The Georgia Bulldogs have an opening at defensive coordinator with Todd Grantham leaving to take the same position on Bobby Petrino’s staff with the Louisville Cardinals, and the top target for Mark Richt could be Alabama defensive coordinator and former Georgia defensive back Kirby Smart.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 12, 2014
Kirby Smart might be wise to at least consider return to Georgia. He’s next in line at Alabama to be the fall guy.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) January 12, 2014
Smart played for Georgia form 1995-1999 and his first coaching job came with the Bulldogs in 1999 and later served as the team’s running back’s coach in 2005 before joining Nick Saban’s staff with the Miami Dolphins. Smart had previously been on Saban’s staff at LSU.
Saban and Smart have been together at Alabama since 2007 and has had opportunities to get out from under Saban’s prodigious shadow in the past with speculation he could be the successor to Saban when he retires.
However, could Saban’s new multi-year extension give Smart reason to think his time as a head coach is further away than he originally had hoped?
Smart could view the job at Georgia as an opportunity to show he is more than an extension of Saban all the while doing so at his alma mater where he may have an opportunity to succeed Richt sooner than he ever could potentially succeed Saban.
Richt’s future has been a hot topic in Athens in recent years with the thought he may retire sooner rather than later, so if Georgia offered Smart the job of defensive coordinator and head coach in waiting that could be the sweetener Smart needs to make the move form Alabama to Georgia.
Alabama rewarded Smart handsomely with $1.28 million this season to make him the highest paid defensive coordinator in college football, so he wouldn’t be making the jump from the SEC west to the SEC east for a pay grab, but rather a new challenge and the lure of returning home.