart’s building here at Georgia. It’s an offense that is an outlier. Our regular two tight end, two back sets are becoming almost as rare on offense as Tech’s flexbone. What’s better for us is that it isn’t so much the change in scheme that makes us difficult to prepare for but the body types we will be bringing at you. Oklahoma in the second half of last year’s Rose Bowl is a prime example of what our offense can do against teams built to stop the spread.


    • We did a lot of our damage to OU with spread looks. We just dominated their line of scrimmage.

      On defense, we started attacking rather than sitting back. Once we started getting home, Mayfield was battered by the time the game was over.


      • Greg

        ” On defense, we started attacking rather than sitting back

        Yep, we were playing to contain them 1st half, especially Mayfield. Once the adjustment was made, we pretty much stopped’em……or slowed. Wish we had adjusted earlier.


        • They scored 1 offensive touchdown in the 2nd half. The other was the scoop and score. We generally shut them down and used field position to keep the field tilted against them.


  2. That was a great article. Definitely give the guys some clicks on that. The fact Kirby was willing to contact Hermann to get his perspective speaks volumes.


  3. Hightower was 260. That is insane.


  4. Got Cowdog

    Kirby mentions in the article about defending Manziel with pressure. He made the adjustment against Mayfield and co in the second half and shut them down.


  5. “It’s not the strongest that survives or the smartest,” Smart said. “It’s the one most responsive to change.”

    That quote applies just about everywhere…especially in my career. Good stuff.


    • Damn straight. If I don’t learn how to program bots and understand blockchain, I’ll be out of a job in the next 5-7 years. Probably a good lesson for many in our society that the world is just gonna keep changing. Either keep up or be prepared to be left behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ozam

    Hopefully in the lessons learned category, Kirby realizes in the next big game, that when he has one hot running back, to keep feeding him (and not someone else) the ball. 😀


  7. Pingback: So much for the everybody knows it was Saban’s defense narrative. | Get The Picture