Posted: 11:07 am Monday, January 13th, 2014

Would Smart come to UGA as coach-in-waiting? 

By Mark Bradley

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This HCIW worked out OK. (AP photo/Julio Cortez)

Kirby Smart is the obvious choice, the popular choice … heck, the smart choice. He played at Georgia. He has won national championships as Alabama’s defensive coordinator. If the Bulldogs could hire him to replace Todd Grantham, it would be the biggest “get” for Georgia since the guy from Wrightsville signed his letter-of-intent on Easter Sunday 1980.

But here’s the thing: Smart rejected a similar offer from Georgia in January 2010. If now isn’t any different from then, why would his answer bedifferent?

The only way I can see Smart leaving Tuscaloosa for Athens is if the Bulldogs would make him head-coach-in-waiting for when Mark Richt chooses to retire, and I’m leery about those HCIW things. James Franklin was HCIW to Ralph Friedgen at Maryland, but Friedgen wasn’t ready to leave and the Terrapins weren’t ready to fire him and Franklin got an offer from Vanderbilt. Only then did Friedgen get pushed aside, which is how Maryland wound up with Randy Edsall.

Will Muschamp, another Georgia alum, was HCIW to Mack Brown at Texas, but Florida offered to make him head coach in the here and now. So he upped sticks for Gainesville, and three years on there’s no compelling evidence that Muschamp is much of a head coach. That’s the catch with HCIWs: They tend to be career assistants who’ve never run a program, and there’s a difference between being a coordinator and a Head Ball Coach.

For the record, the man whose team just won the national championship was HCIW to Bobby Bowden at Florida State, but even that got ugly. Bowden tried to hold on when it was clear his program had reached the point of diminishing returns, and Jimbo Fisher wound up inheriting a team — and a fan base — torn between the old and the new.

Which brings us to the greater point: There would be no reason for Smart to take an offer as Georgia’s HCIW if he’s given indication that Richt planned to stick around longer than a couple of more years. Richt has offered no clue that he’s anywhere near ready to leave, at at 53 he’s no senior citizen.

Nick Saban, Smart’s current employer, is 62. The Alabama chair is apt — though not guaranteed — to come open first. Georgia is a great job, one of the 10 best, but Bama would be at worst the second-best job (behind Texas) in the nation.

And if you’re Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, do you really want your program to appear to be easing out Richt before he’s prepared to step away? Because that’s what the announcement of Kirby Smart as HCIW would do: It would start the countdown clock on the man who’s the second-best coach in Bulldog history. That wouldn’t be good for anyone.

Another hitch: As noted by Jake Rowe of Rivals on Twitter, the NCAA moved in 2010 to restrict designated HCIWs to one off-campus recruiting visit per prospect. If your defensive coordinator — by definition one of your highest-profile recruiters — is so limited, is it worth having a designated HCIW at all? And if the title was only understood, would that be concrete enough for Smart, who clearly wants to be a head coach soon?

Yet another: If Georgia would hire Smart with the understanding, tacit or otherwise, that he’d succeed Richt, how would offensive coordinator Mike Bobo — who’s a former teammate and a close friend of Smart’s and has served under Richt since 2001 — react?

In sum, it’s hard to envision a HCIW scenario that works. The only way Kirby Smart will become Georgia’s defensive coordinator is if he decides he absolutely wants to be Georgia’s defensive coordinator.

153 comments
dgroy
dgroy

He wouldn't have to wait too long.  After a six-six record for the 2014 season and losing the last game to arch-rival Georgia Tech, CoolRay CMR will be fired along with most of his coaches.  Already, players being recruited are skeptical of the DAWGs ability to beat the stronger teams in the SEC and are looking elsewhere for a "Football Education".

Intruder
Intruder

Smart would be right up Georgia's alley. He is an ex-Dawg and an unproven Head Ball Coach. He could follow in the footsteps of Griffith and Goff. And just how would Bobo take this?

