Pretty amazing — an almost 1500-word piece on how Alabama changed its defense for the better after 2012 without a single mention of Kirby Smart.
It’s reassuring to know that the brain trust at Georgia saw through the public perception of “it’s Saban’s defense” to get the man they wanted.
To be fair, I doubt the truth on Smart’s role in fashioning the ‘Bama defense is anywhere near that absolute. I also doubt that anyone at Butts-Mehre who had a hand in hiring Smart had the first clue about how to gauge that.
Blind faith is what makes religion run. It’s not the best guiding principle for managing a football program, though.
You have to admit it’s a little different hearing an AJ-C opinion writer urge Georgia fans not to believe the worst.
You know, I don’t doubt this story for a minute.
“Well, the day I landed in Miami and went to the first press conference,” Saban said. “I started to realize the difference between the NFL then and what the NFL was like before when I was in it with Bill Belichick from 1991-94 in Cleveland, before we had free agency, before the media had infiltrated sorta everything that was happening. I guess right then.”
Saban left LSU to coach the Dolphins in 2004. He stayed two seasons before famously leaving for Alabama in January 2007.
There was a second Miami moment that drove him the need for change. The well-documented story of Drew Brees failing his physical with the Dolphins was discussed. Of course Brees went on to win a Super Bowl and Miami signed Daunte Culpepper.
It didn’t work.
“When that happened, I said I can’t control my destiny here,” Saban said. “I can’t control my destiny here. There’s too many things that, no matter how hard I work or no matter what I do, I can control my destiny better in college by working hard and making good choices and decisions and creating a good program for players. I think that happening made me lean back to coming back to college.”
Of course, that makes these denials even more bullshit now than they already were, but what the hey, as long as Saban’s happy it’s all good, right?
Georgia’s special teams — so little time, so many things to correct.
It’s not easy to lose a game in which you go +5 in turnover margin. It’s virtually impossible to lose when you combine that with not one, but two, defensive touchdowns.
That’s not an exaggeration.
How was this miracle achieved? Well, I don’t want to get into all the gory details, but suffice to say this might be the single dumbest play call I’ve ever seen.
A fake punt. On fourth-and-nineteen. From your own end zone. With the kicker running. Whoever called that shouldn’t have been allowed back on the team bus after the game.
From now on, I will judge the degree to which a call is boneheaded by measuring it against this play. It’s my new go-to gold standard. Thanks, BYU.
Seth Emerson, on the search for Mark Richt’s successor, suggests that the school was flexible — just not in the way you might have thought.
… Georgia was worried that Smart, the prodigal son, was going to get away (probably to South Carolina), so he was the clear choice when the decision was made to move on from Richt. In fact, it may have spurred the decision to fire Richt. It’s very possible that if Steve Spurrier decided not to retire, that Richt might have been Georgia’s coach this year. [Emphasis added.]
Seth’s not one to troll, ordinarily, but if by some chance that’s what he’s doing there, that’s some high grade stuff indeed. Either way, nicely played.