Dawggie
Dawggie

Will never, ever happen.  Kirby would be on the next train to Athens, to take the HC, but not the DC job.

In fact it will be tough for UGA to hire a big name DC - most would want to bring in their own staff, and Richt will not allow his current assistants to be terminated.

FoSho
FoSho

pay kirby whatever he wants -- as coach in waiting, he'll want at least $2 mil plus a boatload of benefits --- he's worth it if he can win a title at UGA

leefrommeeks
leefrommeeks

Georgie or Tech is not  a place where coaches  want to finish its a starting point to move on from. I know CMR has been there a long time but most are looking for the Alabama's, USC, or ND if they want to be on national scene not  UGA or Tech.

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

In reading tweets from players and reading a comment from Olivadotti, there seemed to have been dissension amongst the troops on D. CKO says he won't go with CTG for "personal reasons". Not sure the players will miss him either which might account for the lack of anything cohesive on D. This is where Richt should have stepped in if this is true!. I'm hearing money will not be an issue . Jeremy Pruitt is high on the list and can be had if it comes down to just money. Word out of Alabama is that for the first time, Saban's acting  desperate and Smart could be next. IMHO Smart's stock will rise only if out from under Saban. I think he's been there long enough and learned enough to be a fine DC and work towards a HC job. Chizik's one to keep an eye on as well as rumors swirl

DawgNole
DawgNole

ThomAss Brown: ". . . FSU has been on the come-back trail for sometime now.  Jimbo Fisher did that.  It worked.  Messy ?  You think anyone at FSU really cares about Mark Bradley saying it was messy for Bobby Bowden ?  Sure it was, but it doesn't matter . . . .

_______________________


Right, it DOESN'T matter. So why keep dredging it up? Bowden and his wife have an excellent and warm relationship with FSU. THAT is what matters.


Those sour grapes helping you with that constipation of yours?

PigIron
PigIron

"Georgia is a great job, one of the 10 best"


... in the state of Georgia. ;)

NCDawg
NCDawg

Does anyone know is Bud Foster has already stepped out of the running?  The Dawgs don't really run a true 3-4 so it wouldn't be a stretch to go to a 4-3 if it brings the best DC we can get here.  Bud Foster has good defenses year in and year out with less talent than the he could bring into Athens.  But maybe he is the HCiW at VT and Beamer may be closer to retiring than we know.


I'd still give him a call.

ready0422
ready0422

For all the talk about how great Kirby Smart is as a DC, why has he not gotten a HC position?  What's left for him to prove at Bama other than that he's really running that defense.  With all the openings recently, why was he not mentioned for any of them?


Think Smart is a good coach and would be excellent, especially as a recruiter but when is he going to step from Saban's shadow?

ready0422
ready0422

I like the Michigan State coach.  They are always tough.

ready0422
ready0422

How about Lorenzo Ward from SC?  Would he make a move?  Where is Shannon from Miami? 

Stinger2
Stinger2

To all UGA fans who think Mark Richt will ever be fired or forced out: You are whistling Dixie. He will leave

on his own terms and only when he wants to leave.

Rmm2205
Rmm2205

BobThePoet


There once was a UGA DC called Grantham

Who couldn't coach worth a damn-tham


He shouted a lot

Looked confused  a lot

Even rented a house for a lot

And was paid a lot


But he couldn't call a play that his defense could stop-tham


Now he's going to Louisville

Where the Blue Grass Grows

And the horses run for roses


Hoping all along that he can wash Bobby P's Harley Bike-tham


Dash away...Dash Away..Now Grantham!!!!!

BSNBC
BSNBC

No one wants Kirby Smart as DC!!

ZippyMorocco
ZippyMorocco

I'm a UGA fan who doesn't want Smart. He had his chance, and there won't be another one.

NCDawg
NCDawg

I would like to see Kirby in Athens but not at the cost of playing friend against friend.  Who knows what kind of synergy a tandem of long time friends could develop?  Don't do the HCiW thing.  Just make the offer and see where it goes.

NCDawg
NCDawg

The HCiW idea is played... the only way you take that tag is if you have some other reason to not ever want to leave a school.

GloryBetweenTheHedges
GloryBetweenTheHedges

Kirby Smart is a way overrated move! Mark I agree with a lot of what you say, but Smart being the second best thing to come since the Walker era is a little ridiculous to say. The truth is nobody knows how good Smart would be not under the wings of Saban. Smart is a big gamble at the end of the day. I am just not comfortable with bringing Smart in, especially with a HCIW clause. I wouldn't even go after Smart if Richt left now. There are a lot better options out there than Kirby Smart. 

NCDawg
NCDawg

The biggest question about Narduzzi is if he can recruit southern kids.  It is different.  He can coach...there is no question about that.  But can he go into a kid's living room and make Mom and Dad feel comfortable with him?  Can he avoid sticking out like a sore thumb?  A upper mid westerner trying to absorb southern culture would be difficult.


He might need to take visits in tandem and sparingly use his X's and O's to wow a kid and his Dad or other male relatives.  His reputation is at it's zenith right now.  He could open alot of HC doors with a few more years of defensive dominance in the SEC but the only catch is whether or not he can recruit at the expected level.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Another thing: fans fantasize about bringing their former players "home" to coach. With Georgia, it was Muschamp and Smart. I read a lot on the Georgia Tech blogs about Godsey lately, and Whisenhunt of all people, who I guess is a career NFL guy at some level of coaching.


At this late date, hiring from the existing staff or a DC from a lesser conference looks to be the right move.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Seems to me that would be a lateral move for no reason.

Polskidawg
Polskidawg

Not going to happen, now or anytime. Not to mention that HCIW is a stupid idea.


Kirby only comes to Athens as HC - after Richt retires or is terminated.

-sting-
-sting-

maybe the idea of sitting across from big nick and little nick is scary enough that smart would jump if they aren't going to promise him anything. i am not sure how but little nick has to do something to keep falling in the right place after flailing and ladling how he does. shoot even his real dad jumped ship last year to get back in the nfl.

MUSCLECAR
MUSCLECAR

USC, where Bo Davis spent less than a week as new coach Steve Sarkisian's defensive line coach, confirmed his return to Alabama.

"We wish Bo and his family the best of luck. He is a good coach," said Sarkisian, who also cited "family reasons" as a motive behind Davis' departure.  "We will move forward and find a great coach for our defensive line."

Davis replaces Chris Rumph, who left the Crimson Tide on Saturday for the same position at Texas.

mcdaviddawg
mcdaviddawg

Smart is smarter than to take a coach in waiting position behind a bad coach who will have be fired o create a opening.  I wish it were possible.

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

Kirby Smart is NOT leaving Alabama to be the D-coordinator at UGA.......get real people.....his next job will be as head coach somewhere.


Too many UGA fans are simply delusional.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Richt is not leaving UGA  for next 10-15 years unless they fire him. In waiting is BS.

My picks 1.Ed Orgeron if he would take it. .2 John Thompson..3 Rich Ellerson ..4 Cene Chizik..5 UCF DC, I don't know his name..6 David Gibbs

@TheOldGuy __ Beating GT is not winning National Championships. UGA's goal should be NC not running this State.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@dgroy

What ?


Afraid to tell us who your team is dgroy ?


Afraid of the obvious answers ?


There is not one recruit, avg 3.8 stars by the way, who has waivered because TFG left because we hated him.


Lose to Georgie tek.


Ha ha ha.


Are you Georgie tek fan ?


Hogwash UGA loses to Georgie tek.


Georgia Southern University is a better football team than Georgie tek.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@Intruder


Unless I missed it, I did not hear anyone offer Mike Bobo a head coach job.  I heard that Mike Bobo had set up an interview before the bowl game, for after the bowl game interview with Georgia Southern University joining Sun Belt this season.


But, then he promptly went out in the Bowl Game and was in the Red Zone sic (6) times figuring out how to score only one (1) TD.


His interview he wanted after the bowl game, was over.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@PigIronok - so name the 9 that are better.  And no GT is not a better job...not by a longshot.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@NCDawg BUD worked in one of those college towns where the COPS take care of the athletes. Bud wouldn't be good at UGa. Bud wouldn't know how to coach players that get in trouble and have to be suspended. You know UGa is the ONLY College Town in the US where the COPS are not on the TAKE from the Athletic Department.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@ready0422

I think the same questions were asked about an up and coming OC at FSU in the late 90's

Mulk
Mulk

@NCDawg A bigger question is why would he leave Mich St. to take a job at UGAG? Or, why would Foster leave VT to come to UGAG? Or, why did Granthem leave to go to Louisville? Why would Smart leave to come to UGAG?


You are drinking the kool aid.


Better jobs:


Bama

LSU

Auburn

Tennessee

S. Carolina

Florida

Clemson

FSU

Texas

Oklahoma

Missouri

Oklahoma St.

Ohio St.

Michigan

Mich St.

Wisconsin

Penn St.

Notre Dame

Iowa

Nebraska

Arkansas

Stanford

USC

UCLA

Oregon



Mulk
Mulk

@NCDawg A bigger question is why would he leave Mich St. to take a job at UGAG? Or, why would Foster leave VT to come to UGAG? Or, why did Granthem leave to go to Louisville? Why would Smart leave to come to UGAG?


You are drinking the kool aid.


Better jobs:


Bama

LSU

Auburn

Tennessee

S. Carolina

Florida

Clemson

FSU

Texas

Oklahoma

Missouri

Oklahoma St.

Ohio St.

Michigan

Mich St.

Wisconsin

Penn St.

Notre Dame

Iowa

Nebraska

Arkansas

Stanford

USC

UCLA

Oregon



PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@NCDawg

A upper mid westerner trying to absorb southern culture would be difficult.

I seem to remember a guy from Ohio who coached at MSU moving to the SEC.  He seems to have done OK.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@HonestInformed from your comments and general attitude you seem to be as well.  Just sayin'

Mulk
Mulk

@NCDawg @PigIron 


Bama

LSU

Auburn

Arkansas

Tennessee

S. Carolina

Florida

Missouri

FSU

Miami

Clemson

VT

Ohio St.

Michigan

Mich St.

Penn St.

Wisconsin

Iowa

Nebraska

Stanford

UCLA

USC

Oregon

Texas

Oklahoma

Okl. St.

Notre Dame


Dawg Squeeze
Dawg Squeeze

@NCDawg @PigIron Head golf coach at Augusta State; nicer travel venues and fewer snaggled tooth fans to deal with.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@DawgNole


In case you have not noticed I have given you the credit for your FSU winning their latest nc.  So, now, do I feel that UGA is a better football program than FSU ?  You bet because we played in The SEC to your FSU ACC 14-team conference with 2 teams in it, and save me the B.S. about Duke.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@Mulk


Utter B.S.


Okie State is not better than here.

South Carolina is not better than here.

UCLA is not better than here.

Iowa is not better than here.

Wisconsin is not better than here.

Michigan State is not better than here.

Penn State is not better than here.

Virginia Tech is not better than here.

Clemson is not better than here.

Miami of Florida is not better than here.

Auburn is not better than here.

Arkansas is not better than here.

Tennessee is not better than here.

Missouri is not better than here.


Whatever the hell it is you are smoking Mulk, put it down.  It's no good for you.


There is not 1 person in the United States of America who would say these are better than UGA, nimrod, known for this B.S. post

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  1. […] Bradley of the AJC thinks that Georgia should offer Kirby Smart the coach-in-waiting tag to lure the Alabama defensive coordinator back to Athens. There is talk that if Smart joins the […]